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The Different Types of Court Orders

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 18 May 2023 | comments*Discuss

The Court has a number of ways of becoming involved if there is a dispute over the upbringing of a child. A summary of the most common Court Orders are below.

Section 8 Orders

The most common range of Court Orders used by the Court for this purpose are called "Section 8 Orders" as the powers are listed in Section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

A Section 8 Order cannot be made for a person over 18 years old. For an order to be made in respect of a 16 or 17 year old, there have to be "exceptional circumstances". The case of Re M (A Minor) (Immigration: Residence Order) [1993] 2 FLR 858 established that the fact that a child didn't have any relatives living in the UK was exceptional circumstances and could justify an order being made to last until the child was 18 years old.

Residence Orders

A residence order settles the arrangements regarding who a child is going to live with. This type of order can be made in favour of anyone, including grandparents, aunts and godparents. It is however most commonly made in favour of one of the child's parents.

"I have had my son every Thurs (until 8pm as his mum works) then Fri after school until Sunday at 6pm. We have done this for 4years non stop, but now my ex has decided she now wants him back every other sat night... now just because she now wants to take my son to her boyfriend's mums house on a Sunday... I need some help/advice please."

"Shared residence orders" are becoming increasingly common. These state that a child will live a certain amount of time with one person, and the rest of their time with another. The order will usually split the time at least 70/30. If the split is more unequal than this, the Court will often consider that a residence and contact order are more appropriate to achieve the desired effect.

Contact Order

A contact order determines who the child should keep in touch with in order to maintain a relationship with other family members. Contact may be in person or indirect such as via letter / email.

"My marriage has ended as my wife has a new partner. We have a 5 year old daughter. My fear now is when she will introduce him to my daughter... I have now found out that he was arrested last year for hitting his now ex-wife... I don't want him to have anything to do with my daughter. Is there anything I can do?"

On occasion a "no contact order" will be made to prevent a residential parent allowing a "risky" contact (such as a convicted paedophile or violent offender) to have contact with the child. However prohibited steps orders are often more appropriate for this purpose.

Specific issue Order

This order determines a specific question regarding a child's upbringing. This can be anything from what school a child should attend to whether a child should have particular medical treatment.

Prohibited Steps Order

This order states that a specified action in relation to the upbringing of a child should not happen without the express consent of the Court. The order is entirely negative, telling a parent or carer what they may not do in respect of their child.

"I have a baby with this lady... I have a problem since we separated a year ago and she got a new man in her life. 3 months later they got traditionally married... now she tells me that she's going to change her surname and also is my child to that man's surname. I really need help on this one..."

This order is commonly used to prevent a parent changing a child's surname, along with other issues such as removing them from the UK.

Local Authority Intervention

If a Local Authority intervenes in a family's life out of concerns for a child's welfare, there are three main orders that they will apply for.

Emergency Protection Order

This order is used to remove a child from a situation where they are suffering significant harm and there is not time to wait for the Local Authority to decide the long-term future of the child. The child is removed immediately without prior notice being given to the parents or child. This order is therefore only used in a genuine emergency in order to provide a child with immediate short-term protection.

Supervision Order

This order gives the Local Authority an obligation to supervise the care given to a child. The order does not allow the Local Authority to remove the child from their parents. This type of order works best with the co-operation of parents, and can be effectively used to support parents to care for children. This order is particularly common if a child is injured through an act of a parent that was thought to be out of character for the adult.

