It is inevitably that some marriages or partnerships will not have survived the enforced time together in lockdown and divorce or separation will follow. The added stresses of financial hardship, health concerns, home schooling and lack of space to enable some time apart from each other have contributed.
Conflicts have also arisen where one partner is a national of another country. In these very difficult times the separation from their families and the support that that gives has been very hard to deal with. Not only separating parents but also those already divorced, have either tried to go back to their home country or have simply made the decision and gone taking their children with them. However, they have failed to seek permission from the other parent or, in some instances, the court before making the move.
In some cases this has been devastating for the other parent who has lost access to their child/children. Although this loss of access may only be temporary due to travel restrictions, it may also be the case that the parent decides that having made the move overseas they will remain. In this case it becomes far more serious.
If a parent suspects that the other parent may be planning to do this they can take preventative action under the Children Act 1989. This is known as a Prohibited Steps Order. This would then prevent the child being taken out of the UK without the specific consent of the court.
Of course, a Prohibited Steps Order is not restricted to taking a child overseas and some examples of where it can also be used are: to prevent a child being relocated within the UK which may restrict the other parent’s access. It may also be used to prevent a child being removed from their school if it is not in their best interest or having contact with someone considered to be unsuitable.
Once an application for a prohibited steps order is made an officer from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) will be appointed. Their role will be to see if an agreement between the parties can be achieved or if not CAFCASS may have to prepare a report to the Court with their recommendations following an investigation.
When considering the application, the Court will have the child's best interests as its priority.
For more detailed information on Prohibitive Steps Order or any Children Act related matter contact Margaret Porter or Dee Finnegan on 01279 799598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dee Finnegan acted for me in my recent divorce. I always felt strongly, that Dee was ‘in my corner’ and...