Enforcement of a Child Arrangement Order

A child arrangement order is a legal agreement approved by the court and if it is not followed one parent could take actions on the enforcement of a child arrangements order. The agreement is made between both parents confirming the child’s living arrangements and is based on the best interests of the child.

A child arrangement order is often made when parents following a divorce are not amicable and are unable to reach an agreement between themselves in relation to the child. The child access order covers issues such as which parent the child with reside with and the contact arrangements with the non-resident parent.

At Kabir family law our child law experts can assist you in trying to reach an agreement with your former partner in issues concerning your child, failing which we can assist you in making an application for a child access order.

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How to apply for a child arrangement order

Before applying for a child arrangement order you must show the court that you have attempted to resolve any differences and issues with the other parent. This process is known as mediation. The purpose of mediation is to explore whether both parents can attempt to find a solution without the need to go to court.

If you are unable to reach an agreement through mediation or mediation is unavailable a form would need to be obtained from the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) confirming this. Once you are in receipt of this you can then apply for a child court order to the court. Our child experts at Kabir family law can look to arrange mediation for you to try and resolve the issues surrounding the child arrangement or alternatively to kickstart the court proceedings.

What decision can the court make?

Once you have attempted mediation or mediation is not suitable between the parties, the application for a child arrangement order is made to the family court.  The courts will then assess the matter and with the help of a CAFCASS officer will decide which parent the child will live with and how child contact will be split between parties.

The court will promote contact between both parents unless there is an element of risk or harm to the child. When making a child arrangement order the court will consider:

  • The feelings and wishes of the child
  • The effect of any changes to the child arrangement on the child, and
  • The educational and any special needs of the child.

Who can apply for a child arrangement order?

If you have parental responsibility of a child then you can make an application to the family court for a child arrangement order. A stepparent with parental responsibility may also be able to apply for a child court order and not necessarily just a biological parent. A guardian or a grandparent can also apply for a child arrangement order if a parent has dies or a parent is unfit to take care of a child.

Breach of court order and enforcement of child arrangements order?

A child arrangement order is an order made by the court and is legally binding. Failing to adhere to the terms of the child arrangement order can result in a breach of court order. A breach of court order has severe implications and can be classed as a contempt of court.

In cases involving a child arrangement order breach you as a parent can revert back to the court for enforcement of a child arrangements order.

Before the enforcement of a child arrangements order the court will consider factors of the child arrangement order breach and must be satisfied that making an order is necessary and proportionate. The family law court orders enforcement and will consider the following:

  • The reasons for non-compliance and breach of court order
  • The effect of the breach of court order on the child
  • The welfare checklist to consider the impact on the child
  • Whether CAFCASS needs to be consulted to move forward and
  • Whether the parents need to attend dispute resolution programmes to resolve the issues involving breach of court order.

Enforcing a child arrangements order

When you are considering enforcing a child arrangements order you will be required to complete form c79 child arrangement. This application form relates to enforcement child arrangements order. When enforcing a child arrangements order there must be:

  • A child arrangements order in place and
  • A failure to keep to the child arrangements order.

You will therefore need to clearly specify the details of the existing court order, as the courts will only consider enforcing a child arrangements order where an existing order is not being complied with.

Quite often parents consult legal advice before completing form c79 child arrangement. At Kabir Family Law, our child specialists can assist you with this process to ensure your form c79 child arrangement is completed as accurately as possible. There is also guidance available to assist you in completing the form C79 child arrangement.

It is important to note that when considering enforcing a child arrangements order that the court can only make an enforcement child arrangements order if it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to comply with the existing child arrangements order. The court cannot make an enforcement order if it is satisfied that the persona had a reasonable excuse for failing to keep to the child arrangements order.

What is the cost of the c79 child arrangement application?

Once you have decided on the enforcement of a child arrangement order and have completed the form c79 child arrangement, then this completed form will need to be submitted to your nearest family court. You will be required to make a fee of £215.00 for the application unless you qualify for a fee remission. This fee could be paid at the time of making submitting your application or when the courts process your application.

Who can apply for enforcement child arrangements order?

You can only apply for enforcement child arrangements order if you are:

  • The person who the child named in the child arrangement order lives with or is going to live with,
  • The person whose contact with the child is provided for in the child arrangements order,
  • Any person a condition in the child arrangements order applies to; or
  • The child concerned.

