Family Lawyer and Mediator, Sarah Jackson, explains the various types of order available in the Family Court.
Our Family Law Team are available on 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can email them, or complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
Depending upon what you are asking the court to do, there are several different types of order you can apply for in the Family Court. Before making an order relating to finances or children, the court actively encourage the parties to try to reach agreement, either directly or with the help of family mediation.
Below is a brief explanation of the most common types of order.
Financial order on divorce
A financial order on divorce sets out the financial arrangements between the parties, as approved by the judge. The type of financial order you require depends on your respective circumstances and needs:
- Maintenance Order – The court considers a number of factors before deciding whether to order one party to pay regular maintenance payments to the other, including the length of the marriage and each party’s earning capacity and financial needs. Maintenance payments can be time-limited or payable until death or remarriage/new civil partnership. They can also be made on an interim basis, pending a final financial order.
- Pension Sharing Order – Pensions can be a significant asset, and on divorce, one party may be entitled to a share of the other’s pension. A pension sharing order specifies how a pension will be divided. The receiving party may either become a member of the existing pension scheme or transfer their share to a new provider. Sometimes, a party is permitted to retain their pension, but the whole or part of its value is set off against other assets.
- Property Adjustment Order – This type of order specifies what should happen to the family home, including whose name it should be in and who has the right to live there.
- Lump Sum Order – This requires one party to pay a lump sum of money to the other, although the court can order the sum to be paid by instalments.
There are three main types of order the Family Court can make concerning children:
- Child Arrangements Order – This type of order confirms with whom the child(ren) will live. If appropriate, it can specify that the child(ren) lives with more than one person. A Child Arrangements Order can also state with whom the child(ren) will spend time, the frequency of that contact, and how the child will spend time with a relevant person. For example, the court may order that contact be supervised, or occur at a particular location, or be indirect only, such as through telephone calls.
- Prohibited Steps Order – This will prevent the person against whom the order is made from doing something concerning a child. A Prohibited Steps Order can be used for many purposes. Common scenarios are to prevent the child’s removal from the country (or to another part of the country), specific medical treatment, or a change in the child’s surname. The court will also usually provide particular directions concerning carrying out the order.
- Specific Issue Order – When people with parental responsibility for a child disagree on a particular matter, one or more parties can apply for a Specific Issue Order to resolve the matter. For example, a Specific Issue Order may address where a child should be educated, what medical treatment they should receive, whether they can be taken outside England and Wales, or whether their name can be changed. In determining the issue, the court always considers what is in the child’s best interests.
Other orders in the Family Court
Other types of orders the Family Court can make include:
- Non-Molestation Order – This is a form of injunction to prevent your current or ex-partner from displaying violent or threatening behaviour towards you and/or your children. That includes harassment and intimidation. The order’s wording can be adapted to specific circumstances to help ensure a person’s protection. For example, it may prohibit their partner from contacting them (even through a third party), being within a certain distance of them, or damaging their property.
- Occupation Order – The court can make this order to enforce, declare or restrict a person’s rights to occupy the family home. An Occupation Order is only a short-term solution and has no bearing on the final financial settlement.