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A Guide to Court Orders

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 18 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
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A court order is an official judgement or ruling given by a judge. A court order can be final (at the end of a hearing) or interim (until a final order can be made). What is in the order depends entirely on the case presented to the judge. Here are some examples of different orders available in a family law case:

  • residence order - ruling on who a child will live with.
  • contact order - ruling on who has a right to see a child, often detailing how often and when.
  • specific issue order - ruling on a specific issue raised with the court (e.g. can a child by circumcised).

How Do I Apply For a Court Order?

You will need to fill in the correct court form. This varies depending upon the type of order you want, but all forms can be downloaded from Justice.gov.uk For most family law disputes, this form is called C100, however there is a list of forms on the website, or all family forms can be found here.

Most forms have guidance leaflets or checklists to assist you in filling them in. Use these carefully, as if your form is not filled in correctly, it may not be processed.

Once you have completed your form, you need to send it back to your local county or family court. There is usually a cost to file your form. You can check the exact cost with your local county or family court. A debt claim usually costs about £70, but a family order application could be as much as £200.

My common law partner and I split in February last year. Since then he has left me with all the debts/Bills he didn't pay when we were together. He put my name on all the household bills as well as his without my permission. He was the sole earner and responsible for all the bills etc. I now have the bailiffs onto me and as I am on benefits I cannot possibly afford to pay off the debts. Can I take him to a small claims court at all?

You may be able to ask the court to decide issues relating to division of assets / debts. They can also determine who is responsible for bill payments etc. However be aware that the courts do not have the same ability to award assets from one party as they can upon divorce, if you are not married. The court can only divide the assets / debts of an unmarried couple by determining who they actually belong to. If the debts are occurred in joint names, you will both be responsible for the whole sum of the debts. This means that the utility companies can unfortunately pursue you for the whole amount. You may be best in the short-term to try to agree a payment plan with the utility companies.

Do I Need Legal Representation?

I need to get a court order lifted but don't know how without losing all my wages with a solicitor. Is there any way we can get into court without going through a solicitor?

You do not need a solicitor or legal representation to make or obtain an order. However, particularly for family law orders, this is often advised, as the forms and procedure can be quite complicated. The judge also has discretion to order something that you have not applied for, so you need to consider family law orders as a whole, rather than just the order you are applying for. A court order may affect your / your child's life in a way you had not thought about, so it always worth discussing the plans to apply for an order with a solicitor first.

You may be able to get free legal advice from your high street solicitor, or the Citizen's Advice Bureau, so if you are worried about the cost of getting legal advice, investigate this option! You can contact your local branch of the Citizen's Advice Bureau Citizen's Advice Bureau or call 08444 111 444 for assistance.

How Do I Enforce An Order?

There are various methods of enforcing orders, and which method is best depends upon the original order and the status of the parties in relation to each other.

For example to enforce a money judgement, you may wish to:

  • a) have a warrant of execution (which can essentially end up with bailiffs collecting money / possessions to sell to satisfy the order).
  • b) You could however also ask for an attachment to earnings if the debtor has no valuable goods but works. By this method, part of their wage would be paid to you monthly. However bear in mind that this is not likely to be a high amount, and so it may take months / years to be repaid, and payments will stop if the debtor becomes unemployed.
  • c) Banks often ask for a charging order against a Property. This does not result in any immediate money, but will mean that once the debtor eventual sells their Property (if for example they move house), the money will be collected, along with interest, in a lump sum.

You do not have to enforce a judgement in the same court that the original order was made, but if you wish to use a different court, you will need to apply to the original court for the case to be transferred. Transfer requests are often approved on the basis, for example, that parties have relocated to a different part of the country.

I have a financial court order in place to sell my house. My ex and I are separated now for over 2 years. I took her to court in October to try and get the house sold. Agreed on 75% (her) and 25% split. She is still not happy about this and is dragging her heels saying she hasn't found anywhere to live. I know on top of this she can borrow up to £150,000 on her 16 hour a week salary. But, I know that she isn't even looking. I have my children every other weekend and live in a flat. Have just had another child and really need to move for the space. She says tough. What can I do I feel that I have not progressed anything by taking her to court she is now going to say all the time that she hasn't found anywhere to live. I pay the mortgage on the property until sale. At wits end. Should I just take her back to court and if I do can she be ordered to pay the costs?
In order to enforce an order, be aware that you will incur further costs, though these can usually be claimed back from the debtor. In general each step of enforcement costs about £100.

