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Children: Custody

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 21165, tabled on 6 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of enforcement powers for court orders relating to child custody.

Answered on

11 January 2016

The Government has not made any recent assessment. The family court has a wide range of enforcement powers to secure compliance with a child arrangements order.


Where a person named in a child arrangements order breaches it without good reason, the court may make an enforcement order requiring that person to carry out unpaid work. The court may also order that person to pay financial compensation for any loss suffered by another person named in the child arrangements order. These sanctions are in addition to the general powers of the court to treat the breach of a court order as a contempt of court, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. The court may alternatively vary the terms of the child arrangements order (reconsidering the provisions made) if it considers this necessary to make the arrangements work in the best interests of the child.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.