In all matters relating to children in family proceedings, the welfare of the child is the first and paramount consideration for the Court. While each case will depend on its own facts , the Court would take into account all relevant factors which include:
- the preservation of the status quo;
- the ages of the parents and child;
- the personality, capability and character of the parents;
- the financial resources of the parents;
- the physical and mental health of the parents and child;
- the accommodation available to the child;
- the child's own wishes and views, if any;
- the benefit of keeping the siblings together with one parent;
- the religion and culture of the family;
- professional reports such as medical, school, or court welfare officer's reports (e.g. about the child's family relationship, living conditions, mental or health elements, etc.).
Note that the aforesaid factors are just factors commonly considered by the Court, they are not exhaustive.
Upon hearing all the relevant evidence, the Court, bearing in mind that the interests and welfare of the child is of prime importance, would balance the factors against each other, depending on the circumstances of each case.
What factors will the Court consider in assessing the provision of child maintenance?
In accessing what financial provision should be made for a child, the Court shall consider all the circumstances of the case, especially the following matters:
- the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of marriage;
- the financial needs of the child;
- any physical or mental disability of the child;
- the manner in which the child was being brought up and in which the parties to the marriage expected him or her to be educated;
- the financial resources and needs or obligations of the parties to the marriage;
- the any income, earning capacity (if any), property, or other financial resources of the child.
What factors will the Court consider in assessing the kind and the amount of maintenance to be made for a spouse?
In deciding who should pay alimony to whom, the Court is obliged to take into account the conduct of the parties and all the circumstances of the case. Those circumstances include the following, which are laid down in section 7 of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (but they are not exhaustive):
- The income, earning capacity, property, and other financial resources which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
- The financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities which either of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
- The age of each party and the duration of the marriage
- Any physical or metal disability of either of the parties
- The contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family
- The value to either of the parties of any benefit which that party will lose as a result of the dissolution of the marriage