When a court is determining any question about issues relating to a child, the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. The court is also required to have regard to a statutory checklist of factors whenever it considers making orders relating to children:
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned, in the light of his or her age and understanding.
- His or her physical, emotional and educational needs.
- The likely affect on him/her in any change in his/her circumstances.
- His/her age, sex, background and any characteristics of his / her, which the court considers relevant.
- Any harm which he or she has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
- How capable each parent and any other relevant person is of meeting his/her needs.
- The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act 1989 in the proceedings in question.
This means that when a court is considering any arrangements for the child such as where and who they should reside with (formerly known as custody), which school they should go to and how often they should see each parent (formerly known as access) the above factors will be considered to decide what course of action is in the child’s best interests.
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Hill Dickinson has a wealth of experience in dealing with the full range of family law issues. If you have any queries relating to the above, or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.