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.
What is an SIO?
An SIO requires the Court to decide on a particular issue that those with parental responsibility are disputing. For example, the Court could make an SIO stating a child must have a particular form of medical treatment.
Are there situations where a PSO or SIO 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 PSO or an SIO?
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 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.