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How Can I Obtain a Contact Order?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 27 Jun 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
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
I amseeking 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?
Newshoes - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:03 PM
Me and my ex fiance were together 13 years, we split in 2012 and my daughter continued to live with me, at the time we agreed with mediation that my ex would have her weekends and half term/holidays etc. This continued as normal until this year when I sent my daughter to my ex in March he kept her told me he wasn't bringing her back, changed her school and deleted me from all social media and phones.. It is now November he has not allowed me to see or speak to her since he took her. The police cannot help, neither can social services. I miss my daughter every second of every day and just want to see her again..
Charlie - 21-Nov-17 @ 11:26 PM
Sue - Your Question:
I'm a mum of a 9yr old girl. 8 and a half years ago I ended up with postnatal depression and really bad anxiety, my partner of then told me he couldn't be with me until I got myself sorted so I moved in with my parents and he kept my daughter while I got better, when my medication started to work I went back to him. Although he had changed his mind completely so devastated me broke down and stayed with my parents. I had to look after my other daughter from a relationship 3years before hand.anyway long story short I saw her regularly but he met someone else and has now moved away I saw her less and less, then my nasty anxiety appeared again,I have phoned him messaged him but nothing. I haven't seen her in nearly a year it hurts so much. HOW CAN I SEE HER AGAIN? before she starts thinking I don't care or love her. If only I wasn't ill years ago my baby's would be together with me.

Our Response:
If your ex is denying you access, then you would have to apply to court (if he will not agree to attending mediation), please see link here . This will tell you what you should do in the circumstances. 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. However, the court does want both parents to have a relationship with their child, so unless there is a justifiable reason why you shouldn't be given access then access should be reinstated. If you cannot afford legal representation, you can self litigate, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 24-Oct-17 @ 10:06 AM
I'm a mum of a 9yr old girl. 8 and a half years ago I ended up with postnatal depression and really bad anxiety, my partner of then told me he couldn't be with me until I got myself sorted so I moved in with my parents and he kept my daughter while I got better, when my medication started to work I went back to him. Although he had changed his mind completely so devastated me broke down and stayed with my parents. I had to look after my other daughter from a relationship 3years before hand.anyway long story short I saw her regularly but he met someone else and has now moved away I saw her less and less, then my nasty anxiety appeared again,I have phoned him messaged him but nothing. I haven't seen her in nearly a year it hurts so much. HOW CAN I SEE HER AGAIN? before she starts thinking I don't care or love her. If only I wasn't ill years ago my baby's would be together with me.
Sue - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:34 PM
Hi I splitt up with my youngest daughters father a year ago.... he used to hAve my daughter every Saturday night.... until i got with my new partner he started demanding that he has her all weekend everyweekend which I don't think is fair as she's at school now and my family work and want to see her on a weekend too.... I've told him he can have her every other weekend pick her up on a Friday and drop her off sunday dinner timeso i have time to get her settled and ready for school mon but this is not good enough for him.... when he has her it's always on his terms when I get her back.... and this isn't fair.... he hasnt seen my daughter for 2 weeks now as i want legal advice on what i can do... he also sends me and my new partnet threats and abuse via text he qont attend meditation can I represent myself in court to get him access that is good for us both
Kleigh46 - 5-Oct-17 @ 3:58 PM
Gra1974 - Your Question:
Hi. I have a 5yr old daughter who I see on a very regular basis. The trouble is my ex. She loves her social life which means I have my daughter more than her which to me is a great thing. She has recently found a new partner and now she is starting to take my daughter off me for the days that I have her. As soon as I raise my concern she tells me I can’t see my daughter anymore. Seems she uses my daughter as her weapon towards me as she knows I love my daughter being with me. Recently I booked to go away and when I told my ex I couldn’t have my daughter on that particular weekend she once again said I can’t see her anymore. I cancelled my weekend (again) and within 30 mins of doing it she told me that I can see my daughter again. I can’t go on with all this and wondered what I can do? Thanks.

