Home > The Court Process > Specific Issue Orders

Specific Issue Orders

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 21 Jun 2017 |
 
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.

Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Dolly29 - Your Question:
My dad has booked a surprise holiday for the family, but my child's dad won't give permission to go as he wanted to take him in the next year or two, he's a aggressive guy An I don't know what to do, can he stop me from taking him away just through jealousy? As soon as I found out about it I told him, he doesn't pay maintenance An we don't have set days through out the holidays. Can you help please

Our Response:
You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad, here.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:13 PM
My dad has booked a surprise holiday for the family, but my child's dad won't give permission to go as he wanted to take him in the next year or two, he's a aggressive guy An I don't know what to do, can he stop me from taking him away just through jealousy? As soon as I found out about it I told him, he doesn't pay maintenance An we don't have set days through out the holidays. Can you help please
Dolly29 - 21-Jun-17 @ 3:21 PM
Gumbear1221 - Your Question:
Hi there me and my family had an agreement with my 3 girls mum to take them on holiday after a few years of asking. Now she hasent paid a penny towards the passports I paid for them check and send and also the return of documents. We had a agreement for them to be send to my address but the passport office faild in following the cover letter we also had my ex sign. Now they have been deliverd to hers and now she is refusing to had them over passport office say this is now a civil matter we dont know wat to do weve booked to go away end of august. We just sicked she can do this the the girls.

Our Response:
Your only option is to apply to court for a Specific Issue Order. However, whether there would be time for this to be heard in court is another matter. You would have to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jun-17 @ 3:15 PM
Hi there me and my family had an agreement with my 3 girls mum to take them on holiday after a few years of asking. Now she hasent paid a penny towards the passports i paid for them check and send and also the return of documents. We had a agreement for them to be send to my address but the passport office faild in following the cover letter we also had my ex sign. Now they have been deliverd to hers and now she is refusing to had them over passport office say this is now a civil matter we dont know wat to do weve booked to go away end of august. We just sicked she can do this the the girls.
Gumbear1221 - 18-Jun-17 @ 7:06 PM
Ka - Your Question:
I'm in the process of trying to change my sons name on his passport. My sons father has never bothered with my son since 6 months old my son is 7 nearly 8. My son was taken critically ill back in 2011 and the father was told to come and say goodbye as they thought my son wouldn't make it through the night. But he never came in. My son has never had a birthday card or Christmas present. To cut a long story short my son is better off without him, there's a few issues iv had like stealing money from my child which I had saved to take him away no contact etc. I changed my sons name by deed poll 3 years ago so at school etc he has my surname. However his passport is in his fathers surname. I recently took my son on a family holiday with my partners family we got stopped at the airport and was asked 101 questions it was very intimidating, my son now thinks he has done something wrong and is very upset over it. Can I apply for a persific issue order myself? Would the courts allow me to change my sons name. Thanks

