Power of arrest on contact order - self representing - advice please!(19 Posts)
I am posting for a friend but will write in the first person for ease!
Ex H and I have a fixed contact order for dc due to his behaviour involving the dc - not returning, abducting etc etc
He self represented in court to ask for daily contact and made a fool of himself and stormed out during procedings when the judge said no .
He has contact every wed eve and alternate Sundays. He constantly returns them late, police have been ineffective despite once collecting them from a social club at 10.30pm at night, he was drunk and they are primary school aged
The only way forward seems to be to get a power of arrest attached to the contact order. I want to self represent.
Any help advice etc on how to go about it, court fees and how long it will take?
I'm off to see a solicitor at Womens Aid for different thing but maybe your local one gives 30 minutes free also to advise...sorry not much help.
It doesn't work like that.
Contact cases are civil law. And you can't have someone arrested for a civil crime.
So he can break a court order and he has only broken civil laws.
The judge can then do him for contempt of court which is a criminal offence but that's rare. Very rare. As its usually not in the interests of the child to have the police turn up, arrest him then drag the kids off kicking & screaming back to their mum.
The best you can hope for realistically is to ask the judge to ask your ex to sign an undertaking that he will return kids on time. If he then doesn't, it's contempt. The judge can't order him to sign so your ex would have to sign this voluntarily but of course if he refuses to....then that begs the question "Why not?"
To be honest, if the only issue is he's returning them a little bit late then you'd be daft to go to court over it. Better to just ignore it until the ex realises you aren't rising to the bait.
As much as its annoying to you, judges will not see it as a big deal that dad returns children a bit later. He can always make excuses up anyway like traffic, unforseen circumstances. He'll deny he was drunk. You've no proof. He'll say you are just making it all up etc. etc.
It'll end up being your word versus his.
Unless there's something else you've not mentioned, I honestly don't think its worth the aggro.
But OP says police collected them on the occasion he was drunk so would have proof.
If you go back to court (you'd need a diary over a few months) and outline the problems, you can ask the judge to consider varying the contact order.
Court fees aren't much (£60?) but ring the court and ask to speak to the clerk of the court. They give lots of factual info and advice.
What a worry for you. Good luck.
He doesn't just return them a bit late! Anything from 1 - 5 hours on school evenings, the youngest is only 5 and being returned after 8pm at night!
Often he doesn't turn up to collect, he has only every once turned up on time.......it's a way of him saying "no-one can tell me what to do"
Different police officers on different occasions have asked if there is a power of arrest attached to it. Why are they asking and recommending it if it's not possible
What are you supposed to do if a non-resident parent consistently defies a contact order? The children are distressed by it because they know they are supposed to be home, ask to go home and he won't bring them? He is screwing with them emotional.
I think you need to act now then Cargirl. You can't have your DCs messed about like this, it must be really upsetting for them and you.
What are you supposed to?... go back to court. Ring the court and ask how to go about bringing it back before the judge. Write down all the occasions when this happened that you can remember and details of the time etc. Ring the police and ask if they can provide you with their records (I think you can ask for these under section 5 of the Data Protection Act 1998 if necessary).
I agree this seems to be about flexing his muscles, but the only people he's really flexing them to are your poor DCs. What a despicable twerp!
what could the vary the court order to? The times of contact or can they actually attach a power of arrest in such incidences. Isn't it technically abduction if he keeps them beyond contact.
If it was jut 20 minutes or so to prove his point it wouldn't be an issue, it would just be water off a ducks back (irritating, annoying but we all know what a *** he is) it's just not improving after being apart for 2 years! Prior to the fixed contact he would literally take them from outside the house, fail to return them etc.
Varying might be either no contact (very unlikely), supervised contact, reduced contact, or might include some enforcement option. I'm sorry I don't know much, just the dealings I've had personally. I'm sure though no judge would think this was reasonable when it's the DCs who are so clearly suffering.
I suppose one other avenue might be social services. You could ask for a social worker to represent your child's interests to your ex?
I think you definitely need some qualified advice. Have you spoken to CAB, our local one has family solicitors visiting their office twice a week.
CAB is difficult as "I" work school hours (just started to get out of the benefit trap) they don't do appointments for the intial one which you need to do to presumably then get a solicitor appt. Don't want to go down the legal aid route as have already spent £15k to get to this point which is now having to be repaid.......
I will repost on legal to see if anyone else can come to help with regards to enforcement options.
It is not abduction and powers of arrest are only attached to orders where violence or threats of violence have occurred.
You have to go back to court.
With the term "enforcement of contact order" I am finding stuff on google at last!
Community order as punishment is sounding very nice
So apply to vary contact order and then request for enforcement order to be attached, is that the gist of it?
THank you all for your help. The 2 judges at the court already seemed to have sussed him out so they will hopefully be supportive of attaching something to it.
yes enforcement would be community service - unless he has "reasonable excuse" for not complying with the order.
this exlains quite well
In addition to the contact and activity directions and conditions, Section 11H enables CAFCASS to monitor contact for a period of up to 12 months to ensure parents are complying and using their best endeavours to promote contact. They will then report directly to the court.
Section 11I provides that the court must attach a notice to the order warning of the consequences if the order is not complied with. The Court now has the power to require a parent to undertake unpaid work of up to 200 hours or to pay the other parent financial compensation if they are in breach of an order.
Section 11O provides that the court may make an order that one party pays money to the other in circumstances where it can be shown that the party has suffered a financial loss as a result of non compliance with the contact order.
Practical outcomes for parents
The new enforcement provisions mean that a parent who is in breach of a contact order may be fined by the court or be ordered to undertake unpaid work. As this warning is recorded on the face of the order, it is hoped that parents will take this seriously and understand the penalties of non-compliance.
Is anyone still on this Feed that can give me some info in same situation
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