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Applying to Court

Applying to the court is often seen as the last resort because you can only apply to the court when you have ensured that all avenues of amicable agreement have been exhausted. You cannot issue an application without first attempting, or being assessed for, mediation. It is important to remember that a court battle can be a long drawn out series of hearings and, throughout this, your children will be aware of what is happening. They may have to speak to the Court welfare officer (Cafcass officer) during this time, too.

The Cafcass service are instructed to make preliminary enquiries once your application is made. They will speak to you and the other parent before the first hearing, and make written recommendations to the Court. The Cafcass officer will also be available to discuss issues with you both at the first hearing.

If an agreement can be reached at the first hearing, an order can be made either on a final basis, or on the basis that it is reviewed in the future.

If an agreement can’t be reached and the Cafcass has no welfare concerns for the children, then the Court will list the case for a contested hearing where each of you will be able to submit a statement setting out what you believe is best for your children. If there are welfare concerns, possibly due to historic aggression or violence, the Court will make orders to enable it to get to the bottom of what has happened. The Cafcass service will be asked to prepare a more detailed report where the children’s wishes and feelings will be one of the factors that the court will need to consider.

If the Court have to make the final decision on the arrangements for your children, then your ability to control the final outcome has been lost. This is why the vast majority of separating parents manage to make their own arrangements outside the Court arena.

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Our Helpful Guides

If you are considering applying to the court, speak with one of our family law specialists. They are highly experienced, and can provide you with support and guidance during the court process. They may also be able to advise you of other options that may be available to you.

We have offices in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Derby, Ilkeston and Bulwell.

For more information on applying to the court, or to arrange an appointment with our expert Family Law department, call 0330 017 6308* or email

*calls cost no more than a local 01 number and are included in your mobile minutes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different.   If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

My aunt only has one bank account. Can I deal with this on her behalf?

If the bank allows, it is possible for your aunt to name you as a third party on her bank account. This will allow you to withdraw funds and sign cheques on her behalf. We can help your aunt complete the mandate form required to put this in place.

What am I entitled to in a divorce? Can she take me for every penny?

No.  Sometimes it may feel as though this has happened. The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair.  Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work.  Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.


Don't miss the chance to visit our lunchtime #FamilyLaw legal clinic in #Mansfield, every Wednesday from 12pm-2pm. Cathryn Young, our experienced Family Law solicitor, will be on hand to provide you with free legal advice, please call 01623 675 800 to make your appointment now.

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