Have you received notice of your ex-partner’s Child Arrangements Hearing from the Court? If so, you are probably anxious about having to face their solicitor in Court and worried about what arrangements the Court might order.
The Court can make orders as to contact and living arrangements. It is therefore imperative that you engage with the Court or your former partner’s solicitor and attend every Hearing. If you do not attend the Hearings, orders can be made in your absence.
Prior to the First Hearing (also known as a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment) you will be contacted by a CAFCASS Officer. CAFCASS are an organisation of independent social workers. It is their duty to assist you and your former partner with coming to a decision that is in your children’s best interests. It is important that you are honest with the CAFCASS Officer and tell them your concerns if you have any.
The CAFCASS Officer will then produce (either the day before or at the Hearing) a Safeguarding Letter. This will record their conversations with both you and your former partner and set out their recommendations for the progression of this case.
Our family solicitors are very experienced at representing clients at Child Arrangement Hearings. We will:
- Discuss your matter at length, giving you a chance to explain your position and what it is you are seeking,
- Talk you through the options and your next steps so you have a clear plan,
- Ensure your voice is heard at the Hearing and you fully understand the options being put to you,
- See if an agreement can be reached with your ex-partner or their solicitor without the need to go to Court.
We offer a fixed fee 30-minute CAO meeting appointment. In this meeting, we can talk about your position and the child arrangement issues you are facing and whether you are exempt from mediation. We will tell you what options you have and the next best steps so that you have a clear action plan of what needs to be done to get the child arrangements you want.