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Contact Orders & How They Affect Parents

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 17 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Contact Parents Family Children Contact

When a separated or divorced couple cannot agree on the amount of contact that the parent not living with the child should have with their offspring, a contact order can be obtained from the Family Court. This order normally stipulates the number of hours per week that the child can stay with the other parent, and often a set day or night.

Are Contact Orders Only Issued If The Parents Can’t Agree?

Usually this is the case but there are occasions when the children involved don’t think they are spending enough time with the other parent. It may also be necessary to implement a contact order if one parent is spending too much with a child or is not returning them to their home at the right times.

Do Contact Orders Cover Visits Only?

A contact order can be issued if the parent not living with the child feels that their visiting time is not long enough or not often enough. If this is the case, then the parent not living at home may ask that he or she be allowed to converse with their child by telephone perhaps once or twice a week to break up the periods between visits.

On What Grounds are Contact Orders Issued?

Contact orders are issued if there is no sign of agreement between two arguing parents. More often than not the child will find that they are being used as a weapon against the other parent, so the magistrate will issue a contact order to ensure that arguments over visiting rights are not part of the overall equation.

Can Contact Orders Be Changed or Cancelled?

Yes, they can but as with any order issued by a magistrate it must be changed or cancelled by them during a hearing at which both parents must satisfy his or her requirements. A contact order can be changed if both parents come to an agreement as to visiting and wish to make it official, or the order can be cancelled if there is a reconciliation between both parents. The magistrate will be interested primarily in the best interests of the child and will not make any snap decisions.

The magistrate may ask that a court liaison officer visit the family home to undertake an assessment, and also speak with the child (or children) involved to ascertain their feelings on the situation.

For more information, contact a solicitor who specialises in Family Law; you will find them listed in your local directories and also online.

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[Add a Comment]
char - Your Question:
Hi a bit I history ex and I were together for 4 years I have a 5 yr old from previous relationship and we have a 8 month old my ex also has 2 children who are in care taken for abuse and drug problems we broke up when baby was 2 months I left with kids while he was sleeping as I wasn't allowed out with both kids. Ex was very controlling and abusive he hasn't hit us but he would scream at us and throw stuff at us and has attempted to burn the house down while we are in it. He would threaten and call my eldest names while sreaming in his face the only way to try and stop was to make it about me so then when he went to smash the house up I could get my son into his room and tell him he can't make any noise so I could go downstairs and take the punishment. We lived in a glass box where noise was not allowed so no talking tv playing ect I couldn't always get in the way no matter how hard I treid and my ex would threaten to kill all of us and it would be a very scary few days where I truly believed he would and my child was terrified.I wasn't allowed to speak to people people were not allowed in the house when our baby was born I wasn't allowed to stay in hospital even though baby wasn't attaching I had to lie to the mw so my ex could smoke weed at home once home he started screaming at my eldest again.Now we are going through a child arrangement order he has baby one afternoon a week and half day Sunday I have pushed for no over night an for contact to be supervised by his mum even though I don't trust his mum to be able to protect baby and stand up to her son I am currently waiting for social services to do a assessment on the contact arrangements to see if it should be longer include nights and if supervision is neccarsary.I am so worried that no one is taking me seriously Am I wrong to think that baby will not benefit or be safe having contact.I am stressed with what I have put my children through Will I have to agree to nights and unsupervised contact if it is what the social worker says or can I say no our baby will not be safe

