What should I do if a parent breaches a Prohibited Steps Order?

What should I do if a parent breaches a Prohibited Steps Order?

When a parent has breached a Prohibited Steps Order, the first thing to do would be to seek specialist legal advice from a family solicitor to discuss your available options.

You should also try to keep a diary of the breaches as they happen.

A breach could potentially be very serious if, for example, the order was to prevent the parent removing the child from the country. In situations like this, it is advisable to contact the police as well as your solicitor.

You should always contact the Court with the exact details of the breach.

What happens if I break a Prohibited Steps Order?

A Prohibited Steps Order is put in place when there are serious concerns about a child’s upbringing and care.

When one of these orders are put in place, it prohibits a party (most commonly one of the child’s parents) from being able to exercise their parental rights. These rights could include removing a child from their school or taking them out of the country.

These orders are made in the best interest of the child, so there may be severe consequences if you break the terms of your Prohibited Steps Order.

What are the consequences of breaking a Prohibited Steps Order?

If one parent breaches any of the terms that are set out in the Prohibited Steps Order, it will be considered a contempt of court and will be dealt with accordingly.

Breaking the terms of an order can result in a range of consequences, which will be decided by the court. They could include:

  • A fine
  • Imprisonment
How long does a Prohibited Steps Order last?

The length of a Prohibited Steps Order will be decided upon by the court and can vary in length depending on the individual circumstances of the case.

Most court orders will last for a period of six months or 12 months, or they can last until a certain upcoming event. For example, a child not being allowed to be taken out of the country until they have finished school.

Prohibited Steps Orders also only last until the child has reached 16, although there are some circumstances where the order can last until the child reaches the age of18.

Challenging a Prohibited Steps Order

Prohibited Steps Orders can often be complex, and we know that family life can change very quickly, so there may be times when parents feel they need to challenge or appeal some of the terms that were agreed upon.

It is possible for Prohibited Steps Orders to be changed after they’re issued, although this will normally require agreement from both parents on the new terms. If an agreement can be reached, the parents can request a change via the courts.

If the court agrees that the changes won’t affect the child’s wellbeing, the amendments will be adopted.

If only one parent wants to challenge the order, this will often be a bit more complex. In this situation, the parent should seek legal advice. He or she will have to prove that the current Prohibited Steps Order is not in the child’s best interest before being able to make any changes.

If you’re concerned about a current Prohibited Steps Order, or think one needs to be put in place for a child’s safety, contact us now to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

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Shaoli has been a solicitor at NLS for over two years, transitioning from a background in criminal law to full-time family law. Her experience as a Criminal Duty Solicitor has equipped her with unique skills that are invaluable in her current role.
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