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How Can I Obtain a Contact Order?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Mar 2017 | 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.

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Manj - Your Question:
I have been paying tbe wife's mortgage and also was a drunk but had rehab been sober and have not been back to the home due to her outbreaks of anger I left her twice over the last 18 months and now have a girlfriend who I share a room with in london can't afford to keep paying her mortgage and not have access I have had him for 12 days in total since Dec then she knew about my new girlfriend who is not a drinker but a yoga teacher and does not use anything and I can't see him my older boys are abusing to me and one time I did not talk or see him for 10 months. I made her a offer that she can keep the house and I will give £400 for my son every month but she said no and I still can't see him or have him if I get back with her I told her that I'm. Not going to go back as I kept on getting depressed being in a relationship that was harming her and me and I just want a divorce but she is Indian and want s to not have shame but I can't lie and live in a relationship that is not based on love and she does not want to give me my son saying I use drugs and drink which I don't. Her whole family mentally abused me and my family last week and my Dee son articles me and my other older son threatened to kill me and he also gave verbal abuse to my parents. They said they would get wittiness that I hit them and make up things so I can't have my son. I saw my son st his school I sneaked there and he is 12 and he asked me to get help and see lawyers so he can spend time with me as he misses me he hates it that his older brothers control him through religion and force and he just wants to see me. I don't have much money as I'm working to pay for her lifestyle and she is in a house with 250k equity in it and I said it's yours I want to move on and start again but want access to my son but no joy

Our Response:
Your finances and seeing your son are two completely separate issues and are not defined by each other. If you have a mortgage in your name, you are responsible for paying towards it otherwise the house is at risk of being repossessed. However, this does not mean a court would not allow you to see your son if you cannot pay. If you cannot afford legal advice, then the Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help with some free guidance. If you need to take the matter to court to apply for a contact order to see your son and cannot afford a solicitor, you can self litigate - please see link here . You may also get a reduction in court fees if you are on a low income.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-17 @ 12:14 PM
I have been paying tbe wife's mortgage and also was a drunk but had rehab been sober and have not been back to the home due to her outbreaks of anger I left her twice over the last 18 months and now have a girlfriend who I share a room with in london can't afford to keep paying her mortgage and not have access I have had him for 12 days in total since Dec then she knew about my new girlfriend who is not a drinker but a yoga teacher and does not use anything and I can't see him my older boys are abusing to me and one time I did not talk or see him for 10 months. I made her a offer that she can keep the house and I will give £400 for my son every month but she said no and I still can't see him or have him if I get back with her I told her that I'm. Not going to go back as I kept on getting depressed being in a relationship that was harming her and me and I just want a divorce but she is Indian and want s to not have shame but I can't lie and live in a relationship that is not based on love and she does not want to give me my son saying I use drugs and drink which I don't . Her whole family mentally abused me and my family last week and my Dee son articles me and my other older son threatened to kill me and he also gave verbal abuse to my parents. They said they would get wittiness that I hit them and make up things so I can't have my son. I saw my son st his school I sneaked there and he is 12 and he asked me to get help and see lawyers so he can spend time with me as he misses me he hates it that his older brothers control him through religion and force and he just wants to see me. I don't have much money as I'm working to pay for her lifestyle and she is in a house with 250k equity in it and I said it's yours I want to move on and start again but want access to my son but no joy
Manj - 21-Mar-17 @ 8:50 PM
Matt - Your Question:
Hi there I'm in court for the 1st time next week to try and obtain a child arrangement order or a contact order. My ex partner refused to agree to mediation so I applied to the court and that's where I'm going now.I haven't seen my 11 year old since last June when she went heme to ask her mother if she could attend my wedding. I just want to no what's best for me to do as I don't just want to attended to be sent back to try mediation. I want a consent order that says as and when I can see my daughter every week alternate weekends. Is this reasonable or is there a better approach?

