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Child Arrangements  |  Child law

How to report a breach of a child arrangement order

Posted by
Walker Family Law
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A child arrangements order is an order setting out with whom a child will live and what contact a person, usually a parent, will have with the child.

Child arrangements orders are usually made because the parents are not able to sort out arrangements for their children between themselves, and need to have the court sort them out for them.

But sadly parents don’t always adhere to the terms of child arrangements orders.

There are various ways in which an order may be breached.

The order may say the child lives with one parent but the visiting parent refuses to return them.

Or perhaps one parent denies contact with the child, defying the contact order.

Or the breach may relate to a detail in the order, for example a parent with contact not returning the child to the other parent at the set time.

So how do you report a breach of a child arrangement order?

Reporting a breach of a child arrangement order to the court

Before doing anything else you should try to discuss the matter with the other parent. There could be a valid reason, and you might solve it through agreement.

It may also be possible to resolve the matter by coming to an agreement through solicitors.

But obviously it is not always possible to resolve the matter by agreement. You can report a breach of a child arrangement order to court by applying to enforce the child arrangements order in such a case.

In the application you will explain how the order has been broken, and ask the court to enforce the order.

You can request compensation for financial losses incurred due to non-compliance, like travel expenses for missed visits.

What happens when a breach is reported?

Before it takes any action, the court will want to know why the order was not complied with. Reasons may exist, or the court may adjust the order to resolve issues.

Without valid reasons, the court can take steps to enforce compliance with the order.

If it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to comply with the order without reasonable excuse then the court may make an enforcement order, imposing on the person an unpaid work requirement, of between 40 and 200 hours.

The court may also order compensation to the applicant from the breaching party, as previously mentioned.

And in severe cases, the court can fine or imprison the individual breaching the order.

Another option where there have been persistent breaches of an order by the parent with whom the child lives, and where it is appropriate, is for the court to order that the child move to live with the other parent.

Expert advice

The above is only a very brief introduction to the subject of enforcing child arrangements orders.

If you believe that a child arrangements order has been breached then it is strongly recommended that you seek expert legal advice, at the earliest opportunity. We can provide you with that advice. For more information about child arrangements orders and how to get in touch with us, see this page.