Emergency prohibited steps and child arrangements orders

The following Family practice 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...

Emergency prohibited steps and child arrangements orders

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance has been issued, including by the President of the Family Division, regarding all proceedings in the Family Court in England and Wales during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and until further notice, which profoundly affects normal practice, including requirements for the majority of family hearings to be dealt with remotely. For details about the changes to court processes and procedures during this time, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID–19)—news and resources for family lawyers. In addition, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit provides easy access to news, practical guidance and Q&As from across a number of Practice Areas (subject to subscription).

With particular regard to private law children proceedings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic guidance has been released by the President , Cafcass and  Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), for full details of the guidance see Practice Note: Child Arrangements Programme—the procedure for section 8 applications.

This Practice Note sets out the procedure in regular circumstances, prior to the pandemic, and during this period of disruption to the justice system, practitioners should be aware that local practice may vary.

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

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