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Leave to apply (family court)

(6 Posts)
Confused26 Tue 12-Aug-14 20:13:12

Hi all,

I'm hoping someone with knowledge of legal jargon can advise. If an application for a child arrangements order was made jointly by a parent (with PR) and a step-parent (without PR) as litigants in person, then at the first court directions hearing the court granted the step-parent "leave to make an application", does the step-parent then need to submit their own application for a child arrangements order? Or does the application made jointly with the children's parent still stand?

The wording on the interim order is not clear and just states that the step-parent has been granted leave to make an application...but obviously one has already been made.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Greengrow Tue 12-Aug-14 20:28:06

I am not a family order.

"Leave to apply" is just standard wording in many court directions orders which basically means either party can apply by an application to change what is nin the order (eg if the order said produce a document by 1 August and they failed and the other party did not agree to a delay they could apply to the court for more time - on a new application notice with a new fee)

If this order you have both obtained no a joint application says the timetable for things to be done then if both are happy with it just follow what it says and ignore the "leave to apply" sentence. Sometimes things take longer or change in court cases so having a right for either side to change what is on the order if the other party will not just agree the change such as to a date is sensible.

Are you sure the application was made jointly? (That is quite rare in other court proceedings. Normally one or other side applies and the other either agrees or disputes).

Confused26 Tue 12-Aug-14 20:34:41

The application was made by the parent and step-parent, respondent is the children's other non-resident parent. When we made the application we did not realise it was usually just in the parent's name and applied jointly on the advice of social services (who are supporting our application).

The legal adviser at the directions hearing then said that we'd done things "slightly in reverse" but would grant the step-parent leave to make an application.

I'm not sure if that answers your question? We're a bit lost in it all to be honest! Thank you for your help and advice.

babybarrister Tue 12-Aug-14 20:44:00

I would not worry too much - write to all parties and the court saying that for the avoidance of doubt the application SP is making is that of main applicant ...

WakeyCakey45 Wed 13-Aug-14 10:34:46

Stepparents sometimes, not always, have the right to apply for contact and other family court matters - but if they don't have the automatic right, they have the right to apply to court for permission, or "leave to apply".

It sounds like the joint application has preempted the court giving the stepparent "leave to apply" but that the court has included that in the proceedings.

If the stepparent is awarded residency, even jointly, by the court they also automatically are awarded parental responsibility.

Confused26 Wed 13-Aug-14 11:54:14

Thank you for all the advice. We will send a letter to the parties involved so that everyone is clear.

Cakey - yes, the PR aspect is why children's services are encouraging the application to be made in joint names. Unfortunately if something were to happen to the children's resident parent children's services would not allow them to go to live with the non-resident parents (too long to go into) and so they feel that in giving the step-parent PR it allows the children permanence and I suppose gives children's services a bit of piece of mind knowing the won't have a tricky situation on their hands.

Thanks again for the help.

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