Children Act Proceedings - 'Spend time with' orders

In the old terminology these were 'contact' orders. These orders determine when a child is to spend time with their parent, or other significant adult in their life who has made an application to the court. 

The Court’s starting point is likely to be that:

  • it is in a child's best interests to know and spend quality time with both parents;
  • should a parent pose a risk of harm to a child, to consider whether that risk can be safely managed to ensure the child still maintains a good relationship with that parent;
  • usually it is in a child's best interests to have a good relationship with their maternal and paternal families and their parent's new partner or spouse;

A 'spending time with' order, can include face to face time for short periods, overnight visits, holiday visits and indirect time such as telephone calls, Skype, emails, cards and presents.

A parent's time with their child may be unsupervised or supervised; there are different forms of supervised contact to manage the specific risk of harm the parent poses to the child.