The court’s main concern is what is best for the child. It will consider such things as:
- Where the child is living at present and any disruption that would be caused to the child should a change occur.
- The wishes of the child depending on the maturity and level of understanding of the child.
- How well the child relates to each parent and to others, such as grand-parents.
- The likely effect of a separation from either parent or other children.
- How well either parent would look after and provide for the child the need to maintain a connection with the child’s cultural background.
In making an order, the behaviour of the parents before and since separation may be relevant. The court may deny or place conditions on contact in situations such as where there is proof a parent maltreats the children, is an alcoholic, takes drugs, whose sexual behaviour towards the children is inappropriate or if her/his living situation is constantly changing.
Because the court deals with every matter individually, no one can tell you exactly what the court will decide in your case. For this reason it is not much help to compare your case with others you may have heard about.