Prohibited Steps Order

A common question faced by many people is what is prohibited steps order. A prohibited steps order is an order stopping someone with parental responsibility in carrying out their parental responsibility rights in relation to the terms set out in the order. Effectively a prohibited order prevents a parent from doing something which is set out in the order without the courts permission. The order tells a parent or someone with parental responsibility what they cannot do.

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What is a prohibited septs order used for?

Many people often question what is a prohibited steps order UK used for? A prohibited steps order can be used to prevent a parent from changing a child’s name without permission, preventing a child to be removed from a parents care, preventing a child from being removed from a school or from preventing a child being taken out of the town/city or even relocating to a different part of the country or removing the child out of the country to another country. It could also be used for complex matters such as preventing one parent from allowing the child to undertake specific medication or medical treatment. A Prohibited Steps Order may be made in the course of proceedings concerning a child or children under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 or as an independent application to the family court.

Who can apply for a prohibited steps order?

An application can be made by anyone with parental responsibility. This can be either a parent, guardian, special guardian or anyone who has obtained a residence order from the family court which grants them responsibility over a child. If someone who does not have parental responsibility over a child wants to apply for a prohibited steps order they must first apply to the court for permission to make an application and once this permission has been granted you can then make an application for this order. If you are concerned about a child but do not hold parental responsibility and would like to act in the best interests of a child then contact our family specialists who can assist you with your application for permission to bring an application for a prohibited steps order.   

Applying for a prohibited steps order

An application must be made to the family court by completing a form C100. This form will then need to be submitted to the court. The form can be submitted online or alternatively you can print and post this to the court. Our child law specialists have assisted many people in successfully obtaining a prohibited steps order and can assist you to.

Often prohibited steps orders are classed as emergency orders and are made without notice to the other party and therefore the respondent will not be in attendance at the initial court hearing unless they have received notice of the application from the court and have been requested to attend. In such circumstances the court needs to be satisfied by the party making an application for a prohibited steps order that there is a need for an emergency hearing without notice as this would result in a possible important change in the child’s life and one that affects the child’s welfare.

As with most child applications the party applying to the court must show that they have attempted mediation unless an exemption applies. Once an application has been issued with the court the court will then usually instruct a CAFCASS advisor to meet with the parties to see whether an agreement can be reached between the parties. Should an agreement not be reached the court will then direct CAFCASS to prepare a report which the court will use based on their investigations. The family court will then list the matter for a hearing in which the concerns of the parties along with the CAFCASS report will be considered before reaching a decision as to whether a prohibited steps order should be granted.

What does the court consider when making prohibited steps orders?

When considering a prohibited steps order, the courts will look at many things before making this order. The most important consideration with all child matters is the welfare and interest of the child which is the overriding objective. The courts will therefore consider whether it is in the best interests of the child for an order to be granted as opposed to it not being granted and whether there will be more harm than good if an order in favour of the application is not made.  

The court will also take into account the wishes of the parent who has day to day custody of the child and consider why the parent making the application for a prohibited steps order wants to prevent the parent with the custody carrying out a certain element of their parental responsibility rights.

Our child law specialists have assisted many people with both obtaining a prohibited steps order and challenging a prohibited steps order against them. The courts will not grant an order for prohibited steps if an outcome the applicant is trying to achieve can be reached by another type of order. i.e. if a parent is making an application to prevent the other parent having contact with the child. The courts may not make a prohibited steps order in such circumstances given that this matter could be decided by a child residence order or a contact order which would determine the issue of contact.

At Kabir Family Law our child lawyers provide an initial consultation in which they will listen to your concerns. From the outset our specialists will provide you advise on the prospects of obtaining a prohibited steps order and confirm whether you are likely to succeed in obtaining such an order or whether another type of child application should be considered.

How long does a prohibited steps order last?

Many people want to know how long does a prohibited steps order last. A prohibited steps order will usually last for a specified period of time which the court orders i.e 6 months or 12 months. However, the order can also last until a certain even occurs for example a child may not be taken out of the school they are attending until they complete their education.

An order can not last longer than the child attains the age of 16 unless there are special circumstances in which case the prohibited steps order may last until the child attains the age of 18. However a prohibited steps order will not remain in force once the child reaches the age of 18 years.

How much does a prohibited steps order cost?

Many people often query the prohibited steps order cost. When submitting your application to the court there will be a Court fee to pay in order for your application to be issued and considered. The prohibited steps order cost is currently £232.00 although you may want to seek advice from our child lawyers about whether you qualify for a fee remission which would be dependent on a number of factors including your income, your savings and whether you are on any state benefits. This court fee does not include any associated fees such as fees for advice or for representation at any hearings which would be separate.

