When a relationship ends, working out arrangements for children is sometimes one of the most sensitive aspects of the separation to resolve. When a court decides any issue relating to a child’s upbringing or the management of his or her affairs it must make the child’s welfare the paramount consideration. This is known as the welfare principle. It applies to issues affecting children irrespective of whether these arise in the context of a divorce or separation.

The principle is given overriding importance and there are some who believe this gives too much discretion to judges. But it brings flexibility to bear on what may otherwise be intractable situations. It is key to understanding how the law in children cases is applied.

The Section 8 Orders

The Children Act, 1989 was amended by the Children and Families Act, 2014. There are now the following orders available under Section 8:

  • Child Arrangement Orders
    • Residence Order – sets out whom the child will live with. In the past this was known as ‘custody’.
    • Contact Order – indicates the person or person(s) the child can visit or have other contact with. If it is in the child’s interest, contact may be supervised.
  • Prohibited Steps Order – To prevent someone – not necessarily a parent from carrying out a particular action without the court’s agreement. For example, removing a child from the jurisdiction, having contact with a named individual, changing a child’s surname. Save for exceptional circumstances these orders can only be made in relation to a child under 16.
  •  Specific Issue Order – Usually relating to education questions, medical decisions and holidays these resolve a single issue that has or may arise in respect of a child’s upbringing.

The Welfare Checklist

When deciding on section 8 orders, judges must consider the checklist set out in section 1 of the Children Act, 1989. The factors that must be taken into account are as follows:

  • The wishes of the child, taking into account age and understanding
  • Physical, emotional and educational needs
  • The likely effect of any change in circumstances
  • Age, sex, background
  •  Any harm which he the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering
  • The capability of each parent and any other person the court considers relevant, of meeting the child’s needs
  • The range of powers available to the court

Who Can Ask For A Section 8 Order?

Parents, guardians and those with parental responsibility can automatically apply for an order. Mothers have parental responsibility for their children as of right as do married fathers. Unmarried fathers, stepfathers and others can acquire responsibility if they meet certain conditions.

In addition to those with parental responsibility, anyone holding a residence order or who has the consent of someone with a residence order as well a certain other categories of individual can make an application without first asking the court for permission.

Others can apply for orders under section 8 but they must first ask the court.

What Part Does Cafcass Play?

Cafcass is the body charged with ensuring the court listens to the voice of children and works within the boundaries of the Welfare Checklist. It will only become involved in your case if the court asks it to. Cafcass will carry out safeguarding checks in all cases and make representations to the court, including outlining any concerns. Depending on your particular case it may also work on a report into your child’s welfare, ask you to take part in a mediation assessment meeting or attend separate parenting classes.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Today I had my free initial consultation with partner Henry Brookman over the phone. He had a clear understanding of my situation based on the info I provided in advance and provided me with sound advice and guidance to move forward. Many thanks.

Aug 2022   H. J.

Really appreciated Brookman's advice and support. Most lawyers charge extortionate fees just for an initial conversation but not Henry. Thanks for all your advice and time.

Jul 2022   Chloé

I had a consultation with the partner Henry Brookman. I can absolutely recommend him, he seemed knowledgeable, up to date and patient. I have found him to be straightforward in the answers he gives and down to earth. 100% recommended.

Jun 2022   Michael P

I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Henry Brookman. His advice came in promptly when solicited, and was excellent. He is a thoughtful and very professional lawyer. He understood perfectly well the issue I presented him with, and gave me excellent advice in a family law related matter.

May 2022   Philip Hands

From my first contact with the firm I was treated courteously and promptly. I was offered a pro bono meeting shortly after making contact. Mr Brookman is clearly a very experienced professional and in our meeting he gave me some well considered and objective advice about my rather complicated situation which spans more than one jurisdiction.

May 2022   Julian Peachey

I had an initial consultation with Henry Brookman regarding prenuptial agreements and found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable.

Mar 2022   Simon Brooks

I had a free telephone consultation yesterday with Gavin Yeung. He could not have been more helpful and reassuring as he calmly and patiently worked through my situation to provide me with clarity and piece of mind at a time it was really needed and emotions are running high.

Mar 2022   'K M'

I spoke with Aziz at Brookman Solicitors on the phone for an initial consultation and he is one of the friendliest lawyers I have met. He is clearly very experienced as he patiently explained me all the concepts and processes which are quite daunting for someone in my situation, and then focused on the actual questions I wanted to ask... I would highly recommend Aziz and Brookman Solicitors.

Feb 2022   'R'

I am grateful for Henry Brookman and his team for support they provided to me during very frustrating time of divorce. They respond promptly to any request. I felt more confident after I started the process with them. Henry listened carefully to me and took quick actions on my case. I highly recommend this team of real professionals even for non-UK citizens.

Feb 2022   Sezim Beksultanova

I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470