Separating couples may struggle to agree on how to care for their child or children. Usually, disagreements can be resolve through discussion and compromise. If a couple cannot agree on what to do with their children, the next step may be to file for a Child Contact Order.
What Is a Child Contact Order?
A Child Contact Order requires the person with whom the child lives to allow contact with another person, usually the other parent. The court will consider whether the child should have regular contact with the other parent for them to maintain their relationship.
An Order can be issue to allow children to see both of their parents. The amount of contact and arrangements made should be based on the situation immediately preceding the Order.
For example, if the father was previously very involve in the child’s life prior to the issuance of a Contact Order, they are more likely to have contact with the child than if they were not involve at all in their child’s upbringing.
So, Contact Orders bind the primary caregiver to allow either direct (visits, overnight stays, etc.) or indirect (telephone, letters, etc.) contact with a secondary caregiver. The Court will decide whether to allow direct or indirect contact.
How Old Does the Child Have to be for a Child Contact Order to be Made?
A child contact order cannot be made for children over 18. Any child contact order issued will be valid until the child reaches the age of 16.
Who Can Appy for Child Contact Order?
The most important thing to remember is that contact with family members is a right of the child. According to family law, both parents listed on the child’s birth certificate have parental responsibility for the child.
This does not give you an automatic right to contact the child in the event of a divorce; contact is the child’s right.
Anyone close to the child has the right to request contact with the child. This includes the following:
- Both parents
- A stepfather or mother
- Any person with whom the child has lived for at least three years
- Uncles and Aunts
Why Do I Need to Apply for a Contact Order?
When a relationship ends, and you cannot agree on child-related arrangements, either parent can apply to the court for a Contact Order.
What are the Types of Contact?
There are several types of contact between a parent and a child when it comes to contact with a child. These are some examples:
This is when they make direct eye contact and are physically present together. This could be between a parent with or without a residential order.
Contact occurs when the child is taken to see the non-residential parent. Visits can occur at the parent’s home, a grandparent’s home, or temporary housing.
So, Contact that takes place in a common community location. There are staff and volunteers present, but the contact is not monitored, and there are no concerns about child welfare.
This refers to contact between two people when they are not in the same room; it can include phone cards, letters, emails, and other forms of communication. When there is concern about the child’s safety, this contact is usually established through a third party. In most cases, indirect contact is ordered for six months before being reviewed.
Staying in contact is when the child spends the night with the non-residential parent. The family court will determine the maximum time the child can be away from home, but this can be challenged if you disagree.
This refers to the child’s contact arrangements prior to the finalisation of the details via a contact order.
Defined contact is contacted in which the court specifies the schedule of contact.
The amount of contact that parents consider “reasonable.” This is frequently a point of contention in the proceedings and must be mutually agreed upon.
Supervised contact is a contact that occurs within a contact centre. In these cases, there may be concerns about the child’s well-being, and staff constantly monitor the contact. The team also documents these contact sessions.
Refers to the next step after making contact with a contact centre. In this case, the child and parent can be accompanied to public places such as parks or shopping malls. The staff arranges the contact.
What is the Duration of a Child Arrangement Order?
Unless the order states otherwise, a Child Arrangement Order generally expires when the child reaches the age of sixteen or eighteen in some cases. If the child’s parents re-join the same household, the order will be terminated after six months of cohabitation.
What is the Difference Between a Child Contact Order and a Residence Order?
A Child Arrangement Order includes both a Child Contact Order and a Residence Order. A Residence Order is granted to the parent caring for the child. In the event of a divorce, the other parent will typically be given a Child Contact Order, which governs the type of contact they can have with the child.
Deciding Where a Child Live Depends on the Following Factors
- Any proof of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect by either parent.
- Each parent’s ability to meet the physical, emotional, and medical needs of their children.
- The court may also consider the opinions of character witnesses on behalf of each parent.
- How will the children be affected if the current custody arrangement is maintained or changed?
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable, loving environment. Before deciding on child custody, the court will often request that each parent submits to a child custody evaluation.
- The children’s desires (if they are considered old enough and able to express their desires).
- The children’s level of adjustment and attachment to their home, school environment, and community/neighbourhood.
- The living quarters of each parent’s home. In some cases, the courts may require that each child have a room.
- Each parent’s and their children’s mental and physical health.
- The quality of the children’s relationships with each parent.
Q. What is a Child Contact Order?
A. A Child Contact Order is a legal document issue by a court that sets out the contact arrangements between a child and an adult. It is usually issued when one parent has been denie access to a child.
Q. How does a Child Contact Order work?
A. The order states how many contacts the adult will have with the child, such as which days and times they are allowed to meet and in what circumstances. The court will also determine who will supervise meetings or telephone calls between the two.
Q. Who can apply for a Child Contact Order?
A. Anyone who wishes to have contact with a child can apply for a Child Contact Order. This includes parents, grandparents, step-parents and other relatives.
Q. What happens if someone breaches a Child Contact Order?
A. If someone fails to comply with the terms of a Child Contact Order, they can be held in contempt of court and may face legal consequences. In serious cases, this could lead to a prison sentence.
Q. Is a Child Contact Order always granted?
A. No. The court will take into account the welfare of the child when making its decision on whether to grant a Child Contact Order. If the court believes contact would not be in the child’s best interests, it may reject the application.
Child contact orders are an important tool for family courts in the UK, helping to ensure that parents can maintain a healthy relationship with their children when divorce or separation occurs. However, it is important to remember that these orders can only be enforce when both parties agree to comply and cooperate.
Ultimately, the child’s best interests must be consider, so both parties must act in good faith to ensure that any arrangements are in the child’s best interests. When applying for a Child Contact Order, it is important to consult a legal professional to ensure that all relevant information and evidence are provided and that the court makes a decision that is in the child’s best interests.
If you have any questions or concerns about Child Contact Order, kindly do not hesitate to contact KQ Solicitors.
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