In deciding which step to take to enforce an order, it is often important to find out how much the debtor can afford to pay, or in the case of forcing sale of a Property, what the person can afford to pay in rent etc. The easiest way to find out this information is to ask the court to order the debtor to attend court and provide evidence of their income or spending (e.g. produce bills and bank statements). It costs approximately £50 to order someone to attend court.

If you wish to send a bailiff to collect your money, or deduct money from someone's wage, you will need to fill in the relevant form from Justice.gov.uk The court can also freeze money in someone's account if needed to stop money being spent before you are paid your share as per an earlier order.

How Do I Change An Order?

I am a single mum with two children. My ex-boyfriend got a court order to see the kids and he lets them down all the time. What shall I do? How do I stop my daughter getting hurt by him coming in and out of her life?
If you want to change a court order, there are two methods:
  • 1) Agree the change with your ex-partner and make the change on a voluntary basis (this is usually more suitable when you wish to change the specifics of an order such as what days you have contact, rather than whether you have contact or not).
  • 2) Return to court.

For orders made in the family court, if the changes are not contested by your ex-partner, the judge will make a new order at the first hearing. If the changes are contested, you will need to prove that there has been a change of circumstances. (Note that an amendment to the law is not in itself a change of circumstances.) The full process of CAFCASS reports and investigations and representations in front of a judge (like when the original order was made) will start again.

To apply to change an order, you will again need to fill in the relevant form which can be found at Justice.gov.uk There is again a cost for filling this form.

Be aware that the courts are very reluctant to stop parents seeing their children. Even in cases of domestic violence, the courts will still often allow the offending parent to see their children; they will just ensure that this is supervised at a family contact centre. You may therefore be better suggesting that the specifics of the order are varied (e.g. less contact time until proves can keep regular appointments) rather than suggesting that all contact is stopped.

