Press release

Digital form quicker and easier for separated parents applying to see children

It will be quicker and easier for separated parents to apply to see their children thanks to a new online service launched by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Digital form quicker and easier for separated parents applying to see children
  • Quicker, less stressful process for parents trying to see children
  • More than 8,000 applications during pilot phase
  • Some 93% of users satisfied or very satisfied

The system means parents and their legal representatives can apply to the court digitally to make child arrangements.

Until now, this was an entirely paper service which led to errors when filling in the form and postal delays. Of the more than 8,000 people that used the digital system during its pilot phase, 93% of them were either satisfied or very satisfied with many commenting on the ease and speed of the new application.

Previously, some applicants would have to fill in three separate forms, which would typically amount to more than 30 pages. This has now been simplified and can be completed in as few as seven online pages, with thousands of sheets of paper already saved.

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.

As well as helping to reduce delays and error, the digital system also directs parents to alternatives other than applying to court, helping many people find more suitable ways to see their children.

This service is part of a £1 billion court reform investment and just one of a number of ways HMCTS and the Ministry of Justice are using digital ways of working to increase access to justice for court users across the country.

In the past four years, more than 300,000 people have used online justice services for tasks such as applying for probate, responding to civil money claims or applying for a divorce.

Notes to Editors

  • The online child arrangements service is available to the general public and legal professionals.
  • Alternatives to court should be considered by all separated parents trying to see their children.
  • The online service encompasses forms C100, C1A and C8.
Published 19 February 2020