A Prohibited Steps Order is issued under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 which is requested by one parent to ensure that the other parent does not continue to carry out a single particular action that involves a child or children from that relationship, where that action would prohibit the other parent from fulfilling their parental responsibilities. A prohibited action would, for example, be to stop the other parent from taking the child or children out of the country.
Regrettably, when couples separate, whether married or cohabiting, this split can frequently be far from friendly or amicable. If children are involved, in too many cases they are used, either accidentally or deliberately, as pawns to frustrate, infuriate or hurt the other parent.
All too often, the actions of one parent may be to their personal benefit or advantage, but that action may not be to the benefit of any child or children from the relationship. At times actions by one or other parent can be driven out of spite and malice as parents lose sight of the fact that the divorce is not the fault of the children.
One of the biggest problems with an acrimonious split is the inability for both parties to discuss future arrangements or agree on what will be best for the child or children calmly and maturely. Instead, it can be challenging to find any common ground and often the decisions made for any children are designed to inflict as much emotional upset on the other party.
For couples who are unable to put aside their differences for the sake of the children, sometimes one or other can be forced to turn to the law for assistance if the behaviour of the other party contradicts their own wishes explicitly. Such instances, beyond trying to take the children out of the country, can include trying to take the child or children out of their current school, trying to take the child on holiday in the UK during term time, or trying to change the registered name of the child.
When can you not apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?
You have to be careful not to be seen to be too petty or waste the court’s time. If one partner would rather the children not eat fast food, but the other regularly takes them to MacDonald’s, this is not sufficient grounds for an Order. You cannot seek a Prohibited Steps Order if the child is 16 years old or older, and you cannot seek an Order if the child is in the care of the local authority.
How do you apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?
To apply for a Prohibited Steps Order, you must submit/file a C100 application form with the court. When the form is submitted, you will also have to demonstrate that every effort has been made to attend mediation. This is not required where the applicant is in a physically abusive relationship and has suffered from domestic violence. Once the application has been submitted, then the court will then list the application for a first dispute resolution hearing.
What is an Emergency Prohibited Steps Order?
Before an emergency, Prohibited Steps Order will only be considered provided that an imminent threat can be proven, or at least that substantial evidence exists. If accepted, the application is treated as being made ‘without notice’, meaning that the other party will not be advised that the application has been made, and consequently they will be unlikely to attend the emergency hearing. However, the court will still list an additional hearing which the other party, the respondent, will have to attend.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you believe the father, or mother of your children, is acting in such a way as to restrict your ability to act fully as a parent, then here at family law solicitors we would strongly recommend you contact us as soon as possible and they will be thrilled to help you submit the necessary C100 application form.
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