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Specific Issue Orders

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Aug 2018 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
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
Golden eyes - Your Question:
Hi maybe someone could help me my ex still married left the house with my daughter know I am asking to have 2 to 3 days she keep saying that no and demand that I must do what she wants if she says that I need to pick upy daughter at 10 and bring back at 12.30 I must do !well I do not agree with that because all I want is spend days with my daughter.I feel that she is using my daughter, because we are still trying to agree about how much money I should give to her for my kid.I never said I do not give I just said let's seat and talk but she keep changing the omelette can I get and order to make her let me see my daughter or do the law just protect this kind off people that only look for the money?please a little help will be good

Our Response:
The link here and here , which will tell you all you need to do in order to try to regain access.
SeparatedDads - 9-Apr-18 @ 2:55 PM
Hi maybe someone could help me my ex still married left the house with my daughter know I am asking to have 2 to 3 days she keep saying that no and demand that I must do what she wants if she says that I need to pick upy daughter at 10 and bring back at 12.30 I must do !well I do not agree with that because all I want is spend days with my daughter.I feel that she is usingmy daughter, because we are still trying to agree about how much money I should give to her for my kid.I never said I do not give I just said let's seat and talk but she keep changing the omelette can I get and order to make her let me see my daughter or do the law just protect this kind off people that only look for the money?please a little help will be good
Golden eyes - 8-Apr-18 @ 10:36 PM
Hi guys I'm wondering if you may be able to offer some advise? I need to obtain a specific issue order, I'm aware that one will not be issued until me and my ex wife have attended mediation. The problem is I'm an American air force service member and she is British and since our divorce I have moved back to the United States on orders. My ex wife was recently (June 2016) incarcerated on repeat driving offences for 6 weeks and upon release was given 18 months probation. One of thestipulatuons of the pobation was she was not to leave the country and I have recently found out she is in the USA and was here on the grounds of looking for work to move here with a current partner and therefore move my son with her. My son is currently living with his maternal grandmother five days a week as she has no fixed abode. Her mother has been in contact with me as she is sure that my ex wife upon her return to the UK on the 7th February 2017 plans to take my son and leave the country. I have been in contact with social services as has her mother and their advise was to call 101 and get a lawyer which we have done but being in another country I'm very limited as to what I can physically do. Is there anyway what so ever I can obtain some sort of emergency custody order either myself or my sons grandmother to prevent this from happening? Thank you Jacob Garcia
Jake - 3-Feb-18 @ 11:56 PM
Stu - Your Question:
Dear Separated Fathers, would you mind posting this one on your facebook forum? After 2 ½ years of issues between myself and my ex-wife, she has now denied me access due to making sweeping unfounded statements and allegations until we go to mediation… I havent seen my girls for 10 weeks now and I’m simply wanting to go to court for a contact order because she is an impossible woman… can you guys provide any advice on representing myself and what to expect when I submit my C100 form, timescales, costs… etc etc I can’t afford a solicitor, but I can put a good case together with character references and a 20 page timeline of nightmare events since May 17.

Our Response:
It is unlikely you would be allowed to apply to court unless you have attended mediation first, as court will request this. I have posted your comment on our Facebook page. We hope it helps.
SeparatedDads - 15-Dec-17 @ 9:56 AM
Dear Separated Fathers, would you mind posting this one on your facebook forum?After 2 ½ years of issues between myself and my ex-wife, she has now denied me access due to making sweeping unfounded statements and allegations until we go to mediation… i havent seen my girls for 10 weeks now and I’m simply wanting to go to court for a contact order because she is an impossible woman…can you guys provide any advice on representing myself and what to expect when I submit my C100 form, timescales, costs…etc etc I can’t afford a solicitor,but I can put a good case together with character references and a 20 page timeline of nightmare events since May 17.
Stu - 14-Dec-17 @ 9:26 AM
@Msrk - you can't apply for a court order until you've attended mediation first to try and sort your problems out.
MNc - 12-Dec-17 @ 3:12 PM
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