Types Of Court Orders In Family Law

Mariam Abu HusseinLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 7th May 2024

Dealing with family matters, like child custody, property division, and maintenance, can be tough.

Court orders in family law help sort out disagreements when parties can't agree. They also make sure decisions are followed and agreements are kept.


This article explores different family court orders, what they're for, and how to get them, whether you're going through a divorce, protecting your rights, or looking out for your kids.

What is a court order?

A court order in UK family law is a legal document from a judge or magistrate. It tells you what you must or must not do in family matters.

These orders are mainly used during divorce, custody battles, or other family disputes. They aim to be fair, resolve conflicts, and protect everyone involved, especially children.

You have to follow these orders by law. Not doing so can lead to penalties or even jail time.

Types of court orders in family law

In family law, different types of court orders are used to address specific situations.

Private Children Law Orders

These court orders relate to kids in family matters. They're for sorting out things like custody, visitation, and other parenting issues. These orders help clarify who's responsible for children, without involving public law proceedings.

Order Name


Child Arrangements Order

A Child Arrangements Order outlines where a child should live, spend time, or have contact with. It replaces what used to be called custody and access orders.

Specific Issue Order

A Specific Issue Order settles a specific dispute about a child's upbringing, like which school they should go to.

Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order stops a parent from making certain decisions about their child's upbringing, like moving abroad.

Declaration of Parentage

A declaration of parentage is a legal statement confirming someone's status as a parent of a child.

Parental Responsibility Order

A parental responsibility order is a legal ruling that grants someone parental responsibility of a child.

Appointment of a Guardian

An appointment of a guardian is a legal process where someone is officially chosen to take care of a child if their parents can't.

Removal from Jurisdiction Order

A Removal from Jurisdiction Order is a legal directive from a court that allows a child to be taken out of the country by one parent or guardian, usually in situations involving relocation or travel.

Special Guardianship Order

A Special Guardianship Order is a legal arrangement where someone other than a child's parent is appointed as their special guardian, giving them responsibility for the child's upbringing and welfare.

Adoption Order

An Adoption Order is a legal document issued by a court that finalises the adoption process, permanently transferring all parental rights and responsibilities from the biological parents or guardians to the adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Contact

Post-adoption contact refers to arrangements made for the contact between a child who has been adopted and their birth family or other significant individuals after the adoption has been finalised.

Protective Injunctions

Protective injunctions in family law are court orders that keep people safe from harm or harassment within the family.

They can include orders that stop someone from harassing or being violent toward another person and orders that decide who can live in the family home.

Order Name


Non-Molestation Order

A non-molestation order is designed to protect individuals from harassment or abuse. It stops someone from being violent or threatening violence, as well as from intimidating, harassing, or bothering another person.

Occupation Order

An occupation order decides who can live in the family home and may limit someone from entering the area around the home.

Financial court orders in family law

Family law court orders regarding money usually involve things like child support, spousal support, and dividing assets and debts. They're meant to make fair financial arrangements between people dealing with family issues.

Order Name


Pension Sharing Order

A Pension Sharing Order splits a portion of one spouse's pension with the other during a divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Maintenance Order

A Maintenance Order mandates one person to financially support their spouse or children after separation or divorce to make sure dependents and former partners can maintain a decent standard of living after the split.

Consent Order

A consent order is a legal agreement between parties involved in a family law dispute, usually regarding financial matters or child arrangements, that has been approved by the court.

If someone doesn't follow a court order, the court can take action. This could mean fines, making up missed time with children, or in severe cases, imprisonment.

How do I apply for a family court order?

To apply for a family law court order, it's a good idea to speak to a family law solicitor first to understand your rights, the strength of your position, and the potential risks and outcomes of applying for an order.

Should you choose to go ahead, the next step is to complete the necessary court forms required for the type of order you're seeking. More often than not, you can download these forms online.

After completing the forms, you have to file them with the appropriate family court along with any supporting documents and pay the court fee. You will also need to serve copies of the application and supporting documents to the other parties involved in the case as part of the pre-action protocol.

Following this, you may be required to attend court hearings as part of the application process. During these hearings, you'll have the opportunity to present your case and provide any additional information requested by the judge.

If the court approves your application, they will issue a court order outlining the terms of the decision. This order is legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved.

Do I need a solicitor to get a family court order?

While you're not legally required to have a solicitor to apply for a family court order, it's a good idea to get one, especially if your case is complicated. They can help you understand what to do, fill out forms correctly, and present your case well in court.

Having a solicitor won't guarantee success, but it will increase your chances of getting the outcome you want and ensure your rights are protected.

But if you decide not to get one, you can still apply for a family court order on your own.

How can Lawhive help?

At Lawhive, our network of expert family law solicitors can help you get a family law court order by providing legal advice, assisting with paperwork, representing you in court if needed, negotiating with the other parties involved, and offering ongoing support.

Contact us to learn more and get a free quote for the services of an expert lawyer.

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