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Considering the importance of a child’s welfare

child custody

A recent case has provided a reminder that the child’s welfare is the main concern for the court in disputes over where a child lives and who they should spend time with.

The case of Re E-R concerned a 7 year old child who had not had contact with her father since 2012. Her mother was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer. They went to live with friends, who, at the mother’s request, applied for the child to live with them. This would enable them to share legal responsibility for her upbringing. Her mother then died and she remained living with the friends until the court could make a final decision. Ultimately, the court decided that she should remain living with the friends and have regular contact with her father and his partner.

In children act proceedings, there should not be a presumption of natural parent care — it is a factor of significance which should be taken into account and given appropriate weight by a court when determining the best interests of a child. The court has to consider the unique facts of the case. This is done using what is commonly known as the ‘welfare checklist’.

If you are concerned about your responsibilities for a child in your care, or if your child does not live with you and you are concerned about what responsibilities you do have, please contact us on 01535 662644.


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