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After the Initial Court Order

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 8 Sep 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Court Court Order Breaches Child Ex

Our three-part guide to 'Going to Court' covered all the issues you might experience throughout the court process. Many people experience issues after a court order has been made - and this guide "After the Initial Court Order" is aimed at helping you through difficulties following a court ruling.

Breaches of Court Orders

It is always important to keep a record of any breaches of a court order, however minor. Whilst it may not seem important at the time that a payment was a couple of days late or a couple of pounds short, these minor breaches all add up. A series of minor breaches on top of a more major breach of an order (such as a payment missed altogether) may be the evidence that makes a difference between a judge just giving your ex partner 'a telling off' and be told not to breach the order again, and the judge altering the order (to reduce contact or make them pay a month in advance).

You can keep a record however you like really, as long as you keep it safe. Below are a couple of popular choices:

  • Quick typed word document saved in a separate file on your computer
  • A small pocket diary kept just for the purposes of recording breaches
It is also important to keep track of any communication with your partner, even if it is just a 'courtesy call' in which there were no disagreements or agreements made. This will enable you to easily refer to exactly what was said (particularly if in person or over the phone) at a later date.

Your diary entries / notes don't have to be long.

For Example: 21/08/12 - Mark dropped Katy off at 8pm as agreed. He said she had been out with her friends at the shops all afternoon and had not had tea.

It is also worth if anything is agreed (in person or over the phone) to confirm this in writing (email is fine) with your ex partner. They do not have to reply, but they have then had the option to object if this was not their recollection of the situation.

Police Involvement in Court Order Breaches

The police generally won't get involved in breaches of court orders as it is a matter for the court to deal with. Even if your ex partner keeps your children for an extra couple of nights than they are meant to, this is not a matter for the police as the children are safe with someone who has parental responsibility. (Also consider whether you would want to upset your children by having the police come into the house and drag them away from your partner.)

If your ex partner repeatedly or seriously breaches the court order, you can apply to the courts to enforce the order. All contact orders after 2008 contain a warning about what could happen if an order is breached. If your order is breached, you need to ensure that you have an attached warning notice. You can then apply for enforcement of your order. The police will then only become involved if there are repeated serious breaches and the court punishes your ex partner via community service (or, in rare cases, imprisonment).

The police will not immediately get involved in enforcing a court order relating to children if they are with someone with parental responsibility, even if you make allegations of abuse. The correct procedure should you wish to make allegations of abuse is to make an emergency (same day) application to the courts. The police may then be used to enforce that court order, accompanying a Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) officer to remove children from a party's care.

Applying For a Change of Contact Arrangements

Clearly the easiest way to agree contact arrangements is between you and your ex partner, clarifying arrangements in writing. If this is the case and you wish to change your contact arrangements, you can simply ask to have a discussion with them and set new arrangements.

If however you have a court order detailing your contact arrangements, changing them is a little more tricky and you may need to apply to the courts again; a costly and lengthy process. The best way to deal with a change in arrangements, even if you currently have a court order is:

  • Talk to your ex partner and explain what you want to change and why. If it works out better for both of you they might not object.
  • Go your solicitor and draft a letter to your ex partner setting out the arrangements you wish to change in a more official manner on their letterhead.
  • If neither of the above has settled matters, apply to the courts to decide your contact arrangements again.

Going back to court takes time and money, so it is important to consider a) how important it is that you make changes to the current arrangements (especially if they work) and b) how major are your changes. If your changes are purely for convenience, but can still work now, then it is really not cost effective to take your ex partner back to court if they won't agree to them. Equally if your change is to which evening you have the children (e.g. Weds / Thurs) or what time they are returned (1pm / 2pm), there is also little point in taking this matter to court.

Remember the No Order Principle: the courts will not make an order, if the position is no worse if they don't make an order than if they do.

You should always aim to work together as parents and be reasonable. If you are on the receiving end of a request to change arrangements, consider if the request is reasonable and what effect it would have on you. If for example it is a change of day when you would be in all week anyway, then why object; objecting just to annoy your ex partner is never advisable as, like it or not, you have a long-standing relationship with them (until your child is 18!)

Parental Alienation

In some cases the child may state that they do not want to have any contact with the non resident parent, this is sometimes due to the fact that the resident parent has alienated the child from the other parent. This is known by some as parental alienation, this is a controversial pathological ailment most commonly claimed during divorce or separation of parents. Symptoms of parental alienation are expressed as unjustified extreme hatred for one parent.

Parental alienation remains a controversial condition in both the legal and medical professions, as similar symptoms can easily be brought on by negative comments by the other parent, or a child blaming one party (particularly if they were unfaithful) for the relationship breaking down.

