Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Section 8 Orders - How to Apply

(excluding orders for children in care)

What they are



Persons who must receive notice

Applying for leave

Those who have to seek the leave of the court must write to the court, enclosing a draft application. The court must either grant the request or set a date for a hearing of the application for leave to apply [Rule 4.3]

Applications for section 8 orders

If divorce proceedings are under way, application should be made to the court where the proceedings are being heard, otherwise applications will generally begin in the Magistrates' Court. If in doubt, ask at the court office. All applications must be made on the official forms: A form must be completed for each type of application - it is not permitted to apply for more than one type of order on one form. The forms ask for details of the application in a series of boxes. If there is insufficient space in any of the boxes, write "see attached sheet" in the box and provide clear details on a separate sheet which should be stapled to the form.

When the application has been completed, it must be sent to the court, together with a copy for each respondent. Remember to keep a copy for yourself.

The court will assign a date for hearing, mark this on the copies and return them to you for service. At least 21 days prior to the hearing, you must serve copies of the application on every respondent and give written notice of the hearing to every person listed above as entitled to notice. [Rule 4.4]

Documentary evidence

Applicants are encouraged to supply skeleton arguments in advance. Traditional style affidavits are discontinued, but written statements may be substituted which must contain a statement of the form: "I declare that this is a true statement and I understand it may be placed before a court", and be signed and dated. [Rule 4.17]

Court record

The court must keep a note of the substance of the oral evidence. [Rule 4.20]


The court shall deliver its judgment as soon as is practicable after a hearing. Where an application is refused the court shall state any findings of fact and the reasons for the court's decision. [Rule 4.21]


  • From the Magistrates' Court, appeal to the High Court.
    David Cannon
    Originally published - May 1992

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