The Court is under a statutory duty to put a child’s best interests first. The Children (Jersey) Law 2002 tells it that whenever it is considering a matter that concerns the upbringing of a child or the administration of its property, the child’s welfare is of paramount consideration.
In private proceedings this principle may impact on the outcome of ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce, on the outcome of a residence or contact application, will be the determining factor in a Schedule 1 application and will be of central importance in a leave to remove application. It will also underpin the Court’s approach in all care proceedings.
Too often parents conflate a child’s best interests with their own. Arguments in support of their own desired outcome are couched in terms of the child’s best interests. Thus, the child becomes a pawn, which is particularly damaging to the child if (when) they become aware of this fact. Children caught between warring parents often have poor mental health outcomes, may develop behavioural issues and may struggle at school. They may develop maladaptive coping strategies that become entrenched in adulthood.
Parents who are genuinely able to subjugate their own wishes and feelings to champion their child’s welfare are more likely to have a child who is happy and secure growing up. They are also more likely to enjoy a successful co-parenting role with the other parent. Time, money spent on legal fees and acrimony is avoided, but it is not necessarily straightforward to do. When adult relationships break down it is all too easy to want to protect a child from the perceived failings of the other parent. As human beings, none of us are perfect but research shows that by in large children need both parents, warts and all!
If you would like to know more – please contact our team on 875875 or fill out the form below.