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Enforcement of Child Arrangements Orders

21 October 2019

Sharon McKie

Occasionally child arrangements break down and people named in a Child Arrangements Order breach the order.  Whilst there are occasions where it may be necessary to breach an order, for example when there is a serious risk of harm to the children, there are occasions when people breach the order for no other reason than that they do not wish to comply with it.

This can be frustrating, particularly if you’ve gone to the expense of going through the court process to obtain the Child Arrangements Order.

If you have a Child Arrangements Order, you will notice that the front page of the Order carries a warning notice which explains the consequences of it being breached.

 The court has a wide range of powers to deal with the enforcement of an order. 

Sections 11J-11N of the Children Act 1989 allow the court to order unpaid work of up to 200 hours, upon the person breaching the order.  This is a lot like community service.  The court can also impose a fine or committal to prison under the Family Court (Contempt of Court) (Powers) Regulations 2014.

If the Order was granted before the lay justices (magistrates) the prison sentence will be limited to two months.

The Children Act also allows the court to make a financial compensation order, to cover any financial loss caused by the breach of a Child Arrangements Order.

Please do not hesitate to call Taylor Bracewell if you require any advice in relation to Child Arrangements Orders or enforcement issues.