The Children Act 1989 specifies who the child lives with and how much time they will spend with the other parent.

The Court have to consider Section 1 – Welfare Checklist

The seven criteria set out in the welfare checklist under s1(3) Children Act 1989 are:

1. The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned
2. The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
3. The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision
4. The child’s age, sex, backgrounds and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision
5. Any harm the child has suffered or maybe at risk of suffering
6. Capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs
7. The powers available to the court in the given proceedings

In helping the court to reach a decision they will sometimes order CAFCASS to prepare a Section 7 report.
The appointed officer will interview the children (dependent on age) and both parents and any other significant people. They often carry out the children interviews at school and don’t normally let the parents know when that will take place.

My advice to clients is to try not to run the other parent down, find something positive to say, remember all answers should be given in the context of what’s in the best interests of the children.

In a recent case I dealt with the parents hated each other with a passion, however mother was able to be positive about the father and his abilities to look after the child on the other hand the father was extremely negative about the mother and his resentment came across to the Judge very clearly. The end result was the Judge ordered primary care to the mother because he could see that mother would put the child’s needs first.

To gain a more detailed understanding please make a free no obligation, no nonsense consultation with Rachel McGrath at our Telford office or on Skype. Please call 01952 214085.

Family Law Solicitor Telford