Guardianship of Infants Act 1964


F69 [ Enforcement orders

18A. (1) A guardian or parent of a child who has been

(a) granted, by order of the court made under this Act, custody of, or access to, that child, and

(b) unreasonably denied such custody or access by another guardian or parent of that child,

may apply to the court for an order ( enforcement order ) under this section.

(2) An application under subsection (1) shall be on notice to each guardian and parent of the child concerned.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the court, on an application under subsection (1), shall make an enforcement order only where it is satisfied that

(a) the applicant was unreasonably denied custody or access, as the case may be, by the other parent or guardian,

(b) it is in the best interests of the child to do so, and

(c) it is otherwise appropriate in the circumstances of the case to do so.

(4) An enforcement order may provide for one or more than one of the following:

(a) that the applicant be granted access to the child for such periods of time (being periods of time in addition to the periods of time during which the applicant has access to the child under the order referred to in subsection (1)(a)) that the court may consider necessary in order to allow any adverse effects on the relationship between the applicant and child caused by the denial referred to in subsection (1) to be addressed;

(b) that the respondent reimburse the applicant for any necessary expenses actually incurred by the applicant in attempting to exercise his or her right under the order referred to in subsection (1)(a) to custody of, or access to, the child;

(c) that the respondent or the applicant, or both, in order to ensure future compliance by them with the order referred to in subsection (1)(a) do one or more than one of the following:

(i) attend, either individually or together, a parenting programme;

(ii) avail, either individually or together, of family counselling;

(iii) receive information, in such manner and in such form as the court may determine on the possibility of their availing of mediation as a means of resolving disputes between them, that adversely affect their parenting capacities, between the applicant and respondent.

(5) An enforcement order shall not contain a provision referred to in subsection (4)(a) unless

(a) the child, to the extent possible given his or her age and understanding, has had the opportunity to make his or her views on the matter known to the court, and

(b) the court has taken the views (if any) of the child referred to in paragraph (a) into account in making the order.

(6) Where the court, on an application under subsection (1), is of the opinion that the denial of custody or access was reasonable in the particular circumstances, it may

(a) refuse to make an enforcement order, or

(b) make such enforcement order that it considers appropriate in the circumstances.

(7) This section is without prejudice to the law as to contempt of court.

(8) In this section

family counselling means a service provided by a family counsellor in which he or she assists a person or persons

(a) to resolve or better cope with personal and interpersonal problems or difficulties relating to, as the case may be, his, her or their marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation or parenting of a child, or

(b) to resolve or better cope with personal and interpersonal problems or difficulties, or issues relating to the care of children, where the person or persons is or are affected, or likely to be affected, by separation, divorce, the dissolution of a civil partnership or the ending of a relationship of cohabitation;

family counsellor means a person who has the requisite skill and judgment to provide family counselling;

parenting programme means a programme that is designed to assist (including by the provision of counselling services or the teaching of techniques to resolve disputes) a person in resolving problems that adversely affect the carrying out of his or her parenting responsibilities. ]