Court orders are like parking restrictions.

You can’t just ignore them.  Or if you do, you will bear the brunt of the traffic warden and his punishing tickets.

Take, for example, a Child Arrangements Order.  Once it’s finally agreed, parents will hope the court proceedings are over and the arrangements are set in stone. However, what if one parent doesn’t adhere to the arrangements for example by failing to bring the children to the local McDonalds to spend time with the other parent, or by refusing to return the children after a day of fun?! By doing this they are breaching a court order and Judges do not take this lightly.

If a parent breaches an order, the other parent may start enforcement proceedings. Judges, like traffic wardens, have the power to take draconian measures such as: ordering the parent to carry out unpaid work, to pay the other parent financial compensation, to transfer residence of the children to the other parent or even commit the breaching parent to prison. Powers far beyond that of your local traffic warden! So beware, court orders are made to be followed and can be enforced with odious consequences!

However, unlike traffic wardens, Judges have discretion when handing out their ‘tickets’. They will also bear in mind the affect that any enforcement orders will have on the children. For example the trauma of a parent being sent to prison, or the reduction in time that a child may spend with a parent who is ordered to carry out unpaid work may negatively affect the child in question. Judges will also take into account a parent’s reasonable excuse for breaching an order and may not enforce it if he finds their actions to be justified.

In some cases it is necessary to breach an order to protect a child’s safety or welfare, but before you just decide to ignore the order, try talking to someone – if the other parent isn’t likely to be responsive, talk to a solicitor and get some advice about your options.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Helping to keep you out of a jam.