Friday, 21 December 2012

Allocating Christmas (with help from CAFCASS)

All family lawyers who deal with child disputes are all too familiar with how important it is to parents to have Christmas morning with their children. When separated parents live geographically close, and their relationship remains amicable, witnessing their child’s delight on Christmas day morning can be shared. When their relationship is at best strained, the only answer is for the child to have two Christmases.

Where parents are unable to agree where and with whom their child will spend Christmas day, this matter can ultimately be decided upon by the courts as part of a contact/residence case. Parents are often worried about how the court will make a decision about these issues. When faced with such disputes Judges are required to consider first and foremost what is in the child’s best interests, and follow what is known as the “welfare checklist” to help them do so.

Wherever necessary, an officer from CAFCASS (the Children And Family Court Advisory and Support Service) will be asked to compile a report for the court with recommendations as to what type of contact or residence order should be made in a particular case. CAFCASS officers are professionally qualified social workers. Recent research by CAFCASS has shown that in 75% of cases in which they have submitted reports, the court has made an order which follows the recommendations made.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Katy Stirling, Solicitor

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