Specific issue order

A specific issue order is an order granted by the family court often involving a decision being made over children where parents with parental responsibility cannot agree. It is also known as a section 8 order.

A specific issue order can be made in disputes surrounding the following circumstances:

  • Whether a child should change their name
  • Decisions on a child’s education and what school they should attend
  • Whether a certain medical treatment or surgery should be undertaken
  • Whether they should have any religious education
  • Permanently taking a child abroad and
  • Preventing someone from having contact with a child.

Article Contents

Who can apply for a specific issue order?

As well as parents, stepparents with parental responsibility, anyone named on a child arrangement order and guardians can apply for a specific issue order. If you fall under this scope you may want to contact our team of child law specialists for advice on applying for a specific issue order.

It is also important to note that anyone else who does not fall within the above categories can also apply for a specific issue order, however in order to do so they will require permission from the court.

How can I apply for to the family court for a specific issue order?

If you are looking to apply for to the family court for a specific issue order, then an application under the Children Act 1989 would need to be drafted and prepared to seek a child arrangement order section 8.

You would need to use a C100 form and we would advise that you load your application with evidence so secure the best possible chances; our child custody law specialist regularly advice client’s on how to best complete the form so it may be worth checking in for a free initial appointment.

What happens once a child arrangement order application or a family court specific issue order is made?

After you have lodged your child arrangement order under section 8 the Court will arrange for a hearing date to be listed within 5 to 6 weeks’ time. 

If parties cannot reach an agreement at the initial hearing the Court will often direct for parties to file statements before listing the matter for a final hearing unless there are any welfare concerns to concern. Additionally a Cafcass officer will usually interview both parents to prepare a report and parents will also submit a witness statement to the court outlining their position.

The court will make a specific issue order as part of their decision making process at the final hearing after hearing both parties case.

The factors considered when considering a child arrangement application?

The Children Act 1989 provides guidelines for judges to consider when making a decision on the child’s welfare and these are:

  • Wishes and feelings of the child
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • Effect on the child if circumstances changed
  • The characteristics of the child including their age, sex and background
  • Whether the child is at a risk of suffering harm or any harm already suffered
  • The capability of the child’s parents in fulfilling their needs

How long does a specific issue order last?

A family court specific issue order will automatically end when the child is 16 years of age unless there are exceptional circumstances for the specific issue order being issued; in which case may last until the child attains the age of 18.

There are also some restrictions on making specific issue orders which include:

  • A specific issue order should not be made when a child has reached the age of 16 or have effect beyond the child reaching the age of 16 unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • If an order is extended it must come to an end once the child is aged 18 years.
  • The court cannot make a specific issue order whilst the child is in the care of a local authority.


What is a child arrangement order example?

A common child arrangement order example is where the child resides with one parent and they want to take the child out of the country permanently. This could result in a specific issue order being obtained from the court to allow the primary carer to take the child out of country if it is in the child’s best interests

Another child arrangement order example is where the mother who is in custody of the child has remarried and is wanting to change the name or surname of the child. The father may be objecting to a change of name, the mother may then wish to apply to the court to obtain an order to go ahead and change the name.

I am not a parent can I still make an application for a specific issue order?

Our child law specialists at Kabir Family Law can help you explore your options, but to answer your question, yes despite not being a parent you can still make an application for a specific issue order although there are certain conditions. You may or may not have parental responsibility. If you do not have parental responsibility for the child you can apply to the courts for this prior to making such applications.

Is a specific issue order and a prohibited steps order the same?

Although the process for both of these orders is the same, the effects of the orders are different. The specific issue order is made by a court to approve a particular action whereas a prohibited steps order as the name suggests prohibits a parent or party from taking a certain course of action i.e. a father may obtain prohibited steps order to prevent the mother taking a child away.

Call us to arrange a free initial consultation today

For more extensive advice, we welcome you to contact us on 0330 094 5880 or arrange a consultation at any of our office branches to discuss your options. With family lawyers in Newcastle as well as the UK we are proud to able to offer face to face appointments.