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What is a Specific Issue Order for Children?


There are a number of Orders that can be applied for under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

These are:

  • Child Arrangement Orders – used to set out where a child shall live and how they will share their time with their parents.
  • Parental Responsibility Orders an order that unmarried fathers can apply for when the mother refuses to allow the father to be named on the birth certificate.
  • Prohibited Steps Orders – used to prohibit a person from doing something in regards to a child.
  • Specific Issue Orders – used to order a specific action in relation to your child.

What types of Issues does a Specific Issue Order cover?

There are a number of specific issues you can ask the Court to assist with.

Parents with Parental Responsibility have a right to make certain choices about their child, in making decisions about a child’s school, medical treatment and going abroad.   The consent of both parents is required for issues such as these.  However, more day-to-day decisions in meeting a child’s basic needs, such as getting a hair cut, do not require consent.

If one parent with Parental Responsibility does not agree with the other parent, for example one parent does not agree to a child changing schools, then you may need to apply for a Specific Issue Order to change the child’s school.

In these circumstances you would need to explain to the Court why this change in school is in the best interests of the child, such as being local to their residence, having friends and familiarities there, and minimising travel for a child. If a child is of a young age for example, it would not be appropriate for them to be travelling hours to and from school.

A Specific Issue Order could also be used to stop a parent moving a child’s location, where it is felt that a move would not be in the child’s best interests.

What are the first steps in applying for a Specific Issue Order?

It is always the case in any family law matter that Court proceedings should be avoided where possible, both for the sake of the child and because it can be extremely costly for parents to go through Court proceedings.

Parents should try to reach an agreement, whether through communication directly, mediation or negotiation through their Solicitors to settle the matter. Of course this is not always possible due to conflict between parents which led to their separation.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the next step would be to apply to the Court for an Order. It is important to remember that unless there are circumstances where parents are exempt from attending mediation, such as domestic abuse or risk of safety to the child, mediation is required to be attempted before making a Court application and a MIAM certificate will be required. An application can then be prepared asking the Court to make an Order for a specific issue that the parents cannot agree on themselves.

How do I apply for an Urgent Specific Issue Order?

In more urgent cases, your child may have had contact with the other parent, and that parent is refusing to return the child to you. In this case you would be asking the Court to make an urgent Specific Issue Order for the child to be returned to your care. Most likely you would also need to apply for other Orders such as a Prohibited Steps Order, stating that the child is not to be removed from your care without prior agreement in the future.

There could be a variety of reasons that you require the Court to assist with a Specific Issue Order and here at Andrew Isaacs Law we can advise you on your circumstances, the Orders available, and how the Court can help.

It may also be the case that you do not have Parental Responsibility and you require an Order to allow you to have parental rights in making decisions for your child. Equally, if you do have Parental Responsibility but the other parent does not, you would not require their consent for making decisions about your child’s health, education and general wellbeing.

How can Andrew Isaacs Law help?

If you are having difficulties with agreeing a certain matter with the other parent of your child and you require advice, then please do not hesitate to give us a call and we can advise you on the possible steps.

Andrew Isaacs Law are here to make the process easier for you.

If you require our assistance, please call  01302 349 480 (Doncaster) or 01664 896 218 (Melton Mowbray) or contact us by email at: family@andrewisaccs.co.uk, Because Your Family Matters.

Francesca Mears – Family Fee Earner

Dated: 23.02.23


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