Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Family Lore Clinic: My ex has informed me she intends to stop contact - can I apply to the family court before this happens?

Just to be clear for anyone who doesn't understand it, the question here is: do I have to wait until my former partner stops me from having contact with my child before I apply to the family court for an order that I have contact?

The answer to the question is, quite simply, no you do not have to wait until the contact is stopped.

There is a rule that essentially says that a court should not make an order relating to a child unless it is required, so the court may not be prepared to make an order if satisfactory contact is taking place and there was no 'threat' to stop it. However, once such a threat has been made, the court is likely to take the view that an order is required (provided, of course, that the court considers that there should be contact, which it will in the vast majority of cases).

I should also mention that contact orders no longer exist. They and residence orders were recently replaced with 'child arrangements orders', which deal with arrangements both relating to with whom the child is to live and with whom they are to have contact.

I would strongly recommend that, before you make an application to a family court for an order, you seek the advice of an expert family lawyer.

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