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ANG - 18-Sep-20 @ 10:09 PM
Hi I need advice from professional solicitors. I have 11 years old girl. I split with her father after her 3rd birthday. He never cared about her really. It was nightmare living with him... Always drinking parties even he was taking drugs aggressive horrible to me and not seeing problem in what he was doing I was so glad happy when I finally kicked him. After all I never had problems like with him to look after my child. Unfortunately not long time ago police stop me for one incident I just lost control I was just stressed out because of few stuff in my life Local authorities took my child for "temporary" order. Her father was angry about situation took her for "holidays" I agree with social services to do safety plan with her father because I really wanted my child to be back to me this situation never happend before I was really worry about my child. I agree she will be back with her father to my flat. I am so happy my child is with me but it was mistake with her father I agree with him to not be couple but he is acting like we and he was saying horrible things to my child. Aggressive horrible frighten me from beginning and it's all wrong again... Unfortunately I need to wait till they finished assesment and I could carry on life with my child At the moment I feel sick like I can't say or do anything about this because social services are not so clear to the end. To be honest I wish him to go immediately after all!!! I do not have feelings for him at all! But he is using situation... I love my child I'm happy shes back but him..OMG If social services are doing assesment can I draw consent? Or it's better to wait for assessment ite done? I will definitely spoke with him about him moving but...his so hard and maybe drugs or alcohol is involved because he acts strangely. Anyway what else I can do? I have done several calls to people who can give advice and nothing..
Aleksis - 8-Sep-20 @ 8:44 PM
When my son was a baby, his father (we never married) attacked me and put my son in danger. Not for the first time, as my hospital record proved. Long court case short, his father was found guilty of domestic abuse and was declined access until he sought psychiatric therapy. He considered his violence and aggression natural despite the family court judge telling him otherwise. I changed location for safety and the courts upheld that our whereabouts should remain withheld. He agreed to monthly indirect contact and my solicitor very kindly agreed to act as a go-between refusing to take any payment from me for doing this for the last 12 years. Contact soon dwindled to twice a year (Christmas and birthday) from my ex to my son. He has made no effort to pay maintenance over the last 14 years. My son has no wish to be in contact with his father which means I just send a recent photo as reciprocal contact to keep up with the court order. My problem is that my solicitor has retired and the new solicitor, understandably, does not want to take this situation over at all. Also, my son wants to change his surname and not have his fathers surname anymore. I am afraid a record of change by deedpoll will be in the public arena and we may be found. I'm very tired of being a piggy in the middle and nobody being happy. Is there anything I can do? Many thanks
Cygnet - 29-Jul-20 @ 4:42 PM
I have a court order but it's unclear on certain details. I have extended time with my son over the summer holidays, I'd like to take him to visit family in Portsmouth I live in Pembrokeshire. Do I have the right to take my son anywhere in the UK even if his mum doesn't agree with it as long as it's in the extended time that he's with me.
Leeroy - 27-Jul-20 @ 9:25 PM
Court order regarding finances agreed and signed by my ex and I. My ex continues to break the court order by not paying child maintenance by standing order on a specific date. Before the court order he was just as bad at paying his share of the mortgage and I constantly had to chase him. He owes my family thousands, which I agreed to swallow. He lied on his Form E and works cash in hand. The court order stated that I am to give him a lump sum on the sale of my late parents property. I would like to apply to the court for a variation of the order and deduct a calculated sum of money for Future child maintenance. Will I be successful? Has anyone got any advice? Tia
Catbat13 - 23-Jul-20 @ 3:15 PM
I had a prohibited steps order on my eldest sons dad that has started kicking off again after the ladt time 9 years ago .. how do i go about finding out if the order still in place the judge at the time said till my sons 18 but it doesnt say it on the order
Char char - 18-Jul-20 @ 10:00 PM
I purchased 6 diamonds as an investment in 2013/14 from a company City Diamond Exchange Ltd.with the funds I received under a voluntary severance payment I took photographs of 5 of the diamonds as well as the director of the company, the bar codes and seals that were put on them before being stored, when I visited them in London. The agreement was for them to hold the diamonds and sell them in 2018 when I wanted to pay off my mortgage. I paid 10% of the value to have them returned to me when the company went into liquidation. I have not received the diamonds and have contacted my bank, Action Fraud twice, Financial Conduct Authority, Central Legal Office - Debt collection andPolice Scotland, all to no avail. I have paid approximately £50,000 to this company and have the bank statements with their bank details. I have recently found that the director has now started up a new company called Diamond Alloys and has invested £500,000 in it. Can you advise how to proceed?