How to fight a prohibited steps order application

You may be the parent who has received a prohibited steps order application from the other parent which you do not necessarily agree with and may want to oppose. You may therefore be wanting to know how to fight a prohibited steps order application. The first step in how to fight a prohibited steps order application is to ensure you carefully read and understand the contents of the application you have received to ensure you note down what concerns If any are mentioned against you or whether there are any allegations levelled towards you. Before opposing any application you will need to understand what exactly the other parent is applying for you to be prohibited from. This could be an application to stop you from removing a child out of the country, stop you from removing a child from the care of the other parent or even to prevent you from changing a child’s name or their school or to locate with them to a different part of the country.

In the first instance when considering how to fight a prohibited steps order application you will need to ensure you promptly respond to the court documents. This will involve you responding back to the court with the acknowledgement of service and noting down any listed hearings. You will then need to gather evidence in support of your reasons for carrying out certain activities which the other parent is trying to prohibit you from achieving or completing by way of a prohibited steps order. This could involve gathering evidence as to why it is beneficial for the child to relocate to a different area. i.e. this will improve their quality of life, or why they should be enrolled in different school by producing evidence on the proposed schools facilities, prospectus, schooling reports etc. Where the application is to stop you from relocating abroad with a child, you may want to gather evidence to prove how you have better support abroad which in turn will help the child by providing more security and how you will be better placed to cater the needs for the child abroad i.e. better education, life prospects etc. In order to fight or oppose a prohibited steps order you will need to show how you being prohibited from acting in a certain manner is likely to have a negative impact on the child. Ultimately the primary focus is the welfare, safety and wellbeing of the child.

Prior to any hearing listed for the prohibited steps order application, our family law specialists can assist you with preparation of your witness statement. We can assist you in ensuring that you present your evidence in a manner which the courts will consider, and which will help you achieve your outcome you desire when you act upon how to fight a prohibited steps order application.

How to fight a prohibited steps order application which has already been issued by the court

If this order has been made and you want to know how to fight a prohibited steps order then you will need to convince the court that the removal of this order will be beneficial for the child. This can be achieved if the other parent and you can reach an amicable agreement. Following this an application can then be made to the court to discharge or overturn the prohibited steps order. If you are not on amicable terms with the other parent then you may be wondering how to fight a prohibited steps order. You can then look to challenge the prohibited steps order by involving Cafcass to review the matter. Cafcass will then consider the matter further and specifically consider whether any safeguarding concerns remain live and the effects of the prohibited steps order on the child in question. Cafcass must then submit a written report to the court which must contain their recommendations following which the court may consider terminating the prohibited steps order which is in place. The report must show what Cafcass feel will be in the best interest of the child taking in to consideration their safety and wellbeing.

Can a prohibited steps order UK be changed? 

Our family lawyers understand that circumstances of parents and individuals may change. In such circumstances it is possible to request for a prohibited steps order to be changed. Alternatively you may have been subject to such an order and want to find out about how to fight a prohibited steps order. At Kabir family law we can assist in reviewing existing prohibited steps orders and assist you in reaching an agreement to change the terms of the prohibited steps order. If an agreement can be reached with the parties, then a request can be made to change the prohibited steps order UK.

The courts will consider the child’s welfare and interests before making a decision on changing a current prohibited steps order. A prohibited steps order UK can be changed by the court unless changing the order will affect the child negatively.

Is a prohibited steps order the same as a specific issue order? 

The effects of a prohibited steps order and a specific issue order are different. An order is made to prevent a person with parental responsibility to carry out certain aspects of their parental responsibility i.e. taking a child out of school or the country. Whereas a specific issue order is made by the court to approve a certain issue.  

Can the courts order a prohibited steps order against the wishes of a child? 

The courts will take into consideration of a child who is competent and capable of making choices based on their welfare and in such instances the courts may not award a prohibited steps order. However where the child’s welfare is likely to be affected and the child needs to be protected then the wishes of a child may not necessarily be taken into account by the courts.

Arrange a consultation with our family law specialists today

Our team of family lawyers in York, London, Manchester, Oxford, Newcastle and Northampton are always on hand to help with your enquiries. Contact us on 0330 094 5880 to discuss the possibility of obtaining a prohibited steps order or to challenge an application for a prohibited steps order.

We are proud to offer assistance around the clock, and did you know we can also provide our consultations face to face, over the telephone or on skype. So wherever you are located either nationally or abroad you can contact us today to obtain advise and assistance on your family law matter.