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What is a SPIP ordered about children

What is a SPIP ordered about children at the Family Court may puzzle some parents who have represented themselves and are now expected to attend at a SPIP according to Cheshire family law specialist solicitors Stonehewer Moss. A parent  involved in a child arrangements Court process may well be asked to agree to attend a SPIP without prior notice before finding him or herself sat in front of the judge feeling somewhat like a rabbit caught in headlights. Accredited solicitor at the Northwich solicitors, Michael Brennan, explains, “The child arrangements process at Court is fact specific, meaning the Court does not apply a one size fits all solution, but a judge will frequently ask parents to attend a SPIP and at an initial hearing called the FHDRA (First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment) the request is to volunteer as the Court cannot have made findings of fact that justify the imposition of a contact activity order upon a parent. The likelihood is that CAFCASS, the courts child advisory service, will have taken the view, upon enquiry with the parents, that communication between them could be better and advises the judge before the parents go before him or her that a SPIP will help. The SPIP is a course of instruction addressing issues such as, focusing on child needs when in conflict, overcoming relationship generated feelings to be able to co-parent, improving communication. The course is run by organisations such as Relate and they have contracts with the courts to run the programme. Some judges will have attended to see how it works. The parents do not attend together but will be in groups with parents in similar situations and there are discussions between parents in addition to viewing videos of scenarios intended to address the communication troubles parent face if separated. I have attended training days by Relate and recommend that any parent invited to attend the SPIP by the court should take advantage of it, there being no charge. Parents not in court but interested can pay to attend a SPIP and the Relate training I attended suggested parents might benefit by attending a SPIP before they mediate. The charge pre court is £150 each but the saving emotionally and financially in the longer term could be significant for your family.”

Relate can discuss SPIP with you on 01829 781760 to find out What is a SPIP ordered about children

For advice negotiation and representation in child arrangements cases please phone 01606872200 e mail visit


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