anne - 11-Jul-20 @ 10:50 AM
is a court order valid if the information recorded is not factual. or the names listed or in error?
? - 9-Jul-20 @ 9:34 AM
How to implement and enforce a court order for transfer of property / house
Friend - 19-Jun-20 @ 3:54 AM
I have split up with my partner ( never married) we have three children, and own two houses, one mortgage free, the other deed of trust 75% me. he has not paid towards the mortgage whilst we were together, and not paid now we have separated. He refuses to let me buy him out of his share, he also refuses to sign the sale agreement. He keeps saying he will take me to the family court, for what i do not know as he doesnt state this. idont know how to enforce him to pay for his share of the mortgage and im unsure how long and how much to get a court order to force a sale.
Shippy1308 - 24-Apr-20 @ 2:56 PM
I have my ex boyfriend who keep call me and test me and the police said thay are trying to put him away but i has it with him now I am not well I am sick
Waite - 28-Mar-20 @ 11:41 PM
I put some property in my former partners mums attic for storage. My partner and I have since split up and her mum refuses to return my things.What can I do?
Johnnie - 3-Mar-20 @ 5:41 PM
My ex work colleague is with holding my toolto the value of around £5000 HE said that he would return them and never has I can not afford to take I'm to court for a civil matter I have written to him on the advice of thepolice he text me saying he would be in touch this has now been going on since 2018 he refuses to make contact as I've rang him on may occasionsplease can you advisekind regards lee grant
Grant - 8-Feb-20 @ 11:44 AM
Hello, I had a court order with my ex however we recently agreed between ourselves to cut the days down as daughter was very unsettled and we thought this was what was best for her. I got my solicitor to send a letter to his solicitor to have this agreement in writing and they sent a letter back confirming this also. However only a few weeks later from we made this agreement, he has stated that he wants to go back to the court order and without contacting solicitor again, he has just been turning up to collect our daughter. Does anyone know where I stand with this?
Rebecca - 27-Jan-20 @ 9:59 AM
I took my ex husband to Court 2 years ago and was awarded an order to sell the property if certain conditions weren't met by 01/02/2020. These conditions have not been met and the 1st of February is fast approaching.How do I enforce the Court Order to bring about the sale of the property?
Gembob - 6-Jan-20 @ 2:43 PM
I went to the family courts on the 11th of December, we came to a decision that he will see his daughter out on the 29th of December but no time was confirmed in court. The judge was asked to come back out to confirm a time as she said no she was not coming back out and I we had to talk between us and arrange a time. So I left the court then to be told today by my ex that he got time 1to 3 every other Sunday granted without me. Is this true . Thank you
House of 8 - 29-Dec-19 @ 9:20 PM
I have a court order about to go my ex, can he appeal it if it doesn’t agree with him. Or once the court order has been ordered is it a guarantee that the request is granted
EL - 10-Dec-19 @ 3:12 PM
We have been told there is a court order against our daught but we/she has not received it.Does she have to comply if the order has not been sent to her.
Ruth - 3-Dec-19 @ 8:12 AM
I need a court order to cancel my daughter's British passport as my former partner has ran away with my daughter overseas.I need advice on the appropriate court order, to be processed through the High Court or Magistrate Court. The UK passport office has requested for a court order, to be processed, instructing them, based on a court order, before they can cancel my daughter's British passport. I need the appropriate court order, to effect the cancellation of my daughter's British passport. I have already reported this matter to the Metropolitan Police last year and the UK Home Office. Kindly note. Can you advice? I look forward to your feedback. Thank you. Kind Regards, James Bradford
James Bradford - 12-Sep-19 @ 4:01 PM
Does a Uk court order hold up in America
Chickie - 24-Aug-19 @ 12:28 AM
Court order from years ago, ex husband disappeared 23 years ago, now lives in America, i have found him, was for my children, note they have no interest but i still wonder if the court order would still stand, i think he is a British citizen still, not 100% sure, thanks
Chickie - 24-Aug-19 @ 12:27 AM
I read sentenced to 6 weeks curfew and the court has made a clerical error with the paperwork sent to the tag people! It says 6weeks curfew but the end date is 7 weeks after, so am I in breach if I don't adhere after the sentence date passes?
nem351s - 23-Aug-19 @ 6:43 PM
My mum has a residency order for my child I want it lifted and want to learn more about the law how?
Louise - 19-Jul-19 @ 11:57 PM
My ex-husband doesn't want to comply with a court order that was put in place with the judge concerning a mortgage we have together. He wants a bigger percentage than what the court agreed as part of our financial settlement. What am I supposed to do and what 'form' should I be filling?
Toyotta - 25-Jun-19 @ 10:51 PM
If you don’t go to court and the judge makes a decision on the court order do you get a letter detailing the court order? Wondering for my assignment.
Saf - 14-Jun-19 @ 9:50 PM