Our Response:
Make sure social services are aware of everything your ex has done in the past. It's your children's safety and state of mind that is important here, so if you have any doubts, make sure you are 100% certain that social services and the courts (if a child arrangements order is sought) are aware of the father's behaviour. You could try insisting on supervised contact by someone other than your ex's mother if you feel she cannot protect your children. Family Lives or NSPCC are good places to get additional/individual advice.
LawAndParents - 19-Sep-17 @ 12:07 PM
Hi a bit I history ex and i were together for 4 years I have a 5 yr old from previous relationship and we have a 8 month old my ex also has 2 children who are in care taken for abuse and drug problems we broke up when baby was 2 months I left with kids while he was sleeping as I wasn't allowed out with both kids. Ex was very controlling and abusive he hasn't hit us but he would scream at us and throw stuff at us and has attempted to burn the house down while we are in it. He would threaten and call my eldest names while sreaming in his face the only way to try and stop was to make it about me so then when he went to smash the house up I could get my son into his room and tell him he can't make any noise so I could go downstairs and take the punishment. We lived in a glass box where noise was not allowed so no talking tv playing ect I couldn't always get in the way no matter how hard I treid and my ex would threaten to kill all of us and it would be a very scary few days where I truly believed he would and my child was terrified . I wasn't allowed to speak to people people were not allowed in the house when our baby was born I wasn't allowed to stay in hospital even though baby wasn't attaching I had to lie to the mw so my ex could smoke weed at home once home he started screaming at my eldest again. Now we are going through a child arrangement order he has baby one afternoon a week and half day Sunday I have pushed for no over night an for contact to be supervised by his mum even though I don't trust his mum to be able to protect baby and stand up to her son I am currently waiting for social services to do a assessment on the contact arrangements to see if it should be longer include nights and if supervision is neccarsary. I am so worried that no one is taking me seriously Am I wrong to think that baby will not benefit or be safe having contact. I am stressed with what I have put my children through Will I have to agree to nights and unsupervised contact if it is what the social worker says or can i say no our baby will not be safe
char - 17-Sep-17 @ 3:01 PM
ToddB12 - Your Question:
I am starting legal action to get a court order in place to see my son. He is 2. I have one worry which is I have a police caution for cannibis. Police caution was received 3 years ago. It was a mistake and I don't take any drugs. Will this affect me?

Our Response:
It shouldn't make a great deal of difference in a child arrangements order. The courts will only take this into consideration if they feel that your son might be at risk.
LawAndParents - 27-Jul-17 @ 12:11 PM
I am starting legal action to get a court order in place to see my son. He is 2. I have one worry which is I have a police caution for cannibis. Police caution was received 3 years ago. It was a mistake and I don't take any drugs. Will this affect me?
ToddB12 - 23-Jul-17 @ 3:56 PM
Hi I used to have a 50/50 court order it lasted for 3 months as my ex wife was distraught and ran out of court as she failed to convince the majastrates it was in the best interest of the children for her to have them most of the time!!!! I had previously had an agreement for sheared care for 2 years and the kids where spot on and settled. Then she started on alligations assault, harassment pin notices assault again on my daughter now!!!!!! All got NO further action by the police!!!!!!i then put a go pro camera in my car and cought her fabricating more statements but the camera proved otherwise on all occasions. They also tryed to set me up for s road tragic accident that never happens and my ex is boyfriend got sentenced in crown court last week but nothing for my ex that was the brains behind it all!??? I would of lost my job and Licance and all the rest I have worked dam hard for when will the penny drop????? During the last 15 months I have not even been able to see my kids due to the police bail and my ex sudniting a change in child arrangements order to the court!!! This is where it all goes totaly titts up!!! Now we have a judge and I had to waight months for a section 7 and find out they had a drugs raid done on the house and he has been driving round with smoking weed with my kids in the car!!!!This has had no infulance in court at all!!!! However I have had to listen to all her lyes about harassment asolts and all the crocodile tears and the judge swollowed the lot even when I supplied him with cctv but he never looked on my evedance!!!! I had to sign a paper that said "without admitting any fault I'm not to Hurrass my ex wife!!!!!! But I haven't I said!!! Sing it the judge said to move on so we can sort the order out!!!!! I got asked to supply evedance to the assolt on my daughter!!!!! How can I when nothing of the sort happend!!!! The judge and cafcas have not even listened to the police or the school report of what the kids have been saying and what the headmistress has said nothing got put in the sanction 7????? However Thais was plenty of negative concerns about me!!!!! The cafcass rep said to me on a contact visit the first in 11 months that the kids might not even won't to see me so be prepared!!! The kids ran flat out into my arms and all the cafcas rep could say wasent expecting that!!!!!! Then went on her phone for 45min!!!!!! Then we had home supervised contact cafcas was again negative we had our Xmas in July due to ex wife not allowing me to see my kids not even a call in 11 months!!!! And the section 7 said they my ex wife has promoted contact all all times!!! Wat a joke!!!I have now unsupervised contact 3 nights in 14 but now the kids are saying we won't more time with you dad? So I have put in a appeal on the order and a complaint about cafcas and a formal complaint about north Wales police even my MP has written a letter to cafcass and the police on the way I have been treated!!!!! It's now down to the judge t
PS - 12-Oct-16 @ 8:52 AM
I allow my 2 year old little boy to stay with his dad two nights a week and have never stopped him , I try and include his family and him in everything as I feel my son deserves his dad and grandparents in his life ,his father has a girlfriend who when I was pregnant wished harm on me and my son , I don't want her near my little boy and if I don't do what my ex wants he threatens me with courts and gets nasty , I don't know what else to do as I can't take the emotional abuse anymore
Hardie10 - 6-Oct-16 @ 8:11 PM
Our son has once again separated from the mother of his 8 year old daughter, and when he has the responsibility of looking after her, he is being harrassed by his ex. She insists that she has a legal right to demand to know who can/is look/ing after the child while in the care of the father! Is this correct? Or is the father allowed to chose who he lets care for his daughter while she is his responsibility?
MrsMeggs - 22-Jul-16 @ 10:10 AM
Burley - Your Question:
I'm trying to get some help fighting for my kid's I was wrongly accused of sexual abuse on my daughter n ended up with all 3 being taken from me n my disabled partner that I've been with for 9 years I was given a hour and a half every 2 weeks in a contact center now the social services want to take it off me in the best interest of my kid's please help me.