Care Order

A care order gives the Local Authority parental responsibility and so authorises them to make decisions about the child's upbringing, including where the child will live. The child is commonly placed in a care home, a Local Authority residence. However the Local Authority does not have to remove the child from their parents if a care order is in place.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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oliviastephen02 - 18-May-23 @ 10:11 AM
My son has a court order to see his children every sat between 10am and 1pm. He got an email from his exes solicitor stating she would not be bringing them this Saturday as she says hes breached the order which says a 3rd party has to be with him. They always are. I need advice as is she allowed to do this. 3rd party sits in an area near them but not necessarily active in all activities
Nic - 11-Jun-22 @ 1:44 PM
My partners ex has been claiming full child maintenance on their 2 kids since he left her 5 years ago but for the last year we’ve had the children 3days and 2 nights but still paying the same maintenance money he says he needs a court order to prove this Before the cms will reduce maintenance payments? Is this true? The payments are crippling us as we already have 3 children living with us
Lkj83 - 22-Jul-20 @ 3:25 PM
My daughter was groomed in her teens by a man in his 50s. We found out about this and informed the police. They saw the evidence on his phone and agreed this was harassment. My daughter was very depressed and has low self esteem. I thought this problem was solved and she went to university and got on with her life. He found out she was in university and went there every weekend without us knowing. She is now pregnant by this man. Other complaints from other people have been made against this man but I don’t know if he has been taken to court by anyone. My daughter doesn’t want this man anywhere near her. Can we get a court order or something similar against him?
Help - 11-Jul-20 @ 10:37 AM
@needhelp.go sit down with (family law solicitor) they will explain everything.(do not go anywhere near your ex if she is saying you put your daughter at risk) .(watch your back )women are ruthless when you break ups when it comes to children .i no from experience the trouble I was in was (insane) it was a bur and many nights in the lock upthis women wanted to get( rid off me forever) and she went to extreme lengths to have me (vanished from my daughters life) and it worked she officially made it impossible for me to ever have a relationship with my daughter .so stay away from your ex .go see a solicitor and have the solicitor to do the contacting to your ex that way you are safe .
Josh - 30-Jan-20 @ 9:08 PM
How can I proof my innocence if I'm not guilty of child abuse my wife says I put my daughter at risk ?
Needhelp - 30-Jan-20 @ 6:55 PM
My wife and I have been married for 8 years we have a 6 month old daughter she ran away 7 weeks ago and refused me to see my daughter what can I do can I get a contact order and if yes what does it allow me as the father? Thank you for whom ever has any advise.
Needhelp - 30-Jan-20 @ 6:52 PM
I've seperate from the boys father 5 years ago due to domestic violence and got a court order to stop him from seeing me and my 2 boys but now after 5 years he has changed and got help from local authorities and sorted him self out. My eldest son is 8 due to be 9 in the next 9 months and he is asking a lot of questions on when he can see his dad and speak to him. Now that I got a court order in place I'm now struggling on what to do next as I'm asking for some advice from the school and I'm not seeing to get any where. The boys father is also asking for contact with the 2 children. I'm wondering if there is any advice on where I stand.
Louiseemma - 6-Jan-20 @ 5:47 PM
How can we get a court order for us to be able to request for a certified copy of death certificate? My husband is the beneficiary and the insurance company requires certified copy of dc we are unable to req for one because we are not family of the deceased. Thank you
Janice - 20-Oct-19 @ 6:18 AM
How do I get an injunction on a care home to stop them HARRASING ME OR IS IT THE LA
And - 15-Oct-19 @ 3:43 PM
Which order should I get to stop my husband from gambling and drinking?
DAY - 7-Oct-19 @ 7:17 AM
I have a court order in place to pick my son up from school on Fridays and my ex partner is trying to stop this can the school let my son go with her Evan if they have a copy of the order.
Ryan - 14-Sep-19 @ 7:54 AM
Shared residence orders mean nothing. Contact Orders are a waste of paper. The UK family court doesn't enforce them, and hasn't done for years. Look up the figures. Judges ignore the law they're meant to enforce. If your ex refuses to make the children available, there is absolutely nothing that the court will do. Don't waste your time, your money or your emotional energy. If you're a non resident father up against an abusive mum, your children lose you and you lose them. That's how it works in the UK family courts. They're 50 years behind reality, the court and Cafcass ruin children's lives every day and nobody cares.
one who knows - 5-Sep-19 @ 9:03 AM
I have a beautiful granddaughter that I love with all my heart her Mother,my daughter also.Iwas young when I had my daughter,made a lot of mistakes.My mother stepped in and raised my daughter.My mother when I was young was a heroin addict her and my father was in and out of jail most of my life.I was placed in FOSTER care. I'm now 49 years old.But growing up when my Mother stopped using and going to jail,she decided to come get me but she was evil to me very mean almost like I was a burden she wished she never had.She was extremely good Grandmother to my daughter.Now I try to talk to my daughter,I have to gothrough my mother,my daughter want let me see nor talk to my granddaughter unless my mother says so.Ihurt bad,I thought if I remove my name from my daughter birth certificate she would be happy. Truly know my Mother would be very happy if I had her name removed from my birth certificate.Is this the right thing to do,either way I can not make them love me. I can't get my daughter to forgive me for not being there for her growing up.I am trying hard now to be there now, but she only talks to me when she needs gifts for my granddaughter otherwise she won't answer a call from me. I want to see and be apart of my granddaughter life.But with all this hatred,should I just give up trying to see my granddaughter legally what do I do, are just let them be.And I move on?
Sadgranny - 17-Mar-19 @ 2:56 AM
I was under dept review,and withdraw since i saw i was paying and balances keep increasing. I got 17W form submitted to Banks that im owing. Now they need recesion order from the Court how to get it?
Mpume - 12-Mar-19 @ 9:43 AM
