April 8, 2021
If you have gone through a divorce, dissolved your civil partnership, or separated from your partner and it was difficult to agree the contact arrangements for your children with the other parent, you may have had to apply to the court for a child arrangements order (the “Order”) to set out who your children will live with and the dates, times, and types of contact with them if they do not live with you. Hopefully, the arrangements in place will be working well and both parents continue to follow the Order.
However, if this is not the case, it may be difficult to resolve your issues with the other parent. There are various steps you can take in the hope that contact will resume in accordance with the Order as follows:
- Speak to the other parent about why they have stopped following the Order and whether they have a specific date in mind for your contact with your children to resume. If the reasons are related to Covid-19, there is an exemption from restrictions which allows contact to continue between children of separated parents. If the other parent is aware of this and will still not agree to contact continuing, try to agree regular video contact and that your lost time with your children can be made up at some point.
- Suggest mediation to the other parent to try to resolve the issues.
- If you are legally represented, you may wish for your solicitors to contact the other parent or their solicitors to request that contact resumes in accordance with the Order.
- If all else fails and you are happy with the current order and want the other parent to follow the arrangements, you may have no choice but to apply to the court for an enforcement order. It is sensible to keep a record of all breaches of the Order by the other parent in case you need to refer to this in the future.
An application for an enforcement order is done on Form C79 and there is a court fee of £215. This is a way to ask the court to make the other parent follow the terms of the Order. The other parent will have the opportunity at a hearing to either deny any breaches of the Order or provide a reasonable excuse for not following the Order. The court will need to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that there was a breach of the Order and on a balance of probabilities that they had no reasonable excuse for the breaches. If this is the case, the court will make a decision in the children’s best interests and may make the following directions depending on the nature and frequency of the breaches:
- The parent who has breached the order must perform between 40 and 200 hours of unpaid work.
- Financial compensation is paid by the breaching parent.
- A fine is paid by the breaching parent.
- Both parents are required to attend a separated parents information programme or mediation.
- The order is varied or the children’s living arrangements are changed.
- The breaching parent may be imprisoned if there are very serious breaches of the Order.
Wallace Robinson & Morgan Limited are based in Solihull and Dorridge and serve clients across Birmingham and the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and further afield. Our team of Family Lawyers are happy to help if you would like advice about contact with your children following the end of your relationship, marriage, or civil partnership.
If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 0121 705 7571 and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.