Our Response:
If you have changed your child's name by Deed Poll then the name on his passport should always match his legal name. Therefore, you would have to change this, please see link here . If you have not change your son's name officially via Deed Poll, you would have to request permission from your son's father directly. If he refuses, then you would have to apply for a Specific Issue Order through the courts. The courts are likely to allow you to change your son's names for reasons of family uniformity and if he has been using your name for a significant period of time i.e through school/GP etc.
SeparatedDads - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:16 AM
I'm in the process of trying to change my sons name on his passport.My sons father has never bothered with my son since 6 months old my son is 7 nearly 8. My son was taken critically ill back in 2011 and the father was told to come and say goodbye as they thought my son wouldn't make it through the night. But he never came in. My son has never had a birthday card or Christmas present. To cut a long story short my son is better off without him, there's a few issues iv had like stealing money from my child which I had saved to take him away no contact etc... I changed my sons name by deed poll 3 years ago so at school etc he has my surname. However his passport is in his fathers surname. I recently took my son on a family holiday with my partners family we got stopped at the airport and was asked 101 questions it was very intimidating, my son now thinks he has done something wrong and is very upset over it. Can I apply for a persific issue order myself? Would the courts allow me to change my sons name. Thanks
Ka - 13-Jun-17 @ 3:28 PM
Dyffy - Your Question:
Hi in the early stage of divorce. Nothing been agreed yet regarding 10 years old daughter. Background: he left in feb 2016 he lived in a flat but never had daughter there for a night stay. He used to come every day to see her. Then he moved in a rented 3 bed house with new partner. His 19 years old son has one bedroom so is her 24 years old daughter. So again no room for our child to stay overnight. Been separated 15 months so far and daughter never stay one night. he sees her 9 hrs a week. 3hrs on Tuesday and Thursday and 3 hrs on sundays. His choice. I have always said he is welcome to see her any time or extra time as long as I have noticed. He hasnt took me up on that. For extra time it a hr before pick her up or when he pick her up which put me in a position were I have to say no as plan have already been made for him to say I stop him seeing his daughter or I have to cancel my plans so he can have her a bit longer or daughter is there and feel like she has to choose between mum and dad. Which it's not fair. Where we lives neither of us has familly. He is happy in his new life which is fine but I got no support here. I have been offered by his brother and sis in law to move near them. True enough school are better. I will have ok his family but they will support me. Our daughter will get to see uncle and aunts and cousins more often. And the eurostar is close by so easier commute for me and my family to travel to and from france. So more interaction with her french family. And the houses are much cheaper so I should be able to buy and have a mortgage in my name but not if I stay here. How should I proceed if I want to go through with the move? I will never stop him seeing his daughter. As j have proved that. He finish at 1 on fridays so even if we were to move 2.5 hrs away he would be there for when school funish. Or meet half way. And I could have her back on sunday evening. That also give him more hrs with child in one weekend than he does in 2 weeks. Can he stop me? When going throught mediation can I ask to have it in the paper that if in the future I want ti move somewhere else in england he wont stop me??

