Specific Issue Order

Our expert child law solicitors can help you come to an agreement either through mediation or if needed, through the courts.

More about Specific Issue Orders

Forbes Solicitors can provide advice and representation in these cases by obtaining a specific issue order, helping parents to resolve disputes and make the best decisions for their children. Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure that their children receive appropriate health and education. However, in some cases, disputes can arise over issues such as medical treatment or schooling choices and this is where a specific issue order can help.

What is a Specific Issue Order?

What is a Specific Issue Order?

A Specific Issue Order is a court order that addresses a specific issue related to the care of a child. This type of order can be sought when there is a dispute between parents regarding the upbringing of a child, such as the choice of school, medical treatment, or religious upbringing. A Specific Issue Order is designed to provide clarity and direction in these situations.

It is not uncommon for some parents to have a strong opinion, or concern, about issues regarding their child's education or health that perhaps isn't shared by the child's other parent. Usually terms can be negotiated out of court, but in extreme cases you may wish to ask the court to make a Specific Issue order under s8 of the Children Act 1989.

These Specific Issue court orders are not made lightly and are usually only granted in circumstances where the child's welfare is at stake - so should only be sought if mediation fails and there is no other alternative.

In some cases, you may wish to ask the court to set out guidelines regulating which school your child attends, or alternatively prohibit the other parent from moving your child from his or her current school. In more serious situations, for example if both parents cannot come to an agreement regarding medical treatment that is being suggested for their child, a Specific Issue order can be sought to ask the court to rule in favour of the child's welfare.

At Forbes solicitors, our friendly team of Family Law solicitors are on hand to advise you, and your family, throughout the mediation process and negotiate with the other parent. If the issue in question cannot be resolved by mediation, and you wish to move to more formal proceedings, our expert team are here to help.

Specific Issue Order FAQs

When can I apply for a Specific Issue Order?

You can apply for a Specific Issue Order if you are a parent or guardian of a child and there is a disagreement with the other parent or guardian about a specific aspect of the child's upbringing, such as education or medical treatment. You must first attempt to resolve the issue through mediation or negotiation before applying to the court for a Specific Issue Order. The court will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision.

What types of issues can be addressed through a Specific Issue Order?

A Specific Issue Order can be used to address issues related to a child's upbringing, such as schooling, medical treatment, religious upbringing, and living arrangements. It can also be used to resolve disputes between parents regarding a child's name, travel arrangements, and other specific issues that may arise. The order is granted by a court and is legally binding.

How do I apply for a Specific Issue Order?

To apply for a Specific Issue Order you must fill out a C1 form and submit it to the Family Court. The form should include details of the specific issue you want the court to decide on, such as where a child should go to school or what medical treatment they should receive. You may also need to attend a court hearing to present your case. It is recommended to seek legal advice before making an application.

What factors will the court consider when deciding whether to grant a Specific Issue Order?

The court will consider the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration, the child's wishes and feelings, the child's physical, emotional and educational needs, the likely effect of any change in circumstances, the child's age, sex, background and any other relevant characteristics, and the capability of the parents to meet the child's needs. The court will also consider any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.

What is the process involved in obtaining a Specific Issue Order?

To obtain a Specific Issue Order an application must be made to the family court. The applicant must provide evidence of the specific issue they wish to be resolved, such as a dispute over schooling or medical treatment for a child. The court will consider the best interests of the child and make a decision based on the evidence presented.

Can I apply for a Specific Issue Order without legal representation?

Yes, you can apply for a Specific Issue Order without legal representation. However, it is recommended to seek legal advice before making an application to ensure that you understand the process and have the best chance of success. The court may also appoint a Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) officer to assist with the case.

What should I do if the other parent disagrees with the Specific Issue Order?

If the other parent disagrees with the Specific Issue Order, they can apply to the court to have it varied or discharged. They must provide evidence to support their case and attend a court hearing. If they fail to comply with the order, they may be in contempt of court and face penalties such as fines or imprisonment. It is important to seek legal advice if you are unsure about your rights and obligations.

How long does it take to get a decision on a Specific Issue Order?

The time it takes to get a decision on a Specific Issue Order can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the court's schedule. However, the court is required to make a decision as soon as possible.

What happens if one parent does not comply with a Specific Issue Order?

If a parent does not comply with a Specific Issue Order, the other parent can apply to the court for enforcement. The court may then take various actions, such as ordering the non-compliant parent to pay a fine, ordering them to do a specific action, or even imposing a custodial sentence. The court's decision will depend on the circumstances of the case and the severity of the non-compliance.

Our dedicated Family/Divorce team

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Rubina Vohra

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Helen Shirbon

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Partner, Family/Divorce

Gill Carr

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