Consent Orders for children's arrangements

Consent Orders for children's arrangements

26th January 2015

We are all very familiar with consent orders in financial disputes i.e. where separating couples sort out a financial settlement themselves or with the help of solicitors and then file a consent order with the court for the Judge’s approval. However the way the no order principle has been interpreted in the 1989 Children Act has meant that such an option has not been available for separating parents who reach a consensus on arrangements for their children. The fact that an agreement reached with the help of mediation could not previously be embodied in a court order meant that many applicants who would have liked to have tried mediation have ended up concluding they have no alternative but to issue court proceedings so that they can get a court order. The Child Arrangements Program seeks to remedy this by introducing the option of parents filing an application using Form C100 but attaching a draft consent order setting out the arrangements reached themselves or with the help of a mediator so that the judge can then be asked to approve it. This seems a definite improvement and we wait to see how often this option is used in the future.