Government plans shared parenting amendment to Children Act

29 November 2012

The Government is to introduce a new clause to the Children Act making clear that there should be a presumption that both parents should be involved in a child’s life after separation or divorce.

Following an independent review of the Family Justice System in 2010-11, the Government is making a number of changes across the system, in relation both to public and private law. These are described in detail in the Government’s response to the review, which was published in February 2012 and which accepted the majority of the review’s recommendations. More information about the Family Justice Review and the Government’s response is available on the family justice review page.

In its response to the review, the Government committed to introduce new legislation which emphasises the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both of their parents following family separation, when it is in the child’s interests. While most parents are able to make arrangements between themselves for their children when they separate, some parents turn to the courts to resolve disputes. In some cases, the dispute between parents is so deep-rooted that they lose sight of their child’s needs. In these cases, the Government wants to send a clear signal that both parents remain responsible for the care of their children when families separate. The Government plans to legislate on this area were set out in the Queen’s Speech in May 2012.

Read the proposed shared parenting clause

Read some further explanatory notes.

Read the full response to the consultation on the shared parenting clause.


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