There are various different orders you can apply for through the family courts. Initially Dads will be applying for a Child Arrangements order usually. To have time with their children and who they will live with resolved. It is best to apply for 50/50 shared care and be prepared to negotiate down from that if necessary. However you can apply for other orders without having a Child Arrangements order in place. A specific issues order is usually for matters like a holiday or a change of school, when there is disagreement. If you have a holiday booked, for example, after dates have been agreed and your ex then tries to prevent it, you can apply for an urgent specific issues order with a 48 hour hearing. Holidays are seen as high priority for children and you will almost certainly get the holiday ordered. This is ironical in a way as it can take months of not seeing your children to get a Child Arrangements order.

If you don't have a Child Arrangements order and need to apply for a specific issues order for, say, a holiday, you can actually apply for both on the same C100 form. It may get resolved at the one hearing, by negotiation and agreement, or there may be a further hearing for the Child Arrangements order (after the great holiday!).

Prohibited Steps orders are other orders that can be applied for. Those are to prevent someone from doing something. The most common reason is if your ex suddenly decides to move 500 miles away with the kids. You can apply for an urgent prohibited steps order to prevent her moving the children away. Relocation is a big area in family law and it is unlikely a court will prevent a Mother moving if it is for a genuine reason such as a job offer or to move in with a new partner. However they can decide who the children will live with and if it is considered the move is to frustrate contact with the Dad then it is possible residence would be changed or a shared care order made for, say more holiday time with the Dad.

For a Child Arrangements order there is a particular order of matters from the time you apply. The article linked below breaks down the process and hearings you can expect in detail.

Legal advice should be sought to ensure correct information at the time on all the above information. You can get a free half hour with a Solicitor, even if self repping.

Also see our Resources Tab above for numerous resources on applying to court. Some people use a Solicitor and Barrister, some partly self rep and use a Direct Access Barrister for hearings. Some people represent themselves in court throughout. You will get help and support from the Dads with Kids forum if you need to self rep or ask for recommendations for solicitors and barrister via private messaging.

Hearings in Family Court