Section 8 Orders

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduces child arrangements orders, replacing residence and contact orders.  Under section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989, as amended, a child arrangements order means an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:-

a)      With whom a child is to live (Residence), spend time (Contact) or otherwise have contact;

b)       When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

These provisions also came into force on 22 April 2014.

Two further orders can be made in relation to children: 

c)      Prohibited Steps Orders;

d)     Specific Issue Orders.

Prohibited Steps Order

A prohibited steps order is an order that a parent cannot take a specific action which he/she would otherwise be entitled to take, as a result of having parental responsibility for the child, without the consent of the Court. This type of order is used to deal with specific problems that have arisen such as removal of the child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Specific Issue Order

A specific issue order is an order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen or which may arise in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child.  For example schooling, medical care or holidays.

It does not give a parent a general power, it just makes a decision on one issue over which there is a disagreement which cannot be resolved. It can also be used by non-parents.

Each of these orders will determine a particular matter relating to the child’s upbringing. A order can lasts until the child reaches the age of 16 or 18 in exceptional circumstances.

The Welfare Checklist – section 1 Children Act 1989

When a court considers any question relating to the upbringing of a child under the Children Act 1989 it must have regard to the welfare checklist set out in s1 of that Act. The objectives the court must consider are:

a) The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of his  age and understanding);

b) His physical, emotional and/or educational needs;

c) The likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;

d) His age, sex, background and any characteristics of his, which the court considers relevant;

e) Any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;

f) How capable each of his parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;

g) The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act 1989 in the proceedings in question.

For all proceedings under the Children Act 1989 when the court considers a question of the child’s upbringing the child’swelfare is the court’s paramount consideration.

Should you have any issues in relation to your children, we will be more than happy to advise you as to which application you should make. We will guide you through the process, putting you at ease, whist providing you with the best possible results.

Our advice is clear and simple. We will advise you of your chances of success from the outset and throughout, so you are always clear as to where you stand and the possible outcomes.

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