Prohibited Steps Orders & Specific Issue Orders
Sometimes when parents separate, they are not able to reach an agreement over a specific issue in regard to a child for example: which school a child should attend, whether they have medical treatment or a certain vaccine or if one parent wants to move with the child to another part of the country or abroad.
In these situations, the court can determine these issues with the making of a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) or a Specific Issue Order (SIO).
- A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order made by the court that prevents a parent or person with parental responsibility from taking a certain action or making a certain decision regarding a child. For example: removing the child from the jurisdiction they live in or changing their school.
- A Specific Issue Order (SIO) is an order made by the court which allows a parent or person with parental responsibility to take a certain action in regard to a child when there is a particular issue between both parents.
When considering any type of application, the child’s welfare will be the court’s ‘paramount consideration’ and they will also have regard to the statutory welfare checklist.
How can you make an application?
A PSO or a SIO can be made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 using Form C100. Unless limited exceptions apply, a certificate signed by a family mediator will need to be attached to the Form C100, confirming the applicant has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), within the last 4 months, to hear about mediation and to decide if it is appropriate. If there are concerns a child is at risk of harm or domestic abuse, a Form C1A should also be completed.
In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to take urgent action in order to protect a child. An application under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 may be made without notice (ex parte) to the other parent. It should be noted that an order will only be made in exceptional circumstances and on strong evidence.
Who can make an application?
Anyone with parental responsibility can make an application to the court. If you do not have parental responsibility, you must first seek permission from the court to make the application.
How long does an order last?
A PSO or SIO usually lasts for a specified period of time or until a certain event occurs. It would be unusual for an order to last longer than the child attaining the age of 16. However, if there are special circumstances, an order can last until the child attains the age of 18.
Talk to Tollers
If you need advice or guidance as to whether you need to apply to the courts for a PSO or SIO, contact Tollers Family Law team here.