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How Can I Obtain a Contact Order?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 25 Jan 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Contact Order Court Lawyer Ex Family

Q.

How can I obtain a Contact Order when I don't have an address for my wife and children? I only know the town they live in which is 100 miles plus away.

(D.T, 28 September 2008)

A.

First of all, in order to be eligible for a Contact Order, you must have what’s known as Parental Responsibility, which means either that you’re listed on the birth certificates of the children as the father, or you’ve obtained a Parental Responsibility Order (see our article on Your Separated Father's Rights).

Part of Parental Responsibility is the responsibility part, which means you’re almost certainly Paying Child Support of some kind. If you don’t have your ex’s address, it will likely be via the CSA (Child Support Agency).

However, don’t despair if you don’t have an address for your ex. You can go through the courts to obtain a contact order that will allow you time with your children.

You can apply to the court yourself, you will have to pay to submit your form but it is cheaper than the cost of a solicitor. You can use our article Which Court Form Do I Need? to find out which form to use and how to apply. From then on in you can represent yourself in court and with a little research you will be able to present to the court your expectations for contact and why you should be granted it. Read our article Representing Yourself in Court to get yourself started.

Of course, you can use family law solicitor to handle your case for you although you should be aware that the cost will be high.

Courts tend to work on a principle called “presumption of contact”, under which they do everything possible for a father to have contact with his children.

They will want a report on whether you can meet the needs of the child during a contact period, whether there’s any chance of harm coming to the child during contact, what the child desires, as well as their emotional and educational needs.

Although that sounds like a lot, it’s reassuring to know that some 90% of all Contact Orders are granted. If there’s a hearing then there will need to be a report from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service officer, and interview with you, your ex, and others.

It sounds involved, and it does take some time, but bear in mind that it’s really all in the interests of the children.

So the first real step is for you or your solicitor, if you choose to hire one, to petition the court to grant you a Contact Order for your children. It’s helpful if you can supply their address, but it’s not mandatory, and you’re not the only one who’s not in possession of his ex’s address.

From there the court will contact your ex, and in the best of all possible worlds, they’ll work out an amicable arrangement.

