The other parent is taking me to court

If the other parent is unhappy with the current arrangements about your child, they may want to take you to court to change things.

How will I know?

You may get some papers from the court, such as a notice of proceedings, telling you that the other parent has made an application.

Sometimes, you may be invited to mediation first or a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The courts demand this because they want parents to try to reach an agreement before applying for an order.

But you don't have to attend mediation if there’s been domestic abuse or there are other safety concerns. You may need to provide evidence of this to the court.

What should I do?

When you get court papers, you should reply within 14 days using a form C7, also called an acknowledgement.

If there’s been domestic abuse, you should also fill in form C1A, explaining what’s happened.

It's usually a good idea to get legal advice or a solicitor to help you. You may also be able to get legal aid. You can also decide to represent yourself.

What happens next?

You’ll get a court reference number and a date for the first hearing, called the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA).

The process is now the same as outlined in What happens after I apply for a court order? except in this situation, you are the respondent and the other parent is the applicant. That's because they applied to the court and you are responding to it.

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