Parental involvement provision comes into effect on 22nd October

Amanda Crowe - Barker Gotelee

The importance of children having relationships with each parent following family breakdown will now be reinforced by the courts on any child related case being brought to court after 22 October 2014.

The parental involvement provision in section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 has now come into force, 6 months after the introduction of the main Act. The Ministry of Justice has been at pains to emphasise that the parental involvement provision is not about giving parents new ‘rights’ or the 50/50 division of a child’s time. It is 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 their child’s life. The new law will require family courts to presume that each parent’s involvement in the child’s life will further the child’s welfare, unless there is evidence to the contrary. However the needs of the child will always remain the paramount priority of the courts, so the courts will remain free to declare that involvement of the other parent would not be in the best interests of a particular child.

Ultimately if parents can agree the arrangements for their child without involving the courts, this will likely provide a better outcome for the whole family, rather than having everyone suffer the anxiety and time delay in involving the court with such matters.

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker GoteleeSolicitors in Ipswich.

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