If you are experiencing difficulties with a child arrangements order, including minor or major breaches, it is advisable to keep a diary of these. This means you will have a clear picture of the difficulties you have faced and details of your ex partner not sticking to court order demands.
Then, try and discuss the breach or breaches with the other parent in the hope that you can reach an agreement without having to return to court. The court process can be stressful, timely and expensive, which even a parent in breach of a court order may want to avoid.
Another option is to use mediation as a neutral forum with a third-party to try and resolve the disagreements. This approach costs less, is less stressful, and is quicker to arrange.
However, in some cases, it is not possible to discuss or agree on arrangements and therefore, the matters must be returned to the court to enforce the original order. A family lawyer can help you in this regard.
An application for enforcement of a court order is made on a Form C79.
Enforcement proceedings must be dealt with without delay and if possible, listed before the judge that dealt with matters previously. A hearing will be listed within 20 working days of the application been issued.
What will the court consider when deciding to enforce an order?
Once the court receives an application to enforce a child arrangements order, they will consider the following:
At the top of all child arrangements orders, there is a warning notice that sets out the consequences to both parties about what will happen if they do not comply with the order.
There are several powers available to the court when considering an application to enforce and these are as follows:
If circumstances change once a child arrangements order has been made, then it might be necessary to ask the court to vary the order if an agreement cannot be reached between the parents.
You will need to complete a C100 application form and explain why you are asking the court to vary the current child arrangements order.
The court will only vary a child arrangements order if they consider it to be in the best interests of the child to do so.
It is possible to appeal decisions made by the family court, and we would advise anyone considering this to take legal advice on their individual circumstances.
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