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Court Orders

Court Orders

SKU: 3.52
  • Advice

    Court intervention should always be the last resort. Family issues are sensitive, and going to court can exacerbate already existing problems. The initial court fee of £215 (as of July 2021) and the court and legal fees from an extended legal battle can become expensive.


    Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

    If care proceedings are issued for the child, or if their parents become unable, for whatever reason, to care for them then grandparents can ask the court for an SGO, the local authority will evaluate this and make recommendations to the court accordingly. SGOs are not always permanent, they only last until the child becomes an adult. If the parents remedy the initial concern, they can ask the court for the order to be reversed, thereby returning the child to them.


    Child Arrangement Order (CAO)

    You would need to apply for a Child Arrangement Order (CAO) in the Family Court (Formerly known as a residence order). As parental rights are not automatically inferred on grandparents you will need the court's permission to apply for a CAO, however, if your grandchild has lived with you for at least one year then you can then apply for a Child Arrangement Order for residence arrangements without needing permission from the court.


    Court staff will have expected you to have tried mediation first, this is done via the involvement of a family mediator, if mediation cannot be achieved, they will prepare a suitable report (mediation certificate) for the court. The form needed to apply to the court is a C100, if you need advice filling it in then we would suggest either contacting the court staff (who are usually very helpful) or using a professional mediator, such as ourselves.


    There is a fee for submitting the form itself, however, you may get this waived (again see associated link)

    The court will consider: -

    • The value of the grandparents in the child's life;
    • The nature of the application;
    • The views of the parents; and
    • If the order would be harmful to the child or put the child at risk.


    When the application to the court is made, an officer from CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) will be appointed to act as a mediator between all parties and make their recommendations to the court. Another way you can acquire rights is through adoption. But this can only happen in limited circumstances. For example, in the case of grandparents, it is usually preferred to use special guardianship rather than adoption. This is because the changes to the family relationship, by the grandparents legally becoming the child's parents, can become confusing, especially for the child.


    Prohibited Steps Order

    You may be able to apply for a prohibited steps order, if you already have a CAO in place then you will not need to obtain this permission from the court. These orders apply to a child aged up to 16 and ensure that a specific action taken in regards to a child is blocked. They can also take away a person's parental responsibility. The court can assign a time limit to this order or make it indefinite so that you would have to apply to vary or end the order to stop it. This order can be made on an emergency basis, but there must be substantial evidence or an imminent threat. This application would happen without the other sides knowledge and they would not be present for the hearing. If granted, the other party would be required to attend another hearing once they're served with the application and order. 


    Specific Issue Order

    A specific issue order is made when the court is asked to decide on an aspect of parental responsibility. This could be on issues such as a child's education, whether the child should have a religious education, whether certain medical treatments should be carried out, changing a child's name, or even preventing contact with a child. These orders would not be made if a CAO can achieve the same result. The order will automatically last until the child is 16 years old (in exceptional circumstances, it may last until the child reaches 18). Anyone with parental responsibility or named on a CAO can apply for this order. Therefore, if you are a grandparent and already have parental responsibility and want clarification on a particular issue, this would be the most suitable order. Applications are heard before a judge and a social worker from CAFCASS. 


    Contact Order

    Only people with parental responsibility can make an application for a Contact Order. Whilst a grandparent’s rights are limited, they can, in certain situations, apply for permission to apply for a Contact Order. The courts will consider all aspects of the application, if one, or both parents raise objections then there is a likelihood of a full hearing in which both parties can put forward their case.


    How we can help

    Lestons would appoint a third-party family mediator for you, they will hold a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) who will act as liaison with all parties to create a court report. They will determine the type of “Order” required and complete all the court forms. Please note the driver in this will be the children themselves, they will be asked privately what solution they would like. It is then hoped that each adult will agree to their wish. As in every negotiation there needs to be some give and take. Ultimately if there is an impasse then the court will decide.


    In regard to the third-party mediator please note we make no commission from such referrals. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

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