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Where a married couple have dependent children the Court will not allow the divorce to proceed
unless it is satisfied with the arrangements made for them.

This is the Court’s first responsibility under section 25(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act. You
will therefore need to complete the Statement of Arrangements for Children on Form D8A
which you must submit with the divorce petition on Form D8. It is a very straightforward form
to complete.

The Court must consider the welfare of any ‘child of the family’, regardless of whether that
child is yours biologically. Parents’ financial responsibility for their children continues beyond
the age of 16, and so the Court will take that into account, even if the child is at university.
The Court is obliged to consider these arrangements and may delay the Final Order (Decree
Absolute) until arrangements are agreed. It is obviously far better that you should agree these
matters than have the Court decide them for you.

Unlike the old version of the form, the new D8A does not contain provision for children who are
not ‘children of the family’, such as those born as a result of a mother’s adultery.

The Respondent does not necessarily need to complete a separate form, and should sign the
form completed by the Petitioner if he is in agreement.

The Court will send the Respondent a copy of the completed Form D8A and a form D10/D510
(acknowledgment of service) on which to record whether or not he is in agreement. If the
father is not in agreement he will be able to complete his own Form D8A setting out alternative
proposals and the Court will be required to make a decision.

Guidance on filling out Form D8A is available in Leaflet D185, Children and Divorce. If you
don’t have any of this information state that it is ‘Not Known’.

Write in black ink and BLOCK CAPITALS. To start the form, fill out the heading with the name
of the Court, your full name and your spouse’s full name and the reference number of the case,
if you know it.

Part 1 Details of the Children


State whether the details of your children given in the divorce petition are correct or not;
if not give corrected information in the box.

Part 2 Arrangements for the children of the family

A ‘child of the family’ means any step child or child whom you regard as yours even though they
are not biologically related to you. Foster children are not ‘children of the family’.

Living arrangements

2. Enter the names of the children, who the resident parent is and where they live.

3. State whether or not this arrangement is agreed and if not give details.

4. Detail the contact arrangements (if any) with the non-resident parent, including overnight
staying contact.

5. State whether or not these arrangements are agreed and if not give details.

6. State who will undertake the day-to-day care of the children – this will normally be the
resident parent, but may also be a grandparent, nanny, etc.

7. State whether or not this arrangement is agreed and if not give details.


8. Give details of the children’s places of education.

9. State whether or not there will be any foreseen changes to these arrangements as a result
of the separation – including payment of school fees – and if so give details.

10. State whether or not any of your children has special educational needs and if so give

Details of health

11. State whether or not your children are in good health. If they are not in good health and
put the details in the box. Only mention serious health problems.

12. State whether or not your children have any special health needs; if they do give details in
the box and explain how the needs are being met.

Details of care and other court proceedings

13. State whether or not the children are in the care of the local authority, or under the
supervision of a social worker or probation officer. If they are give details in the box.
Include details of current court proceedings.

14. State whether or not any of your children is the subject of a Child Protection Plan. If so
give details of the local authority and date of registration.

15. State whether or not there have been any court proceedings regarding the children. If
there have, give details in the box and make sure you attach a copy of the order.

Also as part of Question 15 state whether any child maintenance arrangement has been
made or is pending.

State whether or not you have agreed a child maintenance arrangement and if you have give


16. State whether or not there are, or have been, any other court proceedings which impact on
the children.

Part 3 To the Petitioner

Complete this part only if you are the petitioner.


17. If you have not agreed arrangements for your children with the Respondent, state whether
or not you will seek to do so, use mediation, or make an application to the Court.

Statement of Truth

Enter your full name, and sign and date the form.

Part 4 To the Respondent

Complete this part only if you are the respondent.

State whether or not you agree with the Petitioner’s proposals and whether or not you would
agree to mediation. Sign and date the form.

Be careful how you fill out the form; the Court will be looking for gaps, for example in the child’s
education, or times when the child is not being looked after by an adult, or for other causes of

If the Court is satisfied with the arrangements for the children it will send you Form D84B/
D584B (notice of satisfaction with the arrangements for the children) and the divorce will

If the Court is not satisfied you will be sent a copy of Form D66 (notice that decree should not
be made absolute) or Form D566 (notice that conditional order should not be made final).

You may simply need to provide some more information. Alternatively you will need to see the
judge together to discuss the arrangements. It is possible that the judge will direct CAFCASS
(the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) to prepare a welfare report.

If arrangements still cannot be agreed, you will have to apply to the Court for a Residence or
Contact Order using Form C100, which is covered in another Wikivorce How-To guide.

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