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Prohibited Steps Order

There is nothing more disturbing than feeling that your child’s other parent or another adult who is involved in your child’s life might do something that you don’t agree with or, worse still, something that might harm the child. We have all read newspaper articles describing how a parent has taken a child abroad without the other parent’s consent, sometimes to a country where it is very difficult to get the child back from. Less devastating, but still very concerning, are situations where a child is enrolled at a particular school or involved in a certain religion without the consent of the other parent. On the other hand, you might be the parent who is trying to make your child’s life better and feeling that the other parent is trying to stop you from doing that.

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

A Prohibited Steps Order is an order preventing a person with parental responsibility from exercising that parental responsibility in a certain way e.g. by ordering them not to take a child out of the country; not to enroll the child at a certain school; not to allow the child to follow a certain religion; not to allow the child to come into contact with a certain dangerous person etc.


What happens if someone disobeys a Prohibited Steps Order?

As long as the court is satisfied that the person in question has received the Prohibited Steps Order and is aware of its contents, they may be fined or even sent to prison if it is proved that they breached the order. If someone disobeys a Prohibited Steps Order preventing them from taking a child out of the country, they may be guilty of the criminal offence of abduction and/or abduction proceedings might begin in the family court.


How do I apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?

If the application is urgent e.g. you are afraid that the other parent might suddenly take the child out of the country, the court might be prepared to make an emergency order to prevent that without the other parent even being aware that the application has been made. However, the order will be made for a short time only – usually a few days – so that the other parent can be notified and another hearing can take place with both parents present.

If the application is not so urgent, it will be issued by the court and both parties will be notified of a hearing date and will be entitled to attend court to argue their case.


How do I oppose the making of a Prohibited Steps Order?

Make sure you read and respond promptly to any court documents you receive. Make sure that you attend any court hearings with evidence about what it is you want to do that the other parent is unhappy about and how what you want to do will benefit your child. For example, if you want your child to attend a particular school, show the school prospectus to the Judge and describe how the school’s particular facilities (e.g. small classes, proven excellence in sports or maths or whatever your child is good at) or pastoral care arrangements will meet your child’s needs to a greater extent than other schools.


How can The Modern Family Law Company help?

We are experts in all aspects of family law relating to children. We can advise and represent you whether you are applying for a Prohibited Steps Order or opposing one being made. We will draft the application and statements of evidence and ensure that your case is presented to the court in the most robust way.


How will we support you through the process?

We know from personal experience exactly how stressful and distressing court proceedings about children can be. Whatever your situation, we will be there to support you through all the ups and downs of the process. We can refer you to one of our trusted partners e.g. a counsellor or psychotherapist, if more formal support services are needed.


How do I find out more about Prohibited Steps Orders?

Please Get in Touch via our contact page and we'll be delighted to provide further information.

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