What is a Specific Issue Orders?
Specific Issue Orders are granted by the family court to decide how a dispute regarding a child’s wellbeing or upbringing should be handled. As suggested by the name, these Orders are granted in regard to specific issues (e.g., the child’s education, name, medical needs, etc.)
Specific Issue Orders can be applied for by anyone with parental responsibility; however, in some cases, the court may grant permission to someone who doesn’t have this responsibility to make such an application.
When Would a Family Court Specific Issue Order be Used?
In some instances, parents aren’t able to reach an agreed decision about their child(ren)’s wellbeing or upbringing. This can mean that the court is required to intervene and make the decision instead, based on what they believe to be in the best interests of the child. The Specific Issue Order will be made in accordance with the court’s decision.
The most common disputes that call for an application to be made for a Specific Issue Order include:
- Permission to take the child abroad
- Disputes regarding the child’s chosen school
- Disputes surrounding religious education
- Disputes surrounding healthcare (e.g., vaccinations, medicines, etc.)
- Disputes about changing the child’s name
Who Can Apply for a Specific Issue Orders via the Family Court?
Specific issue orders can be applied for by the following individuals:
- Individuals with parental responsibility
- Named persons on a Child Arrangements Order
As previously mentioned, those who don’t fall under one of the above categories may still be able to obtain permission from the court to apply for an Order.
How to Apply for a Specific Issue Order
Mediation and/or negotiation is the initial step towards reaching an agreement in relation to a disagreement about a child’s upbringing. If no agreement can be reached by these methods contact Affordable Justice for advice and assistance. We can assist you in drafting an application for a Specific Issue Order and can arrange for you to represented at any hearings listed.
The welfare of the child or children is the court’s primary consideration when making any decisions in relation to a child, including when considering making a Specific Issue Order. The court must also be of the view that making an Order being made would be more beneficial than making no Order at all. This is often referred to as ‘the no Order principle’. In Order to reach a balanced judgement, it’s likely that the court will also require a report from Cafcass or the local authority. This should provide an impartial assessment and recommendations regarding the child’s welfare and the application as a whole.
Upon the child reaching the age of 16, the Order will come to an end, as long as no exceptional circumstances are in place.
Disputes Over Your Child’s Name
One of the most common disputes that a specific issue Order decides is a child’s surname. Often a compromise may be considered to be in the child’s best interests so that both sides of the family are represented and the child’s identity is maintained. A compromise may come in the form of a double-barrelled surname incorporating both parties surnames.
Discuss Your Needs with Us
In order to discuss your legal situation, please get in touch. A member of our legal team will arrange a free initial conversation as promptly as possible, to discuss your situation and how we may be able to help.