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Home / Legal Services / Family Law Solicitors / Children & Family Dispute Solicitors / Child Arrangement Orders / Failure to Comply With a Court Order relating to children

Failure to Comply With a Court Order relating to children

Failing to comply with a court order is a serious offence and there can be significant consequences.  
There are many reasons as to why someone may fail to comply with a court order or result in a child court order being broken, but a consultation with our family law solicitors can help you take the best steps to rectify the situation.

What is a child if a court order is ignored what happens?

When parents cannot decide arrangements for their children during a separation process, the court has the ability to issue a child arrangements order to clarify a child’s living arrangements.

This child court order is legally binding, and if this child court order is broken by a parent, they will be in contempt of court which could mean fines, enforcement orders and in the worst cases, imprisonment.

What to do when there is a breach of either a Child Court Order

In the event of non-compliance with an Order no matter how minor – we advise you to keep a written record of these breaches. This will provide your family law solicitors and the courts with a clear picture of the difficulties you have faced and enable them to make a decision on those breaches and how to deal with them.

In the first instance, we would advise you to try and discuss any breaches with the other party in the hope that you can reach an agreement without having to return to court. 

If you are struggling to discuss matters with the other party, another option could be to use mediation as a neutral forum to try and resolve any disagreements. This approach is less stressful, usually cheaper than returning to court and quicker to arrange.

However, in some cases, it is not possible to discuss or to reach an agreement on arrangements and matters must be returned to the court to enforce the original order. Henry Hyams’ family law solicitors can help you with this. Please be warned that returning to the court process can be stressful, timely and expensive, which even a parent in breach of a court order may want to avoid, so where possible we recommend trying to come to an agreement outside of the courts if possible.

How do I report a breach of a court order (UK)

Enforcement proceedings must be dealt with without delay. Breaches of court order hearings are listed within 20 working days of the application being issued. Times may vary where different courts are operating under Government designated pilot schemes.

What will the court consider when deciding to enforce an order? 

Once the court receives an application to enforce a child arrangements order, they will consider a number of things as to why the breach may have taken place

– Whether the facts for the alleged non-compliance are agreed or whether a hearing to establish them is required

– The reasons for any non-compliance

– The wishes and feelings of the child

– Whether any advice is required from Cafcass on the appropriate way forward

– Assess and manage any risks of making further or other child arrangements orders

– Whether a separated parents information programme or referral for dispute resolution is appropriate

– Whether an enforcement order may be appropriate and

– The welfare checklist

What happens if you ignore a family court order?

At the top of all child arrangements orders, there is a notice that sets out the potential consequences of what will happen if any party does not comply with the order.

There are several powers available to the court when considering an application to enforce and these are as follows:

– Referral of both parents to a separated parents information programme or mediation

– Unpaid work requirement of between 40 and 200 hours where the court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that one party has failed to comply with a provision of the order

– Committal to prison (in serious cases)

– Changing which party the child or children live with (in serious cases)/variation of the child arrangements order to include a more defined order

– A fine

– An order for compensation for financial loss

– A contact enforcement order or suspended enforcement order

Henry Hymans can help with any failure to comply with court orders

At Henry Hyams, our family law lawyers in Leeds can provide advice and walk you through the process of rectifying a failure to comply with court orders.
Should you have any questions or would like to talk to one of our family law solicitors in Leeds, please contact us on the email below or contact us on 0113 2432288.

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