Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Custody - pre Children Act 1989 decisions

General principle

It is not a general principle in custody cases that, all other things being equal, a young child ought to be with its mother.
Thompson v Thompson (1986) 150 J P 686 CA

Interim order - need for a welfare report

Where allegations are made it is plainly wrong in law to make an interim custody order without a welfare report.
W (a minor) The Times 13 Nov 1986

Welfare report - duty to see child with both parents

If a welfare officer's report was to be of any assistance it was of'the utmost importance that the officer saw the child in both parents' homes and observed theist relationship with each parent.
W (a minor) (1982) 126 Sol Jo 725 CA; 13 Fam Law 47

NOTE: By implication this report should cover the child's relationship with step-parents.
Pountney v Morris (1984) FLR 381

Disruption of school life - inferior accommodation

Mother went to woman's refuge! and as a result had to change schools. There was evidence that father was available and competent to look after the children himself, and their welfare required that they return to the matrimonial home -custody to father.
W v W (1983) FLR 686

Conflict of evidence - need to make specific findings of fact

The judge has a prima-facie duty to weigh the evidence and make specific findings of fact rather than rely on an overall impression. The parent's evidence had been in conflict on a number of important issues (relationship between parents and children, father's caring role. mother's relationship with another man) and the judge had failed to make findings of fact on those issues. Without findings of fact there was no way of knowing if the judge's impression was right or wrong. Retrial ordered.
M v M, (1988) 1 FLR 255

Judges - prejudicial comments

The court has to discharge its discretionary duty judicially. It cannot be seen to do so if comments are made which might lead one of the parents to think that he or she had been prejudged before giving evidence.
M v M, (1988) 1 FLR 255

David Cannon
First issued January 1989

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