Please can someone explain why all agencies are for women and why the portray men as the bad person in a relationship. I do feel for some women who are genuine but there are women who just want to get as much as they could out of the system and those women know the right people to talk to they don't have to prove it just say it to an organisation and the ball starts rolling. Some women can be quilte evil. I am not bitter and i know there are women out there with real problems but the evil ones are taking the place of someone who is proberly struggling to cope and i am really sorry for those women. Why is it men are gettingsuch a rotten deal from the courts and other organisations. I am a women and i am really shocked of what i have learnt of how low a women can get even though there are kids involved she is not thinking of the kids she is thinking of being spitefull and mean.She can't look after the kids she rather give them to strangers rather than have them be looked after by their dad also she is claiming for everything (money) she can lay her hands on one of the kids has a disabality so she get the funding It's quite fustrating
JAYA - 11-Jan-19 @ 3:26 PM
Hi I have 2 children under 2, I separated from their mother on the 11 sept, due to some personnel issues I have seen them once since this date. I have been in contact with the mother during this time. Now on my son birthday I went to hers to see them both and give them presents as I did for her son a week earlier which she was fine and invited me to his party. She then resulted in telling me I should have gone to see my kids. Since that date I haverequested to see my children but she has refused and stated I can only see them at a contact centre because of the few months that I have not seen them. Now I have told her that she is free to drop my children or one of my family members to pick the children up from hers and I will spend time with them at my family homebut she has refused that offer and is adamant it has to be a contact centre. Is she right in saying this as I have no violent or threatening behaviour towards her or my children in the three years that we have been together. All I would like to do Is have contact with my children over the weekend at my family’s home so that they can also spend time with their grandson/nephew and granddaughter/niece I have written her a letter questing contact but she has refused I believe my Nextep is to see a lawyer but want to make sure that I have taken all the necessary steps.I have been in my children’s lives since they were born and have spent every day with them I have been in her sons life’s since he was one and he is now five her son Father does have access to his son and is able to take him away I would just like the same for my children can you please help
Psg - 6-Jan-19 @ 3:24 PM
Help! My 11 year old son has been living with me for the past 9 years. I have residency order and his mom has contact order, it was all going well until this summer holiday when she took my son and now decided not to return him. I have waited long enough for her to return him. he starts his secondary school next week. There is no sign of her returning him. What options are available to me?I have tried calling the council and they say it’s a civil matter and they are unable to help.
Akash - 28-Aug-18 @ 8:00 PM
Hi,my son broke up with his girlfriend 8 months ago.since the break up he has seen his 2 girls age 6 and 2 every day.he gets home from work around 5.15 brings them down my house,where they are bathed and taken back home around 8.0.clock every evening.he also has them every weekend his ex just wants to spend her time drinking. She has on one occasion left them with him on a Thursday and returned home on a Tuesday,other times she goes out on a Friday and returns home on the Monday. The eldest has been sleeping down our house for the past 10 weeks she refuses to sleep up her mother's house saying she is always shouting and gets extremely upset if it's suggested she goes up there. She also refuses to go home in the day time.a week can go by without her seeing her mother,who doesn't seem to care either way if she sees her or not.she has also refused to take my granddaughter to school,so I have been doing the school run since they split up as he works full time.the youngest stats with us 3 to 4 nights a week,I also have her regularly in the daytime.his ex girlfriends house is dirty and unkempt and she often sends the youngest down in clothes which are either way to small or too big,dirty or just not appropriate for the weather.do you think if my son went to court to have custody of them he would stand a chance?
Welshlady - 18-Aug-18 @ 11:15 PM
Thanks for your response. Yes, I do think it’s PA, the mother through-out has stated she cannot physically force my son to see me or force him to engage with any type of support even though it has been offered in various forms. I have suggested systemic intervention as an approach that would have employed a skilled practitioner, again rejected on the grounds that my son will not engage. what has influenced the sudden change in behaviour and actions are deeply troubling and needs to be investigated further in order to re-establish his formerly excellent relationship with me. A relationship which was extremely close up until this sudden change nine weeks ago. Thanks
childson1 - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:47 PM
Can anyone help, my son is 14 next year, the M has stated son no loger wants contact, not had contact for last two months, i have an order in place from last year, is not wanting to see me a reasonable excuse for the M to use in court. Has anyone been to court and the mother used this and what did it result in. Thanks
childson1 - 20-Nov-17 @ 3:30 PM
My ex partner kept our son after agreeing 50:50 time the first week he kept my son and made accusations about my mental health he has applied for a court order seeking residence and we had an emergency pilinnary hearing which resulted in me getting my son all day TIL 7.30 then returned to his father who lives with his mother when my son visits once a week the first day of this “order that dependson a caffcas report but my son is distraught and very upset about going back an I within my parental rights to not take my son back to the emotional danger he is clearly in can anybody help
Lozza - 27-Oct-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi , My Children were removed in may this year. they are allowing my daughter who is 22 unsupervised contact even though shes on medication and finds it hard to look after her own children. they also got my daughter to make a force statement in court and my daughter has since admitted it was false. but I said i want her contact supervised butthey refused and let her have 3 hours a week on a wednesday. with my 3 sons, one has GDD and genetic problems. the judge agreed to 1 hour once a fortnight.
kay77 - 14-Sep-17 @ 2:49 PM
I have a contact order in place and I am due to see my son tomorrow. My ex is saying I can only see him for part of that time and she wants it referred back to court. We had agreed this schedule at a judge led conciliation.I have no concerns raised from cafcass and she says she has concerns but they're more anxieties which I've tried to work with. Do I now jist have to apply for a breach ? If I do that do they make a new order?
Kev - 1-Aug-17 @ 6:21 PM
Ash - Your Question:
Hi I am recently seprated my 1 year baby girl lives with seperated wife. How long it takes to get order for meeting my baby? I'm tension to see my baby asap please guide me. Thanks

