CB1 Document – Information on how to make an application to the Family Court
The Court and Tribunals Service have created a document that provides information on how to make an application to the Family Court relating to your children. It can be accessed here. It is a useful document that explains the process and procedure, but also provides you with some important key terms that you will likely come across if you choose to make an application to Court.
The CB1 form is quite long. We thought it would be useful for our clients to summarise the key points here in one of our blog posts, so that you can find the most important information for your case. For more detailed information, you can download the CB1 form using the link above. We hope that this is useful for you. If you require any further support, you can contact our friendly team on 0113 468 9593.
The CB1 starts with information on family mediation. This is very important as before making an application to Court, it is a requirement that you attend a MIAM. MIAM stands for “Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting”. It is the first step before starting mediation.
Mediation is a process whereby an accredited mediator will act as an impartial third party in your case to support you and your ex-partner to come to proposals and/or agreements in relation to your dispute. The MIAM is effectively an initial consultation between yourself and the mediator, where you will be provided with more information about the mediation process so that you can make an informed decision whether mediation is right for you. Additionally, the mediator will be looking for information from you about the case, so that they can assess the suitability for mediation.
Mediation is not always suitable. Where mediation is unsuitable, you will be able to make an application to Court. Remember that mediation is a voluntary process, which means that you do not have to use it, but you must attend a MIAM, unless you are exempt from doing so. You can find the list of exemptions on the C100 form (the Court form used to apply to the Family Court for orders relating to children), or on our blog post here.
If you would like to book in for a MIAM you can do so by clicking here. MIAMs cost £120, but you may be able to get your MIAM for free if you qualify for Legal Aid.
What can the Court do?
If mediation is unsuitable, or you choose to not proceed with mediation, or mediation breaks down – then you can make an application to Court. There are a variety of orders which the Courts can make in relation to children – the CB1 form provides the following information:
- Child Arrangements Order: This order relates to decisions about with whom children are to live with, spend time with, or have contact with. This is one of the most common orders that people apply for and come to mediation for. A common example of when a parent might apply for a Child Arrangements Order is when they feel they are not spending enough time with their children following separation.
- Specific Issue Order: This order is where the Court will make a decision about a specific issue that requires a certain action to be carried out by a parent. A common example relates to decisions about education, such as which school your children are to attend.
- Prohibited Steps Order: This order is where the Courts will make a decision to prevent one parent from doing something or will provide permission for a parent to do something, which normally could be done by a parent. A common example is where one parent wishes to take their children out of the country.
- Parental responsibility order: Parental responsibility is a legal term which refers to the duties, responsibilities, powers, rights that legally you have over your children. A parental responsibility order is an application to Court so that the Court can make a decision to say that you have parental responsibility. You can apply for a parental responsibility order if you are the biological father of the child and are not name on the child’s birth certificate, but wish to be recognised as the child’s father legally.
The above are orders which you can apply for using the C100 form (or the C1 form too if you are applying for a Parental Responsibility Order). In addition to this, you can also apply to the Courts to vary or discharge a Child Arrangements Order that is already in place.
What can the Court decide?
There are three things which the Court may do upon receiving an application:
- Make an order;
- Change (vary) an order; or
- End (discharge) an order.
The Courts will only make a decision if they consider that decision to be in the best interests of the children involved. The Children Act 1989 – which is the legal framework that is used in applying for all the orders listed above – states at Section 1 that the best interests of children are the “paramount consideration” for the Court in making any decisions relating to them. This means that the Court could make an order which might mean that you, or the other parent, may not get exactly what you asked for when initially making your application.
Who is allowed to make an application to Court?
You will automatically have a right to make an application to Court relating to children if you are the parent of the children and have parental responsibility. If you do not fit into this category, you will need to apply to the Court for “permission”. Section 5a of the C100 form is the necessary part of the C100 form where you will be able to apply to the Court for permission to make any given application. You will need to provide the Court with your relevant reasons why they should grant the permission.
