The Child Arrangements Programme (CAP) was recently reviewed by the Private Law Working Group in response to a consultation commissioned by the President of the Family Division of the High Court. This blog explains what the CAP is and how it applies to child arrangements for divorcing or separating couples.
The Family Division of the High Court deals with divorce cases, including disputes over children, property and money.
In the autumn of 2018, the President of the Family Division, and Head of Family Justice, Sir Andrew McFarlane, launched a public and private law consultation concerning the processes and practices of public and private law in the family court.
The Private Law Working Group issued a report to the President of the Family Division calling for a reform of the CAP and improved processes of private law in the courts.
Holland Family Law’s newest recruit, Geraldine Watson, specialises in Private Law Children Act applications and by way of an introduction to what she does, here’s an insight into how the Child Arrangements Programme and private law works.
When is the Child Arrangements Programme applicable?
The CAP applies when a dispute occurs between divorcing, or separating, parents over the arrangements concerning their children.
What’s the purpose of the CAP?
The CAP is setup to help parents reach child-focused agreements when divorcing or separating, with the aim of resolving cases outside of court. If parents cannot agree, a court application will need to be made, but the CAP encourages a quick resolution of any dispute taken to court.
However, before an application to the court can be made, parents must first have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to determine whether mediation is an option for them to try and resolve the issues over their children.
This does not mean parents have to undertake mediation, but it must have been considered. There are exceptions to this rule, including cases involving domestic violence.
What does the CAP recommend concerning child arrangements?
The CAP recommends that when a dispute arises concerning a child or children, parents should seek legal advice and support as soon as possible.
That’s where Holland Family Law (HFL), or more importantly, Geraldine comes in.
Accredited by the Law Society’s Family Law scheme, Geraldine joined HFL in July 2019. She has more than 10 years’ experience, qualifying as a solicitor in 2008.
Geraldine specialises in all aspects of family law, including providing advice on private children law, divorce, finances, cohabitation, and domestic violence.
If parents take a child arrangement dispute to court, Geraldine assists by helping clients to apply for child arrangements orders under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. Applications made under this section of the Act are typically between private individuals.