Home > The Court Process > Specific Issue Orders

Specific Issue Orders

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Jul 2019 |
 
Specific Issue Order Court Child Family

Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on, such as:

        
  • Whether your child or children should change their name(s)
  • Decisions pertaining to their education
  • Whether they should have a particular medical treatment or operation
  • Whether they should receive religious or non-religious education
  • Taking the child to live abroad on a permanent basis
  • Preventing someone from having contact with your child

What the Court Will Do

As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. Applications for a Specific Issue Order are heard before a judge and a representative from Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services Officer), who is a qualified social worker. In the first instance, this meeting will endeavour to reach an agreement between the parents as to how to determine the issue. This needs the consent of both parents, which can often be impossible if there have been allegations of domestic violence.

Court's Discretion to Make Order of its Own Volition

It is important to note that a magistrate or judge may make a Specific Issue Order of their own volition. This is generally in situations in which the judge is satisfied that there is a risk that the parent in question may go ahead with a particular course of action without seeking the other’s consent. In other circumstances, and only if there are grounds to do so, the judge or magistrate may make a Specific Issue Order if the responsible parent is acting in an inappropriate way. This could relate to, for example, taking the child to places that are not deemed suitable for children, or leaving them in the care of a person who is unsuitable for childcare.

Directions For Hearing

If this meeting does not prove productive, the parents and the Cafcass officer, along with any solicitors representing either party, go before the District Judge or magistrates in order to obtain directions for a trial. Usually both parents submit witness statements, and the Cafcass officer (which could be the same person as before, but not necessarily) will then interview both parents and prepare a report. If possible, the Cafcass officer should see the child in the company of each of the parents.

Full Hearing

If the case then goes to a final hearing, each parent will give evidence in the Family Court and will be asked questions under oath by the opposing side. It is commonplace for the Cafcass officer’s report to settle matters before the final hearing happens and it is quite rare for a judge to find against the recommendations made in the report. If this happens, the judge must provide reasons for doing so. If the judge has made an error of law in coming to this decision, you can challenge the decision by way of judicial review. This is a complicated legal procedure, however, and you should always seek legal advice before embarking on such a claim. For more information, see the page on www.CourtroomAdvice.co.uk.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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My Ex has recently moved to the other side of the country because of her new partner. Because of this I'm not able to see him nearly as often as I was. I asked to be kept in the loop about how he's doing up there with childminder and school etc but she won't tell me anything saying I can hear it from my son, he's only 4 years old. She refuses to o give me contact details so I can gone phone them myself too. I don't want to hear it from him, I want to hear it from the people caring for him so I know how he's actually getting on. Is there anything I can do through the courts so I can have more rights to know how my son is doing?
Wayne - 18-Jun-19 @ 4:41 PM
Hi My ex wife don't share with me school results and next steps in future. My son is Asperger 14 years old is ending 9 year. We have a Education Health and care plan, I ask about, she refuse to share with me. What I should do? regards
JC - 14-Jun-19 @ 9:31 AM
Hi all me and my wife have splittrecently 2 years ago went to court and had signed agreement in court that no e of us can take kids abroad without others signed letter my wife won't let me take kids on holliday and won't even let them sleep over at my place her excuseis they are too small son is 9 and daughter is 6 cam any o e advise in similar situationhow ever I did let her take kids abroad and I was fine withshe has boomed another holliday just found out from my son but really don't want to stop my kids from gav I g their holliday can any o e advise pls what to do we do have court order in place
Tom21 - 26-May-19 @ 8:38 PM
My ex-partner wants to send my son to a nursery that I don't agree with we both sat down and tried to come to an agreement the ex-partner is adamant that she will be sending my son to the nursery that she wants she is saying that I cannot have a saycan someone give me some advice
Dad - 13-Mar-19 @ 6:17 PM
Hi, my partner's ex wants us to start doing the school run on the days she has the children. We already take responsibility for pick up and drop off on the days the children are with us, but she now wants us to pick the kids up from her house, take them to school. Pick up from school on a night and drop back off at her house. We offered we could have the children extra days and do the school run on our days but says no to doing it on he days. Are we correct in saying this?
Lilly - 5-Mar-19 @ 2:47 PM
My ex partner has decided to move into her new partners property with my son but her partner is currently in prison for domestic violence. I am worried for my child who is three as he has 12 convictions on his record and drugs offences. Also I have always had my child in a routine where I had him 3 night's a week only for my ex last week to inform me when I was on my way to get him that she had moved my child and taken him out of a school he was settled in this was by text message. My ex was in a relationship with this man a week after he was arrested for breaking his ex partners nose and collerbone they spent 7 weeks together before he was sentenced to 2 years 3 months in prison. Since he has been in prison she has moved into his property and I am so concerned aboutmy son's safety when He's out can you help
Mulit - 26-Jan-19 @ 10:10 PM
Hi, my partner is adamant they are taking our child out of their current school, which they put our child in to suit them as their partner was living in that area, however now they have split from their partner they want to move our child to a new school where they are now living, what can be done?
Lsuth - 27-Aug-18 @ 7:03 PM
My ex partner is getting married soon and we have 2 children together and they have my surname. She wants to change our children surname to her new married name which I am against as she has no right too what can I do to stop this from happening? I am on both birth certificate pay Matenaice and see them regularly. Just really need some advice.
Jay - 26-Aug-18 @ 9:14 AM
Scott - Your Question:
Hi, just after some direction with reference to holidays, I’m getting married abroad soon however, my ex partner is refusing to let my 5 year old daughter come, I’m on the birth certificate, pay maintenance and have always see my daughter, she has taken her out of country twice and never asked permission, just hoping to find my next steps, thank you

