Role of Cafcass in separation and divorce

Role of Cafcass in separation and divorce

12th February 2024

When parents separate one of the most contentious aspects can be how they will share the care of their children. 

If negotiation and mediation fail, an application to the Court may be required. The Court will automatically appoint Cafcass to commence their involvement and investigate matters. 

Cafcass is an acronym for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.  They are effectively the eyes and ears of the Court and are an independent organisation who will, as part of their work, investigate any safeguarding welfare concerns, potentially speak to the children and report back to the Court as to their findings and what their recommendations will be about the children’s care. 

The initial safeguarding report will be timetabled by the Court requiring Cafcass to give an initial view as to whether matters can resolve via mediation or by negotiation or if a further in-depth report , known as a section 7 report, is required. The section 7 report can commonly take at least 12 to 15 weeks to be prepared and is intended to be a detailed assessment of the children’s situation.

Cafcass will consider within their report what they think is in the best interest of the children. when making their recommendations they will take into account the provisions of The Welfare Checklist which is set out in the Children Act 1989. This includes considering the case in light of the child or children’s age, sex, developmental needs, health needs, level of understanding, any risk factors and their wishes and feelings.

Such a report will aid the Court in making decisions as to children’s long-term care and the time they spend with each of their parents. Cafcass therefore is extremely influential to the Court in their recommendations.  

Our team of experienced solicitors can advise and assist parents concerning their applications in relation to the care of their children. We can assist with advising parents in respect of their application and representing them throughout and within the Court proceedings.

For help and advice on the above or any other family or matrimonial matter please contact our team who will be happy to assist.  We have offices in Coventry, Warwick, Balsall Common and Southam and cover the whole of the Coventry and Warwickshire area & beyond.

Article written by Samantha Chater, Family and Matrimonial Solicitor.