Child arrangements
When discussing child arrangements, the welfare principle is a crucial concept to understand. It revolves around ensuring the well-being and best interests of the child. The Welfare Checklist under Section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989 outlines the factors that courts consider when making decisions about the welfare of a child.

  1. The child's wishes and feelings: The court takes into account the child's opinions and preferences, considering their age and maturity. It's important to understand what the child wants and how they feel about the situation.
  2. The child's physical, emotional, and educational needs: The court considers the child's basic requirements for their well-being, including their health, safety, and education. They assess whether any decisions made will meet these needs adequately.
  3. The likely effect of any changes in the child's circumstances: The court examines how different options or decisions may affect the child's life. They consider the potential impact of changes in their family, living arrangements, or daily routine.
  4. The child's age, gender, background, and any other relevant characteristics: The court acknowledges that each child is unique and considers factors such as their age, gender, cultural background, and any special needs they may have.
  5. Any harm or risk of harm to the child: The court looks at the child's safety and welfare, evaluating any risks or potential harm they may face. Protection from physical, emotional, or psychological harm is of utmost importance.
  6. The capability of each parent (or relevant individuals) to meet the child's needs: The court assesses the ability and willingness of each parent or relevant individual to care for and provide for the child's needs. This includes factors like parenting skills, availability, and lifestyle.
  7. The range of powers available to the court: The court considers the available options and resources to ensure the child's welfare. They explore different courses of action, including any support services or interventions that may be appropriate.

Remember that this explanation may not cover all the intricacies of the law, and it's always advisable to consult a legal professional for specific guidance in legal matters.