New law for courts on break-ups


Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Family courts will be required to presume that both parents should continue to play a role in their child’s life after they have separated under a new law coming into force this week.

The change, which comes into effect on Wednesday, is aimed at encouraging parents to be more focused on children’s needs following a break-up and the role they each will play in the child’s life.

T he new law requires the court to presume that each parent’s involvement in the child’s life will further their welfare, as long as it is safe.

The needs of the child will always remain the paramount priority of the courts, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

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.”

The change is the last part of the Children and Families Act 2014 to be implemented.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson: “Having spent almost ten years as a family barrister, I know nothing is more important than taking the time to listen to children and making sure their voices are heard loud and clear.

“This is a brand new system which puts the needs of children first, protects families from harmful and stressful battles in the courtroom and gives them greater support.”

The provision will come into force on Wednesday and will apply to cases started on or after that date.

The MoJ said the change will not lead to courts deciding on a 50/50 division of children’s time but is aimed at achieving a culture change by making clearer the court’s approach to these issues.

Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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