Children in court

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grace
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Children in court

Post by grace » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:27 am

Hi I haven't been on this site for a while as we had wonderful news in 2011. After three long dreadful years we were able to prove with other professionals that our beautiful grandchildrens's mother was unfit to care for them. Additionally, I had asked your advice about claiming back legal fees as the LA admitted negligence. My son had to sign a disclaimer that he would not pursue them through the courts and as soon as this was done he had his legal costs reimbursed. We will always be grateful to Suzie for her invaluable advice.
We have another family member who is in a similar position to us and is currently going through the courts for custody. The child wants to speak in court to tell the "judge" that he wants to live with Dad. So far he has been refused. Is this correct? I was under the impression that so far as a child is concerned if he/she wants to attend court he would be allowed and to say in his words who he wants to reside with.

I would be so grateful for any advice

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Help 1870
Posts: 914
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:54 am

Re: Children in court

Post by Help 1870 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi Grace. How old is the child?

Id have thought in any custody case that the Childs wishes should be sought, but how much weight those wishes carries would depend on their age, what children want is not whats always in their best interest.

A guardian should be appointed and they should visit with the child alone and obtain their views. But a childs views can be rooted in selfish reasons, such as who they are likely to have an easier life with. So for that reason their wishes/views/opinions should only be taken as part of the picture, not the whole of it.

grace
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Re: Children in court

Post by grace » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:25 pm

Hi Help 1870, thank you for your post. The child is 7, and I have been told that Caff Cass have told our friend that children are "too young to have an opinion"

We have told him to lodge a complaint immediately and report the official from Caff Cass. Given what we went through as a family, we know only too well that this is certainly not true. Due to financial restraints and the stress of firefighting 24/7 he has now lost his home. Something has to change!!
Last edited by grace on Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Children in court

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:36 am

Hi Grace,

Thank you for sharing your good news with the board! You must be feeling very relieved that the court case is finally over. I am glad that my advice was helpful as well. That’s what Family Rights Group is here for- and it is always nice to here that we have helped.

One of the factors the courts use when deciding what order to make in court proceedings that concern children is the “wishes and feelings of the child”. However, this does depend on the age and understanding of the child. The cafcass officer will make a decision as to whether a child is old enough to give their views about where they want to live. Some children are more mature than others and also the CAFCASS officer has to be mindful that a child is not put under any undue pressure to take sides. If a child is a teenager, for example, then a lot of weight will be put on where they want to live. Cafcass officers will also listen to the views of the parents about what are the wishes and feelings of the child. Has your friend been able to give their view of the child’s wishes and feelings?

Please have a look at Family Rights Group advice sheet on applications for residence orders here.
Residences orders It is aimed at friends and family carers. Page 4 deals with the "welfare checklist" (factors the court look at when deciding whether to make an order) and page 24 deals with the role of cafcass officer.

Here is cafcass website. cafcass
This has some useful information as well.
I hope your friend manages to resolve the issue satisfactorily. Please post back if have further questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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