The introduction of ‘Presumption of Parental Involvement’

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It has been announced that Section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 will be introduced on 22nd October 2014.

This introduces the presumption that ‘unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare’. This issue generated a lot of media interest and debate in parliament. In April l 2014, when most of the act came into force, this section was quietly mothballed.

To clarify, ‘involvement means involvement of some kind, either direct or indirect but not any particular division of time’ unless ‘there is some evidence before the court…. to suggest that involvement of that parent in the child’s life would put the child at risk of suffering harm’.

It sets a principle that is likely to be of great symbolic importance, particularly for parents who don’t live with their children. What is far less clear is whether it will have an impact on any decision made by the courts.

The law as it stands states that ‘the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration’ and therefore it’s hard to see how this presumption adds anything.

Our specialist team can advise on applications about what contact a child should have with each parent.

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