Our Response:
Try the Family Lives Helpline on 0808 800 2222 or the Family Rights Group Helpline on 0808 801 0366.
LawAndParents - 14-Jul-16 @ 11:35 AM
I'm trying to get some help fighting for my kid's I was wrongly accused of sexual abuse on my daughter n ended up with all 3 being taken from me n my disabled partner that I've been with for 9 years I was given a hour and a half every 2 weeks in a contact center now the social services want to take it off me in the best interest of my kid's please help me.
Burley - 11-Jul-16 @ 4:28 PM
shorty - Your Question:
I took my ex to court to sort contact out after him.not seeing him for 5 months.my son was having regular contact with his dad up until 5 months ago when he got arrested for dvo.i then told my ex he could see his child but not at his house or around his partner as I do not want my child around that sort of thing.needless to say my ex then sent me a text saying not to contact him again and he will sign his rights over.ive never contacted him since and he's not textd etc to ask after our child is.inwas thinking of going back to court to cancel the court order to everything is legal.im confused as to what steps/action to take

Our Response:
You cannot force a father to have contact with his child unfortunately. If you would prefer that the father only saw son when his partner was not around (because of the DV) then you could apply to have those conditions added to the existing court order.
LawAndParents - 29-Jun-16 @ 12:34 PM
i took my ex to court to sort contact out after him.not seeing him for 5 months.my son was having regular contact with his dad up until 5 months ago when he got arrested for dvo.i then told my ex he could see his child but not at his house or around his partner as i do not want my child around that sort of thing.needless to say my ex then sent me a text saying not to contact him again and he will sign his rights over.ive never contacted him since and he's not textd etc to ask after our childis.inwas thinking of going back to court to cancel the court order to everything is legal.im confused as to what steps/action to take
shorty - 28-Jun-16 @ 10:04 AM
flowerew - Your Question:
Hi I have 3 children with my ex. He was abusive towards me. I went to court to get a prohibited steps order and a contact order. I have only ever seen the contact order so I'm unsure whether the prohibited steps order was even put in place. Anyway, my ex got with another woman, she had 3 kids and then she had a baby with my ex. He was abusive towards her and they split. She still lets him into her home and he takes my children there. I would like to know if I have any rights to tell him not to to take my children there. My eldest son (5) has told me that they can now go to the ex girlfriends house because daddy doesn't hurt her anymore! I could really do with some advice. Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
if you think the children are at risk then you can apply for a prohibitive steps order.
LawAndParents - 31-Mar-16 @ 12:46 PM
Hi I have 3 children with my ex. He was abusive towards me. I went to court to get a prohibited steps order and a contact order. I have only ever seen the contact order so I'm unsure whether the prohibited steps order was even put in place. Anyway, my ex got with another woman, she had 3 kids and then she had a baby with my ex. He was abusive towards her and they split. She still lets him into her home and he takes my children there. I would like to know if I have any rights to tell him not to to take my children there. My eldest son (5) has told me that they can now go to the ex girlfriends house because daddy doesn't hurt her anymore! I could really do with some advice. Thanks in advance.
flowerew - 29-Mar-16 @ 9:31 AM
We have an SGO for our 6 year old grandson. His father is being very hostile towards us and threatening us with his solicitor saying that he is going to get contact venue and frequency changed. What can we do to stop him having contact
marmite - 3-Mar-16 @ 6:30 PM
Smithy - Your Question:
Hi, my partner has a 5 year old son from a previous marriage. She moved two and half hours away when the boy was about 2 years old.Regular contact was in place and she was bringing him down every month to see his dad for a week and then picking him up again.That was changed when the boy started nursery but mutually agreed that she would bring him down a week every other month as not to interfere with his nursery.However since the birth of our son this has all changed.She refuses to bring him down now and insists we go up there.Which we have done but started accusing us of not feeding him etc.and lying about breaking down.My partner asks regularly how his son is via text but she just says I will reply when I want to.Yet when my partner was made reduntant and got a bit of redundancy money she was quick to contact him then and say she was entitled to some of it although she signed an agreement upon divorce stating she wouldn't be.We have offered to pay her petrol costs as she comes down to see her family who live in the same town on return for just a few hours for my partner to see his son but she refused this too.We don't know what to do?Can you give us some advice please.Thanks

