What is a child arrangement order?
A child arrangement order is a legal mandate that specifies the living arrangements, visiting schedule and also contact requirements with any other individuals. The terms of the order are always unique to each family as everyone will have different circumstance. These are determined based on the child’s best interests. The authority for child arrangements orders is established under section 8 of the children act 1989.
How are changes made in a child arrangement order?
It is common for family relations to undergo change over time. Children in particular as they grow have evolving needs and may require adjustments to their living arrangements, visiting schedule and also other aspects of their care. In recognition of this the court permits application for the change of existing child arrangement orders.
However, any person seeking to modify the existing order must show that their proposed changes are in the best intertest of the child. To demonstrate that the proposed changes are in the child’s best interests, the applicant may need to provide evidence or make arguments that explain how the modifications will improve the child’s quality of life . The evidence could include a demonstration that the child are developed new hobbies and relationships which may require a change in the living arrangements or visiting schedules.
Ultimately, the court will evaluate the proposed changes in the content of the unique circumstances of a particular family and the child’s welfare. If the court determines that the modifications are in the child’s best interest, a new child arrangement order will be issued, which will reflect the updated arrangements.
What happens when a child arrangement order is breached?
Once a child arrangement order has been granted by the court, it is the responsibility of the parties involved to adhere to its terms. The court however does not monitor child arrangements orders once the final order has been granted and therefore would not be aware of any breaches made in the agreement. The only way the court could be aware of any breaches is if a formal application for enforcement is made.
If a party has failed to comply with the terms of the child arrangement order, the other party maybe apply for an enforcement order. The court will grant an enforcement order if it is satisfied that the a person has actually failed to comply with the orders within the child arrangement order. If the court determine that there is a reasonable reason for failing to comply with an order, then it will not make an enforcement order.
Section 11K of the Children Act 1989 provides the leal framework for enforcing child arrangement orders. When the court makes an enforcement order, it can impose a range of sanctions depending on what the circumstances are. These may include issuing a warning, imposing a fine, requiring the person to do community service or in some extreme cases a prison sentence.
It is important to note that applying for an enforcement order is a serious step and should be the last resort when all other attempts to solve the matter have failed.
Speak to a family law solicitor
If you need legal advice relating to family law or child arrangement orders, get in touch with our expert team on 0161 503 0553. We can outline what your options are and act in your best interest to ensure you protect your family, safety and finances.