A Contact Order places responsibility on the resident parent to provide the child for contact for the periods of time set out in the Contact Order.
Until the child is 16, or 18 in exceptional circumstances and where stated in the court order. If you move back in with your ex-partner (the resident parent), any contact order will cease after a period of 6 months of your living together.
Any parent or guardian of the children can apply for a Contact Order.
People who meet any of the following criteria also have the automatic right to apply for contact with your children.
For people who don´t meet these criteria, when reaching the decision to grant permission, the Court will consider the merits of their application, their connection with your children and whether granting a Contact Order would cause harm to the children.
It is worth noting that your children could also ask the Court´s permission to make a Contact Order although the Court must be satisfied that they have sufficient understanding to make such a request.
No. Research in 2008 showed that 70% of contact orders were granted. A further 16% saw applications withdrawn (a possibility being agreement was reached outside of court) and in 1%, no order was made, or no order deemed necessary (again, parental agreement is a possibility here). 7% of the applications were dismissed (refused by the court).
1.Outcomes of applications to court for contact orders after parental separation or divorce. Joan Hunt and Alison Macleod. Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy. Department of Social Policy and Social Work University of Oxford. Family Law and Justice Division. [September 2008] (page 14)
Yes. There are two types of contact, direct and indirect. Direct contact includes staying contact (overnight), visiting contact or supervised contact (in a contact centre or with a third party present). Indirect contact includes contact by phone and via correspondence.
In the last question, of those 70% of cases where contact orders were granted, contact was as follows:
2. Outcomes of applications to court for contact orders after parental separation or divorce. Joan Hunt and Alison Macleod. Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy. Department of Social Policy and Social Work University of Oxford. Family Law and Justice Division. [September 2008] (page 12)
Not necessarily. Contact Orders can be general, in terms of just reminding the resident parent of their responsibility to "make the child available for contact", or specific, to the extent of specifying dates and times that you can see your children.
The Court will consider making a Contact Order when parents are unable to agree on either the principle of contact, or the practical arrangements and times for contact to take place.
If there is a Residence Order in force, you cannot take your children abroad or change their names unless you have the Court´s permission or the permission of each person with parental responsibility for the children.
If you plan to take your children on holidays abroad, and believe your ex-partner may not agree to your doing so, have your solicitor ask the Judge to give you permission in order to prevent the expense and inconvenience of a return to Court in the future.
If your children are living with your ex-partner while you apply for Residence, and you are unhappy with the amount of contact you have with your children during this time, you could consider asking the Court to make an interim Contact Order. This ensures you see them regularly in the time leading up to the Final Hearing.
If you are the resident parent, you can also apply to the Court for a Contact Order to regulate the amount and nature of contact that your children have with your ex-partner.
Sadly no. A Contact Order doesn´t compel a non-resident parent to see their children, but places a responsibility on the resident parent to make the children available.
You would use Form C100. See our Form C100 Completion Guide and Checklist.
If you have applied for residence or shared residence, and are not seeing your children currently, you may wish to apply for "interim contact" (e.g. once proceedings for residence have commenced). To make a further application for another type of court order related to the children, once proceedings have started, you should use Form C2.
If you are using a solicitor, they will do this for you. Otherwise, download and complete Form C100. Print and sign three copies of the form.
Check how much the court fees are (currently £200), and either take a cheque, postal order or cash for that amount when you go to your local family court.
It will assist both you and the judge if you write a brief Position Statement. Try to keep the position statement to two to three pages, setting out briefly why you are applying for contact, and why you believe it to be in the children´s best interests. Be factual, and try to be objective in what you write, and the language you use.
A position statement is not essential, but it helps inform the judge, briefly and ideally succinctly, why you are applying for the order, and can assist you in court so you do not forget any points you wish to raise.
Before setting off for the court building, ensure you have with you:
This pack includes our guide to contact orders, court forms for applications, the court services' guide to serving the forms, our checklist for applying to court, a guide to writing a position statement and our template for a position statement. £2.50
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