Under the Children Act 1989, the child’s welfare is the paramount consideration of the court when looking at the child’s upbringing or the administration of a child’s property or income. Therefore, in reaching many decisions, the court has to consider the welfare checklist set out below:
- the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of their age and understanding);
- their physical, emotional and/or educational needs;
- the likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances;
- their age, sex, background and any characteristics of theirs which the court considers relevant;
- any harm which they have suffered or are at risk of suffering;
- how capable each of their parents (and any other person the court considers the question to be relevant) is of meeting their needs; and
- the range of powers available to the court in the proceedings.