What happens if a court order is not followed
Having gone to all the trouble of attending court and being given an order, you would hope that if it is not followed there would be some hefty judicial power to make the offending parent follow the instructions they have.
Maybe no ‘hefty judicial power’, but the court do take breaches of orders seriously, and will take steps to get things back on the right track. It is however, not as simple as it may sound.
Over the years I have lost count of the people asking me how to enforce an order. The first question is always, what does the order say, and what has happened. In my own mind, if I am told to be somewhere at 12.00 I will be there at 11.55. I learned that by being late once when I was in the Army. (Its not an experience that you ever let happen a second time).
So if the order says that the handover is at 12.00 and the parent bringing the child is late, it might rankle and it might upset my own sense of fair play, but the courts will not be too troubled by it. Its not as if nobody has ever been late when trying to get a child ready, dressed, toileted, in the car etc.
If the order says 12.00 and the parent bringing the child phones and tells you to get stuffed, they are not coming because they cant be bothered, then there is a breach.
If an order is breached, the form to use is a C79. It goes to the court with the fee of £215 and you will receive notice of a hearing. As usual, I would recommend writing a Position Statement to take to the hearing so that you have thought about your arguments, thought about all of the factors that the Judge will need to know and you will have written it all down in a clear easy to follow way. (Any difficulties contact me)
The court then has what might appear a simple task, is there an order, has it been breached, is the breach unreasonable. If the answer to all of those question is a yes, the Judge will then go on to consider what needs to be done to get things back on track, and whether the order needs to be changed and whether any costs claimed should be paid.
In essence it is not complicated, but like many things, in practice there are many pitfalls and twists that may upset the applecart, and so it is always best to book a consultation with Simon to discuss what approach you should take.