Our Response:
If your ex continues to refuse you taking your child out of the country, you would have to ask permission from the courts. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 17-Aug-18 @ 10:16 AM
Hi, just after some direction with reference to holidays, I’m getting married abroad soon however, my ex partner is refusing to let my 5 year old daughter come, I’m on the birth certificate, pay maintenance and have always see my daughter, she has taken her out of country twice and never asked permission, just hoping to find my next steps, thank you
Scott - 16-Aug-18 @ 6:29 PM
Missherhappiness - Your Question:
Ex partner who I still live with has stolen our children’s passports from my private belongings. He knows they were to take a trip in two weeks and is refusing to hand them back. There has Violence in the home and the police were involved. They are saying the passports are a civil matter and not a police matter. What can I do?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your only option is to apply to court to have the passports returned. However, it is unlikely your case would be heard before your due date of travel.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jul-18 @ 2:16 PM
Ex partner who I still live with has stolen our children’s passports from my private belongings.He knows they were to take a trip in two weeks and is refusing to hand them back.There has Violence in the home and the police were involved. They are saying the passports are a civil matter and not a police matter. What can I do?
Missherhappiness - 24-Jul-18 @ 12:00 PM
Can i use mediation to get a court order from the courts. So i can get passports done as my ex isnt responding so i can take my girls abroad as hes on the birth certificate?
Tasha - 22-Jun-18 @ 7:53 PM
Can i use mediation to have a court order to get permission from the courts to take my kids passports and take them abroad?
Tasha - 22-Jun-18 @ 7:49 PM
awi - Your Question:
Hi,My wife is seprated from year and half.she took my 4 years son for holidays out of uk without informing me.when I ask her where she is taking him.she refuse to tell.can you advice me what can I do about it.

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility, then your ex should have asked your permission before she left the country, please see link here. If you have PR and wish to prevent this happening again, you can apply to court. As stated in the article, as in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jun-18 @ 9:12 AM
Hi, My wife is seprated fromyear and half...she took my 4 years son for holidays out of uk without informing me ..when i ask her where she is taking him ..she refuse to tell...can you advice me what can i do about it...
awi - 21-Jun-18 @ 1:50 AM
Jason Swift - Your Question:
I was hoping you can give me some advise.my ex is trying to stop me seeing my daughter, we both have parental responsible, can she stop me from seeing my daughter thanks

Our Response:
If your ex attempts to stop you seeing your child, then you would have to go through the process listed here .
SeparatedDads - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:58 AM
I was hoping you can give me some advise.my ex is trying to stop me seeing my daughter, we both have parental responsible, can she stop me from seeing my daughterthanks
Jason Swift - 10-Jun-18 @ 7:31 PM
I heldyoufirst- Your Question:
My ex partner has changed my daughter’s name back to her maiden name by de poll I have asked the school to change it back but soon realised No point in taking to them put it in writing sent to the school and doctors who said I have to obtain a court order even though I have parental responsibility for my daughter I am on both birth certificates as I have a son a child arrangement order is in place it states child shall not be known by another name. It’s seems she can do as she likes I need to fill in a c100 for a Pacific steps order But am lost on the c100 form I have already tacked her to court once. She has done this without my permission or the courts permission I have checked with them but I am unsure of what parts to fill in

Our Response:
Before a parent can change a child's name, the Deed Poll policy is that it has to be satisfied that everyone with parental responsibility for the child has consented to the name change, please see link here . You don't say how your ex has managed this, unless your ex has changed your child's name unofficially. If your ex has breached the original court order and changed your child's name without permission of the courts, (officially or unofficially) then you may need to apply for a C79, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 8-Jun-18 @ 1:58 PM
@iheldyoufirst.can you afford a solicitor?. Or maybe to a j p at the court house help you fill in forms .
c.laurie - 8-Jun-18 @ 3:02 AM
@I heldyoufirst.you said your x change your child name bye de poll ?.but you asked the school to change it back why ask the school?.de poll is official I see you do have trouble with the forms but I am sorry to say bro it might to late ?.and I am Not been rude .
c.laurie - 8-Jun-18 @ 2:32 AM
My ex partner has changed my daughter’s name back to her maiden name by de poll I have asked the school to change it back but soonrealisedNo point in taking to them put it in writing sent to the school and doctors who said I have to obtain a court order even though I have parental responsibility for my daughter I am on both birth certificates as I have a son a child arrangement order is in place it states child shall not be known by another name. It’s seems she can do as she likes I need to fill in a c100 for aPacific steps orderBut am lost on the c100 form I have already tacked her to court once. She has done this without my permission or the courts permission I have checked with them but I am unsure of what parts to fill in
I heldyoufirst - 8-Jun-18 @ 1:14 AM
James - Your Question:
I was wondering if I could have some advice.I have residency of my son and I wanted to take him on holiday during term time, which will affect the contact he has with his mother.The order states time can be adjusted as agreed and I have to give six weeks notice for holidays.She cannot stop me taking him as I have residency but can she apply for a breach of order if I do take him??Or should I persue a specific issue order to solve the matter now and in the future??

