Family Law – Children

Most separating parents want to ensure the best arrangements are put in place for their children but legal advice can be required when each has a differing view of what is best.  A family law solicitor can explain how the law applies to the situation.

This year child arrangement orders were introduced. This type of order regulates arrangements relating to with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

There are a number of things to consider to make sure the best order for the circumstances is made. The following three principles have the highest priority:-

  1. The child’s welfare is of the paramount importance;
  2. The court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child; and
  3. The court shall not make an order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

In deciding whether an order should be made, the court will have regard to:-

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding);
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • The child’s age, sex, background , and any other characteristic which the court considers relevant;
  • Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  • How capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs;
  • The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act in the proceedings in question.

Before an application can be made to the court there must have been a referral for an information meeting about mediation, called a MIAM.  Or the case must have been assessed as not appropriate for mediation usually where there is an urgent issue to be dealt with or domestic violence, drugs, alcohol or mental health issues. A family law solicitor can advise upon this.

Please contact us for sensible help and guidance.

RUTH TIBBETT – Head of family is a member of Resolution and an expert in her field. Recognition for Ruth’s specialist areas has been given with the award of specialist accreditation by Resolution for Ancillary Relief, Children and Domestic Violence issues.