Child Arrangement Order FAQ
Our Family and Child Law Solicitors answer common questions about Child Arrangement Orders (formerly known as a Residence Order or a Contact Order).
If you already have a Child Arrangement Order in place in England or Wales but are finding that the other person named in the Child Arrangement Order isn’t sticking to the terms it lays out, or you want to enforce a Child Arrangement Order, you should speak with one of our Family and Child Law Solicitors.
It’s always best to agree child arrangements with the other person and most Child Arrangement Orders have a degree of flexibility in them to allow the parties to agree one-off changes. However, this sometimes isn’t possible, which means you may need to make a further application to the Court or attend mediation, particularly if substantial changes to the Child Arrangement Order need to be made.
For initial advice get in touch with our Family and Child Law Solicitors.
Before enforcing a Child Arrangement Order, the Court has to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the party has failed to comply with the Order. So if the Child Arrangement Order has only been breached occasionally, and not in a significant way, the Court may be unwilling to enforce it.
If the Court is willing to enforce a Child Arrangement Order, it has a wide range of powers to do so, including:
To be able to enforce a Child Arrangement Order, there must be a warning notice attached to it. This is usually done automatically by the Court.
If you do decide to apply to the Court to vary an existing Child Arrangement Order, it’s important to remember that, although the Court will reassess the facts, their paramount consideration is still the child’s welfare.
The process by which you vary a Child Arrangement Order is similar to how you applied for it in the first place and you may have to attend a further Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
Where one party has consistently prevented a child having contact under a Child Arrangement Order, the Court may make a Suspended Order regulating who the child should live with. This type of Child Arrangement Order is a delayed Order stating that a child’s living arrangements may be transferred to another party, unless the child has contact as stated in the Order.
The child’s welfare is, again, still the Court’s paramount consideration and the Court has to make all efforts to enforce the original Child Arrangement Order. The Court would need to understand the reasons why contact is being prevented and a fact-finding hearing may be required in order to do so.
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