The Children and Families Act 2014 came in to force on 22nd April 2014, ringing the changes for family practitioners in England and Wales. The Minister for Justice has heralded the reforms as ‘the largest for a generation’.
The purpose of the new legislation, according the Justice Minster Simon Hughes is to put children firmly at the heart of the Family law system, and to shift to focus towards Children’s needs, as opposed to what parents perceive as their ‘right’s
The reforms implemented on 22 April will see:
· The introduction of the new Family Court in England and Wales with a simpler single system and a network of single application points.
· Justices’ clerks and their assistants authorised to assist all judges across the Family Court (including on undefended divorce cases).
· The introduction of a 26 week time limit for care proceedings.
· New child arrangements orders will replace Residence and Contact Orders.
· Expert evidence in family proceedings concerning children only permitted when unecessary to resolve the case justly, taking account of factors including the impact on the welfare of the child.
· Compulsory family mediation information meetings so separating couples must consider alternatives to court when resolving financial matters and arrangements for child contact.
At BSG solicitors, we pride ourselves on remaining up to date with the most recent changes in legislation and case law, so that we are able to continue to provide a first class service to our clients.