Factors in s. 8 Children Act 1989 proceedings
In reaching its decision at a Final hearing, the court will need to consider all the circumstances of the case. The Children Act 1989 lists various matters that the court must always take into account. The child's welfare is the court's paramount consideration.
In addition, the court has to pay particular regard to:-
a) The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his or her age and understanding);
b) The child's physical, emotional and educational needs;
c) The likely effect on the child of any changes in circumstances;
d) The child's age, sex, background and any characteristics which the court considers relevant;
e) Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
f) How capable each parent, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is in meeting the child's needs;
g) The range of powers available to the court in the proceedings.
(a) - (g) above are often referred to as the "welfare checklist".
The court, in considering the above checklist, should only make an order if doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.