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A Guide to Court Orders

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 3 Feb 2024 | 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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can i stop a person whow had ruind my live
twinkle - 3-Feb-24 @ 1:59 PM
A company has been fraudulently been set up in my name.I have no knowledge of them at all - I'm the victim of a professional criminal set up. However, Companies House tell me that I have to submit various forms to get my name taken off the register.They also told me that I am also registered as a shareholder and so the only way to be removed in that capacity is via the issue of a court order. I'm furious that I have to take this action to protect myself and that Companies House are singularly unhelpful, but I acknowledge I need to do it to protect myself.Can anyone please advise if they have had to do the same thing and also let me know the Court Order form I would need to complete?
Stotty - 10-Aug-23 @ 12:11 PM
I jointly own a house which was due to be sold pre-pandemic. I agreed to delay with ex-wife and now she doesn't want to sell. If I apply for a court order to sell; i. How long is that likely to take (London) ii. Is it enforceable ( I see lots of comments about court orders being ignored) or do I need a further order?
How long does a sale - 11-Jul-23 @ 5:08 PM
Hi,could you please advise on a court order not being adhered to regarding divorce. My ex and his solicitor will not comply with any of the court order which was time sensitive, I can no longerafford to have a solicitor myself. Desperately need advice please Kind regards Diane
Diane - 9-Jul-23 @ 8:33 AM
We ran a restaurant, we have received letters from a company named PreAction stating that an energy broker has gone into liquidation and that we owe £5000 for breach of contract. They are relying on a letter of Authorisation which we have stated has a signature that bears no resemblance to the directors signature. This LOA has no terms and conditions attached , the LOA is dated 2018. yet they point to T & C's at an online website that was published 2020 for the breach, Another fact is that a contract with a company named Total Gas and Energy was allegedly signed 7 days prior to the date of the LOA using the same signature. We have made these points clear but have received completed N1 claim forms (not issued by the court) from both the above company and the IP administrators FRP ltd. We have issued a cease and desist letter but from an email received we believe they will breach that. we have reported the matter to Action fraud. We now find out that these two companies are subjecting 100's of businesses to the same treatment. What order would be best to apply for and what form should be used to stop them in their tracks.
ludvik James - 30-Mar-23 @ 7:45 AM
Hi, I'm after a court order for work, I've applied at work 2 times now to have every 2 weekends to see my daughter, the first time got refused and I was given leeway with my holidays to use on the dates I had her, now all my holidays have been used and I've applied for a new request to change days and they say I need a court order for this to happen, what are the prices for these, everything is fine with me and my daughter's mum, it's just work that has the problem
Ian - 14-Oct-21 @ 7:41 AM
Ex not co-operating! I have a court order to sell property date given, took him back to court for decision on estate agent (got that), back to court again for sole responsibility of sale, him to vacate with 28days and conveyancing agreement if he doesn’t sign. Now that date is fast coming up but what do I do if he doesn’t leave the property??? As you can see he’s not abided to any previous court orders made and the property should have gone on the market last Feb in accordance to the first court order made. Judge said in last hearing that it was a simply procedure but didn’t tell me what it was. Also Ex husband has never turned up to court for any of the hearings but has been on telephone. What is the next step please? This has been going on over 3 years!
Tigger - 30-Apr-21 @ 7:14 PM
I would like a court order to stop the behaviour of an unaccountable treasurer of a residents association, could a Judge order changes, does anyone know. We have never had an AGM and the Treasurer was never voted into position, a majority vote for change was ignored by the Treasurer. Thanks for reading
Beebs - 26-Apr-21 @ 4:09 PM
Hi, I recently was awarded access to my child every other weekend, Thursday to Sunday. The Court Order was made at trial on a Thursday and emailed to both parties on Friday. When is it live? If it is live as of the Friday, my ex had my child at that time. Does this mean the immediate next Thursday is my day? Or, because the order was made mid ‘share point’, should it take effect the next week? Thanks
Dave - 23-Apr-21 @ 2:23 PM
hi after a divorce , i left my family home, through violence from my husband ,so i got a court order off Judge Keating,i was in sole control of the sale of the house ,but my husband refuses to sign for a sale as we are both on the mortgage, i have lost two sales because of his behavior, i wonder do i need his signature,as i have a court order there is no equity on the house .can you help please
none - 18-Mar-21 @ 10:19 AM
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Cheryl Valk - 6-Feb-21 @ 8:02 PM
How do I apply for a court order to force a probate executor to surrender financial accounts?
Jarison - 19-Nov-20 @ 9:55 PM
Tony - 11-Oct-20 @ 10:10 PM
When I discovered my wife's affair she tried to have me imprisoned on false allegations that are the worst a man can face. On release from the police cell I was told she had left the house and left me her son and our daughter with a babysitter for me to look after. The next morning nowing I was not allowed to have contact with her she told me she was going on holiday with the guy. She left me the children and went on around 20 overseas holidays in the next 2 years and spent around £60,000 which was in her account leaving me with no money and all the debts. During this time she put a notice of interest on my house stopping me from raising any money for a legal team and then moved in with a guy who financed her legal team. She then convinced social services she should have the children even though after 14 months they told me they were going to take her son into care.So she started proceedings to get half of my assets and with no legal team and social services and Cafcass giving her the children I became very ill with the preparation for this case. The court then changed dates and with my depression and inability to sleep I got confused and turned up on the second day thinking it was the first. The Judge with no compassion had given her half of my assets,ordered me to pay half of her costs and completely ignored my evidence of her cohabitation with this man or the 23 years age difference between us as I approach retirement and she can easily work. I then discovered she did this to her first husband as well, using our polce force and courts to further her quest for easy money.This immigrant woman with not even a Briitish passport set me up, executed her plan and has made a mockery of our court system designed to look after genuine people in genuine cases.There is no help for me or justice when you are dealing with Judges who cannot see the end of their nose because their inflated egos are in the way. At 64 I have very little to look forward to in my retirement except having to continue working forever. But at least I have our beautiful daughter who s worth all the money in the world. No legal system is perfect, but I thought in this country it was a great one. Now I realise it is absolutely worthless.
John - 5-Oct-20 @ 4:51 PM
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
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