Our Response:
You will not be sent back to mediation. I'm going to put your question to our Separated Dads Facebook page and ask our members for some help. Please refer to link here for your answers and advice, which you should view objectively. The main plus with your application to see your child is that by applying for it, you have nothing to lose (as you have not seen your child for a year). Therefore, it will be up to the court to decide what it thinks is in your child's best interets (not your ex's). Also, once (if) a contact order is put in place, your ex will be warned that she has to stick to it. While much depends upon the circumstances surrounding the disagreement, the court in general does want fathers to have contact with their children. I hope this helps and best of luck.
SeparatedDads - 17-Mar-17 @ 11:11 AM
Hi there I'm in court for the 1st time next week to try and obtain a child arrangement order or a contact order. My ex partner refused to agree to mediation so I applied to the court and that's where I'm going now. I haven't seen my 11 year old since last June when she went heme to ask her mother if she could attend my wedding. I just want to no what's best for me to do as I don't just want to attended to be sent back to try mediation. I want a consent order that says as and when I can see my daughter every week alternate weekends. Is this reasonable or is there a better approach?
Matt - 16-Mar-17 @ 5:56 PM
Curlykev - Your Question:
My ex has said she will no longer allow me to see my two children. My ex has a drink and drug problem wich she denies. It all started because my eldest and I had a row and she wouldnt come with me Saturday I tried to explain to my ex but she just said tuff deal with it. As I have to catch 2 buses to wear I live I told her apart from dragging her wot am I supposed to do with that she off loaded a torent of abuse and attacked me snatched my 5 year old of me and told me Im not seeing the kids again and if I wanted to see them Id have to take it to court. I really dont want to drag the kids through all this. I was thinking of calling social services about her drink and drug use as Im being told all she does is scream and shout at them. Im at my witss end and this is really effecting me as I miss them so much.

Our Response:
If you can't resolve the issues between you, in the first instance you would have to suggest your ex attends mediation in order to try to resolve the issues between you, please see link here. If your ex still refuses, then please see link here which explains the procedure you would have to take. Seeking legal advice is also an option to consider.
SeparatedDads - 27-Feb-17 @ 2:36 PM
My ex has said she will no longer allow me to see my two children. My ex has a drink and drug problem wich she denies. It all started because my eldest and I had a row and she wouldnt come with me Saturday I tried to explain to my ex but she just said tuff deal with it. As I have to catch 2 buses to wear I live I told her apart from dragging her wot am I supposed to do with that she off loaded a torent of abuse and attacked me snatched my 5 year old of me and told me Im not seeing the kids again and if I wanted to see them Id have to take it to court. I really dont want to drag the kids through all this. I was thinking of calling social services about her drink and drug use as Im being told all she does is scream and shout at them. Im at my witss end and this is really effecting me as I miss them so much.
Curlykev - 27-Feb-17 @ 10:04 AM
So my little girl was born 6 weeks ago and her father is on the birth certificate , he has made no effort with her what so ever since she turned 3 days old. I ask him near enough every day or every other day if he wants to see her and he makes out that his going to work , then I later on find out he has been going to the pub. He smokes drugs as well , it took me every bit of strength I had in me to let him have my little girl for a few hours on his own today as he wanted time alone just the 2 of them to bond. We agreed a time to drop her of and to be collected . I took her over their when I arrived he told me he was taking her out with a friend to a job & to paint a door for work. I wasn't happy about as she breathes heavy so paint wouldn't be good especially at 6 weeks old. I said I would wait with my daughter at his house until he got back and he could see her later. He had been messaging throughout the day to say she was ok ,ect. Later on this evening I found out he took her to the pub so lied to me when he new this was the first time I've ever left her so was nervous as hell anyway and very emotional .... He too her to the pub and got a lift home off a friend who I'm positive and believe he was drink driving with her in the car and I found all this out from someone else. He smokes a lot of drugs and is now claiming to take me to court , I've never stopped him from seeing her but after my trust has been broken and he won't tell me where his taking her , I don't want him seeing her alone as I can't trust him anymore , can he do this? Would he get anywhere?
Lol - 26-Feb-17 @ 10:49 PM
Joey - Your Question:
Can someone give me some please. I have my child evey Other Friday. Till the Saturday evening but his mum don't stick to her times and. And don't take him back. And I'm having to ring up work as I can't attend as I have my child to look after. Can I contact a court to arrange set times. Or any think like that thanks

