The Children and Families Act 2014 (the Act) came into force on 22 April 2014. On 22 October 2014 section 11 of the Act will come into force introducing a new presumption of ‘continued parental involvement’. The introduction of this section means that the courts, when considering an order concerning a child, must presume that the involvement of both parents is in the child’s best interests, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
The Government has suggested that the introduction of the presumption will ‘encourage separated parents to adopt less rigid and confrontational positions with regards to the arrangements for their children’. It is stressed however that this change makes no reference to time and does not create any right to equal time with the child. The courts also have discretion to declare that the involvement of a parent would not be in the best interests of the child. Therefore it may be that the introduction of this provision does not create any major changes in child arrangements but it may ensure that all those involved start from the position of a presumption of involvement by both parents.
Section 11 will not apply to hearings begun before 22 October 2014.
This is a highly emotional area of family law for the entire family. Our specialist team can advise on applications about what time a child should spend with each parent.Consulting our specialist lawyers in our Altrincham or Manchester offices is a great first step. We can talk you through your options and help you to decide what is the best way to proceed. Please contact us on 0161 927 3118 for a free 20 minute consultation.