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Family Justice Review aims to improve family law system

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The Family Justice Review has recently published its final report making a range of recommendations aimed at improving the family justice system and minimising delay.

The Review says "no legislation should be introduced that creates, or risks creating, the perception that there is a parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents". 

Many father's rights groups have expressed dismay at the outcome of the Review and have interpreted it as a denial of a father's legal right to maintain meaningful relationships and contact with their children.

However the report is clear in it's view that most children, whether they are to live with their mum or dad following their parents' separation, benefit from an ongoing relationship with both parents and further that shared parenting is to be encouraged if this would be in the child's best interests. 

This approach is not dissimilar to the way in which the Court currently approaches disputes relating to residence and contact in prioritising the best interests and welfare of the child over and above the needs and wishes of the adults involved. The decision of the Review not to introduce any legislation which creates the perception of a parental right to equal time for each parents would appear not to seek to deny the child the right to maintain regular contact with the non resident parent but rather to ensure that each case concerning a child continues to be determined on it's own individual facts and circumstances rather than on the basis of any firm presumption.

By family law executive, Lauren Day