Emergency prohibited steps and child arrangements orders
Emergency prohibited steps and child arrangements orders

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Emergency prohibited steps and child arrangements orders
  • Child arrangements orders
  • Applicable rules
  • Criteria
  • Applicants
  • Respondents
  • Non-court dispute resolution—mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs)
  • Without notice prohibited steps orders and child arrangements orders
  • Application procedure for without notice orders
  • Out-of-hours applications
  • more

Child arrangements orders

Amendments made to section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) removed the concepts of 'contact order' and 'residence order' and inserted instead a new single order called a child arrangements order (CAO).

A CAO means an order relating to:

  1. whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with, and

  2. when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person

See Practice Notes: Child arrangements orders—residence and Child arrangements orders—contact.

Specific matters that arise in connection with the exercise of parental responsibility for a child and that do not concern with whom the child should live or spend time will continue to be dealt with by means of specific issue orders or prohibited steps orders. See Practice Notes: Specific issue orders and Prohibited steps orders.

Applicable rules

The rules in respect of private law proceedings relating to children are largely contained in the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 12 and the supporting practice directions in particular PD 12B, the Child Arrangements Programme (CAP) and PD 12J, Child Arrangements and Contact Order: Domestic Violence and Harm. The CAP applies where a dispute arises between separated parents and/or families about arrangements concerning children. The CAP's stated objective is to assist families to reach safe and