Our Response:
Your only recourse in situations such as this is to either agree between yourselves, consider mediation and if your ex refuses mediation you would have (as a last resort) the option to apply to court, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 2-Oct-17 @ 10:59 AM
Hi. I have a 5yr old daughter who I see on a very regular basis. The trouble is my ex. She loves her social life which means I have my daughter more than her which to me is a great thing. She has recently found a new partner and now she is starting to take my daughter off me for the days that I have her. As soon as I raise my concern she tells me I can’t see my daughter anymore. Seems she uses my daughter as her weapon towards me as she knows I love my daughter being with me. Recently I booked to go away and when I told my ex I couldn’t have my daughter on that particular weekend she once again said I can’t see her anymore. I cancelled my weekend (again) and within 30 mins of doing it she told me that I can see my daughter again. I can’t go on with all this and wondered what I can do? Thanks.
Gra1974 - 1-Oct-17 @ 10:12 AM
My wife filed for divorce 4 weeks after returning to the UK with our children in April 2016 , after living in Asia for 12 years. We have two children (Daughter 9 years of age born in Hong Kong and Son 4 years of age born in Singapore) I’ve had to remain in Singapore in my to meet my financial responsibilities as set out in the FDR. We have an informal contact agreement which means I see the children in every school holiday total of 5 weeks a year with every alternate Christmas, I’m currently flying back to the UK. My ex-wife is becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with, demanding I take my children to specific locations within the UK and undertake specific activities with them. They reside in Leeds and I’ve informed her I want to spend a week in Surrey , and she claims it’s too far away and she will not allow it. I was in the UK for summer holidays (August), and we spent that time in the Cotswold’s approx. the same distance away from Leeds. I want to be able to spend time with my children where and how I please, they have immediate family (grandmother , Aunty & Uncle) in Australia that they’ve not seen in over 18mth do to her refusal to allow the kids to travel, which she claims is in the children’s best interest. I’ve gone through the C100 document and it appears under Section13e – Other exemptions – As the prospective applicant or all of the prospective respondents are not habitually resident in England and Wales . I do not have to go through MIAM Can I get a contact order that states I can take the children wherever I choose and do things that we enjoy as a family? No I need to be physically present in court at the direction hearing and subsequent hearings? As I reside in Singapore in a highly demanding job. I also need the children to fly unaccompanied to Singapore when they both reach the legal age to do so as its not practical from a financial standpoint for me to travel to Leeds to pick them up and take them to Australia.
O - 27-Sep-17 @ 9:24 AM
Tez93 - Your Question:
Hello, my partner has a 3 year old son, his ex is now denying him contact because she doesn't like my partners mum and doesn't want her son to see her, my partner collects his ex and son from nursery everyday to take them home which is out of his way just so he can see his son for 5 minutes before he falls asleep in the car. She is still happy for him to do this because she gets a lift home. But will not let my partner see his son or have him overnight when he had him once /twice a night in the week and then every Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday morning. He buys his son anything he needs and pays off a loan in his name that she needed him to get out to pay her debts so he pays £200 a month towards that aswell as anything for his son. Where does he stand he is so scared. What can he do. His ex has also lied to authorities for the past 3 years claiming he has nothing to do with his son when he was living with her on and off and always everyday there for his son. I've honestly never known such an amazing dad.

