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A recent article published in the Law Gazette has suggested that before a parent is sentenced to imprisonment then we should take into account the effects this will have on their children, how will they cope, who will care from them and who will be left to pick up the pieces. 
While at MG Legal, your Local Family Solicitors, we don’t deal with criminal cases, this article has got us wondering about how this is applied to Child Contact cases. 

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Of course, each case is different, and there are some cases where it is appropriate that a parent or grandparent (see out Grandparent’s Right Blog for more information on this) should have either limited, controlled or no contact at all with the child(ren). 
However many child contact cases are brought about not because the parent poses any harm to their issue, but simply because of a breakdown in communication between the parents. Break ups are hard enough when children aren’t involved so we can only imagine how difficult it must be when there is a child to consider and your ex has to remain in your life. 
So, how are the thoughts of children taken in to account when the Judge is arrange contact? 
Firstly, this is dependant to the age of the children, clearly you can’t ask a 5 month old baby whether they want to live with mummy or daddy, or be allowed contact with their grandparents, but you can ask children over the age of 4 their thoughts and feelings, whether they like spending time at mummy or daddy’s house, what they do when they are there, whether they want more time with them. An agency called CAFCASS (see our blog on who CAFCASS are and what they do) will attend with the child(ren) on their own and issue a document called a Section 7 report, in this document the thoughts of the child(ren) and considered, whether they understand what is happening and what they want to happen in the future. Older children have the option of writing a letter to the judge with their own proposals, many of the younger children are asked to draw pictures of their family. This gives the Court an insight to what is best for the child and the effect the order will have them in the long run. While of course the Court and Cafcass will assess the parents or grandparents and they practicality of the them being involved, the welfare of the child(ren) is paramount. 
At MG Legal, Lancaster Family Solicitors, we pride ourselves on securing the best outcome for the child, ensure that they are safe, happy and looked after. For us the child comes first. 
Should you have any questions, enquiries on a child arrangements then please feel free to give us a call on 01524 581306, our pop into our Lancaster office where our delightful family team will assist in any way they can. 
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