An attempt at mediation must first be made and, if this fails, an application to the court for a ‘Live with Order’ needs to be made. An application is made by way of a C100 application, which sets out the parties details and a short statement of the difficulties. The court will look at many factors when deciding, including the age, and understanding of the child / children and their wishes and feelings depending upon their age.
A CAFCASS Officer may be appointed, to prepare a report and recommend what they believe to be in the best interests of the child. CAFCASS are independent court appointed welfare officers, who will meet with the parents and if appropriate, the child / children, to establish the views of all the parties and the recommendation they make is based upon their investigations. They will also undertake a safeguarding check to ensure there are no risks that have not been highlighted. These include police checks, whether there has been any social services involvement and enquiries of the school if relevant.