Prohibited Steps Orders – An Overview

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What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

A Prohibited Steps Order is an order which prohibits a party (usually a parent) from a certain activity relating to a child(ren), and which also prohibits a party from exercising their parental responsibility. The type of activities that can be prevented include:

  • Removing a child from school;
  • Changing a child’s surname; or
  • Taking the child out of the country (on holiday or permanently).

When can you apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?

You can apply 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.

If you are separated or going through separation and find yourself in a situation where your former partner is making threats to carry out an activity, such as the examples above, then you may apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent them from doing so.

It should be noted that when the Court considers an application for a Prohibited Steps Order, the child’s welfare will be the Court’s paramount consideration, as is the case when applying for any orders relating to children.

When can you not apply for a Prohibited Steps Order

  1. If the child is the age of 16 years old or beyond
  2. If the child is in the care of a Local Authority

Making the application for an Order

To apply for an Order, the person applying will need to file a C100 application form. In doing so, you must show that you have attempted or attended mediation (mediation will be exempt in cases where there has been domestic violence).

Once the application has been issued, the Court will list the matter for a first dispute resolution hearing appointment.

How long does a Prohibited Steps Order last?

How long an Order remains in place depends on the circumstances of the application. When determining the duration of the Order, the Court will impose a duration that they feel serves the best interests of the child in question. This can range from six months to multiple years.

Regardless of when and how long an Order is put in place, it will end by the time the child reaches their 18th birthday.

Emergency Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order can also be applied for on an emergency basis. However, in order for an urgent application to be successful, there must be strong evidence or an imminent threat. In these circumstances, the application is made ‘without notice’. This means that the respondent would not be aware that the order is being made and nor would they be present at the hearing.

If an order is granted on this basis, the Court will list a further ‘return’ hearing when the respondent will be required to attend once they have been served with the application and emergency order made.

Prohibited Steps OrderHow Nelsons can help

Melanie Bridgen is a Partner in our expert Family Law team.

If you would like further advice or if you wish to make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that our family law solicitors can provide along with details of our hourly rates and fixed fee services.

Please contact Melanie or another member of the team on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.

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