Specific Issue Orders
Often in circumstances where parents are separated, conflicts between them could arise regarding specific issues relating to parenting. Such conflicts could arise whilst making decisions as to the welfare of the child, decision as to any medical treatment the child should receive, whether they should attend a particular school, relocation or regarding the religion of the child/children. If such a dispute has arisen between you and your former partner, it may be possible for you to make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order.
Our specialist family team possesses a wealth of experience in dealing with Specific Issue Orders, and will provide you with comprehensive advice as to the best possible method of resolving a dispute. Our solicitor will strive to achieve an amicable outcome by way of mutual agreement wherever possible, prioritising the best interests of your child/children, however, if this is not possible our solicitors are well experienced in making applications for Specific Issue Orders to the Court.
What is a Specific Issue Order?
A Specific Issue Order is an Order enabling the Court to resolve the dispute that has arisen or could arise relating to an individual’s exercise of Parental Responsibility for the child.
Can I make an application?
In order to make an application for a Specific Issue Order you must either be, a parent of the child in question, have a Child Arrangements Order specifying that the child is to reside with you or alternatively, have Parental Responsibility over the child.
If however, you do not satisfy this criteria, it may still be possible for you to make an application for a Specific Issue Order, with leave of the Court, kindly contact our expert team of solicitors at FisherWright who will further be able to advise you as to eligibility.
Procedure of making an application for a Specific Issue Order
Step 1: Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting: Prior to making an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order, all parties will be required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting, which is effectively a meeting with a family mediator to determine whether the parties may be able to resolve their dispute without the need for Court Proceedings.
If however, your matter is urgent, please contact our solicitors who will be able to advise you whether you could be exempt from this requirement, such exemptions could include if domestic violence has taken place or you have concerns regarding the child’s safety.
Step 2: Application to the Court: Once you have attended the MIAM, the next step will be to file an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order providing details in relation to the child/children, the recourse you are seeking and the reasons for doing so.
Step 3: First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment: Once the Application has been issued, the Court will then allocate a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, which is a hearing where the Court will narrow the issues of each party and determine whether a resolution is possible by way of a settlement. In hearings for a Specific Issue Order, a CAFCASS officer will also be
However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will Order a further hearing either in the form of Dispute Resolution Appointment or a Final Hearing; in preparation for this, the judge will aim to narrow the scope of issues being disputed, and may direct that certain further evidence is prepared which could include, Witness Statements or a CAFCASS report.
Step 4: Dispute Resolution Appointment:The Court will usually Order a Dispute Resolution Appointment in instances where they have directed further evidence to be obtained such as a CAFCASS report. The aim of the Dispute Resolution Appointment would be to identify and constrict the issues involved and to determine whether parties can settle. It may be possible for the matter to be settled at this hearing.
Step 4: Final Hearing: However, if it is not possible for the matter to be settled, the Court will Order a final hearing. At this hearing, the judge will consider evidence provided by both parties, their legal representatives, and a CAFCASS officer if applicable and will then make a final Order.