For some years the topic of shared parenting has been a popular theme for those involved with arrangements for children after the separation of their parents. Lone fathers groups have been very vocal and achieved a high profile in arguing for a presumption of shared parenting.
There has been discussion about what that means: some say a strict mathematical approach to equally dividing the children’s time with each parent (which generally doesn’t pay first regard for what is in the children’s best interests) others that it is about sharing all the important decisions about arrangements for children.
Last year a report commissioned by the Government, the Family Justice Review, concluded against a presumption of shared parenting (by which it meant substantially shared or equal time for both parents).
However, the Government clearly think more needs to be done to protect the interests of children following separation, as in the Queen’s Speech a few days ago, it was proposed that the Government consult on how to change the law “so more children have a relationship with both parents if families break up” where that is safe and in their best interests.
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said that the Bill will make it law that before starting a court action concerning arrangements for children it will be a prior condition to consider family mediation as the government feel that family mediation can be cheaper , quicker and provide better outcomes for the children and parents.
I am interested to see how the government will achieve its aims as these same themes have been debated for many many years. So watch this space!