When parents disagree about certain actions they would like to take regarding their children, they can ask the court to decide the issue and make an order.
A specific issue order allows a parent to carry out a particular action, while a prohibited steps order prevents a parent from doing something.
They are generally requested by parents after they have separated or divorced and where an issue arises that is outside of the usual arrangements they have made for their children.
Specific issue orders
A specific issue order can be requested where a child’s parent wants permission to make a certain decision in respect of the child and where the other parent does not agree on the choice.
Examples of circumstances where a specific issue order can be requested include the following:
- Changing a child’s school and other education decisions
- Changing a child’s name
- Whether a child should be raised within a specified religion
- Whether a child should have a particular medical procedure or treatment
- Moving abroad to live with the child
- Stopping a third person from having contact with the child
Prohibited steps orders
A prohibited steps order is similar, but as the name suggests, prevents a parent from carrying out a particular action in respect of the child.
- Preventing a child from being moved to a different school
- Preventing the child’s name from being changed
- Preventing a child from being moved to a different country
Who can apply for a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order?
A parent, guardian or other individual who has parental responsibility can apply for a specific issue or prohibited steps order as well as anyone who is named in a child arrangements order.
It may be open to other parties to apply as well, although they will need the permission of the court to make an application.
How the court reaches a decision
The court’s primary concern is always to look at what will be in the child’s best interests.
When a parent without day-to-day care of the child has requested a prohibited steps order, the court will examine why they want to stop the main carer from doing something.
In making its decision, the court will also consider the following factors:
- The wishes and feelings of the child, in the light of their age and understanding
- The effect that the proposed change would have on the child
- The child’s needs
- The child’s age, sex, background and any other relevant characteristics
- Whether there is any risk of harm to the child
- How capable the parents are of providing for the child’s needs
If the issue can be resolved in another way, for example, by making a child arrangements order, the court will usually deal with the matter in this way.
If you are in disagreement with your child’s other parent over an issue and you need help resolving the situation, our family law experts can advise you of your options and, if necessary, represent you in making an application for a court order.
For a no obligation initial consultation or to make an initial free enquiry, please call our expert family law advocates on 01624 665522, email us at email us: email@example.com or fill in our online enquiry form.