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Child Arrangements and Enforcement Order Process

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Please note: We have been made aware of a multitude of child arrangement situations being impacted by the Covid-19 Coronavirus and by the current government advice around self-isolation and social distancing. For advice around your circumstances and arrangements during this time, please get in touch with Major Family Law by calling 01661 82 45 82

As with all parental disputes, it can be difficult for separating couples to reach a fair and reasonable decision regarding their children’s living arrangements. Many divorcing parents who cannot come to an agreement take the matter to a family court to obtain a Child Arrangement Order. As a result, and if it is in the child’s best interests, the judge or magistrate will make an order. The order will advise where the child will live and how much contact the child has with each parent.

Unfortunately, obtaining a Child Arrangement Order does not always conclude the matter. If one parent does not comply with the terms of the order then further steps will need to be taken. This is known as an Enforcement Order.

What is an Enforcement Order?

If your ex-partner has not complied with the Child Arrangement Order, you can apply for an Enforcement Order. For example, if one parent does not allow the other to have contact with their child during the court-ordered time, that parent could be in breach of the Child Arrangement Order.

If one parent breaches the Child Arrangement Order, the parties should firstly try to resolve the matter themselves. It is far more cost-effective and efficient for parents to find a solution outside of court.

However, this cannot always be the case. If you want to proceed with a child Enforcement Order, further applications to a family court will need to be considered and made to secure compliance.

If you are unsure if you need to take legal action against a parent in breach of a Child Arrangement Order, you can call our team of family solicitors today for a free 45-minute no-obligation consultation.

Obtaining a Child Enforcement Order

The timing of such applications needs to be thought of carefully. Where it is alleged that the terms of an order have been breached, the Court will need to investigate. Firstly, the Court will examine the nature of any breaches and establish the reasons for them. Then, if the Court takes the view breaches have occurred without good reason, enforcement orders can be made:

  • Requiring a person in breach of the terms of an order can to carry out unpaid work.
  • Where a person caused financial loss as a result of breaching an order, they can be ordered to pay compensation.
  • In cases of significant and persistent breaches, the Court can order a change of residence for the child or children.
  • Ultimately, the Court can impose a custodial sentence for breach of a Child Arrangement Order under its general powers to deal with people considered to be in contempt of court by giving notice of an application for committal to prison.

In addition, if your ex-partner still does not comply with the Enforcement Order, you can go back to court.

Even where there are clear breaches of a Child Arrangements Order, obtaining an Enforcement Order is not always straightforward. The Court always has primary regard to the welfare of the child or children involved. In some cases, imposing an Enforcement Order would negatively impact on the child. Therefore, if the Court has good reason, they will not enforce the order.

The courts appear to be taking a tougher stance in cases of non-compliance with Child Arrangement Orders. Recently, a number of cases reported the parent in breach was committed to prison for a short term. In some circumstances, the main residence of the child is switched to the parent seeking contact after the Enforcement Order.

Enforcement of a Child Arrangement Order

If you have children and are contemplating or proceeding with divorce, you should seek advice from a professional family law solicitor. Major Family Law are one of the best family law firms in the north east and we can provide our affordable, specialist knowledge on Child Arrangement Orders and Enforcement Orders in the event you and your partner cannot come to an agreement, regardless of your circumstances.

Contact us today for a free, 45-minute consultation and receive expert guidance from our friendly and cost-efficient team.

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"Hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail"

I’ve always been hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail. I’m not surprised, therefore, that Joanne and her dedicated team of lawyers and support staff have rapidly gained recognition as one of the most forward-looking, innovative, client-focussed family practices in the country.

James Richardson

District Judge

"A wealth of collaborative experience"

Joanne Major has a wealth of collaborative experience. Her delivery is strong and confident with a no nonsense approach that I came to trust. This is invaluable when clarity and action is required. Major Family Law were highly recommended to me and I would have no hesitation to pass that recommendation on.

Christine Nugent

Managing Director, Business Travel

"Both knowledgeable and approachable family lawyers"

We are happy to endorse the services provided by Joanne Major and the team at Major Family Law, Ponteland. We have a number of mutual clients who speak very highly of them. They are both knowledgeable and approachable family lawyers who are clearly client focussed.

Andrew Morgan

Partner, Nicholson & Morgan

"Family lawyer of high calibre and drive"

Having worked with Joanne Major at a large commercial firm some years ago, I am aware she is a family lawyer of high calibre and drive. During a short period of time she has put together an excellent team of intelligent, approachable lawyers who deliver first rate family law services to clients. We as a firm are happy to recommend them.

Paul McGowan

Principal Solicitor, Collingwood Legal

"We can trust them to understand what is at stake"

Joanne Major and her team are the “Go To” for any clients or contacts who come to us asking if we know any good family lawyers. We can trust them to understand what is at stake and treat each client as an individual, taking time to listen, explain & advise as we would do when faced with commercial legal issues.

Tim Clarke

Partner, Clarke Mairs LLP

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"Hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail"

I’ve always been hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail. I’m not surprised, therefore, that Joanne and her dedicated team of lawyers and support staff have rapidly gained recognition as one of the most forward-looking, innovative, client-focussed family practices in the country.

James Richardson

District Judge

"A wealth of collaborative experience"

Joanne Major has a wealth of collaborative experience. Her delivery is strong and confident with a no nonsense approach that I came to trust. This is invaluable when clarity and action is required. Major Family Law were highly recommended to me and I would have no hesitation to pass that recommendation on.

Christine Nugent

Managing Director, Business Travel

"Both knowledgeable and approachable family lawyers"

We are happy to endorse the services provided by Joanne Major and the team at Major Family Law, Ponteland. We have a number of mutual clients who speak very highly of them. They are both knowledgeable and approachable family lawyers who are clearly client focussed.

Andrew Morgan

Partner, Nicholson & Morgan

"Family lawyer of high calibre and drive"

Having worked with Joanne Major at a large commercial firm some years ago, I am aware she is a family lawyer of high calibre and drive. During a short period of time she has put together an excellent team of intelligent, approachable lawyers who deliver first rate family law services to clients. We as a firm are happy to recommend them.

Paul McGowan

Principal Solicitor, Collingwood Legal

"We can trust them to understand what is at stake"

Joanne Major and her team are the “Go To” for any clients or contacts who come to us asking if we know any good family lawyers. We can trust them to understand what is at stake and treat each client as an individual, taking time to listen, explain & advise as we would do when faced with commercial legal issues.

Tim Clarke

Partner, Clarke Mairs LLP

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