Dealing with a Breach of Child Arrangement Order

Navigating through a divorce or separation can be challenging, especially when there are children involved. The introduction of child arrangements orders aims to simplify the process for everyone involved whilst prioritising the well-being of the children. However, there may be instances where one party fails to adhere to a child arrangement order, resulting in a breach. If left unresolved, this can escalate into a significant problem. In such situations, seeking guidance from a specialised family solicitor is crucial as they can provide support throughout the process.

Child arrangement orders establish the schedule for children to spend time with each parent after a separation. These orders serve as a legal intervention when couples are unable to agree on custody arrangements. Since December 8th, 2008, these orders include explicit warnings to both parents regarding the importance of following the set guidelines and the potential consequences of non-compliance.

Failing to comply with a child arrangement order requires proving a reasonable excuse, which becomes difficult if a pattern of non-compliance exists. Penalties for breaching such orders can include fines, asset seizure, compensation for financial loss, unpaid work, enforcement order or variation of the original order, and in exceptional cases, imprisonment. If unable to comply, it is advised to communicate with the other party for a possible resolution. Consulting a solicitor should be done promptly if an amicable resolution is not achievable.

If you suspect non-compliance with a child arrangement order, try resolving the issue through communication or mediation. Court action should be a last resort due to time and expense. If resolution is not possible, apply for a child enforcement order, provided the original order had a warning notice. Complete Form C79 and pay the application fee, which may be waived in certain circumstances. The court will assess the case, considering reasons for the breach, evidence from both parties, the impact on the child, the child’s best interests, the need for parenting programs or involvement of CAFCASS, and possible referral to the local authority. It is advised that you seek legal advice before pursuing enforcement to ensure understanding and preparation.

If you suspect a violation of your established child arrangement order or if you are facing accusations of non-compliance, Thursfields can help. To obtain further information on how we can provide support please call us on 0345 2073 7 8 or email us on To read the full version of this article, visit: Dealing with a Breach of Child Arrangement Order | Thursfields Law Firm

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