Child Arrangement Order Disputes
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 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 Law Solicitors.
Enforcing a Child Arrangement Order
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:
- Referring the parties to a separated parenting information programme (SPIP) or mediation
- Varying the existing Child Arrangement Order
- An Enforcement Order or Suspended Enforcement Order
- Making a Court Order for compensation for financial loss
- Committal to prison
- A fine
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.
Varying a Child Arrangement Order
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).
Changing a Child’s Living Arrangements
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.
You are likely to have attended a MIAM, and potentially mediation sessions, during the course of previous child arrangement proceedings.
You may be required to attend a further MIAM if you make an application to enforce or vary a Child Arrangement Order. Either way, mediation sessions are a worthwhile consideration to try to resolve the child arrangement disputes with the other party without the cost and stress of returning to Court.
How our Family Solicitors Can Help You
If you’re currently in dispute about a Child Arrangement Order, or child arrangements in general, then our Family Solicitors can help you. We can talk you through anything you need to know, from revising and enforcing or varying a Child Arrangement Order to resolving a dispute through mediation.
For more information see Child Arrangement Order FAQ.
For initial advice call our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors
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