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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

26 MAR 2013

Shared parenting: keeping welfare paramount by learning from mistakes

Matthew O'Grady

Barrister, St Mary's Chambers:   

In November 2012 the government announced in its explanatory note Cooperative parenting following family separation: proposed legislation on the involvement of parents in a child's life (DfE, 2012), at p 4) that it intended to amend the Children Act 1989 to 'promote shared parenting [as] part of a wider package of measures to help parents resolve disputes about their children following family separation' (see also Shared Parenting Legislation [2012] Fam Law 1539). The substance of what was proposed was presented at the First Reading of the Children and Families Bill (the Bill) on 4 February 2013. The Bill was debated at second reading on 25 February 2013 and the House of Commons voted for the Bill to be sent to a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line. The Committee is expected to report by 23 April 2013. This article will consider the Bill and provide an overview of the three criticisms of the proposed amendment:

  • first, it is potentially inconsistent with the child's welfare being the court's paramount consideration;
  • secondly, it may create issues regarding the standard of proof; and
  • thirdly, it is does not remedy any mischief in the law or its application.

The full version of this article appears in the April 2013 issue of Family Law

 

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