Emergency Residence Order

An emergency residence order is an order provided with the aim of protecting a child from ongoing or risk or physical, mental or emotional harm in situations of emergency. An application for an emergency residence order can be made by anyone who feels the child is suffering from harm or is in danger. The most common scenario in which an emergency residence order is applied is when there are concerns of a child being subject to abuse whether this is physical or emotional.

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Making an emergency family court order

An emergency court order application is made to a family court where there is an element of risk or harm to a child. The applicant will need to complete the form C100 which is the same form used in child contact orders.

Emergency family court orders are made without notice to the other party. The emergency family court orders are permitted without notice to the respondent and used when notice of the application would defeat the purpose of the application. The application should be accompanied by a statement providing reasons for the urgent nature. Emergency court orders are heard by the family court on the day of the application.

In cases of emergency the judge may award an interim order. However, the matter will be listed for a second hearing in which the other party will be given notice and provided with an opportunity to present their arguments and position. Our child law specialists have assisted many parents and individuals with emergency family court orders and could also help you too. Contact us today to arrange a free initial no obligation consultation.       

What is the purpose of an emergency court order? 

Emergency court orders are obtained where there is a risk to the welfare of a child. These applications are made to obtain a child court order without notice to the other parent and are usually heard on the day of making the application.

Can an application for an emergency residence order be made to any family court?

Whilst child matters can be started in any family court it is advisable to make any emergency applications to the local family court where the child resides or last known to be taken to in order avoid any delays.

In some instances both the parents may be living in the same town or city and therefore applications should be made to the local court of that town. However in situations where one parent has taken the child away to another part of the country, the emergency residence application should ideally be made to the family court where the child has been taken to.

If a parent is not aware of where a child has been removed to then it would be ideal to make an emergency residence application to the family court in the child’s last known location.

Do Grandparents have a right to make an application for an emergency residence order?

It is important to note that emergency residence orders are not just restricted to parents of a child. Anyone can apply to the court for an emergency residence order which is also known as an emergency protection order if they fear the child is in imminent risk of harm, abuse or danger. Although grandparents do not have automatic rights over their grandchildren and in normal cases they would need to apply for permission from the court to make any child application, this is not the case when it comes to emergency residence orders.

Therefore if a grandparent has serious concerns regarding the safety and welfare of their grandchild or have concerns they are being abused or in risk of danger, they can make an emergency application to the family court for a residence order.

Can an emergency residence order be made if my child has been taken by the local authority?

Emergency residence orders are commonly also known as Emergency Protection Orders where the local authority are concerned.
In some circumstances a local authority may be granted an emergency residence order for a child where enquiries are being made in respect to a child or if enquiries are being frustrated by access to the child being denied or there is reasonable cause to believe that access to the child is required as a matter of urgency. In such cases a parent can apply to discharge the emergency residence order only if they were not present when the initial order was made.

If a parent has notice of an application for an emergency residence order and the hearing is not without notice then the parent will have the right to go to the hearing and question the local authority regarding the need for an emergency protection order.

How long will an emergency residence order last for?

In many situations an emergency residence order is applied for by a parent where a child has suffered harm or abuse, or there is a risk they will suffer from harm from the other parent.

Emergency residence orders are usually granted without notice to the applicant parent. These emergency residence orders usually last for a short term until a subsequent family court hearing is listed which is often within a few days or so.

The court will list a hearing following the granting of the emergency residence order in which notice will be given to the other parent. This allows the other parent to present their evidence and allows them to make representations. The judge will then make a final decision on the child residence following which the emergency residence order will continue or be terminated.

Emergency residence order applications can also be made by the local authority where they feel enquiries are being made in connection with a child and the enquiries are being frustrated by not having access to the child and this access is required as a matter of urgency. In such instances the emergency residence orders are known as Emergency Protection Orders. Whilst the local authority must return the child to the parent as soon as it is safe to do, the emergency protection order will initially last for a maximum period of 8 days. The court however has the power to further extend the emergency protection order by up to 7 days. 

What happens if the non-resident parent doesn’t return the child before an emergency residence order is granted?

If the non-resident parent has removed the child from the resident parent and does not return the child then there is generally not much that can be done before an emergency residence order is granted unless a child arrangement order is in place. Generally the police will not get involved where there are no child arrangement orders in force unless there is form of domestic abuse.

What happens if the non-resident parent doesn’t return the child where a child arrangement order is in force?

In such situations the resident parent has the option of making an application to the court for the enforcement of the existing residence order. The courts have a range of options when considering a breach of its order which include:

  • An enforcement order which is made to ensure the parent in breach of the order complies
  • Committal to prison
  • A fine
  • Order for compensation or financial loss.

If however the parent believes the child is in risk of suffering harm or abuse then the normal procedure would be to make an application for an emergency order which if granted would mean that the non-resident partner would need to return the child, failing which the police and Cafcass officers can intervene.

What happens if the non-resident parent doesn’t return the child after an emergency residence order is granted?

If an emergency residence order is granted in your favour this confirms that your child will be living with you. If despite receiving an emergency residence order your ex-partner does not return the child then assistance can be obtained from the Police who will usually be accompanied by a CAFCASS officer to remove the child from the non-resident parents care. The non-resident parent will need to return your child on the basis of the emergency order. They will be given an opportunity to present their case and make representations at the next listed hearing.