Our Response:
As long as you keep to the terms of the order i.e 'give six weeks' notice', then your ex cannot claim you have breached the order and you are not in breach of the order.
SeparatedDads - 5-Jun-18 @ 12:25 PM
Loopy - Your Question:
I really need your help, me and my husband separated 4 months ago. He has booked a 4 week holiday in July. He has the kids the weekend that he flys out because it’s his weekend, I have my suspicions that he is taking them out of the country without even telling me. A neighbor has been invited to his leaving party he is throwing I’m worried sick please advise me

Our Response:
Your husband would have to get permission from you to take your child abroad, otherwise it is considered as abduction, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 1-Jun-18 @ 3:46 PM
I was wondering if I could have some advice. I have residency of my son and I wanted to take him on holiday during term time, which will affect the contact he has with his mother. The order states time can be adjusted as agreed and I have to give six weeks notice for holidays. She cannot stop me taking him as I have residency but can she apply for a breach of order if I do take him?? Or should I persue a specific issue order to solve the matter now and in the future??
James - 1-Jun-18 @ 10:27 AM
I really need your help, me and my husband separated 4 months ago. He has booked a 4 week holiday in July. He has the kids the weekend that he flys out because it’s his weekend, I have my suspicions that he is taking them out of the country without even telling me. A neighbor has been invited to his leaving party he is throwing I’m worried sick please advise me
Loopy - 1-Jun-18 @ 2:02 AM
Hi there Please i laready have cintact order in place to see my son once every two weeks. Unfortunately i am never involved in any decision on his education or anything else. I intend to apply for a 'specific issue order' so that any decidion on his education has to involve me, not just his mother and her new boyfriend. Can i still apply for this order, despite having a contact order? Your help is very much appreciated. Thanks in advance
Idi - 3-May-18 @ 5:13 PM
QuickQuestion - Your Question:
I attended an urgent specific issue hearing on Friday in family court regarding which school my two children should attend. My ex and I have to accept offers made by the end of the month and decided to race to court when we did not agree on schools. At no time was CAFCASS involved in considering the best interests of the children, one of whom is 7.5 and is happy to speak for herself about which school she would like to attend. Isn't it required that CAFCASS be a part of this process and the hearing? I don't understand its absence. Any chances that I might get permission to appeal the decision due to lack of CAFCASS's involvement in considering the best interests of the children?

Our Response:
Cafcass only becomes involved in a case at the court's request/when the court feels it needs to.
SeparatedDads - 23-Apr-18 @ 10:39 AM
I attended an urgent specific issue hearing on Friday in family court regarding which school my two children should attend.My ex and I have to accept offers made by the end of the month and decided to race to court when we did not agree on schools. At no time was CAFCASS involved in considering the best interests of the children, one of whom is 7.5 and is happy to speak for herself about which school she would like to attend.Isn't it required that CAFCASS be a part of this process and the hearing?I don't understand its absence.Any chances that I might get permission to appeal the decision due to lack of CAFCASS's involvement in considering the best interests of the children?
QuickQuestion - 22-Apr-18 @ 2:38 PM
Hi, I wonder if anyone can provide any assistance to my ongoing case (s). I have represented myself at the initial FHDRA hearing regarding contact arrangements, and have today raised a separate Specific Issue Order Application for a dispute over schooling. My ex partner has essentially changed school preferences behind my back. I have PR. I also have evidence that the decision to change schools was ill thought and not in the LO best interests - gone from Ofsted outstanding to another school with lesser accreditation. I have a letter from my ex partner (when we were on good terms) as part of the initial school application to the first choice school, this praised the school on every level. This was also the only school we visited. My ex partner changed schools after the deadline citing lies such as welfare issues as an exceptional circumstances to change. This all contradicts to what she told Cafcass after changing school saying I was a good dad and there were no welfare issues. Anyway, I am fighting to secure a place in the first preference school we agreed on when we were on good terms. It will be going to a directions hearing next week before the school appeals window closes. Does anyone have any advise on a school dispute? Will I need legal representation at the directions hearing to put across the important education points and to reveal her lies regarding her decisions to change schools behind my back? Is the Judge at the directions hearing able to stamp an Order given this is time sensitive if I can prove the decision to move schools was not in the LO best interests? Or would this dispute have to go to a final hearing at which time the schools appeal window would be closed! I was not impressed with the female magistrates at the recent FHDRA and feel they came across biased. I have asked to request a DJ at future hearings. Any assistance will be grateful. Hope all this makes sense.
Mike - 20-Apr-18 @ 1:53 PM
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