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Family justice reforms come into effect
The largest family justice reforms for a generation came into effect on 22nd April this year, the Government has announced.
These family justice reforms put children at the heart of the family justice system and focus on children’s needs rather than what parents see as their own ‘rights’, said Justice Minister Simon Hughes.
The changes come as the new single Family Court becomes a reality and most of the family justice provisions from the Children and Families Act are implemented.
In more detail, the reforms include:
- The introduction of the new Family Court in England and Wales, with a simpler single system and a network of single application points making it easier for the public to navigate.
- Justices’ clerks and their assistants will be authorised to assist all judges across the Family Court (including on undefended divorce cases), allowing judges to focus their time on more difficult cases.
- The introduction a 26 week time limit for care proceedings to further reduce the excessive delays in these cases and give greater certainty to the children involved.
- New child arrangements orders that will encourage parents to focus on the child’s needs rather than what they see as their own ‘rights’.
- Expert evidence in family proceedings concerning children only permitted when necessary to resolve the case justly, taking account of factors including the impact on the welfare of the child.
- Compulsory family mediation information meetings so separating couples must consider alternatives to the harmful and stressful court battles when resolving financial matters and arrangements for child contact.
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