Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests: A Guide to Prohibited Steps Orders

Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests: A Guide to Prohibited Steps Orders

When families separate, emotions can run high, and sometimes, it becomes essential for family courts to implement legal measures to safeguard the interests of the children involved.

A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is one such measure, often employed in contentious situations, to ensure the safety and well-being of a child from a separated couple.

The Nature of a Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order is an enforceable legal directive that restricts a person from performing certain aspects of their parental duties. Once such an order is active, the individual it targets is required to obtain judicial consent before engaging in any activity specified in the order that would typically fall under parental purview. 

These orders are commonly applied in situations where parents have parted ways, but it’s important to note that the order isn’t limited to parents alone; it can be issued against any individual who holds parental responsibility.

Eligibility Criteria for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO):

Individuals who are entitled to request a PSO concerning a child include:

  • Parents, guardians, or special guardians of the child.
  • Persons designated in an active Child Arrangements Order as the child’s residence.
  • Holders of parental responsibility for the child.

Parties not automatically eligible must seek court approval prior to applying for a PSO.

Applying for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO)

The basic application process for a Prohibited Steps Order is as follows:

  1. Initiate the process by filling out Form C100.
  2. Submit the form and the £232 fee to your local Family Court, where the child resides.
  3. The court will issue your application and set a date for a hearing to deliberate on it.

If you lack direct permission to request a PSO:

  1. You must apply for permission using the same Form C100, accompanied by the £232 fee, at your local Family Court.
  2. A hearing may be convened to decide whether to grant you permission.
  3. Once permission is granted, you may proceed with the PSO application as initially described.

For Emergency PSO applications:

  1. These can be requested during a ‘without notice’ hearing, where the other party is not informed of the application.
  2. You must provide evidence that an emergency order is necessary and that the child’s welfare is in jeopardy.

Remember, each step is crucial to ensure the child’s safety and well-being, and the court’s decisions are made with the child’s best interests in mind. Always ensure that your documentation is complete and accurate to avoid delays in the process.

Axis Solicitors offer comprehensive support for those seeking to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO). Our experienced family law solicitors can guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your application is handled professionally and with the utmost care for your child’s welfare.

Prohibited Steps Orders: Scope, Restrictions, and Duration

A Prohibited Steps Order encompasses a variety of actions that are restricted, thereby barring an individual from performing certain parental duties they normally would be entitled to. Such actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Transferring or withdrawing the child from their educational institution
  • Modifying the child’s legal surname
  • Switching the child’s primary healthcare provider
  • Giving consent for the child to receive medical procedures
  • Moving the child to a different location within the UK or abroad
  • Restricting the child’s interaction with a particular individual

The duration of a Prohibited Steps Order is not fixed and can differ depending on individual circumstances. Generally, it remains effective until it is either updated or terminated by further court orders. However, it ceases automatically when the child reaches the age of 18. The court determines the length of the order based on what is deemed most beneficial for the child’s welfare, which could be as brief as one month or extend up to several years.

Is it possible to reverse or remove a Prohibited Steps Order?

A Prohibited Steps Order can be reversed. However, the court will typically maintain the order if its removal could adversely affect the child, as the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount concern. The order may be removed if all involved parties concur that it is no longer necessary. 

Under such circumstances, the individual who originally sought the Prohibited Steps Order may petition the court to rescind it. The court will then evaluate if revoking the order aligns with the child’s best interests before proceeding.

What are the consequences of violating a Prohibited Steps Order?

A Prohibited Steps Order carries the full force of the law as an enforceable court mandate. Consequently, violating the order constitutes contempt of court, which can result in penalties including imprisonment, monetary fines, or community service. 

Should the court determine that the breach occurred due to it serving the child’s best interests, it may consider mitigating the punishment or possibly forgoing it altogether.

Secure Your Child’s Future: PSO Guidance from Axis Solicitors

At Axis Solicitors, we understand the emotional complexities and legal intricacies involved in applying for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO). Our dedicated team of family law solicitors is committed to providing you with personalised support, ensuring that your child’s welfare remains the priority throughout the legal process.

Why Choose Axis Solicitors for Your PSO Application?

  • Expert Legal Advice: Our solicitors are well-versed in family law, offering expert advice tailored to your unique situation.
  • Comprehensive Support: From filling out Form C100 to representing you at court hearings, we’re with you every step of the way.
  • Child-Centric Approach: We prioritise your child’s best interests, advocating for their safety and well-being.
  • Efficient Process: Our goal is to streamline your application process, minimising stress and maximising success.
  • Emergency Applications: In urgent cases, we act swiftly to protect your child through ‘without notice’ hearings.

The PSO Process with Axis Solicitors

  1. Initial Consultation: We begin with a thorough assessment of your circumstances to determine the best course of action.
  2. Documentation Preparation: Our experts ensure your application is complete and accurate, avoiding unnecessary delays.
  3. Court Representation: Our solicitors provide robust representation at hearings, articulating the need for the PSO effectively.
  4. Ongoing Support: Even after the order is in place, our team is there to assist with any additional legal needs.

Contact Axis Solicitors today and take the first step towards securing your child’s future. Our team is ready to guide you through the PSO application process with compassion and professionalism.

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