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Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 21 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Court Order Contact Order Breach Courts

A 'contact order' is an order made by the court that determines who is entitled to communicate with a child (either through face to face meetings or telephone calls, or indirectly such as by letter). A 'residence order' is an order made by the court that determines where and with whom a child lives. From April 2014, these orders have been replaced with a single 'child arrangement order' which covers both issues (given that they are intrinsically linked).

You can apply to the courts for a child arrangement order. For most parents, this will be the end of the matter, and both parties will comply with the order. However unfortunately for some parents, this can be the stage at which further problems begin, if the other party breaches the order.

What is a breach?

Arguably anything that does not comply with the order is a breach. For example if the order states that the non-resident parent should have contact every Friday from 5pm and contact is not provided until 5:05pm, this is technically a breach of the order. However it is important to be reasonable; the courts are unlikely to take any action if the breach is insignificant.

The courts' guidance states that unless a breach is regular and intentional, they will not usually take action to enforce the order or punish the breach. Further it is important to consider the needs of your child first and so some flexibility may be needed on occasion.

"I have a contact order which says that I have contact with my 14 year old daughter from 6pm on three evenings a week. My ex-wife has agreed that she can play netball for her school team on Wednesday evenings until 6pm which means that I won' see her until 7pm. Can she do this?"

Whilst it would have perhaps been better for your ex-wife to discuss this with you first, try to be flexible. Does your daughter enjoy playing netball? The courts consider a child's welfare as paramount and so her participation in such activities (if she wants to take part) will likely take precedence here. However if this causes you problems, perhaps ask your ex-wife if you can swop the day that you see your daughter to a day when she is home earlier.

"I have lost my job and have been unable to pay child support. I have a court order to see them twice a week. My ex is now saying that if I can't pay child support, then I can't see my kids. Is this a breach?"

Any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, they will need to refer the matter back to the Courts.

"I have met someone I really like and would like to introduce my kids to her. I have a court order to see my kids every Wednesday and Sunday. However, my ex has said she doesn't want the kids to meet my new partner and that I can only see my kids when she's not there. Can she do this?"

Concerns often arise over a new partner being introduced to children. However the Courts will not impose a restriction on whether this person can be present during contact unless they can be shown to be a risk to the child's welfare (e.g. someone with convictions for violence or sex offences).

What to do if there is a breach

1) Discuss

The first step in the event of a breach of an order should be to try to discuss this with the other party involved. Whilst this can often be awkward when a relationship between you has broken down, this is the quickest and cheapest way to resolve the problem. When approaching the discussion, try to be flexible. If the breach has occurred due to a change of circumstances (such as the child moving from primary to secondary school, or the other party changing jobs) then maybe you could agree a way to vary the order to something that could realistically be followed.

[The Court does not have to approve any agreed amendments to the order. However make sure that you have this agreement in writing to protect yourself should a further dispute arise.]

"I've had a court order for three years to see my children and everything was working fine, until we had an argument last week when she refused to let them come, after the third week in a row. Admittedly, it got a bit heated and we had a big argument on the doorstep. She called the police and now she has taken out a non-molestation order against me. What happens now?"

If you are unable to contact the other party directly (for example due to a non-molestation order) you may need to ask someone you trust to try to discuss the issue with them, or as per step 2 below, ask a solicitor to correspond on your behalf. In this situation, it is likely that some amendments will be needed to current contact arrangements so that you and your former partner do not see each other. For example one of you drops the children off at school and the other collects from school. Contact or Children and Family Centres will also assist with the transfer in such situations.

2) Write

If you are unable to get anywhere by discussing the issue with the other party, write to them setting out your concerns and proposals to resolve the problem. If you have a solicitor, you may wish to ask them to write to the other party reminding them of their obligations under the order. [Keep a copy of any letters / emails sent in case you ever needed to refer to these in court.]

3) Consider applying to Court

Court enforcement should only be used as a final resort, as this will be added expense, and will generally only serve to increase tensions between the parties.

In order to apply to the Court for enforcement of a child arrangement order (or contact order / residence order), you will need to fill in, issue and serve form C79 (which can be found on the HMRC website). The Court will wish to see that other methods of resolving the issue have been attempted, which is where copy letters (as in point 2 above) are useful.