Our Response:
As court is always seen as a last resort, you would have to suggest mediation first to your ex in order to try to resolve the issue out of court. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:32 PM
Can someone give me some please .I have my child evey Other Friday . Till the Saturday evening but his mum don't stick to her times and. And don't take him back . And I'm having to ring up workas I can't attend as I have my child to look after . Can I contact a court to arrange set times . Or any think like that thanks
Joey - 20-Feb-17 @ 4:40 PM
my wife deprive me from my own daughter that i never ever met
sariezz - 10-Feb-17 @ 1:31 AM
LittleH - Your Question:
My son has done everything his ex has asked for and yet she still refuses accessWhen my grandson was barely a year she handed him over to my son as she couldn't cope but when he applied for the financial help (of which she was getting) she picked him up for her regular weekly visit and refused to bring him back. After this she stopped him from seeing him and since then contact has been irregular or non existent due to her changing the goal posts He went through a contact centre at her request and she then refused access after 4 visits. Next he went mediation at her request she refused saying take me to courtJust before Xmas she decided he could see his child which went great all through December and beginning of Jan and then one weekend she said no more visits as you're a useless father and have your priorities wrong I know my son is no angel but this poor boy just wants to see his father Where do we go from here as I truly believe bat even if we go to court she will still refuse him access

Our Response:
If a court order is put in place, it comes with a warning notice, which is there to enforce contact orders that are not being complied with. Since 2008, the breach proved against the non-compliant party may result in the offending parent having to undertake up to 200 hours unpaid work, or pay compensation to reimburse any financial loss suffered as a result of the breach. It means the court can hold the persistent offender in contempt of court. If your son is not being granted access to his child, then sometimes the only option is court to make sure a strict agreement is put in place. But if your son is seen as unreliable, or inconsistent the court will take this in to consideration as much as it takes the mother's reasoning on board. Plus, he too will have to keep to the order, not just his ex. At the end of the day, the paramount consideration of the court will not be the parent's -but the welfare of the child. If your son does not wish to take the matter to court, then his only other option is to suggest mediation again in order to try to overcome their differences mutually.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-17 @ 12:24 PM
My son has done everything his ex has asked for and yet she still refuses access When my grandson was barely a year she handed him over to my son as she couldn't cope but when he applied for the financial help (of which she was getting) she picked him up for her regular weekly visit and refused to bring him back. After this she stopped him from seeing him and since then contact has been irregular or non existent due to her changing the goal posts He went through a contact centre at her request and she then refused access after 4 visits. Next he went mediation at her request she refused saying take me to court Just before Xmas she decided he could see his child which went great all through December and beginning of Jan and then one weekend she said no more visits as you're a useless father and have your priorities wrong I know my son is no angel but this poor boy just wants to see his father Where do we go from here as I truly believe bat even if we go to court she will still refuse him access
LittleH - 5-Feb-17 @ 8:16 PM
Hi I've got a court order stating I should have my daughter every other weekendto stay over went great for a while then she stopped it and all I get now is that my daughter doesn't want to see me anymorejust need some advice on what to do now
keish - 4-Feb-17 @ 3:14 PM
Hi there iam very lucky to have access to my little boy however my Ex now wishes to take one of the days away that we had already agreed from my schedule. This has been refer to her solictors, however i am not sure what to do or who to contact so to stop her from changing the agreed arrangements? Please help thanks
Kenneth - 10-Jan-17 @ 7:16 PM
I separated from my ex when my little daughter wasn't even born as we just hated each other since she has been born she has stopped me seeing her numerous amounts of time for several months a time been to court for an agreement yet she broke it after 1 week courts did nothing police did nothing now currently refusing me to see her what can I do
Michael g - 29-Dec-16 @ 10:51 AM
Can anyone give me a number so I can fill out the C100 form out correctly and also ask questions regarding the contact order. Thanks.
Allan - 22-Dec-16 @ 11:33 AM
i already try mediation and when mediation try to contact my ex she say its not point to go there because my kids dont want see me.The question is im raise my kids until i divorce and after divorce im start be bad father how is possible is i dont see them,and another think i try in school to now anything about them and headteacher don t give information,its possible me not allowed to see kids or now anything about they without court order?
edugarrido80 - 13-Dec-16 @ 6:06 AM
Frankguy - Your Question:
Hi,it nearly 2 yrs from now that my x partner evicted me from the house that I was the one paying the rent ,she denied me access to see my two lovely boys 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 years boys,I try to resolve the issue that arise.but she did not want to answer my call when I called her,I don't know what to to do now

