Orders should not be made for children over the age of 16

Josie Hayes web

By Josephine Hayes

At the end of last year the Court of Appeal considered whether it was appropriate to make or continue an order in respect of a child aged 16 or over. The decision was a resounding no. Orders should not be made for children over 16 unless there were exceptional circumstances.

In the case in question H (Mother) v C (Father) and Another [2015] EWCA Civ 1298 there was a child arrangements order for shared residence of the parties’ two sons that had been made by consent in 2006. At the time of the hearing the sons were aged 17 and 15. The mother had applied for permission to relocate to New York with the children. Permission to relocate was refused and the older child appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Although child arrangement orders determining where a child should live technically remain in force until the child is 18 years old, the Court of Appeal highlighted that it is likely to be futile to make an order for a child aged over 16 that conflicts with their wishes. The court should only make such orders in exceptional circumstances to avoid imposing inappropriate requirements on older children.

If you require assistance with determining where a child should live or advice about appropriate arrangements for children, Barker Gotelee can offer a free initial consultation for anyone who needs some help and advice.

Josephine Hayes is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk