Many are concerned about the impact that changes to their usual arrangements would have on their relationship with their child. The enquiries came from parents who had informal arrangements, as well as those with court orders in place. This article specifically focuses on enforcing child arrangements if you have a child arrangement order.
Child arrangement orders (CAOs) regulate with whom a child should live, spend time, or have contact with. For those parents that have had court arrangements prior to April 2014, you may be more familiar with the terms residence order and contact order. CAOs have replaced these historic orders.
If a party has failed to follow the arrangements set out in a child arrangement order, you may wish to ask the court to enforce the order. If the arrangement has been broken without "reasonable excuse" you may apply to the court:
If either parent fails to keep to a CAO they may be "in contempt of court" and be sent to prison or fined.
To apply for an enforcement order or for financial compensation, you need to check that your CAO contains a warning notice.
The court can only make an order if it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a party has failed to keep to the CAO. The court will not make an order if the other party can establish on the balance on probabilities that they had a reasonable excuse.
Once an application is made to the court, the court will consider the basis of the application and if it sees fit, will issue the application. In determining the application, the court will:
In the current circumstances, it is difficult to know how long it will take a court to list a hearing and court capacity can change daily, so it may be worth contacting your local court to ask them about listing time.
Our specialist team of family lawyers are still continuing to work and are on hand to help with any of your family related queries.