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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Hi all, I recently commented here a few weeks ago about applying to the court for a fair arrangement to be made and how the legal system and solicitors are slightly bias against fathers...even when you are doing your best! I had second thoughts and decided to try mediation again, my ex would only go on the basis that I had to pay for the both of us! All I will say is pick your mediator carefully and have a couple of plans for what you feel is best for the kids and what also works for you before you go. The mediator can help, but I found I had to fight my corner and had to explain myself and how I can look after my children whereas my ex didn't. We are tying a new arrangement but I do still feel the system is bias as I had to work harder to come to an agreement and felt outnumbered in our session. Mediation works as well as you want it to. It's best to try sort things out in 1 appointment so it's not costing you going back for more appointments. I hope some of this info can help or give some insight to fathers who are just starting out in this process. If you are going to your first mediation, it is very difficult but, be ready to negotiate, do not give into submission or pressure, be confident, stay calm, be polite, stick to your guns and don't agree to something you think is not right for the children or yourself. Dads do matter.
Billy - 25-Jan-19 @ 7:04 AM
@dave.my x use to make a (gig out me )with my (own family )we will see who is (laughing in the long run it’s not about her daughter) it about( my honour) .she is going be taught a (life lesson )she( burnt the wrong men with me )yeah it’s immoral what she done and I am not a (Christian or a Muslim ).its a (laurie thing) and I don’t hold the men responsible I hold (her responsible )again it’s a (laurie thing .)its just time they will( slip up )and when they do she will get a (shock off her life) and be (begging for forgiveness )I (swear) that on the (laurie bible ).
Chris - 20-Jan-19 @ 2:32 PM
I have recently split up with my wife of 17 years , we have 4 children who i have not seen since we broke up over 8 weeks ago , i have tried contacting the oldest children girls 16 & 13 who have said they are not ready to talk with me and i have been told by my ex my boys who are 10 & 6 dont want to see mee either. My ex discussed all the detailsof the break up with the girls and i feel gave the girls a negative opinion on me which i dont think sheshould have.What rights do i have for access to my kids as i feel they are missing out by not having contact with me and i would do anything to be able to speak with them.
Dave - 20-Jan-19 @ 5:46 AM
my ex partner has stopped me from seeing my daughter for the past year. I've tried going to her house, contact over the phone, but she has blocked my numbers an I just get turned away when I go to her house. what can I do about this as I cant even contact her for mediation as I have no contact with her?
GC - 13-Jan-19 @ 11:57 AM
Hi, I'm separated with my wife for over 3 years now. Contact with my two sons (9 and 12) was always a bit of an issue. At the start she agreed to boys staying with me every other weekend plus half of all holidays (Halloween, midterm break, Christmas, etc-note she forced it to be below 104 nights a year), this was however really based on her plans, I was getting refused contact ona number of occasions. Last year I had to file for Specific Issue Order as my ex would not allow my older son to apply to a school closer to my home. Court ordered that my son will go the the school he wanted (the one I filed for) and at the same time we met with child welfare officer to discuss contact pattern moving forward. It was agreed that both boys will stay with me every weekend for one night (Friday/Saturday) and older son will also stay one night during the week - Wednesday. I have recently received a letter form my ex's solicitor saying that this contact pattern "didnt not work for his client" and she wanted to go back to the previous, biweekly rota. My solicitor responded to this saying that we dont see any need for a change however my ex still forcing this change and wont let me see my sons every weekend. After 3 years of struggle I still dont know when is the next time I will see my kids. Is Child Contact Order my only option? What are my options to force solicitors agreement? How likely it is to get shared residence if all criteria from a child wellbeing point of view are meet?
Slav - 19-Nov-18 @ 9:14 AM
Hi, I'm separated with my wife for over 3 years now. Contact with my two sons (9 and 12) was always a bit of an issue. At the start she agreed to boys staying with me every other weekend plus half of all holidays (Halloween, midterm break, Christmas, etc-note she forced it to be below 104 nights a year), this was however really based on her plans, I was getting refused contact ona number of occasions. Last year I had to file for Specific Issue Order as my ex would not allow my older son to apply to a school closer to my home. Court ordered that my son will go the the school he wanted (the one I filed for) and at the same time we met with child welfare officer to discuss contact pattern moving forward. It was agreed that both boys will stay with me every weekend for one night (Friday/Saturday) and older son will also stay one night during the week - Wednesday. I have recently received a letter form my ex's solicitor saying that this contact pattern "didnt not work for his client" and she wanted to go back to the previous, biweekly rota. My solicitor responded to this saying that we dont see any need for a change however my ex still forcing this change and wont let me see my sons every weekend. After 3 years of struggle I still dont know when is the next time I will see my kids. Is Child Contact Order my only option? What are my options to force solicitors agreement? How likely it is to get shared residence if all criteria from a child wellbeing point of view are meet?
Slav - 19-Nov-18 @ 3:15 AM
My son is working outside the EU but is having difficulty with his exwife keeping to the agreement that he telephonethe mobile he supplied once a week.Unfortunately his exwife is having difficulty in turning the mobile on at the agreed time so that my son can get through to his eight year old daughter.In the last eight weeks the phone has only been on for three of those weeks.What forms would we need to complete bearing in mind that he will not be returning to the UK for two years and I will be acting on his behalf. Can someone please let me know how we can proceed to get a contact order.
doctordolittle - 15-Oct-18 @ 8:12 PM
Dave - Your Question:
My ex wants to move my son schools when she moves house which will impact my access with him and he is becoming very distressed at the thought of moving schools. I have asked that she consider taking him to school as she works in the town in the mornings and I will pick him up afterwards and take him home to her when she finishes work but she is reluctant to agree.Is there anything I can do to stop her moving my son schools or gain a court order to prevent this. We are in Scotland

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your only recourse is to suggest mediation and if your ex refuses, only then would you have the option to apply to court. Please see the link here, which will further answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-18 @ 2:27 PM
My ex wants to move my son schools when she moves house which will impact my access with him and he is becoming very distressed at the thought of moving schools. I have asked that she consider taking him to school as she works in the town in the mornings and I will pick him up afterwards and take him home to her when she finishes work but she is reluctant to agree.Is there anything I can do to stop her moving my son schools or gain a court order to prevent this. We are in Scotland
Dave - 17-Sep-18 @ 5:52 PM
love123 - Your Question:
My friend had 7/7 (one week off, one week on) agreement with the mother of his children. They had previously agreed that he would pick the kids from her then she will pick the kids from him so it can be fair. Recently, the mother decided to change her mind and used the argument that because the kids are under her care, he should be picking them and dropping them. He does not agree with this and she is withholding the kids unless he agrees to the new change. What are his options and is she allowed to do this despite agreeing to equal picking earlier?

