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In contact

Will the Children & Adoption Act 2006 successfully enforce contact? Vanessa Priddis reports

8 September 2006

The Children & Adoption Act 2006 has received Royal Assent, but is unlikely to be in force until the Autumn. An aim of the Act is to make provisions for contact.

Historically, there have been difficulties in the enforcement of contact in children proceedings. Orders made rely upon parties’ willingness to co-operate with them, but by the time an Order is made following any form of contested hearing, the chances of the parties realistically working with the Orders diminishes. Orders that are made by consent after mediation and negotiation tend to be more successful than those imposed.

The press have recently concentrated on what they believe is an inequity in contact arrangements, believing the resident parent untouchable if they do not carry on with contact. This Act tries to make provision for this. It creates contact activity directions and conditions providing monitoring of these by way of warning notices, enforcement orders and compensation orders.

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