If you wish to apply to vary a child arrangement order, you will need to use form C100 (which can be found on the HMRC website)

If you are considering making an application to Court, seek independent legal advice. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide you with free and independent legal advice in this regard.

What can the Court do if a breach has occurred?

There are a number of options open to the Court in order to punish the offending parent and try to ensure that the breach does not occur. Which route the Court takes, will depend upon the circumstances including the severity and frequency of the breach, and where the child resides.
  • The Court can impose a community service order, requiring the parent in breach of the child arrangement order to undertake up to 200 hours of community service.
  • The Court can fine to the parent in breach.
  • The Court can impose a short prison sentence on the parent in breach. (This is however very rare, as the parent in breach is usually the parent with whom the child resides and the primary carer.)
  • The Court may also impose an order for the parent in breach to pay the other party financial compensation if the breach led to loss (e.g. a cancelled holiday).
If in doubt, it is always best to seek legal advice. Citizens Advice Bureau provide free and independent legal advice and can be contacted on 03444 111 444.

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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Bdhdhehs - Your Question:
Hi I have a court order that specifies my daughter lives with me and my ex partner sees her for a few hours on a Wednesday and a full day on a Sunday. He does not have her over night. On the direct gov website it states you can take a child away for 28 days if you have an order stating the child lives with you. Do I need permission from my ex partner because he has a few hours on Wednesday and Sunday? Thanks

Our Response:
A residence order is a court order that has determined with whom a child is to live. If you have a residence order, then you can take your child away for up to 28 days without having to gain permission from the other parent with PR, unless the order specifies otherwise.
SeparatedDads - 22-Feb-18 @ 11:51 AM
Hi I have a court order that specifies my daughter lives with me and my ex partner sees her for a few hours on a Wednesday and a full day on a Sunday. He does not have her over night. On the direct gov website it states you can take a child away for 28 days if you have an order stating the child lives with you. Do I need permission from my ex partner because he has a few hours on Wednesday and Sunday? Thanks
Bdhdhehs - 21-Feb-18 @ 6:59 PM
chips88 - Your Question:
Hi all, some advice desperately needed please?! I have a child arrangements order that is fairly new and I am due to have my 2 sons this weekend. However, for the last 10 days my son (with my current partner) has been suffering with gastroenteritis (and constant sickness). It appears now that me and my partner have caught this and I am constantly either being sick or on the toilet (as you can imagine, not pleasant). I have informed my ex partner of this (in advance as I am not due to have them until Sunday) to warn her if this continues then I will be unable to have the children but she has replied stating that I will be breaching the order and I have no choice but to have them. I really don't want to end up in court again as a result of this and I have tried to do the right thing by warning her early. Can anyone help me with this? Is this likely to be looked upon badly by the judge?Thanks

