The court process and what to expect
We work with families only at the direction of the family court. After the court has received the application concerning a child, the court will send the application to us to review the available information. We undertake checks with the police and with the local authorities where you have lived to see if there is anything that could cause concern about the welfare or safety of you and your child. A Family Court Adviser (FCA) will offer you and your child’s other parent an interview. At this stage, the FCA only talks to the adults named in the application.
The FCA then provides the court with information in a ‘Safeguarding Letter’ to help the court to understand and make a decision that is safe for the child. The FCA advises the court about the best arrangements for your child. The FCA will try to help you and your child’s other parent reach an agreement about arrangements for your child, which is in their interests and supports their wellbeing and safety. The legal process is set out in the Child Arrangements Programme 2014.
This short, animated video provides a summary of what to expect after you or the child’s other parent or carer make an application to the family court to help you resolve your disagreements and sort out arrangements for your child.
Please select the options below to find out more about the court process and what to expect from us when we work with you and your child:
- What happens in family courts
- Overview of our involvement with you as you go through the court process
- A Family Court Adviser gives safeguarding advice to court (the safeguarding letter)
- The court asks an FCA to write a report if your case goes beyond first hearing (Section 7 reports)
- What happens if your child is made a party to court proceedings (R16.4 appointments)
Feedback from a parent we have worked with
“The nicest thing was the letter at the end, that was really special. There is no doubt going forward for my child. It was so personal and friendly. It was lovely and I even shared it with my mum. It was fabulous and really important and you could tell it was personal. I wasn't expecting this”.