Different types of court orders

There are many different types of orders which can arise when a relationship breaks down.  Depending on your circumstances these include orders relating to children and finances.  Here we will look at the most common types, what they are, and what they mean for an individual.

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What is a court order?

A court order is a judgement or ruling that is officially given by a judge. A court order can be final (at the end of a hearing) or interim (until a final order can be made). The contents of the order depend entirely on the case presented to the judge.

Different types of court orders

Specific Issue Order

Specific Issue Order is made about a specific issue that cannot be agreed and arises in disputes concerning children.  Common examples can include:

  • Going abroad for a holiday or permanently relocating

  • Changing a Child’s surname

  • Decisions relating to schooling

  • Decisions about medical treatment

The main difference with this type of order from other orders that arise in relation to children matters is that a Specific Order application is seeking permission to do something, whereas a Prohibited Steps Order is asking the court to prevent the other parent from doing something.   

Prohibited Steps Order

Prohibited Steps Order prevents one person from doing something in relation to a child or children. There are many possible reasons to file a Prohibited Steps Order application but some of the most common reasons are:

  • To prevent the other person from going abroad or moving away from the area with the children.

  • Stopping medical treatment of a child.

  • Preventing the change of surname of a child.

Child Arrangements Order

Child Arrangements Order is often the most common application made in relation to children and will confirm who the child(ren) will live with and how often they spend time with the other parent.  The court has the ability to order that a child can live under a shared care arrangement and therefore an order may be worded so that it allows the child(ren) to live with both parents.  The order can also determine how a child will spend time with the other parent such as face to face contact, indirect (by way of telephone calls or Facetime) or supervised if there are welfare concerns.   

Non-Molestation Order

Non-Molestation Order is an order preventing one person from acts such as threats of violence, harassment and pestering.  It can also be granted against somebody who has been consistently sending abusive letters or text messages.  It can also prohibit an abuser from approaching you, your property or an area around your property or from making any contact with you in any way. 

Occupation Order

An Occupation Order is an order which can exclude a person from occupying a home or, determining how both parties can occupy a home. These Orders can apply to married or unmarried persons.  Even if the property in question is held in the abuser’s sole name it can be possible to obtain an order for the person who legally owns the property to be excluded from the property. 

Pension Sharing Orders

Pension Sharing Order is an order determining how much one person should receive from the other party’s pension.  It is a formal agreement to divide pension assets at the time of divorce and the courts can work out the exact percentage that the receiving party should receive. 

You may need a pension report to be able to determine how the pension should be shared and you should seek advice from a solicitor regarding this.

Maintenance Orders

There are two limbs to maintenance orders. Firstly, there is child maintenance.  Child maintenance is often paid to the party who has primary care of the child(ren) and will be assessed using a formula which is set by the Child Maintenance Service.

Spousal maintenance is there to support one party’s financial needs if required.  Usually it is paid every month and it can last for either a defined period or in increasingly rare cases for the rest of the former partner’s life known as a Joint Lives Order. 

Consent Order

A Consent Order is the document which sets out the financial settlement agreed between two parties on divorce.  It is sent to the court for approval and in most cases (where possible) will allow for a clean break which means that neither party is able to pursue any further financial claims against the other.  

How do I apply for a court order?

The process of application for a court order will depend on the type of court order that you are applying for and its complexity. 

For instance, timings for consent orders can vary depending on a few factors, but in the case of a very straightforward order, the court would usually take 3-4 weeks to process the application. 

Do I need a solicitor or lawyer?

Simply put, no, you do not need a solicitor or lawyer to file a court order. However, particularly in complex cases, lawyers can offer valuable advice from the outset with you and your family’s best interests in mind.

Without legal representation, there is more room for error, which in turn could cause issues with your order further down the line. By contrast, a legal expert would outline all of your options at the beginning, accounting the potential issues that could arise in the future.

How can Goughs help?

It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is different and in determining what type of order you require needs careful consideration. At Goughs, our family law solicitors can provide advice and assistance together with representation where required.  

We offer a free initial consultation and welcome the opportunity to assist and discuss your options.  To get in touch please complete the form below or email us on info@goughs.co.uk. We will discuss your situation with you and help you understand your legal options, providing clear and practical advice on how to proceed from the very beginning.

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Author Bio

Alice Blackmore

I qualified as a Solicitor in October 2016 and previously worked at a firm in Plymouth before moving to Bath. I joined Goughs in January 2020 and was promoted to Associate in April 2021 then Senior Associate in April 2023. I am a member of the Family Law Panel and I am experienced in dealing with all areas of family law including disputes involving children, divorce, separation, finances, and cohabitation.

I have frequently assisted clients with Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders. I regularly attend court in relation to disputes involving children and domestic abuse issues to represent clients. These are areas that I have a particular interest in. I also have close links with domestic abuse organisations in the local area and am a member of The Family Law Panel’s Green Phone Scheme initiative.

I am a Resolution member and an active member of YRes. Resolution promotes trying to resolve matters in a constructive and non-confrontational way. I pride myself on encouraging parties, where possible, to resolve matters in an amicable way and to put the needs of any children first to ensure they make positive decisions.

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