06 February, 2012
Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has revealed plans to reform the family justice system so that children whose parents have separated can maintain better contact with the parent who they do not live with. It is reported that one in three children live without their father.
The plans propose to change the law to stress the importance of children enjoying an ongoing relationship with both parents. The plans do however fall short of the guarantee of equal access but intend to ensure that a loving parent is not excluded unless they pose a safety or welfare risk.
Mr Clarke stated that the Court will still decide whether contact is safe and in the child's best interests and that the new legislation will make clear that a "meaningful relationship is not about equal division of time, but the quality of parenting received by the child".
The proposed reforms also include a six month time limit for care and adoption cases to be dealt with by the courts, although an extension may be given in complex cases where the children's interests require this.
The government has promised to fund an extra £10 million for mediation services in an effort to reduce the number of cases concerning children being litigated in the courts.
Forbes family law team is made up of specialist Divorce Solicitors who offer advice on all areas of Family Law, including divorce, division of assets following marriage breakdown, cohabitee issues, ancillary relief, civil partnerships, children matters and change of name deeds. For further information on divorce issues please contact any of our Family Law Solicitors.