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Guide To Contact & Specific Issues Orders

What is a Contact Order? 

A Contact Order is a child’s right, not the parents, and is mainly for the child’s welfare. It requires the person the child is living with to allow the child to stay or visit the person in whose favour the order was made or at least for them to keep in touch. 

A Contact Order is usually made when two parents cannot agree on the type of contact they should have with the children. 

The order should detail the arrangements that the parties agree on as contact not only refers to visiting rights and staying, but also covers other forms of communication, such as letters or telephone contact.

Direct Contact involves the child physically meeting up with the parent, and it usually involves visiting or staying.

Visiting Contact usually takes place at the non-resident parent’s home.

Staying Contact entails an overnight stay with the non-resident parent.

Interim Contact while arrangements are still being finalised an Interim Contact Order can be made until the final order is made.

Defined Contact may result from a Court Hearing when a Judge decides on the details for the parent’s contact with the child.

Reasonable Contact allows both parties to agree on the level of Contact allowed.

Supervised Contact may also be given, and this usually takes place in a Contact Centre, where there are volunteer staff to supervise the meeting. The resident parent can also decide on the location and they, or a family member, can supervise.

Indirect Contact involves the parent not being allowed Direct Contact with the child. If you are granted this type of order, you may communicate with your child only through letters, gifts, phone calls, e-mail, postcards, or other methods other than actual physical contact.

Remember that as a parent you have the right to spend time with your child and be involved in their upbringing. You have a right to be with them, and the Contact Order’s purpose is to protect that right and make sure that you fully exercise it.

What is a Specific Issues Order?

A Specific Issues Order quite simply deals with a specific question that has arisen in connection with any issue of Parental Responsibility for a child.

You can apply to a Court for a Specific Issues Order asking a Judge to decide how to resolve an issue on which parents have been unable to agree including

  • where the child should go to school
  • whether the child can be taken abroad
  • a change of name or
  • whether the child should receive medical treatment

When parents cannot decide about a particular issue relating to their child’s upbringing, an application may be made for the Court to decide the issue and make a Specific Issue Order.

A Specific Issues Order can be applied for at the same time as other Orders such as a Care Order or Supervision Order. 

Alternatively, the Local Authority may have to apply for a Specific Issue Order before they can issue Care Proceedings as sometimes it is necessary to resolve certain issues prior to applying for further Orders.

This is a complex area of the Law but one that our family law solicitors in Liverpool and Southport deal with regularly. 

If you are involved in matrimonial proceedings and believe there is a specific issue that cannot be resolved call us now.

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