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Contact Orders

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures his Department has taken to combat the breach of contact orders between separated parents. [110370]

Deliberate refusal to obey any court order (breach) is contempt of court that can be punished with a fine or imprisonment. The court might also consider a change in the child's place of residence. Imposing a fine or imprisonment must be balanced against their likely impact on the child at the centre of the dispute. The Government considered the recommendations contained in the report of the Children Act Sub-Committee of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law, "Making Contact Work" and published its initial response on 6 August 2002. An expert group has been considering alternative enforcement mechanisms. A full response to the report will be published in the summer.