Our Response:
You need to have a formal (legally binding) agreement in place - that both parties have to stick to. If you cannot agree terms via a mediation service, you can apply to the courts for a family arrangements order, which will set out contact times, travel arrangements, finances etc.
LawAndParents - 1-Feb-16 @ 2:33 PM
Hi, my partner has a 5 year old son from a previous marriage. She moved two and half hours away when the boy was about 2 years old.Regular contact was in place and she was bringing him down every month to see his dad for a week and then picking him up again.That was changed when the boy started nursery but mutually agreed that she would bring him down a week every other month as not to interfere with his nursery.However since the birth of our son this has all changed.She refuses to bring him down now and insists we go up there.Which we have done but started accusing us of not feeding him etc...and lying about breaking down.My partner asks regularly how his son is via text but she justsays I will reply when I want to.Yet when my partner was made reduntant and got a bit of redundancy money she was quick to contact him then and say she was entitled to some of it although she signed an agreement upon divorce stating she wouldn't be.We have offered to pay her petrol costs as she comes down to see her family who live in the same town on return for just a few hours for my partner to see his son but she refused this too.We don't know what to do?Can you give us some advice please.Thanks
Smithy - 30-Jan-16 @ 8:08 AM
My husband was physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally abusive to me. He has also done some pretty extreme forms of parenting in front of the children, not actually hurt them, but to me perhaps the emotional stuff is far worse. Roll on, after the number of times I have phoned the police, Children's Services gets involved. I keep being told that I need to protect myself and the children. So I go for a non-molestation and to try get something saying the children will live with me. Haha, what a fool I was for thinking that a real conviction, medical evidence, damage to property, interviews with the children, police incident numbers etc would help to protect us. He is now contesting the non-molestation and the residency. Children's services have to give their view on contact, even after I have said all this and shown the evidence, they are still wanting to give him access! I will shortly find out if this is to be the case, to then be told in three months who gets residency. Am I the only victim of domestic abuse thinking it would of been easier to not report, for all the hoops I'm having to leap through. It's going to kill me seeing any contact order with his name on that says unsupervised, because I can't see the ending being pretty.
worriedone - 28-Jan-16 @ 8:20 PM
quays - Your Question:
Hi my relative has a shared custody order which he had to go to court to get. He split up from his children's mother in their 1st year and he was told he would never see them. It took 2 years of courts and mediation to get a shared custody order. He got contact twice a week mid week and every other weekend. ( though this always came with lateness, cancellations due to illness or events planned in the father's time. also physically lashing out, untrue statements about pushing chidlren, lots of cry wolf stories to the police all which were unfounded and disproved. Lots of provacataived behaviour in an attept to get the father to react with violence all attempts failed. Father insists on not meeting mother alone and usually goes with his mother or other family member and picks up children in public place which has cctv and witnesses. However in November mother stopped father from picking children from school ( as he normally would ) by surrpising him with a "No Contact Order", school confused as both father and mother had court letters so called police. Mothers paperwork more recent so police let mother take children even though they should have gone to father that weekend. HOw can a "No Contact Order be issued without knowledge of the father"Very humiliating and unfair as well as distressing to children who adore their father.

