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What should I do if my ex-partner breaches a Child Arrangements Order?

A Child Arrangements Order is an order made by the court which stipulates where your child(ren) should live, when your child(ren) spends time with each parent and when and what other types of contact, such as phone calls, take place. Any breach of the order would be in contempt of court and could result in penalties such as a fine, enforcement order, and in extreme circumstances, imprisonment. If your ex-partner breaches the order, you should take the following steps:

  • Communication: You should attempt to communicate with your ex-partner. It may be possible to reach an agreement directly by discussion, assisted by family law solicitors and thereby avoiding further court appearances which can be stressful, timely and expensive.

  • Mediation: If you find it difficult talking to each other, you could try mediation. A trained mediator can help facilitate a discussion between you and your ex-partner and work towards a mutually agreeable solution.

  • Apply to court: If mediation is inappropriate or fails, you may need to return to court to enforce the order. The court will subsequently fix a date for a first hearing. At this hearing, the judge may sit with a CAFCASS officer to try to help the parties to reach an agreement themselves before proceeding further with the court process.

It is important to remain focused on the best interest of the child(ren) and follow the legal process to address any breaches of the order effectively. It is vital to consult with a family solicitor early in the stage in order to get the most appropriate advice for your specific situation.

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