Our Response:
As specified in the article, the courts' guidance states that unless a breach is regular and intentional, they will not usually take action to enforce the order or punish the breach. Further it is important to consider the needs of your child first and so some flexibility may be needed on occasion. We can't advise what you can do regarding this matter. A court will not judge you upon a one off breach. However, if your ex prevents access and refuses to attend mediation, then you would have to apply back to court to have the order enforced, all of which takes time. A solicitor's letter (or personally written and registered letter of which you should keep a copy) to your ex may help to try to put things into context, if you explain that you are making a decision based upon what you think is in the best interests of your children, not trying to renege on an order you have spent time and money on in court.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-18 @ 10:38 AM
Trevor - Your Question:
My son has contact with 5 yr old daughter, arrangements made after very long and expensive court order. Contact not always run smooth because of the mother now she wants to go back to court to make changes to the order. Date has been set for 13 February. My son has not been able to work due to health issues and had an operation on Monday, he wrote and asked the court to postpone the hearing sending proof of the operation and sicknote. The reply was that he has to pay £50 for the judge to read the sicknote or else the hearing will take place without him. He has done nothing wrong, the mother has made various allegations - all unproven and shown to be her lies. He cannot afford to pay anymore money is there any help for him from anywhere?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, there is no financial help. You can see more via the Child Law Advice link here , which explains what happens if you don't turn up in court.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-18 @ 9:19 AM
Hi all, some advice desperately needed please?! I have a child arrangements order that is fairly new and I am due to have my 2 sons this weekend. However, for the last 10 days my son (with my current partner) has been suffering with gastroenteritis (and constant sickness). It appears now that me and my partner have caught this and I am constantly either being sick or on the toilet (as you can imagine, not pleasant). I have informed my ex partner of this (in advance as I am not due to have them until Sunday) to warn her if this continues then I will be unable to have the children but she has replied stating that I will be breaching the order and I have no choice but to have them. I really don't want to end up in court again as a result of this and I have tried to do the right thing by warning her early. Can anyone help me with this? Is this likely to be looked upon badly by the judge? Thanks
chips88 - 8-Feb-18 @ 2:55 PM
My son has contact with 5 yr old daughter, arrangements made after very long and expensive court order.Contact not always run smooth because of the mother now she wants to go back to court to make changes to the order.Date has been set for 13 February.My son has not been able to work due to health issues and had an operation on Monday, he wrote and asked the court to postpone the hearing sending proof of the operation and sicknote.The reply was that he has to pay £50 for the judge to read the sicknote or else the hearing will take place without him.He has done nothing wrong, the mother has made various allegations - all unproven and shown to be her lies.He cannot afford to pay anymore money is there any help for him from anywhere?
Trevor - 8-Feb-18 @ 7:56 AM
deano - Your Question:
Hi I currently have a court agreement that has been going okay for tge last 10 months! 2 weeks ago a family member of mine was ill and had shingles.i could not have my daughter her as she has not had chickpox yet I explained this to my ex partner and she said if I dont have her ill never see her again and she will deal with the punishment at court?All I did was think about my daughters health? Any advice would be much appreciated.Thanks

Our Response:
I would ask your solicitor to pen a letter to your ex reminding her of the terms of the order and the implications if she continues to break the order. As outlined in the article 'the courts' guidance states that unless a breach is regular and intentional, they will not usually take action to enforce the order or punish the breach. Further it is important to consider the needs of your child first and so some flexibility may be needed on occasion.' Therefore, your solicitor should request that the order is reinstated asap.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:05 PM
Look x the game is up .it’s my sanity that’s at sake .i can’t do anything at the moment honest she would besafe and comfortable but the (own room )thing not at thisstage I am working on it trust me I share house with two other men they are good guys I hate to live alone honest hate it it’s lonely .but realise if I want visitation to my daughter I am going to have to make changes I am looking at a two bedroom houses close to my share house mates so I can have my dog so they can feed him when I am away working plus my child can have her own room.just need more time .
Kis - 6-Feb-18 @ 8:14 AM
hi i currently have a court agreement that has been going okay for tge last 10 months! 2 weeks ago a family member of mine was ill and had shingles.... i could not have my daughter her as she has not had chickpox yet i explained this to my ex partner and she said if i dont have her ill never see her again and she will deal with the punishment at court? All i did was think about my daughters health? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks
deano - 6-Feb-18 @ 5:56 AM
Downinthedumps - Your Question:
Hi me and my ex have a contact arrangement made via the courts, I am to have them every other weekend Friday-Sunday, pick them up drop them off, on numerous occasions she's stopped me seeing them, I love over 100 miles away, it was her choice to leave not mine, I havnt been working for about a year now and she's stopping me seeing them because I apparently owe her over £4000, she keeps getting the kids involved in what's going on between us, even stupid comments like our kids should love there sister more ( her child) and not my son (different partner) other wise there traitors to her, I believe she's mentally abusing them, it's alright when she needs help like when I had them for a whole month because she was fleeing her ex and had to go to a refuge, I think what she's put my kids through is discusting I need help

