Child abduction and Prohibited Steps Orders in the UK

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Where parental responsibility is shared and one disagrees with the decision of the other, you can apply for a prohibited steps order (PSO) restricting the other person’s ability to exercise their parental rights. Other people without parental responsibility may also apply (i.e. grandparents) but they would need the consent of the Court first. Also, PSO can actually be made against anyone and the PSO may even be used on someone who is not party to the proceedings.

The PSO will last either until the child is 16 years old or, more rarely, until the child reaches 18 years old. Alternatively, a PSO can last for a specific amount of time.

PSO are frequently used to prevent a person from taking a child to another location within or out of the United Kingdom so if you wish to reallocate with your child the first thing that you should do is to obtain consent of the other person with parental responsibility. A PSO can also restrict someone being able to apply for a passport on behalf of a child, making decisions about their schooling or medical treatment, or changing their last name without the consent of the other person with parental responsibility.

You must show that you have attempted or attended mediation and although these applications are normally made on notice to the other party the PSO can also be applied for on an emergency basis. In this case, the application is made ‘without notice’ which means that the other person would not be aware that the order is being made and they would not be present at the hearing.

The main factor the court will consider will be the welfare of the child and ability of parents to meet the child’s needs.

Once the PSO is granted the Court will give instruction on the next hearing(s) in order to make the PSO final or not.

If a child has already been taken abroad by their other parent without consent it may well be convenient and faster to proceed thorough the procedure established in the different agreements the UK may have entered into with other 45 countries, which include Spain.

If you wish to discuss your case with our English Solicitor of England and Wales Roberto Cantos, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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