My ex-partner is not following the restrictions set out in the child custody agreement

My ex-partner is not following the restrictions set out in the child custody agreement

It might be challenging to co-parent with a former spouse or partner after the breakup of the relationship. It is not uncommon for separated parents to have divergent opinions regarding contact arrangements, house rules, holidays, and maintenance expense allocations.

Make an effort to have a conversation with your former partner if you notice that they are not abiding by the guidelines you have established for the visitation arrangements for your children. Make efforts to communicate in a level-headed manner to cut down on disagreements. This will also assist in minimising any potential adverse effects on your children.

In order to ensure the health and well-being of their children, a parent could have no choice but to disobey restrictions set out in a child custody agreement if they want to safeguard their children’s interests. An order issued by a judge in the family court is considered to be legally enforceable and must be complied with at all times unless there is a good reason not to do so. This obligation must be met regardless of the circumstances. It is a major crime to disobey a child custody agreement, and there may be severe repercussions in the event that one of the parties has violated a court order.

What are the repercussions of disobeying an order issued by the court?

Family court orders are frequently susceptible to being disobeyed by one of the parties. Defying a court order is most frequently seen in situations involving child visitation or maintenance obligations. When it comes to contact with the child, one of the parents may violate the court order that mandates them to make arrangements for the other parent to have visitation or contact.

In certain circumstances, a violation of a court order would not be judged to have occurred if there was only a slight deviation from the order that was issued. This could include situations in which one party has notified the other party that they are unable to comply with the court order because of a job or other commitments that they have made in their life. If one party persistently disobeys an order issued by a family court and there is no valid justification for the violation, the court has the authority to issue an enforcement order if it is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that a violation of the order has taken place.

If the family court decides to issue an enforcement order, that order will be overseen by the probation service and the violating party will be required to perform between 40 and 200 hours of unpaid community service if the order is upheld. An application for financial compensation can be submitted to the family court if a party violates an order they have issued, which subsequently results in the party suffering a loss of financial resources.

How to enforce a family court order?

A warning letter that outlines the potential repercussions that could be imposed if the order is violated is included in all contact orders that have been issued by a family court since the month of December 2008. In the event that a court order is violated, a party that wishes to seek an enforcement order cannot do so if the order does not include a warning notice as a prerequisite. If, on the other hand, a court order was issued before the month of December 2008, then an application must be filed to the court in order to have a warning notice attached to the court order. In order to make a request to the family court for a warning notice to be attached to the court order, Form C78 needs to be filled out and then presented to the court.

It is necessary to fill out an application form and hand it into the family court in order to make a request for an enforcement order. The use of Form C79 is required in order to submit an application to enforce an order. When this form has been finished, it can be sent to the family court that issued the first order, or to any other court that has the authority to hear issues involving family law.

Is it possible for one parent to prevent a child from visiting the other parent?

It is essential to keep in mind that it is a child’s legal right to maintain a relationship with both of their parents throughout their lifetime. A parent has no right to prevent their child from visiting the other parent unless doing so would compromise the child’s health, safety, or well-being in any way. In some situations in which there is no existing court order in relation to child access and child contact, one parent may try to prevent the child from having a relationship with the other parent in an effort to get custody of the child. However, the health and safety of the child should be the primary concern, rather than the competing personal agendas of the child’s parents who are in conflict.

In the absence of an order from the court, the parties involved in a child custody issue should make every effort to settle it amicably.

In situations in which parents are unable to settle disagreements civilly and peacefully between themselves, child law specialists and mediators can aid via mediation in an effort to attempt to help parents achieve a solution outside of the courtroom. 

What if we can not come to a consensus?

If you and your ex-partner are unable to reach an agreement over the care that should be provided for your children, you will need to participate in mediation or some other type of meeting that focuses on reaching a compromise. This kind of gathering is known as an information and evaluation meeting for mediation (MIAM). You typically go to this event by yourself. The mediator will tell you how he or she can help you and decide if mediation is the right choice for your situation.   If the mediator determines that mediation is not appropriate for the situation, if your former partner refuses to participate in the process, or if joint mediation sessions begin but then fail to progress, the mediator will provide you with a form that will allow you to make an application to the court for orders relating to your children. These include:

Child arrangements order

You have the right to petition the court for a child arrangement order, in which the court will decide where your children should reside and how much time they should spend with each of their parents.

Prohibited steps order

A prohibited steps order is something that a court can issue to prevent a parent from doing something that the other parent does not agree with, such as taking the children out of the region or country, providing them with medical treatment, changing the school that they attend, or associating with someone who could have a negative influence on the children. This does not necessarily mean that a parent is unable to take a child on holiday outside of the country, but it does mean that they will need to make an application to the court for permission to do so if they do not have the consent of all individuals who share parental responsibility for the child. The person who is the holder of an order that certifies the child lives or resides with them is the only exception to this requirement.

Specific issue order

You have the ability to make a request to the court for a specific issue order, which, as the name suggests, deals with the determination of a specific issue relating to parental responsibility, such as the choice of school, religion, medical treatment, or whether or not the parent who has care of the children is permitted to take the children to live abroad.

If there is already an order for a child to have contact with the other parent, that parent cannot prevent the child from seeing the other parent because that would amount to contempt of court and could also lead to enforcement proceedings, both of which are serious and have serious repercussions. 

There is only one occasion when it’s okay to keep a child from seeing the other parent, and that’s when there are serious worries about the child’s safety and well-being. In a scenario like this one, the courts might take into consideration any new material that has come to light and might look into modifying an existing court order. This can bring a whole range of problems as it can be very difficult to prove or justify a parents concerns without sufficient evidence. One of the most common complaints we have reported to ourselves is a concern that one of the parents is driving with their children in the car whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whilst it is a severe accusation and clearly a cause for concern, it is very difficult to prove without evidence.

If you need help because you suspect your ex-partner is violating the child custody agreement you have in place, Reveal PI is here to assist you.

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