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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Presumption of parental involvement comes into force today

The provision means the courts will start with the presumption that both parents will have involvement of some kind, whether direct or indirect but the presumption will not apply to proceedings commenced but not concluded before 22 October 2014. This is not however the same thing as shared or equal care and the welfare of the child will still remain paramount.

As described by The Law Society:-
The President of the Family Division has announced that the presumption of parental involvement set out in section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 will come into force today, 22 October 2014. This was the only part of the Act not to come into effect on 22 April 2014.
The provision does not mean, as was proposed originally by the government, that there should be a statutory presumption of so-called 'shared parenting' - that a child should spend equal amounts of time with both parents. The Law Society and others argued successfully that this risked promoting parents' rights above those of children. The most important consideration is whether the child will benefit from the continued involvement of both parents post-separation. The presumption is set out as '... involvement of some kind, whether direct or indirect ...'. Section 11 will not apply to proceedings commenced but not disposed of before 22 October 2014.
In a separate announcement, the President has issued guidance which states that the practice of granting ex parte injunctions for an unlimited time is wrong in principle and must stop, and suggests a new form of order. The announcement followed discussions with the Magistrates' Association and the National Bench Chairs' Forum about whether it is proper to grant an ex parte non-molestation injunction. The President has determined that the practice of granting such orders for an unlimited time must cease and that this principle shall apply to all ex parte injunctive orders made by the Family Court or by the Family Division, irrespective of the subject-matter of the proceedings or the terms of the order.

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