What can I do if my ex won’t stick to child contact arrangements?

Raising children with a partner you’ve split from can be tricky. It’s common to disagree about contact arrangements, house rules, holidays and maintenance costs.

If your ex partner isn’t following the rules you agreed for your childcare contact arrangements, try to speak to them. Aim to communicate in a calm manner to reduce conflicts. This will also help reduce any negative impact on your children.

Couple discussing child contact arrangements

Make a change to your parenting plan

  • Draw up or make a change to your parenting plan. This outlines agreements on contact, child maintenance and house rules.
  • If you originally agreed to something but it’s not working any more, try having a conversation to find a compromise.
  • If helpful, you could ask a friend or family member you both trust to come up with a plan.

Separate out money matters

You might want to talk about house rules and contact separately from money matters. The topics can become blurred, which sometimes brings up more tension. For more advice on this, visit relationship advice charity Relate.

Get help resolving the issue

  • Mediation can help calm hostile situations. A professional support worker will hold meetings and help create a plan everyone can agree on. Organisations like National Family Mediation offer support with this.
  • If the situation with your partner is still unresolved, you can take it to court. The government has some guidance on making legal child arrangements.
  • Child Law Advice has a free legal helpline.  You could also contact local solicitors in your area. Some will give 30 minutes of free advice.
  • Remember that you can’t control what your ex-partner does, only what you do and say. It can be frustrating when you don’t agree on things. But keeping the children at the heart of decisions can help you reach a compromise.
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