Child Arrangement Order, Specific Issue Order and Prohibited Steps Order
(formerly called contact and residence orders)
Following the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 which came into force on 22 April 2014, “contact” and “residence” orders are no more. Instead, there is not a single order, Child Arrangement Order, which deals with the arrangements as to “with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact” and “when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person”.
The Court believes that is it the right of a child to know both parents. They are strongly in favour of the child having contact with the non residential parent. This does not mean however that the Court will always order contact. It is up to the parents who opposes contact to show good reason why it is not in the child’s best interests that contact should take place.
If there has been domestic violence in a relationship which the child has seen or experienced or indeed been the victim of violence itself, the Court will take this extremely seriously and will not order contact to take place until the allegations of violence have been fully investigated. Just because there has been domestic violence in the past does not mean that the Court take the view there should be no contact but it is a highly relevant factor in deciding whether contact should take place in the future.
Specific Issue Order
This is an order obtained where a person wishes the Court to make a decision on a particular issue between parents. For example, which school a child should attend or whether a child should have injections etc.
Prohibited Steps Orders
This is an Order preventing one person from removing a child from the country where they live.
If parents cannot agree what is best for a child, they can be referred to a Mediation Service. A trained negotiator will assist the parents in discussing the issues and try to resolve disputes amicably. The aim is to minimise conflict and to try and reach agreement. Any agreement reached through mediation is not enforceable in a Court unless it is approved by the Court and made into a Court Order.
If you have any questions or need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.