Friday, 14 December 2012

Shared care presumption under review

Further to Eleanor Aguirre’s blog of 6th November 2012, it is reported today that a parliamentary committee has voiced “significant concerns” over the government’s plans to introduce a presumption of shared parenting in children cases.

The concerns outlined included that a shared care presumption “could lead to unrealistic expectations from parents about shared time” and ultimately it could take away the focus when dealing with the arrangements for children from determining what is in the child’s best interests.

There has much debate on this issue and as detailed in our previous blogs, prior to this recent report, the proposed change to the law has been met with much criticism from members of the legal profession.

When parents’ divorce or separate, the welfare of their children is no doubt the most important issue for them. Many separating parents agree the arrangements without having to seek the assistance of the court and in many cases those arrangements will undoubtedly involve mother and father co-parenting and adopting equal roles.

However, such an arrangement may not work in all situations and in those cases where it is necessary for the court to be called upon, the current law’s overriding objective when determining the day to day arrangements for a child is that the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. To introduce a presumption from the parents’ perspective could undermine this – the main focus should be the child not the parent.

The Government will be publishing a full response to the Justice Committee’s report early in the New Year. Whether there will be a change in the law to introduce the presumption is still yet to be seen.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts .

Patricia Robinson, Senior Associate

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