Proving it in Court

Generally legal advice would always be not to plead parental alienation in court. Judges like evidence based submissions, so if you are claiming a medical (psychological) condition, the judge will want to see a medical report to prove this. This is not the sort of report a regular GP would be able to give, so would be expensive to obtain, and many medical professionals (much like with conditions such as ME) don't recognise it as a "real" medical problem.

The best way to effectively plead parental alienation would be to produce evidence in court of your child's behaviour being unsubstantiated or unreasonable. You essentially want the judge to give the wishes of your child (one item on the welfare checklist) little weight. You are far more likely to achieve this by demonstrating how good a parent you are and your closeness with your child before the separation to show how their sudden hatred is irrational. Often mention of "parental alienation syndrome", a condition proposed by controversial American psychiatrist Richard Gardner, will damage an otherwise valid point.

SUMMARY:

  • Parental Alienation Syndrome is highly controversial
  • Many medics and lawyers do not accept it exists
  • You are more likely to succeed by proving that behaviour is irrational / influenced by the other party using evidence

Applying For a Change of Contact Arrangements

Clearly the easiest way to agree contact arrangements is between you and your ex partner, clarifying arrangements in writing. If this is the case and you wish to change your contact arrangements, you can simply ask to have a discussion with them and set new arrangements.

If however you have a court order detailing your contact arrangements, changing them is a little more tricky and you may need to apply to the courts again; a costly and lengthy process. The best way to deal with a change in arrangements, even if you currently have a court order is:

  • Talk to your ex partner and explain what you want to change and why. If it works out better for both of you they might not object
  • Go your solicitor and draft a letter to your ex partner setting out the arrangements you wish to change in a more official manner on their letterhead
  • If neither of the above has settled matters, apply to the courts to decide your contact arrangements again

Going back to court takes time and money, so it is important to consider a) how important it is that you make changes to the current arrangements (especially if they work) and b) how major are your changes. If your changes are purely for convenience, but can still work now, then it is really not cost effective to take your ex partner back to court if they won't agree to them. Equally if your change is to which evening you have the children (e.g. Weds / Thurs) or what time they are returned (1pm / 2pm), there is also little point in taking this matter to court.

Remember the No Order Principle: the courts will not make an order, if the position is no worse if they don't make an order than if they do.

You should always aim to work together as parents and be reasonable. If you are on the receiving end of a request to change arrangements, consider if the request is reasonable and what effect it would have on you. If for example it is a change of day when you would be in all week anyway, then why object; objecting just to annoy your ex partner is never advisable as, like it or not, you have a long-standing relationship with them (until your child is 18!)

SUMMARY:

  • Only resort to changes through the courts if you have to
  • If changes are opposed consider carefully whether they are strictly necessary before applying to the courts

Sample Letters

We've produced 10 sample letters to help you communicate with your ex and with the various authorities to help you achieve a positive outcome with any issues relating to your children. You find them here:

After court letters part one.

