What has been described as “the largest Family Law reform for a generation” by the Ministry of Justice has come into force today.
From today all family cases will be heard in the new Single Family Court and will be allocated to the correct level of Judge in the most suitable location by the court. The hope is that this will result in cases being dealt with more efficiently and avoid transfers between courts and long delays.
In care proceedings the new 26 week timetable (which we have been working to in Manchester for a number of months) is now imposed. The aim of this is to avoid long and drawn out care proceedings leading to children in the care system having certainty in their futures at the earliest possible opportunity.
In disputes between parents about their children courts will no longer grant Residence and Contact orders. Instead courts will make Child Arrangement Orders which will encourage parents to consider the needs of their children rather than their own rights.
All separating couples will now have to attend family mediation before making an application to court in relation to financial or children matters.
Expert evidence, for example from psychologists or Doctors, will only be permitted in the most complicated and serious cases involving children when it is absolutely necessary to resolve the case.
For advice about any aspect of family law please contact us to speak to one of our specialist family solicitors.