Parental involvement provision comes into effect on 22nd October 2014
Liz Davies Family Lawyer
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‘Family courts will presume that each parent will play a role in the life of their child’
On 22nd October 2014 Section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 will come into force. This provision relates to parental involvement and the importance of children having a relationship with each parent following a family breakdown.
The Ministry of Justice has been at pains to emphasise that it is not about giving parents new ‘rights” or the equal division of a child’s time but about “achieving a culture change by making clearer the court’s approach to these issues”.
The change is intended to encourage parents to be more focused on children's needs following separation and the role they each play in the child's life. The new law will require family courts to presume that each parent's involvement in the child's life will further their welfare – where it is safe. However the needs of the child will always remain the paramount priority of the courts.
Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:
"We have made bold reforms so that the welfare of children is at the heart of the family justice system, and there can be no doubt that parents play a very important role in every child’s life. Following break up of relationships we are encouraging all parents to focus on the needs of the child rather than what they want for themselves.
No parent should be excluded from their child’s life for no good reason. This change in the law is not about giving parents new ‘rights’ but makes clear to parents and everybody else that the family courts will presume that each parent will play a role in the future life of their child."
This provision will be effective from 22nd October 2014 and will be applied to cases started on or after that date. It will not apply to cases already ongoing in the court syste
It will be interesting to see how the first cases are dealt with by the courts and exactly how they will deal with this provision. Watch this space!
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