A Child Arrangements Order regulates who a child is to live with, spend time with or have contact with as well as when a child is to spend time with or have contact with an individual. They are often sought when parents are unable to reach an agreement about a child’s living and contact arrangements.
A Child Arrangements Order commonly includes a warning notice which encourage parties to comply with the Order and advises parties of the consequences of failing to comply with the Order. The Child Arrangements Order must include this warning notice in order for it to be enforceable.
Who can enforce the Order?
Any party who is named on the Order is able to apply to enforce the Child Arrangements Order.
How can I enforce the Child Arrangements Order?
If you wish to apply to the Court to enforce the Child Arrangements Order, you do not need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) prior to submitting your application.
You will need to submit your application using Form C79 and there will be a Court fee payable.
What happens when the Court receives my application?
Upon receipt of the application, this will be placed in front of a Judge or Legal Advisor.
They will then consider whether the facts are agreed or whether a Hearing is needed. They will determine whether an Enforcement Order is appropriate or whether a referral can be made for a Parenting Course, or if any other action should be taken.
The Respondent will also have the opportunity to respond to the application and set out their position.
What will the Court take into consideration?
The Court will consider a number of factors for example, the reason for the non-compliance, the effect of the non-compliance on the child/children, the welfare checklist and whether they may require advice from Cafcass.
They will also take into consideration the seriousness and frequency of the breach.
When will the Court make the Enforcement Order?
The Court will make an Enforcement Order if it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the Child Arrangements Order has been breached.
There are various sanctions that may be imposed upon an individual who has failed to comply with the Order for example:-
- A variation of the Child Arrangements Order;
- A fine;
- Committal to prison;
- Unpaid work;
- Contact Enforcement Order or Suspended Enforcement Order.
If you need help in making an application to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order or enforcement of a Child Arrangements Order. Please contact our Carlisle Office on 01228 522215 and a member of the Family Team will be able to assist you.
Article written by Chloe Hewetson