After court letters, part two.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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[Add a Comment]
@granny.and so can all my family can get f###ed to .bad mouth me years those c##ts .Sam go let Gordon see bree you always said wrong father was on thebirth certificate tell the truth whore or the me dna test ??????????because I believe you say
C laurie - 8-Sep-21 @ 4:31 AM
@GRANNY.THE MOTHER OFF THIS CHILD CAN GET F###ED .
C laurie - 8-Sep-21 @ 4:13 AM
@granny.I have a 18 year old daughter that I have never been allowed to see .I tried but yeah everytime I end up on orders .(I'm giving up now to old now and this stuff puts way to much stress on my heart ).I dont care if they move to China whatever. She 18 now she needs to stand on her own two feet and make her own way in the world .
C laurie - 8-Sep-21 @ 3:56 AM
im just reading these stories and its shocking, my son is going through the same thing, he has a court order for weekend and holiday access for his daughter and the mother has stopped his contact since end of june and made up a rediculas excuse, and now moved 20 miles away with no forwarding address, it might mot seem long but to us its been forever since we saw her and he now has to go back to court because she has broken the court order! its so heartbreaking as my grandaughter is 5 and has stayed with us since she was1yr old, my son is on antidepressants and ive had to go on medication and been signed off work through stress, it doesn't just affect my son but all family members and more importantly my grandaughter.
Granny - 6-Sep-21 @ 3:32 PM
My son as a court order to have his daughter with me (grandma)every other weekend and half of school holidays... But mother is buying her stuff ...talking horrible about us... Putting stuff in her mind against us.... And not letting us collect her but the police won't do anything and we don't have the money to go back to court it's ridiculous how she gets away with breaking the law and we can't do anything.... We were told when in court now there's a court order she can't refuse... But she is and no-one seems to no how we can enforce this?? Anyone any idea
Joy - 26-Jan-21 @ 9:59 AM
My partner hasn’t seen his kids for 2 years they are in the care of their aunt (kingship order I think) doent know the we’re about of the mother applied to court a year ago and got told he needed to provide we’re the mother lived (no idea where and tryed everything to find out with no luck) tried medication a year ago the aunt said No just tired mediation again this month with No respond from the aunt been told to ask the court and apply for an arrangement order but still don’t know we’re the kids mum lives (do know we’re the aunt and the kids live) what can this desperate dad do to see his children again please help
Caz - 28-Dec-20 @ 12:19 AM
My son is in court to see his son because the mother stopped him seeing is son 22 month’s ago 2 court dates and 2 Phone calls due to Covid -19 and still no fact finding even met with the judge and caf cafs and there not letting him have any say so we have gone for a brief now barrister now please any info the better thanks kruga ??
Kruga - 23-Dec-20 @ 8:50 PM
My ex partner applied for a child arrangement order in May 2020 the judge placed a temporary order. The order stated that my daughter would live with me Monday to Friday and her mother would have her over the weekend. My ex partner immediately broke the order by not returning my daughter on the set date and moving 300 miles away, I then applied for a c79 enforcement order. When we returned to court my ex told the judge that she had broken the order on the 25th of May alleging that my daughter had been neglected whilst in my care, and that her 5 year old cousin had abused her. After police and hospital investigations this was obviously proved to be false. The order has still not been enforced. The court said social services need to do a report, the social worker failed to complete the first report blaming it on covid 19. The second report the judge said this is an incomplete report as the social worker only contacted me once regarding my thoughts about my ex partner's mental health. Also in this report my ex partner claims that she found out about the alleged neglect and abuse on the 9th of June and reported it on the 10th of June? So why did she tell the judge that she had broken the order on the 25th of May due to these allegations? The court ordered the social worker to complete another report in which he had to witness myself and my daughter interacting at a contact centre because we have not had any contact since the 22ed of May, Also he would need to assess how my daughter would be cared for should the court order that my daughter would live with me. I have now attended the contact centre three times (600 mile round trip) each time my ex partner has failed to show up giving no reason why, she has since avoided any contact with the social worker. I have now applied for another c79 enforcement order as there is no reason the original order should not be enforced. The social worker has also written to the court saying that my ex has broken yet again another court order. Since the start of these proceedings she has only attended 2 out of 8 court appearances. Surely she should be held in contempt of court? I dont know why this has been allowed to carry on the way it is? If I was the one who broke the original order I would of already been punished for it. Is this just something against fathers?
Sp93 - 17-Dec-20 @ 7:44 PM
Hi, I have a contact order in place that allows 3 nights 4 days every 10 days. The order is very specific as it was breached so many times by the mother. My daughter now 12years of age is being manipulated by the mother and visitation has been prevented, I am always making myself available for my daughter but each time there is another excuse as to why visitation doesn't go ahead. Mother now answers my messages to my daughter claiming it is her replying so I have no contact whatsoever. I am tired of the court route after spending over £40,000 and Cafcass still taking mothers word over mine, obviously the court are guided by them. I fear mother is going to try and get even more from me via the CMS (already paying via the CMS) which again on top of losing contact with my little one will financially cripple me. Where do I stand with the CMS in this matter, still have the contact order but mother is breaching to get more money? Many thanks in advance. Lee