Our Response:
This does sound untoward. Most courts would request views from all sides before granting this kind of order. Ask for a copy of the order and request information on the actual hearing from the courts. Your relative might need counter appeal.
LawAndParents - 20-Jan-16 @ 11:34 AM
Hi my relative has a shared custody order which he had to go to court to get.He split up from his children's mother in their 1st year and he was told he would never see them.It took 2 years of courts and mediation to get a shared custody order. He got contact twice a week mid week and every other weekend. ( though this always came with lateness, cancellations due to illness or events planned in the father's time. also physically lashing out, untrue statements about pushing chidlren, lots of cry wolf stories to the police all which were unfounded and disproved. Lots of provacataived behaviour in an attept to get the father to react with violence all attempts failed. Father insists on not meeting mother alone and usually goes with his mother or other family member and picks up children in public place which has cctv and witnesses.However in November mother stopped father from picking children from school( as he normally would ) by surrpising him with a "No ContactOrder", school confused as both father and mother had court letters so called police.Mothers paperwork more recent so police let mother take children even though they should have gone to father that weekend.HOw can a "No Contact Order be issued without knowledge of the father" Very humiliating and unfair as well as distressing to children who adore their father.
quays - 19-Jan-16 @ 1:26 AM
My ex has a residence order for my son since he was four years old due to me suffering from a nervous breakdown after we split up. He was extremely nasty to me and that led to my breakdown. My mental health is now fine (apart from depression due to not seeing my son enough). He was bringing him to me every week and more in the holidays but since my son accused his step mother of physical abuse he is being difficult and trying to stop me seeing him. Can I get a contact order to make sure I get to see my son regularly? His step mother is a social worker herself and I feel that due to this fact, Social Services have not dealt with it properly. All I want is for my son to be happy but he is not, he has also been told that his father and step mother are separating and has been told it is his fault. He is not happy at home and has told me that living with his father and step mother is making him feel suicidal! He is only nine years old and I am genuinely concerned for his safety and mental health as he feels bullied by them both. They both continue to try and turn him against me which does not work but it is starting to make him hate them both. What can I do? For His sake?
Wendy - 16-Dec-15 @ 6:16 PM
Hi My eight year old came back from contact with his dad six weeks ago upset and full of questions about what his dad was smoking after listening to what he was smoking and how he made it, it became pretty clear his dad was smoking cannabis around him. He has told me he doesnt want to see his dad any more. Ive reported it to police,social services and have contacted a solicicitor...however nobody seems to care that four children ranging from 6months to 12years are having drugs used around them. I am being told as police and social services dont seem interested that in court im going to look like im making it up...even though my eight year old son is refusing to go with his dad. Im really dusgusted that i am expexted to carry on with contact order and knowingly send my son to sit next to people smoking canabis. I really dont know what to do.
Temc - 15-Sep-15 @ 9:42 PM
Kel - Your Question:
I have a nine year old daughter who now lives with her father cud she wanted to, so I agreed she could go live with him as long as he don't stop me from seeing her and he agreed but now she is living there I have only seen her twice since May and now he is stopping her from coming down here now until he gets a resident order which could be months as I don't think he has applied for it yet. I really don't know what to do as I miss her and don't know where I stand, he has gone back on his word and all I wanted to do was what's best for my daughter and she wanted to come down this week to c me and her friends but he said no, what can I do any one got some advice plz