Our Response:
Your only recourse, as suggested in the article, is to take the matter back to court if your ex has refused to keep to the court order.
SeparatedDads - 5-Feb-18 @ 4:09 PM
Hi I've recently stopped contact with my 7 year olds daughter's dad with concerns over her mental and emotional health after having contact with her father. Her school contacted me who had also noticed the upset that has been a constantsince we split up and divorced nearly 4 years ago, they informed me they would be contacting mash ( social services) as it has massively heightened. Although they obviously have not advised me to stop contact I have been told to do what I think is right. My daughter often comes home in tears, has to be taken off me at school, is worried I'll get into trouble, is highly anxious, picks her nails off, is now digging het nails into herself. She is Seeing a senco worker at the school and goes 2-4 times a day with her worries over things that have been said about how she looks, how she eats( left handed eater, he makes her do it right handed), about me and my family. It's not just him but her elder brotherwho is 14 and her grandmother. Is this going to cause me to be in breach of the order as I have all this evidence from school Social services and home? I believe social worker has spoken to her father but he's not having any of it and as usual is trying to say I'm harming her and sending me aggressive/ threateningemails
Hair bear 76 - 3-Feb-18 @ 7:30 AM
Hi me and my ex have a contact arrangement made via the courts, I am to have them every other weekend Friday-Sunday, pick them up drop them off, on numerous occasions she's stopped me seeing them, I love over 100 miles away, it was her choice to leave not mine, I havnt been working for about a year now and she's stopping me seeing them because I apparently owe her over £4000, she keeps getting the kids involved in what's going on between us, even stupid comments like our kids should love there sister more ( her child) and not my son (different partner) other wise there traitors to her, I believe she's mentally abusing them, it's alright when she needs help like when I had them for a whole month because she was fleeing her ex and had to go to a refuge, I think what she's put my kids through is discusting I need help
Downinthedumps - 2-Feb-18 @ 10:22 AM
I am a dad of 2 boys. eldest is almost 11, youngest is 6. We have a court order (2 1/2 years) and I have shared care, albeit 120 nights with me and rest with their mum.. I have them Fri-Mon every other weekend and each Mon & Wed from school until 6.30 and half of all school hols. My eldest states he wants to live with with me full time. I explained that's not fair on his mum. He says that as soon as he starts high school he will not be returning to his mum and will come to my home every night as he will be independently getting to and from school. I have asked that they both stay over every Monday, in the hope this would appease him, but their mum refused. Our eldest is becoming increasingly angry and was recently violent towards her. Basically, I don't want to be in breach of the order, but at the same time I won't reject our son if he keeps turning up. My boys are well cared for when with me and we have a nice home. I already have to make them leave me by reassuring them I love them and they will soon be back, but eldest is starting to become more resistant and youngest is copying. What will happen to me/him if he does what he says. I don't want to get in trouble but I want our boys to be happy.
Blue123 - 30-Jan-18 @ 4:19 PM
Becky - Your Question:
After splitting with my partner I want my son who is only 16 weeks old to have regular contact with his father. I have offered his father contact every Sunday 10 till 6. My son's father has refused this contract stating that it is unreasonable, is it unreasonable that I won't allow him to take our son to his house where he has no equipment that a 16 week old baby requires. I have given him use of my house while I go out. Can my ex partner refuse this contract arrangement because it doesn't satisfy his own needs and wait for a few years to get access again when our son is older. Surely this is not out of the interests of our child. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated I just want the best for our son and to not allow his father to breeze in and out of his sons life when it suits him.

Our Response:
If you cannot agree on an issue, you may wish to suggest mediation, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-18 @ 11:40 AM
Ookster - Your Question:
Hello. I'm just seeking advice on where I am really. I have a 5 year old who lives with his mum 150 miles away. We split when he was one, I originally lived in the area where he resides until he was nearly 3, but financial difficulty ultimately meant moving while I paid the awful debts I had (she had none, all in my name) following breakup.This has been the situation for nearly 3 years now, with me driving up and getting him once a month and having him for the weekend (longer during holidays). My ex, recently being involved with new partner is clearly seeing me as surplus to requirements now, and has restricted my access to holidays only, claiming that the long drive down tires him out too much and is interfering with his schoolwork.It has been my stated aim to return to the area ever since I moved away, and within about 3 months now I am finally going to be able to make that happen. When I told her this she has told me she doesn't want me living back in the area, with the holiday only restriction following at that point. Clearly I am going to have a fight on my hands to get sensible access when I move back up there (I am willing to accept the holiday only access for the moment, painful as it is, as it won't be long until I move).My question is - is it likely that when I move back into the area, whether it be through mediation, court order or whatever it takes, that I will be able to get the more frequent access that I want, in view of the fact I've lived so far away for so long? I am of course prepared to be sensible about it, I don't want to disrupt his life and just start demanding things, but my son and I have a very good relationship, he wants his dad to live nearby and to see him more, we've always known and talked about it. I am concerned however that my living so far away for so long will affect my chances if she continues to resist (and she will). From financial point of view I have never missed a payment, even during some short unemployed periods, and very frequently give her her money early when she asks. Recently, however, these requests for early payment have been my only bargaining chip when she's been refusing to let me see my son (notable that I never, ever use money as a bargaining chip unless she is asking for early payment or some other thing above and beyond).Thanks for replies.

