Family Courts are changing the way how they decide how much time children should spend with each parent following separation

From 22nd October 2014 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. It is assumed that it is better for children to have a relationship with both of their parents following the separation of the parents.

That does not mean that there is an assumption that the children should spend half of their time with each parent and each case will be decided depending on the circumstances. The Family Court still has to consider what is best for each child and the paramount consideration for the Family Court is the welfare of the child. Obviously the Court will have to assess what is safe for the child in the circumstances of the case. However, it is assumed that children ought to grow up knowing both parents where that is possible.

This is the final change within the Children and Families Act 2014 to be implemented.

Wolferstans has a large and experienced Family Department and we are able to offer advice about making an application to the Family Court to ensure that the best outcome is reached for the children following the separation of their parents.

Kate Westmacott, Head of Wolferstans’ Family Department, says,

“This change in focus will ensure that more children grow up knowing both of their parents following separation which is seen to be better for the children. Whilst the Family Court will still have to consider each case and assess what is right for each child, the starting point will be that where it is possible they should grow up with a relationship with both of their parents.

This may also have an impact for grandparents following the separation of parents because where it is not possible for a parent to have contact with a child for safety reasons the Family Court may consider that it is right for the child to have contact with that side of the family through grandparents.”

Kate Westmacott specialises in Children Law and also has a specialism in acting for grandparents in Family Proceedings. For more information contact Kate on 01752 292298.

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