If a couple are separating or divorcing, there is bound to be an impact on all children within their family unit. Most parents will wish to put the welfare of children at the top of their agenda and if you genuinely do that, you will have the law’s full support – and you can count on ours too.
At Goughs we understand that a whole range of emotional and practical issues, for both parents and children, come into play when family dynamics are changing. Fortunately, we deal with these issues every day by supporting and advising our clients, and can help you find the best way to make sense of your situation.
Do I have to go to court to have contact with my children?
We’d go so far as to say that, for most people, Court proceedings should be a last resort, but if necessary we can guide you through the process of applying for a Child Arrangements Order, a Prohibited Steps Order or a Specific Issue Order.
There’s no substitute for specific expert advice tailored to you and your family, but the following summary of the core principles of the law relating to children may be useful. Although these principles repeatedly mention the Court, the majority of cases dealing with children never go to Court:
- The child’s welfare is paramount in deciding all questions about his/her upbringing and property.
- Delay in deciding any question with respect to the child’s upbringing is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare.
- The Court should not make any Order unless to do so is considered better for the child than making no Order.
- The Court should, when applying the first principle above, pay particular regard to the following:-
- the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his/her age and understanding)
- His/her physical and emotional and educational needs
- The likely effect on him/her of any change in his/her circumstances
- His/her age, sex, background and any other characteristics which the Court consider relevant
- Any harm which he/she has suffered or is at risk of suffering
- How capable each of his/her parents, and any other person in relation to whom the Court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his/her needs
- The range of powers available to the Court under the Children Act in the proceedings in question
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