If you are looking to apply for enforcement child arrangements order you will need to complete the form c79 child arrangements as mentioned above. The only exception relates to a child. If the child concerned is looking at enforcement child arrangements order, then they must get the courts permission before making an application.

If you require more information on enforcement child arrangements order or require assistance in making this application, then contact us to speak to one of our specialists who can assist.

What is an enforcement order in a family court?

An enforcement order is an order made by the court. The family law court orders enforcement to ensure the parent in breach of court order complies with an order. An enforcement order can be obtained if one of the parents is failing committed a child arrangement order breach. If the court is of the view that there is no good reason for a breach of court order, then an enforcement order can be made.

You may be considering what options the courts have during an enforcement of child arrangements order. The court has a range of options when they enforce a child arrangement order which are:

  • An enforcement order or a suspended enforcement order
  • Variation of the child arrangement order
  • Referring parents to a separated parents information programme (SPIP)
  • Order for compensation or financial loss
  • Committal to prison, or
  • A fine.

Our family law specialists are at hand should you wish to discuss the enforcement of child arrangement order and discuss how you can proceed.

You may want to consider using a C79 form before seeking legal advice. Our child custody specialists are happy to offer an initial consultation if you wish to arrange an appointment or you can simply call us today on 0330 094 5880.

How is the enforcement of a child arrangements order made?

When considering the enforcement of a child arrangements order, the courts will need to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to comply with a child arrangement order. The court has the power to carry out the enforcement of a child arrangements order in a number of ways which include:

  • Referring the parties to a separated parents information program (SPIP) or mediation
  • Varying the child arrangement order which could lead to a more defined order to reconsideration of the child’s living and contact arrangements
  • An enforcement order or suspended enforcement order
  • An order for compensation for financial loss if the court is satisfied the applicant has suffered a financial loss due to the breach
  • Committal to prison, or
  • A fine.

The courts can also impose an unpaid work requirement which is also known as community service. This could last from 40 hours to 200 hours depending on the breach.

When considering enforcement of a child arrangements order the court will require the person in breach to show they had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply, which may be difficult.

What happens if the court does not enforce the order?

The court must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a breach of its order has taken place when considering enforcement of a child arrangements order. However the person in breach must prove that they have a reasonable excuse for failing to comply. In such circumstances the court may decide not to enforce the order if they believe there is a good reason for failing to comply. In such a situation you can revert back to the family court if you do not agree with their decision or your situation changes.

You may notice that the order is not being complied more frequently with different excuses. You should make a note of all occasions on when the order is not complied with and include the reason. Where possibly try to gather evidence in the form of messages or emails which can be used as evidence in court. If you would like information on how you can strengthen your case for enforcement of a child arrangements order then speak to one of our specialists who could provide you with the advice and guidance you need.

— Q&A SECTION — 

Child maintenance after a divorce

Our team of child law specialists can assist you with the enforcement of child arrangements order following a breach. We can advise and assist you in making an application to the court. The family law court orders enforcement have many powers when considering breach of court order child contact.

What options does a court have if you are breaching a court order in the UK? 

The family law court orders enforcement can take place in a range of options against the person breaching a court order. This may include imprisonment and a fine amongst many other powers. If you feel you may be breaching a court order uk then we welcome you to contact our child law specialists who can advise on how to avoid a breach of court order child contact.

Am I in breach of court order child contact if I am late for contact? 

You may not necessarily be in breach of court order child contact if you have delayed in establishing contact with your child due to no fault of your own. If you have a Court Order in place and would like advice on stopping child contact then you may want to secure early legal advice from child custody specialists who regularly advice and assist parents on breaking court orders.

This may include delays caused due to public transport or work commitments. Should you feel there needs to be a change in the contact arrangement then you can contact one of our family law specialists who can look to assist you in ensuring you are not breaching a court order and try and vary the child arrangement order.

Speak to our Child Law Specialists today

If you wish to arrange a consultation with one of our child law specialists call us on 0330 094 5880 or arrange a visit to our York Family Law Office. Our family law team have helped hundreds of families in and out of Court win an outcome that is suited to them. We are sure that we can also help you too with regards to your child arrangement order.