What form do I need to use?
All forms used to apply to the Court can be found on the government website. You can find and download court forms by searching the name of the form into your search engine. We have linked the forms below however so all you need to do is click and the form will be brought up.
- Child Arrangements Order: C100 form
- Prohibited Steps Order: C100 form
- Specific Issue Order: C100 form
- Parental responsibility order: C1 form
How do I submit my form to the Court?
There are three different ways of doing this.
- You can apply online through an online system which will automatically send the C100 form to the Court. You can find this here.
- You can complete your C100 form electronically and submit to the appropriate court via email.
- You can complete your C100 form on paper and submit your form in person. If you do this, you will need to provide the Court with 3 copies of the form.
If you are not sure where your nearest Court is, you can use the online court finder.
Important: You must use the postcode of where your child lives, as the relevant Court is the one closest to where your child is living.
How much does a C100 application cost?
The Court fee has recently increased from £215 for an application to £232.
You may be able to qualify for Help with Fees, this can result in a reduced fee or a complete waiver. You can check your eligibility for Help with Fees here.
Can I get support completing my C100 form?
The first thing to note is that you can complete your C100 form independently. It is not a requirement to instruct a solicitor to do this. Additionally, there is lots of information readily available online with useful information and top tips for how to fill the form out correctly. We have written our own guide, which you can access here.
Instructing a solicitor to complete your form and provide you with representation at Court is a costly process. Solicitor fees will vary from firm to firm, but it is not uncommon for total fees to exceed at least £1,000 from start to finish.
There is free support available in completing your C100 application through a charity called Support Through Court. You can find more information about Support Through Court and whether there is a branch at your nearest Court here.
You can also access private support that is conducted virtually by using the Family Court Application Service (FCAS). FCAS is run by experienced case workers with legal training. You can access urgent appointments for procedural support completing your form through FCAS. All consultations are via telephone or Zoom and are set at a fixed fee of £60. You will not pay more than this. More information can be accessed here.
What do I do now?
The CB1 document available here offers detailed information on your journey to making an application to Court. The above summarises key parts of this, but most importantly directs you to what you need to do first: That is to book in for a MIAM.
Before you make an application to Court, which should always be your last resort, you must attend a MIAM (unless you are exempt). We offer MIAMs within 24 hours of your call with one of our accredited mediators, so you can be sure to receive a quality service.
If you are looking to make your application to Court, we can offer same day MIAM certificates (following your appointment) so that you can complete your C100. We also can directly refer you to FCAS if you would like to access this service.
You can contact us by clicking here or calling 0113 468 9593. We look forward to supporting you.
By completing this form you consent to Direct Mediation Services holding the information you provide us about you in accordance with our Privacy notice. By submitting your email address and telephone number to us you consent to us contacting you in order to enable us to deal with your query. Calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the CB1 form?
The CB1 is an information document that has been created by HMCTS to provide you with information about applying to the Family Court for matters relating to children. You can access it using the link in the above blog post.
Do I have to attend mediation?
It is not a requirement to use mediation to resolve a dispute, but it is a requirement to at least consider it before making an application to Court. Whilst mediation is a voluntary process, the general view is that you should be able to use mediation rather than the Courts, unless you are exempt. Due to this, you must attend a MIAM before making an application to Court.
How much does it cost to apply to the Family Court?
The court fee for the C100 form has increased from £215 to £232. You will need to pay this fee after you have submitted your form to the court. The Court will contact you directly to organise payment. You may be able to reduce or waiver this fee by applying for Help with Fees. This is usually when you are in receipt of benefits or a low income.
I can’t afford a solicitor – is there any free support?
Legal Aid is not readily available for applications to the Family Court in relation to children unless you have experienced domestic violence. You may be able to access free support by contacting your local Citizens Advice, Support Through Court, Law Centre, or free legal advice clinic.
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