Our Response:
You have every right to move back to the area, and every right to push for the matter to see your child more frequently. In the first instance, once you move back to the area, you would need to suggest mediation to your ex in order to come to an mutual agreement. The main thing to emphasise is that you will take the matter to court, if court is needed. It is understandable, that you cannot see your child more frequently if you live out of the area. But a court is likely to give you more access if you explain that you have moved back to the area for that specific reason, to be closer to your son, as you feel it is in your son's best interests to have you near by. If you already have a court order in place, then you would have to stick to this, although you would be able to apply directly to court for a variation if circumstances have changed. However, always try to agree via mediation first, as court is always seen as a last resort.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-18 @ 10:22 AM
Hello. I'm just seeking advice on where I am really. I have a 5 year old who lives with his mum 150 miles away. We split when he was one, I originally lived in the area where he resides until he was nearly 3, but financial difficulty ultimately meant moving while I paid the awful debts I had (she had none, all in my name) following breakup. This has been the situation for nearly 3 years now, with me driving up and getting him once a month and having him for the weekend (longer during holidays). My ex, recently being involved with new partner is clearly seeing me as surplus to requirements now, and has restricted my access to holidays only, claiming that the long drive down tires him out too much and is interfering with his schoolwork. It has been my stated aim to return to the area ever since I moved away, and within about 3 months now I am finally going to be able to make that happen. When I told her this she has told me she doesn't want me living back in the area, with the holiday only restriction following at that point. Clearly I am going to have a fight on my hands to get sensible access when I move back up there (I am willing to accept the holiday only access for the moment, painful as it is, as it won't be long until I move). My question is - is it likely that when I move back into the area, whether it be through mediation, court order or whatever it takes, that I will be able to get the more frequent access that I want, in view of the fact I've lived so far away for so long? I am of course prepared to be sensible about it, I don't want to disrupt his life and just start demanding things, but my son and I have a very good relationship, he wants his dad to live nearby and to see him more, we've always known and talked about it. I am concerned however that my living so far away for so long will affect my chances if she continues to resist (and she will). From financial point of view I have never missed a payment, even during some short unemployed periods, and very frequently give her her money early when she asks. Recently, however, these requests for early payment have been my only bargaining chip when she's been refusing to let me see my son (notable that I never, ever use money as a bargaining chip unless she is asking for early payment or some other thing above and beyond). Thanks for replies.
Ookster - 21-Jan-18 @ 3:28 PM
After splitting with my partner I want my son who is only 16 weeks old to have regular contact with his father. I have offered his father contact every Sunday 10 till 6. My son's father has refused this contract stating that it is unreasonable, is it unreasonable that I won't allow him to take our son to his house where he has no equipment that a 16 week old baby requires. I have given him use of my house while I go out. Can my ex partner refuse this contract arrangement because it doesn't satisfy his own needs and wait for a few years to get access again when our son is older. Surely this is not out of the interests of our child. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated I just want the best for our son and to not allow his father to breeze in and out of his sons life when it suits him.
Becky - 21-Jan-18 @ 8:48 AM
EB - Your Question:
My partner has a residency order for his 2 children (aged 12 + 14). The order states 1 night per week on alternate Friday and Saturday from 5pm until 5pm the following day; Christmas day from 4pm until 4pm on Boxing Day. 8am until 8pm on 27th December, 5pm NYE until 5pm NYD and then 1 week during school holidays and the entitlement to take them away on a UK holiday or overseas with permission in writing. Since I have been with my partner (Dec 2016) she has stopped the youngest coming at all (since July 2016) and it is hit and miss whether we see the oldest. We didn't have the child on 27th Dec or NYE and we have booked a holiday for August 2018 which coincides with the same week that we had the child last year and is after their annual holiday which due to work constraints they have to go the last Saturday of July for a period of 1 week. We have advised in writing the dates, location of the holiday and provided booking documentation for the 10th August 2018. We received a text saying the child couldn't come due to them being away (which we know is not true as we know) The child has advised the dates of the holiday with the Mother and new Husband and they return 6 days prior to ours. We have requested proof of their booking so that we can change ours if it overlaps. We have given them a deadline of 2 weeks which as now passed. Do we consider taking her to court for constant breach of residency order or go to see a Solicitor for a free 30 minute consultation and see what they can do? The initial court procedure cost around 5k for my partner and the costs that could arise for the Breach complaint is an additional £215 which we don't feel we should have to pay. Can we request that my partners ex is to pay my partner financial compensation for the previous court costs and also the costs of the holiday that we have booked?? TIA

