Where parents cannot agree the arrangements for their children the Court can make Orders under the Children Act. The Court can decide how often the child should see another parent or relative – a Contact Order.
When making decisions about a child the Court will be guided by the principle that the welfare of the child is paramount. When deciding what is in a child’s best interest, the Court will consider the child’s own wishes and feelings in the light of his/her age and understanding, his/her emotional, educational and physical needs, the likely effect of any change in circumstances, his/her age, sex, background or any other relevant characteristics, any harm which he/she has suffered or may suffer and the ability of each parent or carer to meet his or her needs.
If there are allegations of violence in the family we will advise as to whether the court should have a “fact finding” hearing before deciding on what the arrangements for contact should be.
Grandparents and other relatives (including siblings) do not have an automatic right to apply for contact orders, but have to obtain permission from the court.
We will advise on whether it may be appropriate for contact to be supervised, and can make referrals to contact centres.
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