06.02.12 - The Government published their response on the Family Justice Review. A statement summarising key points from this report is included below and focuses on four key principles:

The reports can be accessed via the following links:

The Government Response to the Family Justice Review: A system with children and families at its heart

The Government Response to the Family Justice Review: A Guide for Children and Young People

Some of the key changes include:

•        The Government has supported the establishment of child arrangements order to replace the provision for residence and contact orders in the Children Act 1989.
•        The Government will begin to use the term ‘Dispute Resolution Services’ to replace alternative dispute resolution with immediate effect
•        The need for grandparents to apply for leave of the court before making an application for contact is to remain.

Media stories of interest are highlighted below which summarise some of the changes proposed by the Government.

Telegraph Online 04 Feb 12
Our fathers are still being failed by the law
The new Government working party to address fathers' rights is long overdue.

Guardian Online 06 Feb 12

Ken Clarke reveals plans to give divorced fathers more rights
Justice secretary says overhaul of family justice system will put emphasis on children's need for relationship with both parents

A working group involving five ministers will review the 1989 Children's Act. They are the education ministers Tim Loughton and Sarah Teather, the justice minister Jonathan Djanogly, the equalities minister Lynne Featherstone, and Maria Miller, the work and pensions minister.

Daily Mail Online 06 Feb 12
Grandparents will get key role in family splits: Shake-up to ensure they keep in touch with youngsters

Family Law Week 06 Feb 12
Children should benefit from seeing both parents after separation, says Department for Education

Family Law Week 06 Feb 12
The Government's Response to the Family Justice Review is published
Bar Council and FLBA urge Government to take a ‘considered and practical approach to reforming family law’

These proposed changes are certainly welcomed and the hope is that they will genuinely benefit children and improve the support to parents and extended family to better cope with the fallout from family breakdown.  From now on though actions will speak louder than words.

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