When you’ve been through the long process of obtaining a child arrangement court order, it can be disappointing when one parent breaches what was ordered.
Parties that are named in a court order must follow it, and when they don’t there could be serious consequences.
In this article, we’ll take you through how to report a breach of a court order, and how to apply to vary the court order.
How to report a breach of a child arrangements order?
Before reporting, in some cases, it’s better for the two parties to discuss the breach before taking things any further and making a court application.
This is normally the quickest and cheapest option as it doesn’t involve going through the court system and receiving legal advice.
If discussions are unsuccessful, you will need to make an application to the Family Court for enforcement of the original order.
The court can order unpaid work, give financial compensation to the other party, a fine, and in extreme cases, imprisonment.
Can you get a court order varied?
Many child arrangements orders may no longer be appropriate throughout the entire lifetime of the child. As a child gets older, or circumstances change, what is in their best interests may change.
Most orders will contain a provision that says “any other contact as agreed between parties”. This means that, as long as both parties agree on things, changes can be made over time. The first option for any parent is to speak to the other party, to see if an agreement can be reached as to how the arrangements can be changed to best suit the current best interests of the child.
If agreement cannot be reached, an application to the Court to vary the order would need to be made. You will have to show the court that the changes you’re suggesting are in the best interest of the child.
How do court orders work?
A court order is a binding decision by a Court. These orders can either be final and come at the end of a hearing, or be an interim measure that’s put in place until a final order is made.
It’s a legally binding decision that can affect many things people do – including when they’re able to see their child or make changes in their child’s life.
The outcome of a court order will depend on the individual case that has been brought before the judge and the evidence that has been given.
How long do court orders take to process?
There is no set time that a court order takes to process. It all depends on the case, how many assessments are required, and what evidence is needed in order to make a decision.
Some orders can be made quickly, especially when there’s a potential risk to the wellbeing of a child, while some non-emergency cases can take many months to pass through the legal system.
On average it takes between 6-12 months for a court order to get processed.