What is a No Contact Court Order?
Updated: May 8
The Family Court orders that there should be no contact or no direct contact between a parent (or someone with parental responsibility) and his or her children/ward. In this article, we briefly explain what no-contact orders are and how they are made in the English Family Courts. In the following section, we have covered all aspects of the order as well as a case study for complete information. Read on for more details!
No contact is the order passed by the court for the parent to cease all forms of contact with his/her child. No contact order ceases all direct and indirect communication including phone calls, emails, texts, etc.
What is the requirement to get a no-contact order? The court looks into the allegation or nature of abuse/domestic violence by the court. The court will then put it against the future welfare of the child.
The court also orders a Cafcass report to verify if there is any potential scope for abuse/domestic violence to the child. The judge will also look into the case to verify whether the domestic violence incident happened or not.
Here are a few of the key points that the court will consider before giving its judgement:
A proof or sign of abuse that happened.
The result of the parent's wrongdoing or abuse of the child.
Impact on the child’s bond with both the parents.
The reason behind the abuse or the applying parent’s motivation to apply for a no-contact order. Also, make sure that they are not abusing the order on the accused for any personal reason.
How the parent will behave when they get to meet their child during contact.
What are the repercussions of the abuse and the potential damage of the abuse?
The court will take into account the parent's right to family as per the ECHR. This is important because a no-contact order deprives the child’s bond from one of the parents. But, the court considers the child’s safety and welfare as its top priority.
Prohibition of contact
The no-contact order disallows the accused parent to meet their child. He / She has to keep his / her distance from the child’s residence or school. There should be no communication between the child and the parent. Any type of contact made between the parent and the child could be considered a direct violation.
Ho long is a No Contact Order granted for?
In the majority of the cases, the no-contact order is on temporarily, or for a fixed defined duration. Which can be imposed on a long term basis, if there are any threats to the welfare or safety of the child.
This is part of the criminal case running against the accused. If the criminal case gets dismissed, or he/she is not found guilty then, the no-contact order is cancelled.
Also, if the safety of the child is assured by the parent, then the no contact order is cancelled. The parents must agree on the cancellation of the order as well.
If the no-contact order is violated, what punishments apply?
The court considers the violation of the no-contact order a serious criminal offence. Any parent who violates the no-contact order can be punished with any or all or a combination of the below:
Unpaid social work
Punishable under the contempt of court
Loss of rights as a parent
Any form of violation of the no-contact order is a crime and treated the same as the violation of bail or probation. If a parent is on parole and he is found to violate the order, then his original sentence is imposed. If he is found violating the order, then the court might revoke their bail, and the parent is held until the verdict of the case.
Also read: All about the Shared Custody Order
Can a no-contact order be cancelled?
Yes, a parent can appeal for the no-contact order to be cancelled, if they are sure that the child does not need any protection from the other parent. Still, the court will look into the situation and look into the best interests and future of the child. If the court finds the circumstances fitting for the best welfare of the child, then the order is cancelled.
Restraining order vs No contact order: Know the difference
Many people consider both the orders the same, but they are different orders, the restraining orders like the Non-Molestation Order are made under the family law act while the No COntact order is made under the Child Act 1989.
As both of these orders, the No Contact Order and Non-Molestation Order have some prohibitions they are confused to be similar. However, a NOn Molestation Order is designed to protect an individual from harassment & abuse and is generally used for adults. A husband/wife / related person can be subjected to a restraining order if they are proven to have been guilty of domestic violence or abuse on the other partner.
Generally, a Prohibited Steps Order is made under the children act 1989 to protect the best interest of the children.
On the other hand, the no-contact order prohibits an abusive parent from establishing any form of contact with the child. But, in the case of a restraining order, depending on the terms of teh restrain which may only be limited to adults and may not include the children the parent can still stay in contact with his/her child.
To make it more clear about the no-contact order. We are going to discuss one case of a no-contact order. We need to learn about the Case of PA vs CK in the year 2018.
Also read: All About Child Custody Rights in the UK
Case Law on NO Contact Order
In a published case https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2018/2004.html the parents were in a relationship from 2003 to 2011. In the year 2013, the mother got married to another man. They were the parents of two, as another child was expected when the conflict started. Ever since the couple had separated the child was living with the mother. By the year 2013, they had already been into litigation for 5 years with the child’s custody in the centre.
In the year 2013, the legal proceedings took place in the Telford Magistrates’ court. In the end, there was an order passed for child contact between the father and the child in strict supervision. The reason behind this was that there had been some learning about the father’s behaviour that was bizarre and controlling. The father refused to accept all the findings in court. The judge had noted that the contact with the child went well under strict supervision..
In the year 2015, the mother and her new partner applied to adopt the child. The judge realised and stated the case was built by the mother to remove the existence of the biological father from the child’s life.
Since the judge did not give the order in the favour of the mother. She had withdrawn her adoption application. But, the father had made a statement in the court that the damage was already done. The child started to call the partner's dad and called him by his first name.
In January 2017, the child refused to talk to his biological father, and this was the last time when the father and the child had been in face-to-face contact. This was expected by the father, as the mother and her parents had put in the child’s mind that he is not the father of the child.
Again, the case was brought to court in January 2018. This time the court put a no-contact order against the father and he can meet the child via indirect medium only. Indirect mediums can be telephone, video calls, letters, etc.
Over the period, the case became more complex because the child had completely gone into the side of the mother. The father had then made a statement that he is the biological father, and the mother and father cannot portray him in the wrong light in front of the child. They have to promote him with a positive sentiment based on moral grounds.
During the proceeding, the judge had also said the highly conflictual nature of the situation will damage the child’s mental health. It will also lead to several difficulties in the relationship between the father and the child.
At last, the judge had stated again that the biological father will also remain the real father and he has a role to play in the child’s life. The court had also asked the mother and the father to encourage the child to talk to his real father via the indirect medium. This was the conclusion of the PA vs CK (2018), where a child was in the middle, and there was no-contact order in place as well.
Also read: All About Child Custody Rights in the UK
The court always considers the safety and welfare of the child. If there is any chance that there might be harm to the child’s safety the court may consider a no-contact order.
However, you need to hire the right lawyer who can study your case and get the order cancelled. Defending against a no-contact order can be difficult, but you should make sure that you get the best help possible.
This Article is not and should not be treated as legal advice.