My sons father is going for a court order to gain access to his son due to me changing it to supervised visits. He went to one mediation appt but did not wait for me to attend my appt before he told mediation that he no longer wanted to continue with mediation. He is now saying he is going to court, how long does it usually take to receive a letter saying he is taking me to court
Cassandra - 28-May-19 @ 3:20 PM
Hi my sons dad is going for a change in court order, we had one in place which resulted in a 2 week order of week 1 Saturday 3pm till Monday 3pm an Thursday 8-4 an week 2 a Sunday 8am till Monday 4pm and Thursday 8-4, we dropped a Thursday as his shift changed an he had him Saturday till Monday, although my circumstances have changed an hes going to court for 10am Saturday until 3pm Monday every weekend, I didn't work when the order was made or changed mutually between us, but I now work, my son is almost full time school in September, so I feel every weekend isnt fair as he will be in school every day then with his dad every weekend, I cant do things as a family with him, he can c his cousins, me my partner and his son cant do family things because he isnt there, I hardly work weekends myself nowan i want some time with him on a weekend also
Lmlewis - 9-May-19 @ 6:48 PM
FATHER ENDiNG '" DEFINED COURT ORDER " WITHOUT WARNING / CONSULTATION WITH MOTHER. In 2001 My Daughter And I Had To Leave Her Violent Father. My Father Contacted A Solicitor - Letters Correspondence Between Solicitor / My Father / My Former Co - Habitor / Partner. I Kept My Side Of The ' Full Parental Responsibility ' - He Was Given ' Partial Parental Responsibility ' . I Allowed Him To Have " Supervised At Family Centre / Unsupervised Visits And A ' Defined Court Order 2003 ' - Weekends And School Holidays ' . The Thing Is I Have Lost My Copy Of ' All Letters Correspondance Etc and ' The Defined Court Order ' Details ' . Solicitor Policy - Files Only Kept For 6 Years. In 2007 He ' Suggested That Sarah Should Live Him Until I Got Better '. I Was Ill With M.E / Chronic Fatigue ' - Came Back Because He Subjected Me To Domestic Violence For Nearly 5 Years. Because He Was Very ' Coercive And Emotionally Manipulative ' - I Knew If I Have In And Let Him Have Sarah Live With Him Temporarily - I Would Never See Her Again. So I Contacted The Same Solicitor My Dad Originally Contacted In 2001. A ' File Note ' Was Made - And A Letter To Sarah's Father -Which I Still Have - Explaining To Him He Didn't ' Strictly Adhered To The ' Defined Court Order 2003 "Because He Violently Harassed Me ( And Sarah )At A Train Station -He Was Demanding To See Sarah More ' Without Using Court Order ' / Something Like That - I Can't Remember Exactly Because The Incident Was Very Traumatic For Me And Sarah. I Continued To Let Him See Sarah - He Said ' Sundays ' Near Where I Lived / Because Were Both In Receipt Of ' Welfare ' - I Couldn't Help Pay For His Bus Fare '. Then In March / April 2008- He Just Suddenly Stopped Visiting Sarah - With No Warring To Me / Consultation With Me. Sarah Said In His Words ' I Didn't Think You Be Interested In Seeing Me Anymore " But Sarah Was Just 11 And Half Yrs Old. I Didn't Hear From Him For Over 3 Years. Then In Oct 2011 - 11 Weeks After My Younger Sister Maria Died From Cancer - Sarah's Father Phoned Me To Say He Had Met Another Woman Called AngelaAnd That They Had Got Engaged. 2012 - Sarah Was Missing Her Father - She Asked Me To Phone Him - He Said' I Can't Visit / I Moved To Devon ". But On ' Find My Past ' Genealogy Website '- I Found Him And Partner, Angelina And A Relative Of Hers, Roland - 2012 Electoral Roll - ' For The Same Address In Keighley - The Address He Gave Me When He Phoned Me In 2011 - But On The ' Electoral Roll ' / He Lied About His Age. I Phoned His Mobile And Landline Numbers - They No Longer Exist. I Was Able To Contact In - Laws I Found On- Line - They Had No Idea What He Did To Me. He Was In Lowestoft, Suffolk / He Didn't Attend ' Family Funerals ' - They Don't Wnat Anything To Do With Him Since He Received Money From One Of The Parent's ' Wills ' Then Xmas 2018 - He Was Back In Bradford - It Was A Horrible Shock !! But
Aurora B - 8-May-19 @ 8:06 PM
My ex and I attended our first hearing on 3rd May, however I have not received the order yet due to additions they were putting in for ex to comply with. He applied for every other weekend plus Tuesday and Thursday nights. He was awarded 10-2 Saturday only due to not having any communication with our babies for over 3 months. A slow integration for the children (as they need daddy in their life). Our eldest has many challenges so is very difficult for her to adapt to change and quicklybecomes overwhelmed. Ex picked her up for the first visit on the 4th May and spent the entire 4 hours with his girlfriend and the kids (2nd time kids meeting her), our eldest has had several meltdowns since returning. She’s very confused. I won’t receive my order until late next week when ex is supposed to collect them. I would like the children to see their daddy but not with his new girlfriend at this time. It’s affecting our eldest emotionally so what are my options here please? (I’m not sure if it is written in the order as the hearing was quite quick)
Kay - 6-May-19 @ 10:58 AM
My husband and i are getting a divorce. We live in a council house we have no children and no savings. I work part time and now my husband is out of work. How much will it cost for a property order to be for me to remove his name off the tenancy agreement.
Jane - 11-Apr-19 @ 5:10 PM
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