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you are going through mediation or court and whether your ex-wife attempts to put up a fight (which may invariably prolong the case). Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict with so little information given. You may wish to seek legal advice or join our Separated Dads forum and ask dads who have been through a similar process.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jul-17 @ 3:37 PM
Hi I am recently seprated my 1 year baby girl lives with seperated wife. How long it takes to get order for meeting my baby? I'm tension to see my baby asap please guide me. Thanks
Ash - 30-Jun-17 @ 12:25 PM
Hi I am Emmanuel, A court order was made that allowed me contact with my daughter primarily in a contact centre, then I was allowed to take her out which I have done on many occasions, and then it was supposed to progress to overnight stays and then sharing school holiday times equally. Everything was going well until last October when overnight stays were supposed to begin. I have not seen my daughter since then. I have written to the court in December 2016 to let the District Judge know but I have received no response. I have told the contact centre who kindly contacted her on my behalf and arranged for contact to be resumed, three separate times dates were made but on every occasion the mother of my daughter has not turned up. I have no solicitor and have defended myself in court from the beginning because of not being able to get legal aid. The mother of my child has now left London without telling anyone and is living in Folkstone with her mother, she no longer uses the solicitors she was using anymore. I have recently contacted social services as I beleive my daughter to be in danger as her grandmothers husband seems to have mental issues and has recently tried to bring a shotgun into the country and has also tried to commit suicide, both of these things being reported in the local press.
SCOOBZ - 21-Apr-17 @ 3:25 PM
Is a final order as it sounds, Final. I was advised to accept an offer of contact after almost a year without any with my two sons, I have been in and out of court since 2013, messy would be an understatement. A proof hearing was set for 23rd March just passed, which I was looking forward too, this never went ahead as I was talked into accepting the offer, I wanted the proof hearing to go ahead but was told the sheriff would be reluctant to grant contact after a year without any, which was out of my control. I've practically begged my ex-wife for contact, communication and also mediation, there is nothing from her, it seems there is no progressive route either as my legal aid has finished and the case closed with the contact order.Any advice would be greatly appreciated, 2 hours once a fortnight for a final order doesn't seem right, isn't fair and is definitely not in the best interest of my children.
JamieC83 - 30-Mar-17 @ 1:50 AM
westsidehawk - Your Question:
I have been split with ex since April, she had a 8weej old boy when we met, then wehhad a child together. I have had both boys for three nights over 4 days, financial it is now draining, I can't gain employment yet I want to be involved in both there lives, after asking for joint custody and me laykng claim she has stopped me seeing my own son, or is threating to do so, I was told they come as a package, is this emotional black mail ?

Our Response:
It is emotional blackmail. You do not have to pay for the upkeep of your non-biological son, if you do not wish. If you have evidence your ex is stopping you seeing your son if you refuse to pay for the other child, then this will help you should the case have to go to court. Obviously, if you wish to see your non-biological son, then this you would have to specify this in the court application. However, paying the likes of child maintenance for him will not be forced and is at your discretion, if you wish to do so.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:02 AM
I have been split with ex since April, she had a 8weej old boy when we met, then wehhad a child together. I have had both boys for three nights over 4 days,financial it is now draining, i can't gain employment yet i want to be involved in both there lives, after asking for joint custody and me laykng claim she has stopped me seeing my own son, or is threating to do so, I was told they come as a package, is this emotional black mail ?
westsidehawk - 21-Mar-17 @ 11:43 AM
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