The government has unveiled new proposals intended to help
parents who are splitting up to make better arrangements for their
The green paper Parental Separation: Children’s Needs and
Parents’ responsibilities proposes better information and
advice for parents who are separating to help them deal with the
consequences for their children.
Lord Falconer, Constitutional Affairs Secretary said that
parents will be encouraged to come to their own arrangements, but
that if they cannot then cases should be resolved quickly.
He added that while the government believes that children need
both parents, it may not be appropriate to divide the time spent
with each parent equally as the Conservative Party has
“There cannot and will not be an automatic presumption of
50/50 contact. Children cannot be divided like the furniture or the
CD collection. It’s more complex than that,” he
Legal, practical and emotional advice would be offered over the
phone and via websites with the main aim being to help parents come
to their own decisions. An in-court conciliation system is to be
developed for those cases which do end up in court.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
(CAFCASS) is to spend less time writing reports and more time
delivering conciliation and support services. Legal aid is to be
restructured and a new accreditation scheme established for expert
The closing date for responses to the consultation is 1