What to do if your ex isn’t following the Child Arrangement Order?

Obtaining a Child Arrangement Order can be a lengthy and complex process. And, things can become even more stressful if you’ve received the final order and the arrangements are not being complied with.

If you believe this breach is worth further enforcement by the Court, there are several steps you can take to build a successful case. In this article, we’ll be discussing what to do if your ex-partner isn’t following the rules of your Child Arrangement Order.


What to do if your ex isn’t following the Child Arrangement Order?

Understanding the Child Arrangement Order

A Child Arrangement Order is an order from the Court that clearly outlines the arrangements for the child(ren) following divorce. It typically includes where the child will live and how often they will spend time with each parent. This is a legally binding order made on the parents of the child.

The Child Arrangement Order will determine who gets main custody of the child, as well as state the terms for visitation rights, if applicable. Many divorced parents choose to apply for a Child Arrangement Order when both cannot agree on how to split the care of the child.

It is incredibly important for both parents to follow the Court’s decision for the child’s best interests. If a parent breaches the conditions, they will be in contempt of the Court, which could result in fines, enforcement orders, or unpaid community work.

Unfortunately, though, these orders aren’t always complied with. If you are experiencing difficulties with trying to get your ex-partner to comply with the conditions of the order, you may be able to build a case to take to Court.


Documenting non-compliance

Try to keep detailed records of all instances where your ex-partner isn’t adhering to the arrangements of the order. Write down all the times your ex hasn’t come to visit your child, or perhaps hasn’t allowed you to see your child.

It’s recommended you keep a journal to keep track of times and dates which could help support your case. If you’ve received threatening messages or clear breaches of the order via text, don’t forget to screenshot these for future evidence.


Communication and mediation

Open communication is crucial to ensure both parents can come to some form of agreement before taking legal action. Listen to each other’s concerns and understand where you can both make compromises.

Family mediation can help resolve disputes and find common ground. You can seek the help of a professionally trained mediator to help you and your ex come to a decision, following the breakdown of the relationship.

When children are involved, it’s important to consider their feelings throughout the situation. Try to act in a way that benefits them and leave any resentment towards your partner at the door.


Legal assistance

If communication and mediation efforts prove unsuccessful, it’s worth considering the help of a children’s solicitor. While the legal process can be daunting, receiving the support and advice from a professional can give you the reassurance you need to build your case.

If the order isn’t being followed, the matters must be returned to the Court to enforce the original agreement. You can make an application for enforcement of a Court order and these must be dealt with without delay. A hearing will usually be listed within 20 working days of receipt of the application.


Emergency situations

If your ex has ignored the rules of the order and has taken your child away from you, their safety may be at risk. Safeguarding concerns will usually be raised in the final Child Arrangement Order, but this may be out of your control if your ex hasn’t complied with the terms.

If you find yourself in an emergency, you must contact your local Child Protection Services or 999 for the police. Your child is the number one priority and their wellbeing is paramount.


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