When considering an application to make, vary or discharge a section 8 order relating to children, the court is bound to consider and apply the Welfare Checklist. These section 8 orders relate to orders made under the Children Act 1989 and include child arrangements orders (previously known as residence orders and contact orders), prohibited steps orders and specific issue orders.
The court is bound to consider the Welfare Checklist, to ensure that any decision reached is made in the best interests of the child. The checklist is found in section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989. The list includes :
- Physical, emotional and educational needs of the child.
- The likely effect on the child of any change in their circumstances.
- Age, sex, background and any characteristics of the child which the court considers relevant.
- Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
- How capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs.
- The range of powers available to the court under the CA 1989 in the proceedings in question.
In discussing issues relating to the children, it is always useful to consider the factors set out in the checklist, to crystallise your approach in relation to the child. The factors should be considered when assessing where the children live, what contact they might have with the non-resident parent, schooling provision etc.
If you would like to discuss issues relating to your children following the breakdown of your relationship, contact one of our expert family solicitors today on 01234 88977 for a free consultation. Serving Bedford, Northampton and the surrounding villages, our lawyers can help you with all your family law matters.