If you are separated, divorced, or going through a separation or civil partnership dissolution, and you find yourself in a dispute with your former partner regarding arrangements for your children, then you may need to seek the assistance of the family court. In the UK, there are specific court orders relating to child law disputes (separate to long-term arrangements for the child), which include:
· Specific Issue Orders – relates to specific; isolates matters or concerns (decisions over medical treatment, change of name or schooling, for example) and can be applied for when parents or those with parental responsibility are unable to make a decision or come to an agreement.
· Prohibited Steps Orders – an order made by the family court to prevent a parent or other person with parental responsibility from taking a specific action concerning the child.
This article looks specifically at frequently asked questions surrounding a Prohibited Steps Order and when it may be required.
What is a Prohibited Steps Order?
A Prohibited Steps Order is a court order which stops a party (usually a parent) from a particular activity relating to a child(ren). Subsequently, it prohibits the other party from exerting their parental responsibility. Examples of why Prohibited Steps Orders are used include:
Preventing one parent from changing a school.
Changing a child’s name/surname.
Relocation to another part of the country.
Removing the child from the country.
How do you apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?
If you are in dispute with a former partner regarding a decision over a child, such as in the examples above, then you may apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order under S8 of the Children Act 1989. This type of order usually prohibits the activity of one single issue and restricts that activity from being carried out.
You will need to file a C100 application form with the Court, and you must show that you have attempted or attended mediation (unless the case involves domestic violence). Once the application has been issued, the Court will list the matter for a first dispute resolution hearing appointment.
The child’s welfare will always be the Court’s paramount concern when an application for a Prohibited Steps Order is made, as with any orders relating to children.
Child Law disputes can be complex, so seeking early advice from a family law specialist is essential. Our family lawyers will listen to your concerns and help you understand your legal rights, and ensure the correct procedures are followed to protect you and your children.
What is an Emergency Prohibited Steps Order?
If you can prove there is an urgent reason (emergency) for the application, or there is an imminent threat, then you can make an application for an Emergency Prohibited Steps Order. An application for an Emergency Prohibited Steps Order is made ‘without notice’, which means that the respondent will not be aware that the order is being made, nor will they be present at the hearing. If the Court grants the order, the Court will list a further ‘return’ hearing at which the respondent will be required to attend once they have been served with the application and the emergency order made.
Prohibited Steps Order Legal Advice
We realise how distressing disputes regarding children can be, especially if you have concerns for their welfare. Our specialist Child Law Solicitors are here to offer further advice on all child law matters or if you wish to make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order. We will listen to your case and discuss your circumstances in more detail, offering guidance on the best route forward and explain how we can help. Our team of experienced Solicitors are here to ensure your legal matters are dealt with in a professional and empathetic manner, to help you achieve your desired outcome, and peace of mind. Contact our Family Law team today by calling
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors