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'We welcome the efforts being made to help families come together and stay together. But what was missing from the Prime Minister’s speech this morning was anything about the support families need when couples separate.
As the Prime Minister acknowledged, "there are some couples for whom splitting up is the right thing in the circumstances, however difficult the decision.” Where there are children involved, it is vitally important, in the majority of cases, that there continues to be a relationship with both parents.
In addition to helping families stay together, the Government needs to look at the support families need to manage family breakdown and separation in a way that minimises conflict and ensures that wherever possible fathers can maintain a relationship with their children – these people are still a family, even if they’re living apart.
The cuts to family legal aid have undermined such aims, in particular where one parent has lost contact with their children because they can’t access legal advice during separation. People are not getting the crucial support they need at this relationship ‘transition time’ and I would urge the Government to consider this more carefully in its drive to strengthen relationships in British society.'
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure