Child Arrangements Orders

child arrangement orders

A Child Arrangements Order is a formal Court Order which is applied for in cases where parents have separated and are unable to come to an agreement on issues surrounding their children.

The application may have been made to deal with a dispute in relation to where the children should live, how time should be shared between the parents and when and where contact should be or the  application may have been made to deal with a specific issue, such as where the children should go to school etc.

A Child Arrangements Order is legally binding for both parents and as a result parents may be concerned that they could potentially breach the terms of the Order, given that the Order will usually carry a warning that failure to comply could result in imprisonment, fines or personal items being seized.

  • If you are unable to comply with an existing Child Arrangements Order, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
  • Alternatively, if your ex-spouse is failing to keep to an existing Child Arrangements Order, you can apply to enforce an existing Child Arrangements Order.

How do I apply for an Enforcement Order?

To apply for an Enforcement Order, there must first be:

  1. A Child Arrangements Order already in place (this must contain a warning notice).

If the existing Child Arrangements Order was dated on or after 8th December 2008, the Order will contain a warning notice detailing the consequences, should the Order not be adhered to.

If the Child Arrangements Order was granted before 8th December 2008, you must first apply to the Court to have a warning notice attached to the existing Child Arrangements Order.  This is because a Court cannot lawfully enforce an Order where a warning has not been given, should there be a failure to adhere to the terms set out in the Order.  See link here to download the Form C78, which you will need to complete to attach a warning notice to a Child Arrangements Order.

  1. A clear failure to keep to the existing Child Arrangements Order.

To enforce an existing Child Arrangements Order, the Court must also be satisfied that a person has failed to keep to the terms within the Order.  The Court cannot make an Enforcement Order, where it is accepted that there was a reasonable excuse for failing to keep to the terms within the order.

Orders which you can apply for:

  1. Enforcement Order (unpaid work)

This type of Enforcement Order will mean that the person will be required to work between 40 and 200 hours of unpaid work, which will be monitored by the Probation Service.

  1. An Order for Compensation for Financial Loss

Where a person has failed (without reasonable excuse) to keep to an existing Child Arrangements Order and you have lost money as a result, you may be eligible for compensation from that person.  An Order of this type will only cover financial loss incurred and will not take into account feelings/inconvenience caused.

To apply for either of these Orders you must be:

  • The person who the child currently lives with or is going to live with;
  • The person whose contact with the child is mentioned in the Order;
  • A person that a condition within the Order relates to;
  • The child concerned.  A child needs to ask the court for permission before they will be allowed to make an application.

How do I revoke (end) an existing Enforcement Order?

If you are the receiving party to the Enforcement Order, you can apply to the Court for this to be revoked (this means that the Order will be brought to an end).

Before coming to a decision, the court will consider:

  • Whether there has been any change in circumstance since the Enforcement Order was granted;
  • Whether you have kept to the terms in the Enforcement Order;
  • The likelihood that you will keep to the terms of the Child Arrangements Order without the Enforcement of the same being in effect;
  • Whether the Enforcement Order should have been granted in the first instance;

Useful information

Click here to download the form that you will need to complete to apply for an Enforcement Order, to apply to bring an Enforcement Order to an end or to apply to amend aspects of the Enforcement Order.

Before sending or taking the completed form to the Court, you must:

  • Ensure that you check that all the details within the form are correct as once the forms have been filed with the Court, you will need to ask the Court’s permission to amend any mistakes;
  • The Court will need a copy of the application, a copy of the original order and evidence of any loss for themselves and each party listed in the application. Usually this would be 3 copies, one for you, one for your ex-spouse and one for the Court.
  • Ensure that you include the Court fee with your application.  The Court fee required to Enforce a Child Arrangements Order is £215. 00.  You may be eligible for help with this fee, click here for details of court fee exemptions;

Once received the court will check the documents that you have filed and will send you a Notice of Hearing date.

We can help you in enforcing, ending/revoking or amending an existing Child Arrangements Order.

Contact us today, our Family and Children Law Experts will be able to advise you and guide you through this difficult time.

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