What is a Specific Issue Order?

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A Specific Issue Order is a type of Court Order that helps to settle a specific dispute about child arrangements after a divorce or separation.

When the Court issues a Specific Issue Order, it gives permission to the person applying for the Order to make decisions without the permission of the other parent. This can include making decisions about:

  • Where your child will go to school
  • If your child has a religious or secular education
  • The medical treatment your child receives
  • Where your child lives

It’s always best for everyone to try to resolve the issues yourselves, but if you can’t agree, then you may need the Family Court to settle the issue for you.

For initial advice get in touch with our Family and Child Law Solicitors.

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Who Can Apply for a Specific Issue Order?

Not everyone has an automatic right to apply for a Specific Issue Order. Anyone who has Parental Responsibility can apply along with:

  • The child’s parent, guardian or special guardian
  • Anyone named in a Child Arrangement Order as the person who the child lives with
  • A step-parent who has Parental Responsibility

If you don’t have Parental Responsibility, you’ll have to apply to the Court for permission to make a Specific Issue Order.


Before you can apply for a Specific Issue Order, you may have to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. A Family and Child Law Solicitor can give you guidance on choosing the right Mediation service and how to prepare for the process.

There are some situations where mediation isn’t suitable, such as when domestic violence is involved or in an emergency. In these circumstances, the Mediator will sign off the relevant form to confirm exemption from mediation.

How to Apply for a Specific Issue Order

Once you have attended Mediation, you must complete a form to confirm this. Your Family and Child Law Solicitor can apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order once form C100 is completed. You will need to pay a Court Fee of £215 (unless you meet the necessary criteria to apply for a fees exemption or remission.)

When you make an application and go to Court, you will be in front of a Judge and a representative from Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services).

There are some circumstances when you might need to make an urgent application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order. In this situation, you don’t need permission from your ex-partner.

How Does the Court Make Their Decision?

When the Court issues a Specific Issue Order, they consider many different factors and situations. Child welfare is the number one priority and will always be the primary focus in the Court’s decision.

The Courts decision will include the wishes and feelings of the child, the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child and their age, sex and overall background.

The Court’s decision will always be in the best interests of the child.

How Much Power Does the Court Have?

The Magistrate or Judge can make a Specific Issue Order within ongoing proceedings. They usually do this if one of the parents is not going to stick to any agreements made in or out of Court or if a parent is acting irresponsibly, by leaving their in the care of someone unsuitable.

What to Do Before Going to Court

Getting specialist legal advice from a Family and Child Law Solicitor is one of the first things you should do before making any application to the Court. If you’re in a dispute over specific child arrangements then we can help you.

We’ll help you try to resolve your dispute before you go to Court, but if you can’t, we can support you all the way through the process.

Get in touch, today!

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