Articles

Published by: Ben Twitchen

What legal rights do young children have?

Most decisions for infants are made by their parents but what happens if those parents separate and have different ideas about what is best for the child? They may disagree on religious upbringing, options for medical treatment, trips abroad, relocation, choice of nursery etc. Unlike older children, the infant can’t express her wishes and feelings. Aggrieved fathers on social media might suggest the decisions all get to be made by the mothers, but that is far from the case.

Both parents have a package of legal rights and duties known as Parental Responsibility. They are both entitled to have an input in important decisions concerning their child.

Firstly, the legal process encourages discussion through mediation or with more support under Collaborative Law. Our solicitors are committed to helping find a solution. In rare cases where that is impossible, an application can be made to the Court. A judge or magistrates will hear a summary of the different views and usually give early guidance as to the likely outcome, to try to spare parents the stress of a long dispute. A Cafcass officer may well be appointed to produce a report and a recommendation. That recommendation often helps parents reach a compromise, but otherwise a final decision will be made by the Court.

That decision is guided by all the circumstances of the case, but is focussed on the best interests of the child.  With good legal advice from the outset, you can be aware of the likely outcome, and be helped to make sure the best interests of your child are met by producing persuasive witness statements in support, and taking an effective strategy.

If you or one of your friends or relatives would value further information on the subject, please contact Ben Twitchen of Taylor Walton LLP on 01727 818518 or email ben.twitchen@taylorwalton.co.uk to arrange an appointment.

Taylor Walton Solicitors offer FREE Initial 30 minute consultations with our Family lawyers (in return you will be invited to make a £20 donation to charity). To make an appointment please call our St Albans office: 01727 845245 or Harpenden Office: 01582 765111