In cases where the parents of a child are married, a dispute over the custody of the child is usually resolved in the context of separation or divorce proceedings in the Grand Court. In other cases either parent, grand parent or guardian of a child can apply to the Grand Court for an order for custody. Such applications are made under the Children Law.
The welfare of the child is always given paramount consideration by the Court. Often, in order to assist the Court in deciding this question, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the interests of the child(ren) or a welfare report may be required. In that event, the parents or other applicants, as the case might be, will be interviewed and their ability to provide and care for the child examined by the Children and Family Services Department for report to the Court.
It is advisable to engage an attorney for a custody application. In urgent cases where the applicant is shown to be unable to afford an attorney, the Court will assign an attorney to assist with the resolution of the urgent aspect of the matter.