Our Response:
Mediation should help you be able to come to an agreement. However, if mediation fails and you still wish to move away you would have to apply through court. A court is unlikely to stop you from moving if you allow reasonable terms for access. At any point if you wish to move you would have to have the father's permission. Unless your ex agrees to putting something in writing that would allow you to move away in the future, you would have to apply to court under a Specific Issue Order. However, the court will only deal with issues that affect you currently, not ones that are speculative.
SeparatedDads - 12-Jun-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi in the early stage of divorce. Nothing been agreed yet regarding 10 years old daughter. Background: he left in feb 2016 he lived in a flat but never had daughter there for a night stay. He used to come every day to see her. Then he moved in a rented 3 bed house with new partner. His 19 years old son has one bedroom so is her 24 years old daughter. So again no room for our child to stay overnight. Been separated 15 months so far and daughter never stay one night. he sees her 9 hrs a week. 3hrs on Tuesday and Thursday and 3 hrs on sundays. His choice. I have always said he is welcome to see her any time or extra time as long as i have noticed. He hasnt took me up on that. For extra time it a hr before pick her up or when he pick her up which put me in a position were i have to say no as plan have already been made for him to sayi stop him seeing his daughter or i have to cancel my plans so he can have her a bit longer or daughter is there and feel like she has to choose between mum and dad. Which it's not fair . Where we lives neither of us has familly. He is happy in his new life which is fine but i got no support here. I have been offered by his brother and sis in law to move near them. True enough school are better . I will have ok his family but they will support me. Our daughter will get to see uncle and aunts and cousins more often. And the eurostar is close by so easier commute for me and my family to travel to and from france. So more interaction with her french family. And the houses are much cheaper so i should be able to buy and have a mortgage in my name but not if i stay here. How should i proceed if i want to go through with the move? I will never stop him seeing his daughter. As j have proved that. He finish at 1 on fridays so even if we were to move 2.5 hrs away he would be there for when school funish. Or meet half way. And i could have her back on sunday evening. That also give him more hrs with child in one weekend than he does in 2 weeks. Can he stop me? When going throught mediation can i ask to have it in the paper that if in the future i want ti move somewhere else in england he wont stop me??
Dyffy - 10-Jun-17 @ 7:30 PM
fana - Your Question:
HI I wanted to know I have two autistic children father left when I was pregnent with my second child he came in a picture when he had immgrition issues he ask for contact in court due to children condition my children can not talk a word they are not aware of any danger on roads they can not dress or undress and they are still in nappies and they are more other problems with my boys father only have one hour contact under my supervison as the section 7 report said in 2014 now he ask me for boys passports and my and I refused so I end up in court again now he wants both boys for overnight stays and he want to take them out my ex lives with his brother in luton and some members of that family were arrested in attend to murdur of two year old child and the child died I am worried what will happen in court I have all the doctors letters about my boys condition and letter saying no overnight stays my kids are 7 and 6 but brains are 2 and 3 I am so worried about them the application father has but all the facts are incorrect can some one tell me what can be happen in my case he dont have any contact with my older child due to him getting stress and its really had to seperate him from me now school notice when ever my little one come back from contact he gets really cross and bit other kids and he hits his self.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot predict what a court may decide, but it will always decide upon what it thinks is in the child/children's best interests. If your ex has had little contact, or is not familiar with your sons' needs, then it is highly unlikely he will be granted overnight stays. Cafcass will also get involved, please see link here. However, you would really need to seek professional legal advice if you are concerned, as with such little detail it is difficult to advise.
SeparatedDads - 24-May-17 @ 12:11 PM
HI i wanted to know i have two autistic children father left when i was pregnent with my second child he came in a picture when he had immgrition issues he ask for contact in court due to children condition my children can not talk a word they are not aware of any danger on roads they can not dress or undress and they are still in nappies and they are more other problems with my boys father only have one hour contact under my supervison as the section 7 report said in 2014 now he ask me for boys passports and my and i refused so i end up in court again now he wants both boys for overnight stays and he want to take them out my ex lives with his brother in luton and some members of that family were arrested in attend to murdur of two year old child and the child died i am worried what will happen in court i have all the doctors letters about my boys condition and letter saying no overnight stays my kids are 7 and 6 but brains are 2 and 3 i am so worried about them the application father has but all the facts are incorrect can some one tell me what can be happen in my case he dont have any contact with my older child due to him getting stress and its really had to seperate him from me now school notice when ever my little one come back from contact he gets really cross and bit other kids and he hits his self.
fana - 23-May-17 @ 7:07 PM
Hi there, I split up with my ex 4 years ago.. we somehow (not without arguments) managed to get through the last 4 years and arranged childcare without courts. He has done a lot wrong and i didnt walk out just coz i felt like it. he didnt pay rent, has other major issues etc. He had her for 2 xmases and last year i had her. Logically i want her for 2 xmases as well, after which we will go back to normal 1 xmas each. i boked a holiday away for xmas and he is now saying he will stop her going. I am already thinking to get a mediator involved and if we cant agree we will go to court as its plenty of time till then. however in 12 days we are going away for another holiday that he has agreed to and said its ok for us to go. Now my worry is he will create drama just to be spiteful to me and we will be stopped at the boarder. Can he do so in 12 days?.. the last thing i need is to get to the airport with all the bags packed and be turned away.. thanks for your help.
Abbriori - 12-May-17 @ 12:03 PM
Me and my partner split up about 1 month ago after living together for 7 years. We have a 7year old and a 1year old together. This has been so hard for me as been used to seeing my children every day. We had a holiday booked together for June this year where her parents are also booked to go with us. As it's her parents place. I have now been told that obviously I can't go now we are split but they are all still going. This is a 2 week holiday leaving early Sunday morning coming home early on a Sunday morning. With my work I can only have my children on weekends so this will mean that I won't see them for 4 weeks. I have asked my partner to change the flights to only go for 1 week as I feel 2 weeks is to long but she has refused. Can I stop her from going for 2 weeks? I can't cope with the thought of not seeing my children for 4 weeks. Anything I can do?
Mcgorey - 8-May-17 @ 7:32 PM
Sabrina93- Your Question:
Iv booked a holiday for June with my two children my friend and her one child. The children father is saying he won't consent to going on holiday for a week because he doesn't trust il be able to look after them on, saying it will be dangerous taking them without him and he wants to go on a family holiday which wouldn't work becuase we don't get on and he is very unpredictable. He is on one of the children's birth cert but not the other child. I have the children living with me and he has one of the children three times a week at maximum. Is there anything I can do without going to court as the holiday is 5 weeks away, does just being on the birth cert give him parental responsibility

