I have a phd student that is very smart. They had a small baby a few months before starting the PhD in a foreign country and then moved to do the PhD with their family in the UK.
It has been 7 months now and the PhD student is not performing well. We have weekly meetings and I try hard to guide and help (more than I normally do). The student sometimes disappears for 1-2 weeks without answering emails and comes back offering no excuse rather vague "family-issues". The funding is fixed for 3 years without the possibility of extending or freezing. Also, the uni is rigid on students submitting at 3 years. We have discussed several times and I have suggested asking the university for help. Didn't happen yet.
At the end of the first year, PhD students have a mini-viva called transfer. The examiner is another professor from the department. With the current work, failure is almost certain, unless I appeal to that professor on behalf of the student (which I've never done before, I find it morally wrong, and don't even know if it would work).
On academic performance, the situation is clear, the student would fail. I only find myself in dilemma because of the family situation (small baby, new country, no relatives, low salary). The official guidelines state my suggestion should only be based on the academic performance. This is advisory since the examiner will make the final decision. Nevertheless, how can I do this knowing the student will lose their funding and visa and have to go back with their family?