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Welfare checklist

This is a list of things set out in section 1 (3) of the Children Act 1989. This list sets out what a court must think about when making a decision about a child. The list helps the court focus on what’s best for the child when deciding who a child should live with, for example.

So by law, the court must take into account:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings (bearing in mind the child’s age and understanding)
  • The child’s needs (physical, emotional and educational)
  • The likely effect on the child of any changes in their circumstances
  • The child’s age, sex and background (and any other relevant characteristics)
  • Any harm the child has suffered (or any risk of harm)
  • The parents’ ability to meet the child’s needs.

Section 1 of the Children Act 1989 also includes a ‘presumption’ that the child’s welfare will be improved by having each parent involved in the child’s life, unless this is shown not to be the case.

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