'Shared parenting' provision to be inserted into Children Act section 1
The Department for Education has announced that it proposes to introduce amendments to the Children Act 1989 in order to provide for a presumption of shared parenting. A new section 1 (2A) will be inserted into the Act as follows:
"(2A) A court, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (4)(a) or (7), is as respects each parent within subsection (6)(a) to presume, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned will further the child's welfare."
The restrictions upon the presumption will be elaborated in new sub-sections (6) and (7) as follows:
"(6) In subsection (2A) "parent" means parent of the child concerned; and, for the purposes of that subsection, a parent of the child concerned -
(a) is within this paragraph if that parent can be involved in the child's life in a way that does not put the child at risk of suffering harm; and
(b) is to be treated as being within paragraph (a) unless there is some evidence before the court in the particular proceedings to suggest that involvement of that parent in the child's life would put the child at risk of suffering harm whatever the form of the involvement.
(7) The circumstances referred to are that the court is considering whether to make an order under section 4(1)(c) or (2A) or 4ZA(1)(c) or (5) (parental responsibility of parent other than mother)."
The explanatory notes state that the purpose of this amendment is to reinforce the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both parents after family separation, where that is safe, and in the child's best interests. The effect of this amendment is to require the court, in making decisions on contested section 8 orders; the contested variation or discharge of such orders; or the award or removal of parental responsibility, to presume that a child's welfare will be furthered by the involvement of each of the child's parents in his or her life, unless it can be shown that such involvement would not in fact further the child's welfare.
For further details and to read more: 14.11.12 : http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed104436