Our Response:
In the first instance, a solicitor's letter reminding your partner's ex of the terms of the court order and the repercussions if she continues to breach the order may get things back on track. Your partner can self-litigate, if the solicitor's letter doesn't work and he needs to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced, this will save money on legal fees. The court can decide to award costs to the other parent, where and if it sees fit, but much depends upon the circumstances and certainly cannot be relied upon.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jan-18 @ 10:43 AM
My ex is trying to move my son to another town 40 minutes away and change his nursery which will mean I will hardly be in involved in his nursery and early education.I have a court order granting joint custody so can she change his nursery without my permission and what will happen if I refuse permission? Can his original nursery cancel his placement with just one parents permission as she gets the rights for 24u as I work and she doesn't
Mr daddy - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:15 PM
My partner has a residency order for his 2 children (aged 12 + 14). The order states 1 night per week on alternate Friday and Saturday from 5pm until 5pm the following day; Christmas day from 4pm until 4pm on Boxing Day. 8am until 8pm on 27th December, 5pm NYE until 5pm NYD and then 1 week during school holidays and the entitlement to take them away on a UK holiday or overseas with permission in writing. Since I have been with my partner (Dec 2016) she has stopped the youngest coming at all (since July 2016) and it is hit and miss whether we see the oldest. We didn't have the child on 27th Dec or NYE and we have booked a holiday for August 2018 which coincides with the same week that we had the child last year and is after their annual holiday which due to work constraints they have to go the last Saturday of July for a period of 1 week. We have advised in writing the dates, location of the holiday and provided booking documentation for the 10th August 2018. We received a text saying the child couldn't come due to them being away (which we know is not true as we know) The child has advised the dates of the holiday with the Mother and new Husband and they return 6 days prior to ours. We have requested proof of their booking so that we can change ours if it overlaps. We have given them a deadline of 2 weeks which as now passed. Do we consider taking her to court for constant breach of residency order or go to see a Solicitor for a free 30 minute consultation and see what they can do? The initial court procedure cost around 5k for my partner and the costs that could arise for the Breach complaint is an additional £215 which we don't feel we should have to pay. Can we request that my partners ex is to pay my partner financial compensation for the previous court costs and also the costs of the holiday that we have booked?? TIA
EB - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:42 PM
Sad dad- Your Question:
I’ve been back to court on more than one occasion now to enforce a joint custody order for my son my ex partner still refuses to listen to the order and is refusing me contact again. I now have to wait a month to get this back in to court to get that contact back to no doubt be back in the same position again 3 months down the line. Im not sure what I am supposed to do as the courts don’t seem to do anything about this

