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Conflicting Court Orders...

(7 Posts)
bustrainwalkwalk Thu 18-Sep-14 14:44:49

I have a Residence Order which has been in place for two years.

I recently went to Court for a Prohibited Steps which was granted. At the next hearing (re the PSO) the Judge slightly amended the PSO and ordered another hearing as Cafcass were delayed with their reports.

The new Order has just come trough and it's a Child Arrangements Order not a PSO which surprised me. It just details what contact ex is having now. The new order doesn't mention the old Residence Order. When we go back to Court I want the current/new Child Arrangements Order to stand but ex wants the old Residence Order to be reinstated. How is that old Order now regarded? Is it still "in force" just suspended and easy for ex to ask to be reinstated..or is it no longer in existence now the new Child arrangements Order is in place.

Huppopapa Thu 18-Sep-14 17:13:57

CAOs have replaced ROs. PSOs continue to exist though if Prohibited Steps are recorded in a CAO it is still an order and should still count.
There is no weight attached to a preceding order of any type except to the extent that either parent can say that it was working well in the interests of the child(ren). In your case it sounds like things have already moved on from the old order but the thing to do is to concentrate on persuading the court why the new arrangements are right for the children, rather than that the old ones were not. Courts are busy and want to know about now and the future. They do not appreciate being bothered by who said what to whom some time ago.

bustrainwalkwalk Thu 18-Sep-14 20:03:47

Thank you that's very helpful.

Ex is seeking the old Order is reinstated but I feel the new arrangement (which is a different pattern of care) works better and they've settled into their new routine and it works well.

Ex is saying the status quo is what's best for them- the old pattern was followed for 2 years. They've been doing the new pattern for 3 months now and it seems unfair to change it all over again when it's working. How long do Courts (usually) consider something to be "status quo" - sorry strange question, his Barrister seems to be using this as his main argument.

Huppopapa Wed 24-Sep-14 23:04:38

The status quo is what a lawyer relies upon when s/he has nothing else. His barrister appears not to have realised that the situation has already moved on. Insofar as the term means anything at all, there is a new status quo.

But really, the barrister should be ashamed of his/herself to be getting into such a discussion. This is a case about children and their welfare. What the court must do is what is right for them right now. To argue about whether there was a status quo, whether there is now another or the earlier one survives notwithstanding the subsequent changes, is about as helpful as spitting peas in the judge's eyes.

Do not dignify it with a response other than to say that you aren't sure what the relevance of a status quo is: you want to talk about what is best for the children. Now.

3xcookedchips Thu 25-Sep-14 11:17:39

Mothers who actively want to restrict the Fathers time with the children consistently use the Status Quo argument, stability, routine...The Barrister is acting under instruction from their client the father, and yes may be clutching at straws but has a duty to present the Fathers case as best they can...shame doesn't come in to it.

Huppopapa Thu 25-Sep-14 16:49:16

At risk of hijacking this thread, it is a spectacular but oh-so-common misapprehension amongst junior lawyers that their duty to represent the best interests of their client is the same as uncomplainingly doing what their client tells them in the words their clients use. It is not. It is however a good way to make litigation take much longer and to make money from unsuspecting clients who believe they are getting a good service but, if they were properly advised, would get better results quicker.
In this case, any lawyer who was trying to argue about a status quo when that situation had not existed for some months would exhibit both a lamentable knowledge of Latin and an approach more characterised by optimism than realism.

lostdad Fri 26-Sep-14 11:14:57

bustrainwalkwalk `How long do Courts (usually) consider something to be "status quo" '.

This is a `how long is a piece of string' question unfortunately. The court has a wide ambit of discretion and the status quo is a factor amongst the others considered. It IS an important factor however.

When it comes to court hearings you don't get what is right or get what you negotiate or convince the court to order. The `status quo' argument is codified under Section 1 of the Children Act in the `No Order Principle' - i.e the court will only make an order if it feels the child's best interest is served by doing so.

In other words it will only make an order if it makes things better for the child.

In practical terms it means that a parent who is happy with the situation has a clear advantage as the court is in practical terms loath to make orders to change a situation - they are more likely to be criticised for makign a decision that turns out to be wrong rather than for not making a decision.

For a parent who wants to change the situation this is the major hurdle.

When it comes to existing orders the Residence, Contact, etc. orders are superceded by the Child Arrangements Orders. Anyone who has an order that was made before April has have had their order effectively turned into a CAO.

If you had a Residence Order you still have one, albeit by another name. Child Arrangements Order can contain a line about who the `child lives with' which means exactly the same thing.

In other words, the name of the order has changed but nothing else.

The supposed reforms that went through in April were meant to remove the label of `Residence' and stop parents squabbling over it because when all is said and done being the `Resident parent' really means little in terms of law. That said I still get large numbers of parents who are absolutely desperate to be the `Resident Parent' (sorry...the parent who the `child lives with') whilst being unable to explain what practical difference it means in their day-to-day parenting.

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