Child Custody: Health Problems And Residence
Child Custody: Health Problems And Residence
David Allison (Specilist Family Lawyer) gives expert video advice on: I'm a recovering alcoholic - can I get residence?; I'm disabled - can I get residence?; I'm pregnant - can I get residence? and more...
I have mental health problems - can I get residence?
Having mental health problems isn't going to be a bar to getting a residence order. When the court considers any question regarding a child, it has to look at the child's welfare as its paramount consideration. Of course the fact that one parent has mental health issues is going to be relevant, because it may affect the level of care that they're able to provide for the child. However, deciding residence is really a question of assessing that; the fact of the mental illness itself is not going to be an obstacle, it's the relevance of that illness to the care that that parent is able to provide for the child that may be an obstacle to residence.
I'm a recovering alcoholic - can I get residence?
Being a recovering alcoholic isn't going to be a burden necessarily to get to a residence order. The child's welfare has to be the paramount consideration. Of course, the person's circumstances is that the parents are going to be relevant. If the fact that a parent is a recovering alcoholic impacts upon their ability to provide the proper care for the child, it's going to be a very relevant issue. The question with residence is to assess that. If the parent is dry, and although being an alcoholic, haven't had a drink for some time, then they may be perfectly capable of looking after a child. If they are continuing to drink, then it's perhaps unlikely that they'll get residence.
I'm disabled - can I get residence?
The fact of being disabled isn't going to be a bar to getting a residence order. Obviously, there's all sorts of disabilities. You need to think about what the particular disability was. There are many minor disabilities that aren't going to impact at all. If a parent is quite disabled and can't provide proper care for the child, then of course that's going to be relevant. Because the court, when it's carrying out its balancing exercise in assessing the best interest of the child, then the level of care that can be provided by that parent is going to be a relevant factor. But it is only where it impacts on the level of care that can be provided.
I have anger management problems - can I get residence?
Having anger management problems in itself isn't a bar to residence. However, it may be a relevant issue to the question of the welfare of the child, particularly if there has been domestic violence, it's going to be something that the residence courts going to be very concerned about. These days, domestic violence is treated very seriously and the impact on children is given some quite significant thought, particularly in circumstances where children have witnessed violence. However, if you've got a parent who has been violent, who has anger issues, who's addressed those issues, then the fact that they've had issues isn't going to be a bar. As long as they've addressed them properly and are able to provide proper care for the child, then they might be in a good position to make an application for residence.
I'm pregnant - can I get residence?
The fact of being pregnant certainly isn't going to be a bar to securing residence order, it's a very usual circumstance to be in of course, and there are many pregnant mothers with children. It's really a question of looking at what's in the best interest of the child, if the other child of course is a sibling or half sibling then there's going to be some emphasis on keeping those children together, and therefore the fact of pregnancy may be a positive. It really depends on all the circumstances and what's in the best interest of the child, but certainly of itself it's not going to be a bar.
I have a non-terminal serious illness - can I get residence?
The fact that a person has a non-terminal serious illness may or may not be relevant to their prospects of getting a residence order. It's not going to be a bar in itself. The court, in considering any of these issues, has to look at what's in the welfare, in the best interests, of the child. They're really going to be concerned about how that illness impacts upon the parent's ability to care. If it does--if it means that the parent isn't able to provide proper care for the child, then it's going to be a relevant factor. But it's a question of assessing that, really, than the fact of the illness itself.
I have a serious illness - can I get residence?
Having a serious illness isn't going to be a bar to getting a residence order. For any of these issues, the court has to look at what is in the interest of the child, what residence would best serve the child's welfare. Therefore, in residency cases, the court will be looking at level of care the parents are able to provide. If the fact of the illness means that the parent isn't able to provide the level of care that they would do normally, then of course that is going to be a relevant factor to residency. If the illness means that the parent's life expectancy is likely to be shortened, then again that may be a relevant factor particularly if we're looking at a short period of time. Courts try to achieve a situation where children aren't moved repeatedly, but it really depends on the circumstances and the level of care and position of each of the parents.
My ex partner's home is adapted for use by my disabled child - can I get residence?
The fact that one parent has their home adapted to care for the particular needs of a disabled child is going to be very relevant. The other parent, that doesn't mean of course that the other parent absolutely can't get residence because it depends on all the circumstances of the case, what's best for the child, and the parenting that each of the parents is able to provide. There may be circumstances of course where one parent has their home adapted and the other parent thinks that they ought to be able to have more time with the child. Of course, if they can provide equal or similar facilities, then there's no reason necessarily why the circumstances shouldn't change. Or certainly, they ought to look to a more shared care arrangement. But of course, the fact that one home is suited for the child and the other isn't is going to be very relevant.
My child is disabled and my partner is the main carer - can I get residence?
In a situation where there's a disabled child and one parent is the main carer, that parent is going to be looked at pretty much in the same circumstances as any other child where there's a main carer. Of course, someone who's giving primary care for a child stands in a good position to get a residence order. That doesn't mean that the other person can't get a residence order because everything depends on the best interests of the child, the welfare being of course of paramount consideration. It may be that the needs of a particular disabled child require a particular style of parenting, or require some specialist knowledge. Then, of course, having that knowledge is going to be a relevant factor, but in most circumstances that knowledge isn't something that wouldn't be capable of being acquired by the other parent.