Our Response:
The court can only hold a 'persistent offender' to account. If your ex can explain way her reasons for preventing access, then the court may give her the benefit of the doubt for a couple/few times. However, if your ex is seen to be deliberately and continually flouting the terms of the court order, then a court will impose a fine or, community service, or in extreme cases a prison sentence, even change of residence to the other parent. But, you have to remember, this is not about you or your ex, the court's main concern is the welfare of your child and the court will always balance your child's needs against the level of punishment. The court does take breaches of contact orders seriously. On the other hand, it wishes to see that the other parent has made attempts to try and resolve any breaches and try to work with the other parent, before it will take action. The court needs evidence that the other parent is in blatant disregard of the court, before it will administer punishment. But it will make sure the order is enforced. Any evidence you can give that you have tried and failed to negotiate, will help.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-18 @ 11:06 AM
I’ve been back to court on more than one occasion now to enforce a joint custody order for my son my ex partner still refuses to listen to the order and is refusing me contact again. I now have to wait a month to get this back in to court to get that contact back to no doubt be back in the same position again 3 months down the line. Im not sure what I am supposed to do as the courts don’t seem to do anything about this
Sad dad - 17-Jan-18 @ 12:54 PM
Ms P - Your Question:
My ex took me to court last year as I was moving an extra 1/2 hr away added on to the usual journey (1hr in total) he tried to prevent us from moving as the journey was too far and he couldn’t afford it. But anyway his requests failed In court as the contact with the children would remain the same. I would drive the children to him on a Friday night and he would drive them back on a Sunday evening (every other weekend).My ex had legal representation and I represented myself. His barrister was very sly in how she worded the court order, she clearly stated my new address in the order but his home address was not stated at all.Now (6months later) he has just told me that he’s moving away which now means 2 1/2hr one way journey (5hr round trip) with only giving me 12 days notice. Now I have work commitments on his contact weekend with the children which means I need to be back for 7.30pm on Friday eves for work and also Sunday afternoons. This job needs to remain the same so I can provide a good life for my children, as he only pays me £35pw for 2 children (no support outside of this maintenance). Which also means I cannot take the children to him on a Friday eve.He states that the order still remains the same and I should be driving the children to him still as his home address is not stated in the order.Is this right? Do I need to fill in a C79 application to get a judge to decide AGAIN what should be done.I can’t communicate with him as he’s very childish and has blocked all communication with me.Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
Yes, if circumstances have changed, you can refer the matter back to court for a variation to the order, regardless of whether his address was previously on the order or not. The fact is, if he is moving/has moved, this can be verified in court, otherwise he would be forced to lie under oath. Any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply new/additional terms. If they wish to do so, they will need to refer the matter back to the courts. It is highly unlikely you would be punished for breaching the order, if your ex has unilaterally attempted to change the terms without mutual discussion and/or agreement.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-18 @ 12:35 PM
My ex took me to court last year as I was moving an extra 1/2 hr away added on to the usual journey (1hr in total) he tried to prevent us from moving as the journey was too far and he couldn’t afford it. But anyway his requests failed In court as the contact with the children would remain the same. I would drive the children to him on a Friday night and he would drive them back on a Sunday evening (every other weekend). My ex had legal representation and I represented myself. His barrister was very sly in how she worded the court order, she clearly stated my new address in the order but his home address was not stated at all. Now (6months later) he has just told me that he’s moving away which now means 2 1/2hr one way journey (5hr round trip) with only giving me 12 days notice. Now I have work commitments on his contact weekend with the children which means I need to be back for 7.30pm on Friday eves for work and also Sunday afternoons. This job needs to remain the same so I can provide a good life for my children, as he only pays me £35pw for 2 children (no support outside of this maintenance). Which also means I cannot take the children to him on a Friday eve. He states that the order still remains the same and I should be driving the children to him still as his home address is not stated in the order. Is this right? Do I need to fill in a C79 application to get a judge to decide AGAIN what should be done. I can’t communicate with him as he’s very childish and has blocked all communication with me. Any advice would be appreciated.
Ms P - 15-Jan-18 @ 11:19 AM
I have a restraining order and cannot get mediation
Webb40 - 6-Jan-18 @ 7:19 PM