Our Response:
The fact your partner financially supports his son does not have any bearing on whether he can or cannot have access, so this is an area not be confused. Unfortunately, your partner has two options if him and his ex disagree and that is to either suggest mediation as a way of sorting access out and if his ex refuses, take the matter to court, please see link here. I'm afraid it is a difficult decision for your partner to make as going to court can mean his ex may deny access until the court date. However, unless his ex can provide good reason why your partner's son shouldn't have contact with his son, then the court has no reason to prevent it. Likewise, if your partner has had consistent access to his son, then the court will put in place access arrangements which means his ex will have to keep to the order. I can only recommend your partner seeks legal advice in order to explore his options and to see whether he wishes to push ahead with taking the matter further. If he doesn't his ex will be allowed by default to consistently call the shots.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-17 @ 9:55 AM
Hello, my partner has a 3 year old son, his ex is now denying him contact because she doesn't like my partners mum and doesn't want her son to see her, my partner collects his ex and son from nursery everyday to take them home which is out of his way just so he can see his son for 5 minutes before he falls asleep in the car. She is still happy for him to do this because she gets a lift home. But will not let my partner see his son or have him overnight when he had him once /twice a night in the week and then every Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday morning... He buys his son anything he needs and pays off a loan in his name that she needed him to get out to pay her debts so he pays £200 a month towards that aswell as anything for his son. Where does he stand he is so scared.. What can he do. His ex has also lied to authorities for the past 3 years claiming he has nothing to do with his son when he was living with her on and off and always everyday there for his son. I've honestly never known such an amazing dad.
Tez93 - 21-Sep-17 @ 12:57 AM
vic - Your Question:
My son has a 1 year old who he has parental responsibility for and has him every other weekend, his ex has done everything she possibly can to stop the little boy from seeing his dad, she tried to get a non molistation order against him, it was thrown out of court, they are in court in two weeks for access and now today ive been told she's considering moving south and we live in the midlands, is there anything my son can do to stop her, hes paid maintenance since day one and even that isn't good enough , we're at out wits end.

Our Response:
Yes, your son can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if he thinks his ex is doing this deliberately and may take the child without his consent. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children and not request permission from the other parent with parental responsibility. 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. If your son has PR, his ex has to request his permission to move away, if he refuses, then she has to apply to court for the court to grant permission. However, not all resident parents do this and of course, once the move has been made, it is very difficult to get the resident parent to move back.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-17 @ 11:14 AM
My son has a 1 year old who he has parental responsibility for and has him every other weekend, his ex has done everything she possibly can to stop the little boy from seeing his dad, she tried to get a non molistation order against him, it was thrown out of court, they are in court in two weeks for access and now today ive been told she's considering moving south and we live in the midlands, is there anything my son can do to stop her, hes paid maintenance since day one and even that isn't good enough , we're at out wits end.
vic - 6-Sep-17 @ 10:03 AM
Mattyb - Your Question:
Hi, I'm trying to arrange alternate Christmas with my sons mom and she's point blank said no as she has two children and dont like that fact that our son won't be there Christmas Day but I also have 2 sons and a daughter on the way, for the past 8 years she's had him every Christmas and birthday Iv asked about Christmas a few times and it always no! I don't want it to get heated or nasty but it should be 50/50! What's my next step?

Our Response:
If your ex does not agree, then mediation is the next step, please see link here . If your ex refuses, or the mediation process breaks down, then you can take the matter to court via a Specific Issue Order, please see link here . 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 - 31-Aug-17 @ 10:19 AM
Chachi - Your Question:
Hello, I Will like to get in touch with my son, We have'nt seen each Other in 11 years. After a ver y dificult divorcie, I'd made several mistakes, and went throught health issues; as a result I mover Backup to Lima Perú (from San Francisco ), 2 years ago.I miss him tremendously, He just turned 14 2 days ago.How can I hey in touch with him?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, as we are a UK-based site I cannot advise, not knowing the US protocol. You would have to seek guidance from a local family-law adviser. Best of luck.
SeparatedDads - 31-Aug-17 @ 9:40 AM
Hello, I Will like to get in touch with my son, We have'nt seen each Other in 11 years. After a ver y dificult divorcie, I'd made several mistakes, and went throught health issues; as a result I mover Backup to Lima Perú (from San Francisco ), 2 years ago. I miss him tremendously, He just turned 14 2 days ago. How can I hey in touch with him?
Chachi - 30-Aug-17 @ 1:10 AM
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