Anyone who holds parental responsibility and is concerned about the actions of the child’s other parent or guardian may consider taking out a Prohibited Steps Order. A Prohibited Steps Order prevents something happening in respect of a child.
For example, a Prohibited Steps Order could be sought to:
• Prevent the other party from enrolling the child in a particular school
• Prevent the other party from taking the child out of the country, on a temporary or permanent basis
• Prevent the other party from moving to a different area of the UK with the child
• Allow the child to follow a certain religion, or
• Ensuring the child does not come into contact with someone you consider to be dangerous
How to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?
Anyone with parental responsibility can make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order, provided that the child in question is under 16 years of age. This includes parents, or a person with a Child Arrangements Order (live with).
Form C100 will need to be completed and filed with the court to apply for the order. Ahead of any application being made, the parents involved will be expected to attend a mediation assessment meeting. However, there may be exceptions to this requirement in certain circumstances, such as where domestic abuse has occurred in the relationship.
Upon receipt of the application, the court will consider whether granting the order is in the child’s best interests. The child’s welfare will always be the court’s most important priority when coming to this decision.
In considering what is the best outcome for the child, the court will consider the reasons why a parent is seeking to take a specific action. For example, In a case of domestic relocation, what is the motivation for the move? Will the child still be able to maintain contact with the other parent? How well thought out and researched is the proposed move? What will the support network be in the new area? The court will always seek to ensure the child maintains a positive relationship with both parents and each parent should always have this in mind when considering any proposed significant change in their lives.
If you believe the child may be removed from the country shortly or be placed in immediate danger due to the other parent’s actions, it is possible to make an emergency application. We recommend a family law expert is appointed to assist in this instance in order to ensure that the Order is submitted as swiftly as possible with all relevant information and documentation included.
How much does a prohibited steps order cost?
The current fee for a Prohibited Steps Order application is £215. However, if you are on a low income or are in receipt of certain benefits, you may receive help to pay this cost.
How can a Prohibited Steps Order be discharged?
A Prohibited Steps Order can be discharged or overturned when it is no longer needed. For example, if the order was granted to prevent a parent from enrolling the child in a school in a different area, and they have now been happily settled in their current school for some time, the order may no longer be necessary – provided that neither party plans to move them. To discharge the order, you will need to make another application to the court using form C100. An existing order can be amended by either or both parties if they are in agreement or by the court where there is a further dispute.