Hi there. Me an my ex have a court order where he sees our daughter every Sunday for 2 hours then when she is go.foryavlehe is able to take her out e.g McDonalds etc. But since December 2016 he has not shown up at all it's now January 2018 an my daughter still to this day gets upset cause she misses him an thinks it's her fault he doesn't come anymore. Where do I stand now if he was to get back in touch. As when we was in court he only wanted to see her 1 hour a month an got granted 2 hours a week. Even when he used to show up he was never on time an would go weeks with no show an it constantly messes with my daughter's head I feel as her mum Im Not doing everything possible to.protect her. I'd just like to know my options if he decided to get back in touch. As I know he is in breach of the contact order. Any help at all would be appreciated.
Anonymous - 5-Jan-18 @ 5:39 PM
I’m asking for a friend his daughters mum and taken their daughter to America to live with her boyfriend that she’s never met and he hasn’t had his court ordered contact since October and fair as we are aware she has no plans on returning to the uk. What can he do?
Xxxx - 19-Dec-17 @ 9:16 PM
Taylor - Your Question:
Hi, my son has resided with his father for 3 years now. He's 12. I have a court order giving me contact every two weeks for a temp time to rebuild relationships. Since court I'm repeatedly told by ex that my son doesn't want to speak to me and see me or his siblings and maternal grandparents family. My ex has hit me with £500 pm CM, dropped my surname from my sons name, had him baptised without my knowledge, moved his school again without my consent and now he wants his new wife to adopt my son. Nobody is of any help to me in anyway, unless I can find a lot of money to take him back to court. ive tried voicing my concerns to social services and was rudely told they wouldn't help. My son is a victim of emotional abuse, alienation, and endures vast amounts of poisonous lies about his mum and family on a daily basis. I don't know what to do or who can help. I've suffered breakdowns, job losses, anxieties, depresssion due to contact with my son being denied.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You can self-litigate if you cannot afford legal representation, please see link here . If your ex continues to breach the order, as specified in the article, referring the order back to court is your only recourse. Before you do so, a solicitor's letter to your ex reminding him of the terms of the order and the repercussions if he continues to ignore it may work.
SeparatedDads - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, my son has resided with his father for 3 years now. He's 12. I have a court order giving me contact every two weeks for a temp time to rebuild relationships. Since court I'm repeatedly told by ex that my son doesn't want to speak to me and see me or his siblings and maternal grandparents family. My ex has hit me with £500 pm CM, dropped my surname from my sons name, had him baptised without my knowledge, moved his school again without my consent and now he wants his new wife to adopt my son. Nobody is of any help to me in anyway, unless I can find a lot of money to take him back to court. ive tried voicing my concerns to social services and was rudely told they wouldn't help. My son is a victim of emotional abuse, alienation, and endures vast amounts of poisonous lies about his mum and family on a daily basis. I don't know what to do or who can help. I've suffered breakdowns, job losses, anxieties, depresssion due to contact with my son being denied.
Taylor - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:02 AM
P77 - Your Question:
Hi and currently filling in the C79 form as ex-partner has decided upon herself in her words "that the court order is not working anymore so your days are not your days anymore". Has anyone had any experience of what will happen once I send the form off?I have all the emails and texts which I will be including and they show no respect for my son, courts or myself. I understand circumstances have changed and am more than willing to to compromise however she does not (although she says she does) talk to me and suggested I take her back t court although there would be no point as the courts would be sympathetic to her. I pointed out that it was not about me or her but about her son.The blatant way she is ignoring and dictating to me what she is going to do and how much time I have with him is the exact reason I went to court in the first place and I am sure that the courts would not grant me less time than I had even before I took her to court as its nearly half now what I managed to get in court. Will the courts side with the mother on this? worried as coming to Christmas and I have not seen my son yet and I am missing out so much now and all I want is her to know that she can't do what she wants anymore.

Our Response:
Your ex is in breach of the court order. As specified in the article, any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, they will need to refer the matter back to the courts. If your ex is attempting to change the order, if you wish for a quick solution, a solicitor's letter reminding her of the terms of the order and the repercussions of what may happen if you decide to take the matter back to court, may be an option for you to consider. An alternative option, if your old order is no longer working (i.e if circumstances have changed) is to suggest mediation with the view to coming to a new arrangement that keeps to the terms of the old arrangement (regarding the number of days etc). This would be overseen and authorised by the court, please see link here. If your ex ignores both of these suggestions, then court is the final option. If you keep evidence that you have attempted either/both, then this will show the court you have tried to be reasonable.
SeparatedDads - 8-Dec-17 @ 9:46 AM
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