The needs of children during separation and divorce, can often be pushed to one side. Some of the issues of focus in such distressing times, are housing, maintenance and of course the safety and well-being of every child. Adult human emotions and behaviour can often override the feelings and needs of children. In such overwhelming times for families, children can be placed in an extremely vulnerable position.
The Children and Families Act 2014 is far reaching in its application and was designed to fully reform the law in range, especially for vulnerable children. It allows for greater protection, practically those areas requiring special attention. The Act encourages parents to avoid conflict and confrontation, and to put their children’s needs in highest priority when facing separation and divorce.
The fundamental principle of the Act is the child’s welfare. It also encourages parents to avoid the courts wherever possible and use mediation and non-trial routes first. It is hoped that parents, through civility and care for their children’s welfare, can work out their issues on their own. A mediator is impartial and can help parents make the best decisions for themselves, and with keen consideration of their children’s needs.
It is sometimes better to use Mediation to reach an agreement outside of the courts. However, this isn’t always possible, and it still remains a necessary option in some cases to use the courts to decide on complex issues that parents cannot agree on.
The Act has made Family Court proceedings somewhat simpler and quicker. In the past, it could take a year or longer for courts to decide on the fate of children in relation to parental responsibility, living arrangements and finance. It also affected the extremely vulnerable children who needed to be placed in care due to safety and well-being issues. Now the courts must ensure on a quicker, simpler basis, that the child’s best interest, is paramount.
It’s good to bear in mind that unless there are child safety issues involved, the courts in all cases, will encourage both parents to be involved and engaged in their child’s life. The NBB Family Law Team values are rooted in the core principles of encouraging, advising and supporting you on the best possible outcome for you and your children. We understand the emotional complexities of such delicate cases involving families and children. No matter the circumstances of your case, we can advise you on the best course of action.