Boomtherat - 21-Nov-20 @ 2:34 AM
My partner has just had to apply to the court again as his ex had breached the court order with access to his son and now he’s had the court case and he’s not happy with the decision made even after his ex breaking the first court order is there anyway that he can appeal or anything as he’s not happy with going anywhere near her family unless it’s in a public place and she stated she could never do that as she has to take her husband to work which was a complete lie as when we went to collect from her mother in laws house her husband was the one walking with his son from there house so obviously not working so a public place could have been agreed
Tan - 12-Sep-20 @ 11:46 AM
Hello, I currently have a contact order in place that says I pick the kids up from school one day per week, spend a few hours with them, feed them (restaurant as i live too far away to be able make a meal at home) then have back to their mother by 6:30. i have the chance to amend this to work better by picking them up from school and having them over night so i can take them to school in the morning. do i need to do mediation before i can i apply to court, the Mother has always refused to attend. many thanks Dan Parkhouse
Dan - 9-Sep-20 @ 1:45 PM
Hi, Can I ask a question on school holidays and court orders? Current arrangements are Thursday evening to Sunday. This Thursday falls on a weekend where School term ends on Friday the 17th of July for the children and Monday 20th of July is a Teacher Training. So would suggest this is my standard weekend. Court order states: The ‘Regular/Term Time Arrangements’ are suspended during the summer holiday. I should then have 14 nights and 7 nights for the school summer holiday. So logically I should see my son on Thursday night as normal returning on Sunday at 5PM. So wondering if the first night of school holiday is therefore the Friday night or Monday night? So wondering what of the two days dictates regular contact ends. The ex is trying to force if I have my son on Thursday night then should carry through to Sunday, then will stop me from having the 7 days later in the school holidays and so I only have the 14 night period. My argument is that is a normal weekend. Therefore I should see my son as normal on Thursday, return him on Sunday and have the 14 day/ 7 day as per court order. Am I correct?
Eric - 14-Jul-20 @ 6:18 PM
After thinking long and hard yeah I guess I am like my (cousin Timmy )oh well we all can’t be amazing fathers and I guess I am not like the other guys in my family who see there children on weekends and have holidays together and be a family.but On a brighter note I have my brothers mates and go on holidays actually this year at Christmas we are going to the Kimberly fishing remote rivers bye helicopter and swimming in waterfalls for 7 nights .so hopefully the Covid -19 buggers off and borders open properly because this has always been something I wanted to do .and taking 6 months to pay off on holiday package so fingers crossed the world is back to normal bye then .
Chris - 13-Jul-20 @ 8:30 PM
@abubaker@grantie08.well I guess that way you are safe in a contact centre and still see your child .(for me I would never go to a contact centre but that’s just me).and grantie08 I can’t give advise on court orders On visitation never had one( or was willing to go to court for visitation but that’s just me all the best for you guys) but .truth told here (my daughter is grown up now) so in my case it doesn’t matter anymore from when the mother left all those years ago what I discovered with blogs like theses and others how much (men have changed the whole world for that matter) .back then it was unheard off in my circle anyway for fathers going to court for visitation.
Chriso - 13-Jul-20 @ 7:29 PM
Hi, I have a court order giving me contact with my boy every other weekend 10am Saturday to Sunday 4pm. It stated in the order any other contact should be agreed between parties. This was like 4 or 5 years ago now and I am unable to get the mother of my boy to extend my contact or even be able to take him on holiday during the summer. Can I go back to court and amend the current order that’s in place?
Grantie08 - 13-Jul-20 @ 6:45 PM
@christhanks for ur information . You are right thats what i am wondering not to make it difficult for self , so its better to keep involve the contact center .
Abubaker Sedeqi - 13-Jul-20 @ 6:23 PM
@abubaker.i can relate to your post .i myself have been on orders and not allowed to contact the mother or child directly or indirect.for my situation I have given up for a lot of reasons.main one is the( child’s age )she is legal age now to make up own mind if she wants to meet me .(because in my situation I got nothing to say to her mother and really don’t want contact with her) .my advise is be carful if your ex put you on these orders what’s to stop her again?.
Chris - 12-Jul-20 @ 3:08 PM
Me and my wife get separate 3 years ago, i have a child , On that time my ex alleged me with violence , and i went court , court decide i should not contact her direct or indirect for 5 years if i want to see my child should be arrange through solicitor or mediator , and i did that , i see my son at contact center , so now we are agree to have a contact by email and see my child , pick up from home and drop him back to home with out contact center, Now im wondering if we have a contact by email with each other to arrange time and day for child is it legal or need some process Cause i should not contact her direct or indirect according previous court order but now we both agree for our child to be in touch , can we do or not , Any one help please
Abubaker Sedeqi - 12-Jul-20 @ 7:50 AM
