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Enforcement of child contact arrangements

It can be very upsetting if a parent is stopped from seeing their children after the terms of contact have been agreed and the court has made them into a contact order. If this is the case, it is possible to enforce contact orders through court.

A warning is written on all contact orders post-2008 explaining what happens if a contact order is breached. If this happens, the parent who has breached the order can be made to carry out unpaid work of anything from 40 hours to 200 hours in length or can even face imprisonment and the child be sent to live with the other parent. The parent in breach of the order can also be asked to pay financial compensation to the other parent if, say, a holiday had to be cancelled because of the breach. You can apply to get this notice added to the bottom of the contact order if your contact order was made before 2008.

It is worth noting that although the contact order can be enforced where one parent stops the other from seeing the children, it does not work the other way. The order cannot force anyone to have the children if they do not want to see them or refuse to spend time with them.

Austin Kemp’s team of specialist solicitors are experienced in enforcing child contact orders in court and are particularly knowledgeable in working with parents who would like to enforce a contact order. We can also handle cases where one or more of the parties of the contact order are no longer resident in the jurisdiction. We have in-depth knowledge of international court systems and will guide you through this process if necessary.

If either parent breaches the terms of the order and stops the other from seeing the children as per the terms of the order then it is very important to get expert legal advice from solicitors such as Austin Kemp as soon as possible.

If you think your child is in danger and you feel you have to breach the terms of the contact order then it is very important to get independent legal advice straight away. Not getting legal advice in this situation and simply not letting the other parent see the children could make the court take a dim view of your case.

The court will firstly consider the welfare of the children involved in the order. Any punishment that the court issues to the parent in breach of the order, such as imprisonment or unpaid work, has to be balanced against the best interests of the children involved. The court will take into account any reasonable excuses for breach of the order.

Austin Kemp are available at short notice to make an emergency application to court, if necessary, or simply to talk you through what options are available to you with regards to the enforcement of your contact order.

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