What do you need to know about the updated family court forms?

What do you need to know about the updated family court forms?

In advance of the coming into force of the provisions of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, introducing a single family court for England and Wales, updated court forms are anticipated to take effect from 22 April 2014.

Which court forms are changing?

The following updated court forms and notes are planned to be in place from 22 April 2014 for use in the single family court:

  •  Form C78—application for attachment of a warning notice to a child arrangements order
  • Form C79—application related to enforcement of a child arrangements order
  • Form D8—divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation petition
  • D8 notes
  • D80A—statement in support of divorce/(judicial) separation—adultery
  • D80B—statement in support of divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation—unreasonable behaviour
  • D80C—statement in support of divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation—desertion
  • D80D—statement in support of divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation—2 years' consent
  • D80E—statement in support of divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation—5 years' consent
  • Form D8N—nullity petition
  • D8N notes
  • Form D80F—statement in support of annulment—void marriage/civil partnership
  • Form D80G—statement in support of annulment--voidable marriage/civil partnership
  • Form C110A—application form in public children law cases
  • Form C100—application form in private children law cases

What are key changes regarding private children forms?

If a party has a contact order that was made before 8 December 2008, they may apply in Form C78 for a warning notice to be attached to the contact order. If a contact order has been broken, a party can apply in Form C79 to enforce the child arrangements order.

The main changes to Forms C78 and C79 will be a change in terminology from 'contact order' to 'child arrangements order' and the insertion of a statement of truth, see CFA 2014, s 12(3).

The Form C100 will be amended to incorporate in a single document the existing Forms C100 and FM1.

What are key changes regarding public children forms?

Form C110A is being revised to accommodate changes in the Public Law Outline (PLO) and to make it more user-friendly.

What will change in divorce and dissolution forms?

Form D8 is used to make an application to the court for divorce to end a marriage, dissolve a civil partnership or (judicial) separation from a spouse or civil partner. Practitioners are reminded that adultery continues to apply only to conduct between the respondent and a member of the opposite sex. Form D8N is used to apply to the court to annul a marriage or civil partnership that is void or voidable.

Forms D8 and D8N will be amended to refer to the marriage of same-sex couples. An important change that lawyers should note is that from 22 April 2014 parties will no longer be required to complete a statement of arrangements for children (Form D8A) when filing a divorce/dissolution petition at court. Forms D8 and D8N will be amended to remove the reference to the statement of arrangements for children, see CFA 2014, s 17 which repeals the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s 41 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004, s 63. If arrangements for children cannot be agreed after 22 April 2014, an application should be made to the court under the Children Act 1989 .

How will this affect forms D80A, D80B, D80C, D80D and D80E?

New statements in support of divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation and annulment will also be in place for use from 22 April 2014 in the single family court. The statements in support will be amended so that the petitioner has to explain the domestic circumstances when the parties separated. References to the statement of arrangements for the children (Form D8A) will be deleted from the statements in support in accordance with CFA 2014, s 17.

Kirstie Gibson is a solicitor in the Lexis®PSL Family team.

For further information on family law reform, including a timeline and toolkit, see Lexis®PSL Family (subscriber content).

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About the author:
Kirstie is a member of the LexisPSL family team and a solicitor specialising in all aspects of family law with particular emphasis on financial settlements, pre-nuptial agreements, private law children matters and financial disputes between cohabitants. Kirstie trained at Manches qualifying into their family department in 2003 where she worked for a number of years, particularly on financial settlement proceedings for high net worth clients. In 2006 she joined the family team at Charles Russell and progressed to become a senior associate in the department. Kirstie is a former member of the Young Resolution London Region Committee. She is also a regular contributor to Family Law Journal on wide-ranging areas of family law.