HMCTS launches online tool for separated parents to apply for child visitation

Written by Sam Trendall on 25 February 2020 in News

Courts service says digital offering will eradicate need to fill in up to 30 pages of paper forms

Credit: PA

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has launched an online tool through which separated parents can apply for child arrangements orders.

The process was previously entirely reliant on paper – with some applicants being asked to fill out 30 pages across three separate forms, according to the government. The digital application service, which can be used by either parents themselves or their legal representatives, could reduce this burden to as few as seven online pages.

HMCTS said that the online system will not only “reduce delays and errors”, but will also encourage and direct users towards alternative means of settling their issues, that do not require a court’s arbitration.

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During a recently completed pilot phase, 8,000 people used the digital platform, with 93% of these reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

Richard Goodman, HMCTS change director, said: “For parents, it can often be a stressful, challenging time when trying to arrange visits to see children and this system is designed to make that process as straightforward as possible. As the court reform programme progresses, we will continue introduce services that make the justice system easier to navigate and more efficient for all those that use it.”

A child arrangement order is a court order that rules on issues such as where a child will live, conditions imposed on the frequency and nature of contact between parents and children, and stipulations concerning what parties need to be involved in decisions about a child’s upbringing.


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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