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‘Child welfare is deciding factor in residence’ says Supreme Court

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A three-year-old boy will be allowed to live with his grandmother after the Supreme Court made the child’s welfare its most relevant factor.

The child, known as H for legal reasons, was initially ordered to live with his father by a High Court judge in April, regardless of the standard of care he could offer. Despite being evidently safer with his grandmother, the judge ruled that H’s father could sustain care that was “good enough”.

H had lived with his grandmother since 2006 after she successfully launched a claim for a residence order. But two years later the father, whose initial residency order had been rejected, had his child back following an appeal to the High Court.

This week’s ruling saw the Supreme Court alter the determining factors for residency cases. The court decided that the child’s welfare took precedence over the interest of his biological parent.

Lord Kerr said that the appeal had raised the “vexed but highly important topic” of parenthood’s significance in private law disputes regarding residence and contact.

“The court’s quest is to determine what is in the best interests of the child, not what might constitute a second best but supposedly adequate alternative,”

Lord Kerr said this week.

“H has lived virtually all of his young life with his grandmother. He has naturally formed a strong bond with her. There is reason to apprehend that, if that bond is broken, his current stability will be threatened.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with ,

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