After a long passage through parliament, today, 13 March 2014, the Children and Families Bill received the Royal Assent, hence becoming law.
Amongst it’s many provisions, it provides that parties wanting to go to court over disagreements concerning arrangements for their children and finances, MUST first obtain information about family mediation. This will usually involve attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAMS) with a qualified family mediator. In some limited cases, such as certain types of domestic violence, there will be an exemption from this requirement otherwise it will now be compulsory. The start date is to be 22 April 2014.
If the matter does go to court the court must have regard to the principle that both parents should be involved in their children’s lives, where it is safe to do so.