My grandchildren have been living with me. Their father was violent, but now returns wanting a Residence order. Will he get it automatically?

First published in Harjit Sarang St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

Hello there. Nobody has an automatic right to a Residence Order in respect of the children. As you are aware, a Residence Order is an Order stating where the children should live. In whose care they should be.

The legislation is totally geared towards making necessary orders that are in the best interests of the children. In order to make a decision, the court needs to consider a statutory criteria that includes (i) physical, emotional and psychological needs (ii) risk of harm (iii) capability of person to provide adequate care and (iv) sex, age and characteristics of each child, amongst other things and in no particular order.

The court will appoint a Children and Families Officer (CAFCASS) to investigate. The Officer will file a report to the court making recommendations as to what order is in the child's best interests.

Nobody can guarantee that you will be awarded a Residence Order. From what you have said, if there are no concerns or allegations about your care of the children and if father has not changed, it seems that you are the better person to provide full time care for the children. However, the children need to maintain a relationship with their parents unless it is not in their best interests to do so, commonly due to risk of harm. There are cases of parents who were not good carers in the past but, who have worked hard to reform. Parents who have seen the error of their ways and over time are able to satisfy the court that they have changed and can now provide risk free care for their children. If that is the case, there are merits to father's application.

It is very difficult to give you a definitive answer without full facts. The court looks for the best person to provide full time care for the children bearing in mind the statutory criteria.

Best Regards, Harjit Sarang

Comments (1)

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9:32am Tue 1 Jun 10

Harjit Sarang says...

Billyricky

Thank you for contacting me.

The reference to 12 weeks in last weeks blog was a time guideline for a CAFCASS report to be completed. It is not the time a case takes from start to finish. Indeed sometimes CAFCASS reports take less time or much longer dependent workloads, complexity of cases, co operation of parties and / or court administration.

I am sorry to hear that it has taken nearly 15 months in your case. Perhaps that and your other comments are best directed at your solicitor.

I am contacted by members of the public anonymously with questions. The blog is to provide general advice and comment. I regret that it can never be specific legal advice because no two cases are the same.

I hope that you get a satisfactory result in your case.

Best regards
Billyricky Thank you for contacting me. The reference to 12 weeks in last weeks blog was a time guideline for a CAFCASS report to be completed. It is not the time a case takes from start to finish. Indeed sometimes CAFCASS reports take less time or much longer dependent workloads, complexity of cases, co operation of parties and / or court administration. I am sorry to hear that it has taken nearly 15 months in your case. Perhaps that and your other comments are best directed at your solicitor. I am contacted by members of the public anonymously with questions. The blog is to provide general advice and comment. I regret that it can never be specific legal advice because no two cases are the same. I hope that you get a satisfactory result in your case. Best regards Harjit Sarang
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