The President of the Family Law division Sir James Munby has confirmed that on 22nd October 2014 S.11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 will come in to force. This Section inserts new Sections 1(2)A, 1(2)B, 1(6) and 1(7)into the Children Act 1989.
This brings into force a presumption that, unless the contrary is shown involvement of a parent in the life of the child concerned ‘will further the child’s welfare’. This presumption will only apply to proceedings commencing on or after 22nd October 2014, as it has not retrospective effect.
In reality the provision is unlikely to lead to any significant change to Child Arrangement Orders, as it is clear that this is not a presumption of shared or equal involvement. The definition of involvement is ‘some kind, either direct or indirect, but not any particular division of a child’s time’.
It is however important to note at the outset of proceedings that the Court will be mindful that both parents should be involved in their children’s lives if possible. There will however always be cases where that is not appropriate, and this provision does nothing to prevent a court finding in such a case, that the child’s welfare demands that one or both parents should not be involved in their life.