If parents or guardians cannot agree arrangements for children privately and need the assistance of the family court, an application should be made on form C100 for the following:

  • Child arrangement order – to decide where children will live and who they will have contact with and in what way. These orders replace the old ‘residence’ and contact’ orders
  • Specific issue order – where a single, narrow issue needs to be decided, for example in relation to a child’s surname
  • Prohibited steps order – to prevent someone from doing something, including taking a child out of school



While the C100 form is most commonly used during divorce and separation it may be used at any time when issues surrounding a child’s living arrangements or upbringing arise.


Before the court will process the C100 the applicant must attend a Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The other party (the respondent) must also attend a MIAM, although he or she does not have to attend the same meeting as the applicant.

In certain circumstances the court will waive the requirement to attend a MIAM. These include cases where there are allegations of domestic violence, there are child protection issues or the case is urgent for some reason. If the applicant seeks an exemption from attending a MIAM he or she must explain the circumstances and provide details on the C100.


Parents, guardians and others with parental responsibility can automatically apply for orders using the C100 form. Certain other categories of people may also apply, for example if they are in a marriage or civil partnership and the child is considered a child of the family. Others seeking arrangement orders must first ask the court’s permission to make the relevant application.


The completed C100 form is intended to provide the court with a comprehensive picture of the case. If you are the applicant you should provide as much relevant detail as possible. It may be advisable to ask an experienced solicitor to assist you when completing the form. The information required includes:

  • Details of children to whom the application relates and the applicant’s relationship to them
  • Details of any risk of harm to children
  • The current living arrangements
  • Previous parenting plans and reasons why they have broken down
  • Details of what the applicant wishes the court to decide
  • Other proceedings involving the children
  • Any international element to the case that the court should be made aware of


Following receipt of the C100 the court will arrange an initial directions hearing for parents and guardians.

The hearing is held in front of a judge or magistrate, and the goal is to find an agreement between the parents that is in the best interests of the child. To assist the court and parents, a worker from CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) will usually attend. If this hearing does not result in agreement the judge or magistrate will arrange further hearings.

After the initial hearing CAFCASS will usually prepare a detailed report about the welfare of the children. It may also make recommendations to the court about how it should decide the case.

Between hearings parents may be asked to produce further evidence for the court. They may also be asked to attend mediation. Sometimes they are required to attend the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP). This is intended to help separating parents understand how to put children first when in dispute with each other.

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