Our Response:
There is no right or wrong answer here. If the parents cannot resolve these issues between them, then mediation is the option. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:47 AM
Sue - Your Question:
I want to apply for a contact order.to see my grandchildren.how much will it cost me ?

Our Response:
The link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:45 AM
My friend had 7/7 (one week off, one week on) agreement with the mother of his children. They had previously agreed that he would pick the kids from her then she will pick the kids from him so it can be fair. Recently, the mother decided to change her mind and used the argument that because the kids are under her care, he should be picking them and dropping them. He does not agree with this and she is withholding the kids unless he agrees to the new change. What are his options and is she allowed to do this despite agreeing to equal picking earlier?
love123 - 29-Jul-18 @ 4:27 PM
I want to apply for a contact order.to see my grandchildren.how much will it cost me ?
Sue - 29-Jul-18 @ 2:14 PM
jj - Your Question:
My ex is really bugging me with contact to my child, she send me abusive messages saying im.off with other girls when im not and she is telling me I can have contact then changes it all the time she never sticks to the agreed days and I feel my life is on hold waiting for her to agree my next lot off contact. I have concerns as when I do see her she is very upset as she jasnt seen me in a while and is crying she as missed me what can I do its breaking my heart

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. The link here , will tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jul-18 @ 10:18 AM
my ex is really bugging me with contact to my child, she send me abusive messages saying im.off with other girls when im not and she is telling me i can have contact then changes it all the time she never sticks to the agreed days and i feel my life is on hold waiting for her to agree my next lot off contact. i have concerns as when i do see her she is very upset as she jasnt seen me in a while and is crying she as missed me what can i do its breaking my heart
jj - 19-Jul-18 @ 10:38 AM
Gaz - Your Question:
Hi,My friend is currently being denied contact with his child. His partner has saved a raft of messages sent from his saying aggressive and violent things, he suffers from mental health issues and has regularly uses cannabis.She has refused the idea of a contact centre and/or MIAM meeting and has insisted things should go through the courts. He can't afford legal representation.Is this legal? And can I represent him as a McKenzie Friend. Would her solicitor only engage exclusively with my friend and not myself?Any help is appreciated.

Our Response:
If you cannot afford legal represenatation in court, your friend can self-litigate, please see link here . You can see more about what McKenzie Friends can and can't do in court, please see link here. You can see more about child arrangement orders here .
SeparatedDads - 26-Jun-18 @ 3:02 PM
Hi, My friend is currently being denied contact with his child. His partner has saved a raft of messages sent from his saying aggressive and violent things, he suffers from mental health issues and has regularly uses cannabis. She has refused the idea of a contact centre and/or MIAM meeting and has insisted things should go through the courts. He can't afford legal representation. Is this legal? And can I represent him as a McKenzie Friend. Would her solicitor only engage exclusively with my friend and not myself? Any help is appreciated.
Gaz - 26-Jun-18 @ 11:52 AM
Lew - Your Question:
My ex left me for her previous ex ive got a 2yr old son with her shes refusing to let me see him im not registered on the certificate but I was there for him till I found out and she got rid and wouldn't let me see

Our Response:
You would have to apply to court, if your ex will not consider mediation. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 21-Jun-18 @ 3:28 PM
My ex left me for her previous ex ive got a 2yr old son with her shes refusing to let me see him im not registered on the certificate but i was there for him till i found out and she got rid and wouldn't let me see
Lew - 21-Jun-18 @ 5:37 AM
Tell - Your Question:
My ex and I are separated and she constantly uses the kids against me as a wepon she previous has 2 kids from previous relationships removed from her care how can I get to see my kids without her stopping me and a contact order can I apply for one without a solicitor

