Case Study: Anon
“Our client is a grandmother of a three year old boy who has specific needs. There is an ongoing dispute over where this child should live and where the child has lived over the past three years. In law, decisions relating to where a child should live is based on “what is in that child’s best interests”.
There is a typical but misleading presumption that a child’s needs is best served by continuing to reside with a biological parent but this case is interesting as the mother and father are both in dispute as to where that child should live and how his specific needs would best be met. This case touches on all the factors which have to be taken into consideration when the Court makes a decision relating to the placement of a child as well as contact matters with all the people affected by a relationship breakdown, these being:
(a) the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
(b) his physical, emotional and educational needs;
(c) the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
(d) his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
(e) any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
(f) how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
(g) the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
There has been an ongoing dispute relating to the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs and who can best meet these and the case has touched over issues concerning alleged harm to the child.Grandparents do not have specific rights to make Court applications as of right but this case is an example of grandparents intervening in the Court process. The Grandparents have applied for permission to intervene and have made an application for a Residence Order with the support of father.
In order for the Court to make a decision with regards to a child’s welfare, the Court has to consider the above and request evidence to be filed which substantiates the claims that each party is making. It may be that the Court will have to consider a finding of fact hearing relating to the allegations of harm before a decision can be made therefore a determination as to whether the alleged harm took place, and if so, who was responsible.
This case is an interesting one as it is a prime example of Court proceedings being initiated as a result of a mother and father splitting up, and the effect of this on other extended family members. Grandparents do not have specific rights to make Court applications as of right but this case is an example of grandparents intervening in the Court process.”