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 contains new proposals
including better information and advice for parents who are
separating to help them deal with the consequences for their
children, as well as good practice examples of parenting
Lord Falconer, constitutional affairs secretary, said that
parents will be encouraged to come to their own arrangements, but
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
parent equally as the Conservative Party recently proposed.
“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 said.
He said legal, practical and emotional advice would be offered
over the phone and via websites with the aim being to help parents
come to their own decisions. An in-court conciliation system would
be developed for those cases which do end up in court.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service will
spend more time delivering conciliation and support services. Legal
aid is to be restructured and an accreditation scheme established
for expert family lawyers.