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Prohibited Steps Order And Specific Issue Order Applications

As a parent, you might find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you cannot agree with the other parent in respect of your parental responsibilities. These might be issues on which school the child should attend, what religion they should be raised in, what medical treatment they should get and so on.

Where it is not possible to reach an agreement, there are legal instruments that can be used to assist you. You do not need to be a parent separated from the child’s other parent to use these tools. Unfortunately, such disagreements can also arise in families that are still cohabiting.

At RVS Solicitors, our family law team will provide expert, quick, and meticulously researched advice about applying for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) and Specific Issues Order (SIO).

We are members of Resolution and follow their Code of Practice which focuses on resolving family disputes in a non-confrontational and peaceful way.  This is especially important when making applications for a PSO or an SIO, as family relationships may already be strained. Our family solicitors will advise you in a way that preserves or seeks to repair family relations rather than inflame conflict.

Our experts in Family Law

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

A person who has parental responsibility can make decisions around where a child lives, where they go to school, the medical treatment they receive etc.  If a dispute arises regarding the exercise of parental responsibility, the successful application for a PSO can prevent one parent from making and acting on a certain decision.  For example, if one parent decided to relocate within the UK for a work opportunity, the other parent could apply for a PSO preventing the child from leaving the area.

Other reasons a PSO application may be made include preventing the other parent from:

  • Changing the child’s school.
  • Changing the child’s name.
  • Deciding the child’s religious instruction.
  • Choosing a particular course of medical treatment.
  • Having contact with certain people etc.

What is a Specific Issue Order?

As with Prohibited Steps Orders, the Specific Issue Order requires the Court to decide on a particular issue that those with parental responsibility are disputing. The difference is that the person seeking Specific Issue Order wishes to undertake a course of action that the other parent is prohibiting. For instance, these orders can be used if you wish for your child to:

  • Attend a specific school and cannot get the other parent to agree to move schools;
  • Change their residential location, within the UK or overseas;
  • Have a certain medical treatment etc.

Are there situations where a Prohibited Steps Order or Specific Issue Order cannot be made?

The court cannot make an SIO or PSO in any of the following situations:

  • To decide the identity of the person(s) with whom the child will live.
  • For a child aged 16 or over, unless the circumstances are exceptional.
  • That continues beyond the child’s 16th birthday (in relation to an order made before the child turns 16 years old) unless the circumstances are exceptional.
  • For a child in the care of the local authority (however, the local authority may apply for an order with the Court’s permission).

Who can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order or Specific Issue Order?

The following can apply for a PSO or SIO:

  • The child’s parent, guardian, or special guardian.
  • A person named as the person with whom the child is to live under a Child Arrangement Order.
  • A step-parent who has parental responsibility for the child.

If you do not fall into one of these categories, you will need to apply for permission from the Court to make an application.

Our child law Solicitors will quickly advise you if you have the right to apply for a PSO or SIO and if permission from the Court needs to be sought, we will make it for you.

Do I need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?

An applicant is normally required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they are permitted to apply to Court.  At these meetings, a mediator discusses the dispute with each party and assesses whether other forms of dispute resolution (such as family mediation, collaborative law or arbitration) can assist in resolving the dispute.

If the application for a PSO is urgent, the requirement to attend a MIAM is normally waived.

Can a PSO or SIO be made without notifying the other party?

A PSO and an SIO can be made ex-parte, that is without notifying the other parent.  However, good reasons must be provided to the Court.

We can prepare a statement setting out the reasons for an urgent, ex-parte application and advise you on what to do if the other parent applies to set the order aside.

Rakhi and her team will provide you with the expert guidance and representation required to make a PSO or SIO application.  You can contact us in strict confidence on  020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment.

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