What are the other types of court orders relating to children?

Many people often want to know more about the types of court orders relating to children. It is important to note that the court has various orders at its disposal which can be issued in cases relating to children.

  • Residence orders are common orders. These orders confirm the arrangements of who the children will live with. Residence orders can be applied by parents, grandparents, guardians. Initially the family courts would issue full residence orders however shared residence is becoming more common.
  • Contact orders are also very common in child proceedings. Such orders essentially confirm which family member the children will maintain contact with. Contact can be either direct or indirect.
  • Specific issue orders relate to a specific question regarding the child’s upbringing. This can cover anything from which school the client will to attend to whether they can travel abroad with the parent. A specific issue order can be applied by anyone with parental responsibility or anyone named on child arrangement orders as well as guardians.
  • Prohibited Steps Orders are also very popular. This order states that a specified action relating to a child should not happen without the express consent of the Court. The order is effectively telling a parent or carer what they may not do in respect of their child. This order is commonly used to prevent a parent changing a child’s surname, along with other issues such as removing them from the country.
  • Emergency Protection Order are used to remove a child from a situation where they are suffering significant harm. With this type of order the child is removed immediately without any notice to the parents or a carer. This order is only used in a genuine emergency in order to provide a child with immediate protection.
  • Supervision Order give the Local Authority an obligation to supervise the care given to a child. This order is used to support parents to care for the children. The child is not removed from the parent but merely supervised to ensure that the child remains safe. Such orders are designed to allow the parents and the local authority to co-operate and work together.
  • Care Order give the Local Authority parental responsibility and authorises them to make decisions about the child including making decisions on where the child will live. The child is usually placed in a care home. However, the Local Authority does not have to remove the child from their parents if a care order is in place.

Court order for child custody

A court order for child custody is also known as a residency order. Such an order for child custody is made by the family court. The order determines with which parent the child will reside with. At Kabir Family Law, our child law specialists have assisted many mothers, father, grandparents and guardians obtain a court order for child custody and we can assist you too should this apply to your situation.  

Many parents would like child custody but remain unaware of the residency order process. Our child law specialists practice solely in family law and can assist you in the residency order process. Initially our family law specialists can try and act as a mediator between the parents to try and resolve issues regarding where the child will live and the contact arrangements for the non-resident parent. Should such negotiations not be viable or breakdown we can assist you in applying to the courts for child residency.

Prior to making an application to the family court under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 for a residence order or contact order, you will have to show the court that you have attended a meeting known as a MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting) and prove that either mediation is not suitable or you are exempt from mediation. In certain circumstances, you don’t need to attend a MIAM before making a residence order application. This is usually where there has been domestic abuse, or the Local Authority are already involved in family matters.

How will the family courts decide whether to make a residence order?

The courts paramount concern when making any orders relating to a child is the child’s best interests. The court will take into account that any delay is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare. The court therefore must have regard to the welfare checklist. This checklist allows the court to consider how capable a parent or any person applying for the residence order is of meeting the child’s needs, wishes and feelings.

The courts will carefully consider any evidence presented to them which concerns the risk of harm or abuse being suffered by a child. Whilst considering whether the child has suffered any abuse or harm or is likely to do so the family court must be satisfied that the making of the residence order will be better for the child than making no order at all.

What is the cost of residency order?

The cost of residency order is a fee of £215 which is payable at the time of making the application. However our child law specialists can review the cost of residency order by considering your personal circumstances and assessing whether you are exempt from paying some or all of the fee.

Once an application has been submitted to the court both parties will take part separately in a telephone call with CAFCASS to discuss matters relevant to the application including residence and contact issues and any concerns they have about the children, the other parent or third parties.

Following the application being submitted to the court their will be a first hearing. This used to determine whether the parties can reach an agreement and whether there are any safeguarding or welfare concerns surrounding the child which need to be considered.

If matters for child custody cannot be resolved at the first hearing because of safety concerns or the parties cannot agree then the matter will be listed for a second hearing. Parents may be required to prepare a statement confirming why they feel that the residence of the child needs to be decided by the court with a residence order. The court may also request further information from other professionals such as schools, doctors, CAFCASS or Social Services to ensure they have all the information required to make a decision on the custody of a child.

Following this second hearing the matter will then be listed for a final hearing where the court will consider all the information and evidence before them including a recommendation report from CAFCASS and will then make a decision about the residence order which is binding on both parents. This order will confirm with which parent the child will live with and the level of contact for the other parent.

What types of orders can the court make in relation to residency?

The court has the power to either make a full residence order or a joint residence order. A Full Residence Order confirms where the child shall live and who the primary carer will be. A Full Residence Order grants sole custody of the child to one parent which gives them the right to live with the child and make decisions on the child’s life.

In contract a joint residence or a shared residence order is made in favour of both parents. It is a court order that requires a child to spend a certain amount of time with one parent and a certain amount of time with the other parent. It allows both parents to be a part of the child’s life and upbringing.

Contact our child law specialists for legal advice today

If you wish to secure an emergency residence order or require legal advice contact our child lawyers to arrange an initial consultation today on 0330 094 5880 or arrange a call-back.

Did you know we also have child custody law experts in York, Newcastle, Oxford, Northampton and London for you to visit should it be more convenient for you.