The Children and Families Act 2014, which came into force today, will encourage parents to be more focused on children’s needs following separation, as well as on the role each parent plays in the child’s life.
The new law will require family courts to presume that each parent’s involvement in the child’s life will further their welfare – where it is safe. However, this is based on a broader understanding of 'involvement', taken to be more than a simple 'fifty-fifty' split of time with the child.
Carolyn Osbourne, of the Law Centres Network Young People's Programme, said:
"We welcome the concern by Government to focus firmly on the wellbeing of the child caught up in family breakdown. We are heartened that MPs and peers have taken on board recommendations from the Shared Parenting Consortium of children's organisations."
"These have led them to amend clause 11 of the Act to ensure that the interest of the child is prioritised over a presumption of equal contact for both parents. I hope that this will lead to the voice of the child being heard and held as paramount in every case."