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A ten year old girl has successfully won the right to be able to choose her faith. The ten year old was born to Jewish parents but after their separation and divorce in 2010, the father chose to convert to Christianity.
In November 2011, the mother applied to the Court and successfully obtained a Prohibited Steps Order forbidding the father from baptising or confirming the child into the Christian faith. Upon considering the Cafcass report, detailing the child’s wishes and feelings and upon considering the evidence of both parties, the Judge concluded that the child’s “welfare interests are best served by allowing her to be enrolled in a baptism class and to present herself for baptism into the Christian church as soon as she is ready.”
Read the full case at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2012/15.html
Although, the child’s wishes and feelings were taken into consideration, the Judge based his decision after considering the welfare checklist. The welfare checklist, contained in Section 1(3) Children Act 1989, sets out the statutory requirements that the Court must consider when determining an application of this nature.
The relevant parts of the checklist are:
(a) The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child in light of her age and understanding
(b) Her physical , emotional and educational needs
(c) The likely effect on her of any change in circumstances
(d) Her age, sex and background
(e) Any harm which she has suffered or is at risk of suffering
(f) How capable are the parents of meeting her needs
(g) The range of powers available to the Court.
The issue of delay is also an important factor in any case and the Court should avoid delay if at all possible as it may have a detrimental effect on the child.
In this case, the Court was considering an application under Section 8 Children Act 1989 for a Prohibited Steps Order. Other Orders available under Section 8 include Residence and Contact Orders together with Specific Issue Orders. We, at Terry Jones have vast experience in making applications and representing parents in respect of an application to the Court for Orders of this nature.
If you are experiencing problems in in relation to children following a separation, then our family team can help. We offer appointments after hours and on Saturday mornings upon request.
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