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What Happens When a Parent Breaches a Child Arrangement Order?

When a court issues an order, it is legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved. Unfortunately, there are instances where one parent may disregard or breach a court order, causing frustration and potential harm to the child and the other parent. This article aims to shed light on the consequences and legal recourse available when a parent breaches a court order in the context of family law.

Types of Court Order Breaches

A parent can breach a court order in various ways. Some common examples include:

  • Denying visitation rights - One parent refuses to allow the other parent to spend their court-ordered time with the child.
  • Relocating without permission - A parent moves away with the child without obtaining consent from the court or the other parent.
  • Disregarding arrangement order - One parent ignores the arrangement order established by the court.

Consequences of Breaching a Court Order

When a parent breaches a court order, several consequences may follow, including:

Contempt of court

The court may find the non-compliant parent in contempt, which can result in fines, community service, or even imprisonment.

Modification of orders

The court may decide to modify the existing court order to better protect the child's best interests.

Make-up time or compensatory visitation

The court may order the non-compliant parent to provide additional time or compensatory visitation to make up for the missed or denied time.

Legal costs and solicitor's fees

The non-compliant parent may be required to reimburse the other party for legal costs and solicitor's fees incurred due to the breach.

Parental alienation considerations

If one parent consistently undermines the relationship between the child and the other parent, the court may take parental alienation into account when making future decisions. The Court can in extreme situations remove the child from the parent alienating the child and place the child with the other parent.

Seeking Legal Remedies

If a parent finds themselves dealing with a court order breach, it's crucial to take appropriate legal action. The following steps are always recommended in order to assist you in getting the best results. 

Documentation

Keep detailed records of the breaches, including dates, times, and any supporting evidence such as emails, text messages, or witnesses.

Mediation

Attempt mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve the issue without escalating the conflict further.

Consultation with a solicitor

Seek legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor who can guide you through the legal process and represent your interests.

If informal resolution attempts fail, you can apply to  the court to enforce the existing court order and seek appropriate remedies.

A court order breach can have significant implications for both parents and, most importantly, the well-being of the child involved. Understanding the consequences and available legal remedies is crucial for parents who find themselves facing such situations. If you believe a parent has breached a court order, consult with a qualified family law solicitor to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.

If you would like advice regarding your individual circumstances, please contact our family team on 01689 887887.

Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.