Our Response:
You can apply to the courts yourself for a child arrangements order (ie an order specifying the times when you can see your daughter). You should also consider the mediation as an option before heading to court. A mediation will help you produce a (legally enforceable) agreement with the details of contact times etc.
LawAndParents - 18-Aug-15 @ 12:55 PM
I have a nine year old daughter who now lives with her father cuz she wanted to, so I agreed she could go live with him as long as he don't stop me from seeing her and he agreed but now she is living there I have only seen her twice since May and now he is stopping her from coming down here now until he gets a resident order which could be months as I don't think he has applied for it yet. I really don't know what to do as I miss her and don't know where I stand, he has gone back on his word and all I wanted to do was what's best for my daughter and she wanted to come down this week to c me and her friends but he said no, what can I do any one got some advice plz
Kel - 17-Aug-15 @ 8:54 PM
I have two children aged 12 and 10. I was divorced 6 years ago and me and my ex agreed that the children should spent 3 nights a week with their father. After 6 years of this the children decided they no longer wanted staying contact. I went to court to vary the agreed order. After cafcass involvement a new order was created where the children no longer have staying contact. My ex is now in pursuit to regain his overnight contact. He has taken me to court for breach and then told the magistrates in the hearing that he was revoking his application for the enforcement order. Even though I had breach because the children had a sleep over on his contact day. The children refused to go with him. He's intent to changing the order yet the children are set that they will not resume overnight contact with him. On what grounds can he change the contact order?
Mcn23 - 15-Aug-15 @ 10:18 PM
Father has day to day care of my granddaughter but my daughter has equal responsibilites and a court order detailing contact days which includes holiday share but following a recentun provoked altercation with my daughter resulting in Police be called as my daughter and son were assaulted and father was arrested he has stopped contact all together which will mean my granddaughter will lose out on a holiday with her mother. Can he just stop contact for reasons that have no concerns of my granddaughter but purely because he had the hump over something and took it out on my daughterand son and appeared to be high on drugs as well. CAFCAS involved but wont do anything and daughter can't afford to take the father to court.Please can anyone help!
Nanasue - 22-Jul-15 @ 3:49 PM
@tilliefloss. Any arrangements should be made with your consent/communication as you are the parent with residence. Your ex should not be making arrangements with a 7 and a 4 year old directly, that is putting way too much responsibility on their shoulders.
LawAndParents - 17-Jul-15 @ 2:20 PM
My son is living with granparents on a residentcy order. The social services are no longer involved.So what the social services arranged before is void? I want to visit school to see my son in a play as its his last year at that school. Been told by school not allowed to school by social service's they hav nt been involved for mths. What can I do now. Thanks
mia - 15-Jul-15 @ 12:12 PM
My ex will not speak to me and is now not answering my tx messages, he rings our boys (7 & 4) to organise seeing them and sleepovers not consulting me at all. He works continental shifts and I have always been flexible to accommodate this, but gone honest I'm at breaking point. He gives me £30 per week which I think is too low but he will not budge or discuss it. He didn't even know boys broke up for school last Friday when he rang them today (last time he spoke to them was last Thursday) He has arranged with boys to pick them up for tea tomorrow 3pm - 7pm. I sent him a tx msg which said. Boys are with their Grandad tomorrow as I have an appointmen, I will tx and tell you whether they are at home or Grandads prior to 3pm. I then sent another tx half hour later saying please acknowledge tx so I know you have rec'd and read it. Then tried to call him he wouldn't answer. I feel like contacting him and saying due to you being unreasonable and unwilling to discuss contact with boys I will be contacting a solicitor to get advice. Am I being unreasonable?? - Help!!
Tilliefloss - 15-Jul-15 @ 1:49 AM
Hi. My son hasn't had contact with his father now for 2 years. He is 11 now and currently having support from CAMHS for PTSD caused by his father. We have an order for no contact in place as well as a bar from out address being given to my ex. My son is starting secondary school in September and my ex has called the primary school (he found out where it was) to find out what school he will be going to. The school haven't said anything as yet as they know there is a no contact order in place. Do they HAVE to tell him ?
Mumsy - 9-Jul-15 @ 4:13 PM
Hi I was wondering if you can give some advice my son is 2 since be4 he was born I had problems with his father in and out off court eventually the court gave his father 4 hours a week supervised by his mam my sons grandmother lately my sons farther hasnt been turning up for his visits so I was wondering do I have to hand my son over if his father isnt there also I would like to take my son on holiday but the grandmother wont let me as she would have to miss out on visit so I spoke to my solicitor who says since im about an hours drive away when I go on holiday I have to meet them half way is this true and does that include when they go on holiday to also can I take him abroad x
misspiggy - 5-Jul-15 @ 12:40 AM
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