Our Response:
You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad, please see gov.uk link here.
SeparatedDads - 8-May-17 @ 2:23 PM
Iv booked a holiday for June with my two children my friend and her one child. The children father is saying he won't consent to going on holiday for a week because he doesn't trust il be able to look after them on, saying it will be dangerous taking them without him and he wants to go on a family holiday which wouldn't work becuase we don't get on and he is very unpredictable. He is on one of the children's birth cert but not the other child. I have the children living with me and he has one of the children three times a week at maximum. Is there anything I can do without going to court as the holiday is 5 weeks away, does just being on the birth cert give him parental responsibility
Sabrina93 - 7-May-17 @ 10:06 PM
Lou - Your Question:
I would like to find what rights I have as a mom. I have two sons whom their father refuses to skype, call, or have any contact whatsoever. He was banned from South Africa where I currently reside with the boys and he has gone back home to live in the UK where he was born and raised. I have asked if he would sign consent for me to move to uk with the boys so that he could see them however he refuses and tells me my life is not in his country. Am I really trapped? Surely since he doesn't even live here I can go abroad?

Our Response:
Unless you are in a relationship with your children's father and he agreed to apply to sponsor you or your children to come to the UK, then you have no way of applying to live in the UK, unless you apply for a visa independently (such as a working visa). Also, the rules of applying for family dependents to come to the UK are very strict and are dependent upon very particular requirements, please see gov.uk link here which explains all. On another note, a court will never force a non-resident parent to see their children if the parent does not want to have links with their children.
SeparatedDads - 12-Apr-17 @ 10:40 AM
I would like to find what rights I have as a mom. I have two sons whom their father refuses to skype, call, or have any contact whatsoever. He was banned from South Africa where I currently reside with the boys and he has gone back home to live in the UK where he was born and raised. I have asked if he would sign consent for me to move to uk with the boys so that he could see them however he refuses and tells me my life is not in his country. Am I really trapped? Surely since he doesn't even live here I can go abroad?
Lou - 11-Apr-17 @ 12:25 PM
The home Office have told me I need to get a Specific Issues Order to get my son a passport and I can't understand why as I have had parental responsibility and been the sole parent since 2012. His mum died in Dec 2015 and I am his only family. I changed his surname in Sept 2016 as his mum did not put me on the original certificate. I should have gone on holiday after I was offered the use of a Spanish villa from 1st April to 15th for free and couldn't go without his passport. It all makes no sense. I even contacted my MP but he couldn't do anything.
Joe - 3-Apr-17 @ 4:58 PM
Hi recently found out from my children that they are moving away in the summer because I wasn't told by the mother wat was happening I was advised to apply for a prohibited steps order as it would severely effect my contact I dint drive and They will be an hour and half away basically told kids if I wanna see them I got to get them would applying for this order stop the initial move from happening
sutty72 - 9-Feb-17 @ 6:39 AM
Dan - Your Question:
My ex partner has moved 150 miles away from where I live and is demanding I collect my three children every weekend and return them after two nights.im finding it hard financially to do this trip each week and fear that it may have to stop is there any legal help to make the travelling fairer and we share the trip?

Our Response:
If you pay child maintenance through the CMS you may be able to apply for a special expenses variation, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:24 PM
My ex partner has moved 150 miles away from where I live and is demanding I collect my three children every weekend and return them after two nights.im finding it hard financially to do this trip each week and fear that it may have to stop is there any legal help to make the travelling fairer and we share the trip?
Dan - 14-Jan-17 @ 10:33 AM
My 13 yr old daughter always lived with her mum and she suddenly stopped me from seeing so I applied to a contact order and it was granted I got every other weekend etc this was in 2011. This year however my child came to live with me on her own accord. The mother called the police but as she didn't have a residency order and my daughter is 13 and spoke to the police on her own they said they have no concerns so she has been with me nearly a year now. My issue is her mother has her passport (I was not originally on her birth certificate but after court I am on it now) the mother won't give the passport and the passport won't let me apply for another as she has one. Is my only option to apply for a Specif Issues Order to make the mother hand it over? And if yes,I am concerned she will try and obtain a contact order whilst in court when I will have paid for court proceedings.
Knight - 31-Dec-16 @ 6:33 PM
Danny - Your Question:
My daughters mother stops me from seeing my child when she want, every time she get a new partner she start acting up and all she threatens me with is I'm taking you to court, I do not work I'm on jobseekers allowance but trying to start my own company so money's not aways there but when I can't give her no money she start with your not seeing your child, she didn't involve me in anything to do with my daughters school she changes her school when she wants without consulting me plus I don't get to collect or bring my child to school ever when my daughter said to me she would like me to bring her to school one day a week, she plays these mind game and makes Fritz all the time what can I do and what are my rights ?

