Can your child be separately represented in family proceedings?

20 October, 2015
by: Cripps

The short answer is “yes” but only in exceptional circumstances and when the family court considers it’s in the best interests of your child. The court would then appoint a guardian to represent your child.

The court can make this type of order of its own initiative, on the application of a party to the proceedings i.e. parent or on the application of a person who wishes to be appointed as the child’s guardian.

 

When would a court do this?

 

It is unusual in private law proceedings and the court will look at each individual case on its facts. Below are a few examples of when the court may order that your child is separately represented:

 

1      Where the child has a standpoint which is inconsistent with or incapable of being represented by both parents;

 

2      Where the views and wishes of the child cannot be adequately met by a Cafcass report to the court;

 

3      Where an older child is opposing a proposed course of action;

 

 4      Where there are serious allegations of physical, sexual or other abuse in relation to the child; or

 

5      Where the proceedings concern more than one child and the welfare of the children is in conflict.

 

In the majority of cases, the court can establish a child’s wishes and feelings by directing for Cafcass to complete a section 7 welfare report. Therefore the issue of separate representation is the exception rather than the rule.

 

If you have any questions about a children dispute you can telephone Kate Lovegrove direct on 01892 506 205 or 01732 224 025. Kate is an Associate Solicitor & Mediator in the family team and is based in our Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill office.