The government plans to introduce the presumption of ‘shared parenting’ where a child's parents separate into legislation. The plan is to strengthen the law in this area so that children have an ongoing relationship with both parents.
The government is concerned that a child can too easily lose contact with the parent he or she does not live with and that there may be a perception that the law does not fully recognize both parents’ roles. The aim is to amend the law so that it expressly provides that every child has the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, so long as it is safe. Whilst current legislation sets out the principle that the child’s welfare is always paramount in any court decision about the child’s future, and contact with both parents is a factor in the court’s decisions, it is not explicitly stated in law.
Not everybody agrees that a change in the law is needed in order to encourage shared parenting. The Law Society have stated:
"The welfare of children must always come before the rights of parents and no legislation should create or point to a perception that there is an assumed parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents."
"While the government's intention to promote co-operative parenting is welcomed, legislation to promote shared parenting is not needed. Current legislation adequately provides the right framework for securing a child's welfare."
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