What is A Specific Issue Order?
A Specific Issue Order is an order given from a UK family court to determine a specific question that has or may arise in connection with any aspect of Parental Responsibility for a child.
When there is divorce or separation, one of the most prevalent issues is settling the child arrangement disputes. Resolving these disagreements often requires the court’s intervention, especially when the two parties cannot find an amicable solution on their own. In UK Family Law, a Specific Issue Order is issued by the court to facilitate the settling such child custody and arrangement disputes that occur when couples part ways.
A Specific Issue Order is significant, especially in empowering one of the parents to act without consulting the other.
For example, a parent who has been issued with the Specific Issue Order can solely decide the following without engaging the estranged partner:
- The education institution that the child will attend
- The sort of education that the child will get- either secular or religious
- The medical treatment and services that the child will receive
- Where the child will live or stay
- Who the child will interact with
Separate or divorced individuals that can find ways of solving disputes outside the court will avoid the legal fees that come with seeking the intervention of an arbiter. This is, therefore, the most advisable option before couples can think of engaging in a Family Court.
If you would like to know the legal processes in seeking a Specific Issue Order, you can contact our Family Lawyers London who will guide you in all the legal procedures and boost your chances of being granted a Specific Issue Order.
Who Can Apply for a Specific Issue Order?
Since matters involving children are delicate issues that need to be handled with the utmost care, not everyone can apply for a Specific Issue Order. Only the individuals who have parental responsibility are automatically mandated to apply for this order.
Others include the following:
- The Parent, guardian, or specific guardian who has been looking after the child
- Any individual mandated under the Child Arrangement Order to live with the child
- A step-parent to the child with a parental obligation
For those without parental responsibility, it is imperative to apply to the court to provide the Specific Issue Order.
An essential thing to do before applying for a Specific Order Issue is to attend a preliminary Mediation Meeting. When setting such a meeting up, consulting with a family and child lawyer will be handy in facilitating choosing the best mediation service as there are several mediators. Also, the family solicitor will assist you in preparing for the mediation process.
Although mediation is essential in solving the differences between the couples, there are cases when it might not be possible. For example, in cases where there had been domestic violence or an emergency, avoidance of mediation is allowed. In such a case, the mediator will be certified to allow exemption from mediation.
How to Apply for a Specific Issue Order
After you have completed mediation, you are required to sign a C100 form to confirm that you have successfully undergone the process. Once you have filled in the C100 form, you need to engage with your family solicitor to apply for a Specific Issue Order. The C100 form is a confirmation that you have completed mediation.
To be issued with a Specific Issue Order, you are required to pay £215 to the court. This is a compulsory fee for anyone applying for this order unless you are eligible for an exemption of payment of the court fees.
After you make an application for a Specific Issue Order, you will be required to go to court to meet the relevant litigation parties. There will be a judge and a representative from Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services (CAFCAS) in the hearing.
In some cases, as highlighted above, mediation may not be possible. In such scenarios, you might be compelled to make an application of urgency to be issued with a Specific Order Issue. When you make an application under such circumstances, you will not require to be granted permission by your estranged partner.
How Does the Court Make its Decision?
When the court receives the Specific Issue Order application, it evaluates the various factors that are likely to be impacted by the decision. The overarching issue that is likely to be given primary consideration is the welfare of the child. The court will aim to make a decision that will provide the best conditions for the child’s upbringing.
The court will consider the feelings, requests, needs, emotional well-being, and the child’s educational requirements when giving the verdict on the application. Other issues that are likely to be profoundly considered include sex, age, and background.
The final decision of the court will be in the best interests and well-being of the child. A Family Solicitor will aim to convince the court that assigning the Specific Issue Order is in the child’s best interests.
How Much Power Does the Court Have?
The court possesses the absolute power of making the determination of the issuance of a Specific Issue Order. During the proceedings, the presiding judge can allow a Specific Issue Order determination after looking at the facts of the case.
For example, if one of the parents is unwilling to comply with the terms agreed upon by the disputing spouses. Also, suppose one of the parents is acting in an irresponsible manner that puts the child’s well-being at risk, the magistrate can consider issuing a Specific Issue Order.
The child should be in the custody of a parent that shows full responsibility, which is among the paramount factors guiding the court’s decision.
What to Do Before Going to Court
It is very important that you speak to and consult with a family and child law solicitor before deciding to take the case to court. Here is where the input of our experts comes in handy. Our experts will take an empathetic look at your case and give you all the support that you need to have it sorted outside the court. If the dispute is not solved outside the court, our experts will be ever-present to provide you with all the legal aid you need to boost your chances of winning the application.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I am not the Parent of a child, Can I still apply for a Specific Issue Order?
Our team of Family and Child Solicitors will be able to provide an answer to this question after assessing your case. There are instances where, despite not being the Parent, you can still apply for a Specific Issue Order under certain conditions, so please do get in contact with us to know if your circumstances will allow this.
Is a Specific Issue Order and a Prohibited Steps Order the same?
These two orders are different; however, the process is the same behind both of them. Specific Issue Order’s are made by a UK court to approve a particular action. Prohibited Steps Orders are orders from the court that stop (prohibit) a parent or party from carrying out a certain action, for example, to stop a father from taking a child away from his/her mother.
How Can Gulbenkian Andonian Family Solicitors Help?
Our Family Solicitors London will be able to assess your case and guide you through the legal process behind obtaining a Specific Issue Order and pursuing this path to ensure the well being of your child. To discuss your specific situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.