Our Response:
You can either suggest mediation in order to try to resolve the matter out of court, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me, here. If your ex will not consent to this, as suggested in the article, you would have to apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 12-Dec-16 @ 2:31 PM
Hi,it nearly 2 yrs from now that my x partner evicted me from the house that I was the one paying the rent ,she denied me access to see my two lovely boys 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 years boys,I try to resolve the issue that arise ...but she did not want to answer my call when I called her,I don't know what to to do now
Frankguy - 12-Dec-16 @ 4:56 AM
D - Your Question:
I have been affected by this for years, and its just taking a really bad toll on my brother. His and his wife(ex) first mistake was growing so bitter towards each other and not communicating, that it did end in divorce, but now the kids are so brain washed, and the church people are her side, that the kids do not even talk to him. Us (his family) aren't allowed to see them, and don't know anything about them, or what their hobbies/interests are, etc., We see them, and they look the other way. He pays for the house they live in, and gives support and alimony, etc., I see my brother getting depressed every day, and the hardest is birthdays and Fathers Day, to where he says I have NO kids. If I can get a "contact order" and start the ball rolling, I will. The kids are almost of legal age, and could not have a chance the longer we wait. I heard one of the children sleeps with her. and I can get Child services on her, which I will if I have to. Is there any recourse???

Our Response:
As we are a UK-based site and it seems you may be US based, then I'm afraid we cannot comment upon your question as the family law rules will be different. However, what is not different is every father's right to have a relationship with their children when and where possible. Your brother would have to apply through the courts if he ex is denying his right to see his children. Much also depends upon the age of the children and whether they are old enough for their opinion to be taken into consideration.
SeparatedDads - 9-Nov-16 @ 11:12 AM
I have been affected by this for years, and its just taking a really bad toll on my brother.His and his wife(ex) first mistake was growing so bitter towards each other and not communicating, that it did end in divorce, but now the kids are so brain washed, and the church people are her side, that the kids do not even talk to him.Us (his family) aren't allowed to see them, and don't know anything about them, or what their hobbies/interests are, etc.,We see them, and they look the other way. He pays for the house they live in, and gives support and alimony, etc.,I see my brother getting depressed every day, and the hardest is birthdays and Fathers Day, to where he says I have NO kids. If I can get a "contact order" and start the ball rolling, I will.The kids are almost of legal age, and could not have a chance the longer we wait.I heard one of the children sleeps with her... and I can get Child services on her, which I will if I have to. Is there any recourse???
D - 8-Nov-16 @ 3:11 PM
Jim - Your Question:
Hi please help I split with my es three years ago I'v had my daughter every weekend since the split and I pay money to her every week but one week ago unbeknown to me my brother who I hardly ever see wrote some nasty comments on Facebook for my ex to see and she came to my house took my daughter and told me I wasn't going to see her until I move into my own place. I am living at my mothers home as I can't get my own place due to the fact that with the split she left me with so much debt cans you let me know where I stand with this situation

Our Response:
I'm afraid you would have to seek legal advice with a view of taking the matter to court (as specified in the article). Please also see article: When your Ex-Partner Denies you Access here.
SeparatedDads - 27-Oct-16 @ 2:21 PM
Hi please help I split with my es three years ago I'v had my daughter every weekend since the split and I pay money to her every week but one week ago unbeknown to me my brother who I hardly ever see wrote some nasty comments on Facebook for my ex to see and she came to my house took my daughter and told me I wasn't going to see her until I move into my own place . I am living at my mothers home as I can't get my own place due to the fact that with the split she left me with so much debt cans you let me know where I stand with this situation
Jim - 27-Oct-16 @ 1:10 AM
My partners ex is refusing to sign forms for a contact centre for him to see his kids he wants to see is kids but not her what can he do
caz - 25-Oct-16 @ 7:24 PM
Bill - Your Question:
Help guys I need advice. My wife has walked out saying she can't do it any more. We have very rarely had cross words, had two amazing kids and she got anything that she wanted. I have offered her the the family home, she didn't want it. Just wants ours sold.Now its the kids. They are my world and I was under the impression that it would be half with her and half with me and she agreed to that but not on paper. Now it's yes still half with me and half with her "FOR NOW" I'd have them with me 24/7 full time dad and all that. For you guys that have been there, what would the chances of me getting custody of my kids. I want nothing from her in financial terms.

