Children’s Welfare

Children’s Welfare

Background

Married parents share parental responsibility.  Unmarried fathers do not automatically obtain parental responsibility.  For children born before 1st December 2003 an unmarried father can acquire parental responsibility with the mother’s agreement or by a court order. For those children born after this date, fathers will automatically acquire parental responsibility if named on the birth certificate. If not named it can be acquired by agreement or court order.  It is now possible for married step parents to obtain parental responsibilities for their step children.

Welfare Checklist

When considering any situation involving a child the first issue to consider is what is in a child’s best interests.  If the parent cannot decide then the court must decide what is in the child’s best interest. When making this decision the court must regard the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration.  The court also has a checklist of items which must be taken into consideration to determine the issue of the child’s welfare;

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstance
  • The child’s age, sex and background
  • Any harm the child is at risk of suffering
  • How capable each parent is of meeting the child’s needs

The Court will also consider making no order unless it can be shown that an order is in the child’s best interests.

How we can help

Mediation is available to parents as a constructive way to try and agree arrangements concerning their children.  It places the emphasis on the parents being able to communicate.  It can help avoid conflict and court proceedings. Our Solicitors can arrange round table meetings and referrals to agencies that could assist you as the children’s parents in dealing with matters and referrals for the children also.

Our Solicitors will be able to explain how these issues impact on any decision about your child.  Contact us to discuss these issues and we will be able to provide you with a guide to the procedure, timescales and costs.  We offer an initial fixed price interview that our clients find extremely informative and enables you to decide the next step.

Give our experienced Children Law Solicitors a call to arrange that appointment to discuss how we can help you.

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