When parents separate, they are encouraged to attempt to reach an agreement regarding the child(ren), including how much time the child will spend with each parent. If the parents agree on the issues relating to the child, then there is no need for the Court to intervene. Parties are encouraged to reach an agreement regarding the child wherever possible. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, then either party may make an application to the Court seeking that the Court intervene.
It should be noted that the Court will only make an Order in relation to the child if that Order is really in the child’s best interests.
What types of Orders are available?
Child Arrangements Order – if the parties cannot agree where the children will live or how long they spend with the parents, then the Court is asked to decide.
Specific Issue Order – this Order is applied for when the parties are unable to agree on a particular, “specific”, or narrow issues, for example, which school the child attends.
Prohibited Steps Order – this Order is a form of preventing a parent from doing some particular or possibly preventing the ability to take a child somewhere.
These types of Court Order are known as section 8 Court Orders.
How does the Court make a decision?
The Court will make a decision on what they believe to be in the child’s best interests. The child’s welfare is always of first concern. To ensure that the child’s best interests are a priority, the Court will consider a number of factors, such as:
The child’s own wishes;
The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
The child’s age, sex, background and any other relevant considerations;
Any harm the child has suffered or is likely to suffer in the future;
Are and how are the child’s parents able to meet that child’s needs;
How may the child be affected by any change in the current circumstances?
The Court will only make an Order if the Court believes it really necessary to do so, and the Court is satisfied that an Order will have a positive impact on the child, compared to not making that Order at all.
What if my matter is urgent?
If there are any matters of extreme urgencies, such as child abduction etc, then your case will need to be before the Court quickly.
There are procedures in place whereby urgent cases can be placed before a Judge for a decision on the same day if need be. The Court is unable to make a decision regarding the whole of the case on that day as the Judge needs to consider the position of all parties involved and all evidence available, however, the Judge is able to make a temporary Order until matters are finalised.
The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal advice on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor before you embark on any course of action.
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