Supreme Court ruling gives hope to parents in custody cases


A Supreme Court ruling in a high profile custody case gives fresh hope to all parents involved in battles over residence.

The case of a lesbian woman who has won the right to fight for custody of her seven-year-old IVF daughter who was taken to Pakistan by her biological mother will have major implications, according to Olivia Jones, a specialist within the Children Law team at FBC Manby Bowdler.

She explained why: “The Supreme Court has over ruled the High Court and Court of Appeal, agreeing that the child was habitually resident in this country when removed by her biological mother in February 2014.

“The case will now go back to the High Court for an English judge to rule on whether the child has to be returned to this country. 

“It has set a precedent that can now be used in other custody cases and sent out a clear message that a parent with sole legal rights will no longer succeed in avoiding proceedings by removing a child.”

Olivia said that the ruling was a shift in opinion that reflected the growing number of blended families that exist today.

“Many families are no longer a traditional set up of biological parents and children. They can involve spouses and civil partners, former partners, stepchildren, and half siblings or children born via IVF or who have been adopted. 

“Anyone who has had parental responsibility for a child, regardless of their biological connection, will now have a stronger position to oppose an application to remove a child and take them overseas.”

She added: “Each case will be treated on its merits but this is a positive move.”

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