Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: Should a solicitor advise a parent to breach a contact order?

I assume this question was posed by a parent with whom the child lives, who has been ordered to allow the other parent to have contact with the child

Obviously, court orders should be obeyed. A solicitor should not therefore normally advise a client to breach an order, and this goes for contact orders just like any other order.

However, there could be circumstances when complying with the order could put the child in danger, for example if the other parent is now living with a person with a history of child abuse, or if the other parent has threatened to remove the child from the country.

If a parent believes that there are good reasons why a contact order is no longer in the best interests of the child, then they should apply back to the court for the order to be altered. If necessary, such an application can be made urgently, so it may not be necessary to breach the order.

Accordingly, my answer to the question would be: a solicitor should not advise a parent to breach a contact order unless there is a very good reason that would justify the breach of the order, and there was no time to go back to the court.

Even if an order is breached because there wasn't time to make an application to the court before the next contact was due to take place, an application should still be made as soon as possible.

Obviously, this post deals with serious issues. If you are contemplating breaching a contact order, or if you need more information about a possible breach, you should seek urgent advice from a specialist family lawyer.

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