Av just been fighting for a year to get contact with my daughter and today I found out that am only allowed limited access when there no safeguarding are me or my family but her mother partner has been done for domestic abuse and yet the court are okay for her to move her schools and keep her living there full time with her mum and partner while I only get every other weekend and shared holidays but I wanted half custody is this a fair judgement or is there anything I can do or get advice on where do I go from here thanks you all for reading my story
Lj - 3-Jul-20 @ 1:57 PM
I was wondering whether a child agreement order has the same standing even if I am not there? I am having to leave the country for two weeks due to work. One of the weeks I will be away is my week with the children. My ex has said I have lost that week cause I should cancel my work trip if I really love my children. Bearing in mind this is the first time it has happened in years I don’t want to lose that week as my children usually spend most of our week with my two sons and wife. They have a really good relationship and I don’t see why my children with my ex partner can’t come over or why she should break the agreement. Is she legally entitled to do so? Thanks
Gk - 19-Jun-20 @ 1:09 AM
@whatsthepoint.people say I have (mental health issues I know this for a fact )They say I’m unstable violent controlling.i don’t (care) what they say about me .and I am (walking away and giving up ).i done with (courts).f that I’m nearly (40 )now time to enjoy my life and it’s time I find (someone special to spent my life with and have a few to choose from and I didn’t even realise it’s remarkable when you open eyes ).thats what I’m focusing on I want to (settle down )now .and Be family men .
Chris - 16-Apr-20 @ 1:31 AM
Court orders aren't worth the paper they are wrote on. My partner applied to enforce it, he had the call today and he just got fobbed off. No matter how much proof or evidence you have it doesn't matter one bit Instead the mother steps in the week before and says for the first time that the child has mental health problems. Now despite us paying, providing concise evidence my partner now gets to see both his children less. No wonder so many wonderful Dads give up and walk away. The justice system is pants!
Whatsthepoint - 15-Apr-20 @ 11:56 PM
Hello I have a very controlling ex partner whom since day one has not bothered with our children but the minute I leave him he wants access, fast forward took me to court and was given court order for every second weekend. He spends little time with the children when they are there, does not know how to relate to them, my question is when my children reach 10 year's old can they speak to the judge and Express that they have no interest in this individual? Has anyone had the same experience at all? Thankyou. Best to add in this character is a self harmed, alcoholic and severe mental health issues. This has all been mentioned in court and medical records shown as proof but has made no difference.
Rj - 11-Apr-20 @ 12:22 PM
i lost my children in 2013. zainab kais and affan kais. they left me and live in 2 bissagoss court bermuda way, london e1 stepney. before iwasremovedin 200 from 4 months old baby. now it has been 7 years i cant see them . my children and me suffering by traumaticillness. zainab and affan misss me everyday. my name is in tenancy aggrement in 2 bissagoss court but i cant live because my wife harrass me everytime by false blaiming. [externalshelter also]my situation very bad, my benefit all taken arrears, bankcruptcy ! jobs being stoped since nmany years.after 28 yearsin uk i want lieave th thiscountry but for my children i cant. i am aseparated dad, i read the separated dads equal rights. but i need my childen. i seek your kind consideration. kind regards imrul kais 8 philip blairman house elder street london e1 6dg 07748324268
n/a - 24-Feb-20 @ 6:54 PM
I have tried to register to gain some support for my son as we are now on our 5th court case and nearly £18, 000 down but the site does not seem to work, it wont accept me and said to contact admin, is it a bit like Father's for Justice site, only looks good on paper? We paid them £40 and never heard another word
Jeangenie - 13-Feb-20 @ 12:24 PM
You are not offering any help! Court orders enforcement orders are not worth the paper they are written on! If the mum doesn’t want the father to see the child there is nothing you can do about it. And no one will help. Parental alienation is not controversial! just by saying it you invalidate it. Offer some real help to people as this website is utterly useless!
Ben - 4-Feb-20 @ 3:08 AM
My son has a lived with order and has his son fulltime. The judge passed order that the maternal mother has no contact or visitation. My son asked the judge that he would like his son to have contact and know whom his mother is as lons as supervised. So for 1 hour a month was agreed between both parents taking into account for 1 year the mother didnt bother seeing her son. So only for few months did she stick to it then nothing again. Now she applied to courts to try overturn this order or yo get 50 50 shared care. Can it be overturned.
Jay - 10-Jan-20 @ 9:49 PM
My ex has said they are taking me to court for access. This was 2 weeks ago - how long does it take for the paperwork to come through?
None - 8-Dec-19 @ 3:29 PM
Hi. I have a directional appt coming up for a child arrangements order. My Wife left our house almost a year ago with my 2year old and then I received a non molestation order against me even though some of the claims were lied. We both signed undertakings not to contact each other. She is now living over 200 miles away. Is it worth me going to the directions appt without a barrister or just not turn up. I have been told it can take a yew or two to have it issued and could thousands and thousands and even then usually supervised to start off with. My kid is over 5 hours away from me and I havent seen him since they left the home. I am missing him so much.
Dave - 21-Nov-19 @ 4:42 PM
Can you do the ex partner has put nothing but complete live in a court order her Reasons for not attending the mediation back in August I’ve just found this out now is domestic violence 100%A fairytale simply didn’t happen I can’t get legal aid no solicitor dealing with this myself have yougot any advice for me
cookie - 19-Nov-19 @ 8:27 AM
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