Our Response:
The links here and here can help you further. If you cannot afford legal representation, you can self-litigate, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 12-Jun-18 @ 10:53 AM
My ex and I are separated and she constantly uses the kids against me as a wepon she previous has 2 kids from previous relationships removed from her care how can I get to see my kids without her stopping me and a contact order can I apply for one without a solicitor
Tell - 11-Jun-18 @ 5:21 PM
Shiney - Your Question:
My ex pushed me out while I worked myself into the ground. Very little help from her. We split at the time I was having problems with my business and at the same time as my parents both getting ill and then died. I was robbed of my business by my landlords and have fallen into extreme depression. I cant take any more. Solicitors just tend to drag their heels. Mediators are useless. My ex wont even reply even to tell me how the children are. Im suicidal and honestly feel that's my only way out of this.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you feel suicidal, then please try to get help, as this situation will pass. You can see more via the link here and here.
SeparatedDads - 14-May-18 @ 12:52 PM
And I know this is in the wrong section. But I have finished with my in depth thinking of the past I have healed .now I focus on my business it needs all my attention its my wife my baby and my dog .thanks.
laurie - 12-May-18 @ 11:06 PM
My ex pushed me out while I worked myself into the ground. Very little help from her. We split at the time I was having problems with my business and at the same time as my parents both getting ill and then died. I was robbed of my business by my landlords and have fallen into extreme depression. I cant take any more. Solicitors just tend to drag their heels. Mediators are useless. My ex wont even reply even to tell me how the children are. Im suicidal and honestly feel that's my only way out of this.
Shiney - 12-May-18 @ 5:45 PM
Admm - Your Question:
Hi my ex wants to move away up north but weve already been to court and arranged the days we have the kids so can she still just mive away if we already agreed days of the week with the children?

Our Response:
If you have a contact order issued through the courts, then your ex will be in breach of the order if she plans to move away without your agreement or consent. 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, please see link here. Therefore, if your ex wishes to apply to make changes to the court order she would have to allow the court to decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. A solicitor's letter reminding your ex of the terms of the order may help here.
SeparatedDads - 26-Apr-18 @ 9:54 AM
Hi my ex wants to move away up north but weve already been to court and arranged the days we have the kids so can she still just mive away if we already agreed days of the week with the children?
Admm - 25-Apr-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hi, me and my partner have split, he is looking for his own place at the moment. The council have asked if I can provide a letter stating our daughter and currently unborn son will be staying at his 2-3 nights a week he is named on birth certificates. Do you have any information on how I would go about writing this letter or anywhere I can find a template or form to complete as proof?
Amy - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:16 PM
Ro - Your Question:
I am trying to make a child contact order for my daughter but I do not know the address they now live at, they were moved when I was in prison last year. I sent the application off and it was returned to me because I don't know the address my daughter lives at so the courts can send documents after the application gets submitted. The social worker isn't seeming to be much help I cannot get hold of the solicitor that my ex partner is a client to, can someone please help me ?

Our Response:
One option is to fill in a C4 form which is an application for an order for disclosure of a child's whereabouts. You fill in this form alongside your C100. It means the court can put a trace on your children to find out where they are. The address may still remain confidential - but at least it allows you to be able to bring the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 19-Apr-18 @ 10:37 AM
I am trying to make a child contact order for my daughter but I do not know the address they now live at, they were moved when I was in prison last year. I sent the application off and it was returned to me because I don't know the address my daughter lives at so the courts can send documents after the application gets submitted. The social worker isn't seeming to be much help I cannot get hold of the solicitor that my ex partner is a client to, can someone please help me ?
Ro - 18-Apr-18 @ 5:24 PM
Newshoes - Your Question:
I am seeking contact with our daughter who is 16, however our daughter does not want any contact with me directly or indirectly. She has messaged me and said she wants no contact and to leave her alone. She lives with her mum. Can I still get a child arrangements order in place to see her?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely a court would force your daughter at aged-16 to see you if she does not wish to. At 16 her opinion would be taken into consideration by the courts. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 16-Apr-18 @ 3:17 PM
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