Our Response:
Please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access here. However, in the first instance if you cannot resolve this or any child access situation, then you should consider mediation as court is considered as a last resort, please see link here . If mediation does not work, or if your ex refuses to attend, then you can apply to court. If you cannot afford legal fees, you can self litigate, please see link here. In addition, child access is not dependent upon child maintenance. Neither have any bearing on each other meaning you won't be refused access on the basis that you have limited means to pay.
SeparatedDads - 21-Dec-16 @ 11:05 AM
My daughters mother stops me from seeing my child when she want, every time she get a new partner she start acting up and all shethreatens me with is I'm taking you to court, I do not worki'm on jobseekers allowance but trying to start my own company so money's not aways there but when I can't give her no money she start with your not seeing your child, she didn'tinvolve me inanything to do with my daughters school she changes her school when she wants without consulting me plus I don't get to collect or bring my child to school ever when my daughter said to me she would like me to bring her to school one day a week, she plays these mind game and makesFritz all the time what can I do and what are my rights ?
Danny - 20-Dec-16 @ 4:12 PM
My ex moved 2 hours away last spring. According to a court order he sees the kids every other weekend. I want to move my daughter from a state school to a private one, bearing full responsibilitty for the costs myself. He's refusing to sign the form although it doesn't impact him. Our other child is in private school also at my cost. Is there any reason a judge could refuse to let me move her if she wants to go?
Betty - 10-Dec-16 @ 3:29 PM
Lisa - Your Question:
Can a father stop the mother seeing the 6week old child the father took the baby as his ex slept with someone else

Our Response:
Is the father registered on the birth certificate? Please see link: What Happens If My Ex Keeps the Children Without My Consent? here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Dec-16 @ 2:46 PM
Can a father stop the mother seeing the 6week old child the father took the baby as his ex slept with someone else
Lisa - 3-Dec-16 @ 3:41 PM
My Ex won't allow me to meet my daughter. She is now 14. My daughter is under the influence of her mother which is a good thing but I am worried because my ex wife has recently got married and her partner doesn't have a permanent visa to stay in the U.K. My daughter is living with her step father and mother. I understand my ex wife's husband has only got married for a permanent visa and once he has got his British passport he will leave and go. My ex wife does not see this, fine that's her choice but why is she now influencing my daughter to not to come and visit me. I never knew my ex wife had got married and I understand she had the duty to tell me. My ex wife has changed her mobile number so I can't even contact her.I now live with my wife and daughter aged nine. I am a full time worker and I am able to support my children. Please advice me what should I do?
Sunil - 3-Nov-16 @ 3:59 PM
Nige - Your Question:
My ex is denying me collecting my son from nursery which is 100 yards from my house once during the week. She will only allow me to see him once a week. I have parental responsibility and he has my surname.

Our Response:
You would have to either suggest mediation to your ex, or if she refuses take the matter to court in order to pursue this issue.
SeparatedDads - 5-Oct-16 @ 12:46 PM
My ex is denying me collecting my son from nursery which is 100 yards from my house once during the week. She will only allow me to see him once a week. I have parental responsibility and he has my surname.
Nige - 4-Oct-16 @ 6:04 PM
My x stopped me from seeing my son after regular contact then it's been yes you can see him then no you can't all because she has a new partner,my son is 14 months old and I need to see him as it's killing me ,what can I do?
edward - 2-Sep-16 @ 11:02 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.