Our Response:
Regardless of being a full-time dad, if your wife has walked out with the kids and they are residing with her, then this lessens your chances of full custody as they will have established a routine, and the courts will do all they can not to upset that. If you can't come to an amicable agreement between you, then I suggest you seek legal advice. But court is always a last resort and is very stressful and can backfire. If you can, try and keep it on good terms and keep the notion of shared-care as your option, please see link here. Trying to maintain a good relationship is a better option long term, than dragging the issue through court. If you're looking for a more secure agreement, then mediation may also help here, please see link here . Besides, the courts are unlikely to accept a court application until mediation has been explored. It is common when couples first split up to plunge into taking knee-jerk reactions as a way of trying to keep control of a situation. However, it is not always the best route to take, whereas trying to remain supportive of each other for the sake of your kids is.
SeparatedDads - 25-Oct-16 @ 12:40 PM
Help guys I need advice. My wife has walked out saying she can't do it any more. We have very rarely had cross words, had two amazing kids and she got anything that she wanted. I have offered her the the family home, she didn't want it. Just wants ours sold. Now its the kids. They are my world and I was under the impression that it would be half with her and half with me and she agreed to that but not on paper. Now it's yes still half with me and half with her "FOR NOW" I'd have them with me 24/7 full time dad and all that. For you guys that have been there, what would the chances of me getting custody of my kids. I want nothing from her in financial terms.
Bill - 24-Oct-16 @ 2:09 PM
Pip - Your Question:
I have discovered that my wife is having an affair with another married man and she wants to end our marriage. The whole episode has been a great shock to me as we have been together 16 years and I have never contemplated splitting up. We have one child aged 8 and the thought of not having her around 24/7 is devastating. If my wife moves out of the marital home before any formal financial/custody arrangements are made, what rights do I have to see my daughter? Surely I am not at my wife's mercy as to when I can and cannot see her if this happens? In terms of a formal custody settlement, she has mentioned giving me custody of one day per week plus every other weekend, which I find insulting. I consider myself to be a 'hands-on' father and I have a good support network in place and I would want to fight for equal custody. However, I know that the law favours the mother in these instances, even if she is one who wants to break up the family. Are there any solicitors who actually specialize in defending fathers rights or do all solicitors have to remain 'neutral' in their approach? I appreciate that my child's needs must always come first but I believe that restricting my access to just 4 days a fortnight would not serve best serve this.Thanking you in anticipation.

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. Most parents will decide between them quite amicably, as both have parental responsibility which in essence means parenting should be equal. However, there are some couples that will argue about access, especially where the resident-parent is convinced they have all the control. A solicitor will always defend the client's position, so you will get help here. Court is always seen as the last resort, mediation is considered the next option when parents can't agree, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. But some legal advice will allow you to explore your options in the first instance. I hope you manage to sort this out between you.
SeparatedDads - 9-Sep-16 @ 10:37 AM
I have discovered that my wife is having an affair with another married man and she wants to end our marriage. The whole episode has been a great shock to me as we have been together 16 years and I have never contemplated splitting up. We have one child aged 8 and the thought of not having her around 24/7 is devastating. If my wife moves out of the marital home before any formal financial/custody arrangements are made, what rights do I have to see my daughter? Surely I am not at my wife's mercy as to when I can and cannot see her if this happens? In terms of a formal custody settlement, she has mentioned giving me custody of one day per week plus every other weekend, which I find insulting. I consider myself to be a 'hands-on' father and I have a good support network in place and I would want to fight for equal custody. However, I know that the law favours the mother in these instances, even if she is one who wants to break up the family. Are there any solicitors who actually specialize in defending fathers rights or do all solicitors have to remain 'neutral' in their approach? I appreciate that my child's needs must always come first but I believe that restricting my access to just 4 days a fortnight would not serve best serve this.Thanking you in anticipation.
Pip - 8-Sep-16 @ 5:37 PM
Niki - Your Question:
Hello, I really need help and or advice. My ex partner recently moved to a new address in a city which is different from mind and have stopped me from seeing my son. Now I want to obtain a contact order have spoken with a family solicitor but he is telling me we can't make an application until we have the address of my ex partner where the court will contact her through. It is difficult to trace her and she told I will never see my son and will never know where she live. Am I don't know what to do at the moment.

Our Response:
Your solicitor should have informed you that you can apply for a trace to be put on your child by filling in the C4 form which is an application for an order for disclosure of a child's whereabouts. This can be sent alongside your contact application, see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-16 @ 11:28 AM
Hello, I really need help and or advice. My ex partner recently moved to a new address in a city which is different from mind and have stopped me from seeing my son. Now I want to obtain a contact order have spoken with a family solicitor but he is telling me we can'tmake an application until we have the address of my ex partner where the court will contact her through. It is difficult to trace her and she told I will never see my son and will never know where she live. Am I don't know what to do at the moment.
Niki - 6-Sep-16 @ 2:40 PM
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