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Key issues not addressed:
- CAFCASS failing to provide the correct level of service to children and their families
- Courts still a law unto their own and unaccountable behind closed doors.
- Courts failing to cope with volume due to current consumer based society teaching if its not working throw it/him/her away, crush it/him/her to bits and get another one.
- Presumption of status quo Shared Residence, where one day one parent is an engaged part of a child’s life the next forcefully removed.
- False allegations and lack of due duty to investigate and make individuals accountable for such devastating crimes.
- Parental Alienation endemic in most conflict cases just varying in degree, where the parent who shouts loudest, lies the most and is prepared to tear their child apart is the winner, in the high stakes “game” the family courts have created with winner take all, and the child always looses.
- DV in the form of violence, verbal, emotional, financial restriction of contact used against fathers just wanting to love and be part of their children’s lives. With openly bias from the police and no consistent gender neutral policies.
- Removal of children from good or good enough parents, and other children left to suffer under abusive parents as the organisations designed to protect them are not able to.
It would have been nice for a reform to be based on the people and family of this country based on honest family principles of children being looking after loved and cared for by those that cherish and want to take care of them and want the best for them. A starting point of shared residence would clear a lot of the back log the courts and CAFCASS have, that they will never recover from. As fathers/mothers would not need to apply for something which was already presumed. Mothers would not go to the cost and hassle of going to court where the have to fight for a position instead of just hold on to one handed on a platter to them. Consequence for false allegations would make parents think twice before making them and courts would have more time to focus on genuinely difficult cases and investigating and proving allegations true or false beyond doubt.
Then again who are we to make suggestions we are just the parents who’s children are emotionally abused every day, who proactively look at win win solutions not based on political gain or commercial gain or loss.
Clear the courts of cases that should just be shared residence and focus on the cases that need undivided attention to get them right. Let the courts and those that work for them be accountable and open to scrutiny as is any other professional when peoples lives are at stake.
What more can I say another opportunity lost? What does one need to do to make change become an MP or Judge or put one of them through the family courts to suffer the same injustice.
The Executive Summary provides a succinct overview of the full report findings. (provideded by JUMP)
EVERY FAMILY MATTERS
An in-depth review of Family Law in Britain
The latest CSJ policy report is launched today. Every Family Matters: An in-depth review of Family Law in Britain presents the conclusions of the CSJ Family Law Review.
Every Family Matters is a comprehensive analysis of the impact of English family law on family life. The review makes 131 recommendations which will ensure that the law does not contribute to family breakdown but, rather, supports stable and healthy families ensuring better life outcomes for children and the well-being of adults.
The recommendations are in the following areas:
· relationship support
· pre-marriage information and preparation
· pre-marital agreements
· domestic violence
· mediation services
· divorce law
· post-divorce settlements and
· financial provision, legal aid, international families
· the rights of the extended family
Every Family Matters is the UK’s most comprehensive review of Family Law in forty years.
For more details visit www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk
The Centre for Social Justice
9 Westminster Palace Gardens
London SW1P 1RL
020 7340 9650
Some of the key recommendations cited in the Executive Summary of the report are detailed below, but these are not exhaustive:
- “Parliament decided in the 1996 legislation that there were significant benefits in having a threemonth period of reflection and consideration at the outset of the divorce process. This report concludes that such a period would be beneficial, commenced with a short, neutral notice.”
- “….this report concludes that there should be much stronger encouragement for couples to take part in relationship education whilst therelationship is healthy and intact, as evidence shows tangible benefits.”
- “….also recommend that the educational curriculum for young people should include lessons about family relationships, including differences between marriage and cohabitation and the impact of separation on children.”
- “…There is a need for some unifying and centralising resource for the services. The review conducted a study visit to Australia to look at their Family Relationship Centres and recommends that a similar model in certain respects should be introduced.We call them Family Relationship Hubs to concentrate on their focus of bringing together the various services available locally.
RELATIONSHIP SUPPORT: CONCLUSION
- Information to be provided at the beginning of a relationship to strengthen and prepare for the relationship;
Marriage support in various forms of couple relationship education, including appropriate intervention at specific times in the relationship;
Local centres to provide information and resources to help individuals and families;
Mandatory referral to information before the commencement of court proceedings;
Mandatory attempt at resolution in childrenmatters before proceedings.
- “We recommend that before any proceedings in family law can be commenced, with certain exceptions, the applicantmust have had the opportunity to consider information on reconciliation opportunities and resources, Alternative Dispute Resolution, impact on children, costs and court procedures and other relatively basic information. A certificate of attendance would be required before proceedings could be issued.”
“It is anticipated that the Family Relationships Hubs will play a crucial role in overcoming some of these problems, and in providing referrals to appropriate services and resources. The Hubs would work closely with HM Courts Service.”
- “We propose that it should be mandatory to attend an information provision meeting, to include a full explanation of ADR, before commencing any form of family law proceedings and then to certify attendance before proceedings can be issued by the court.
- “We decided that there should not be any significant wholesale changes to the legislation. We did, however, decide that the Children Act needs to be amended to include principles for contact and residence that are clearer and more explicit but nevertheless leave room for flexibility and judgement in particular cases.” “All those with parental responsibility should be presumed to have an equal status in their children’s lives following separation.”
- “We also suggest legislation should acknowledge that children are most likely to benefit from the ‘substantial involvement’ of both parents in their lives. This will be found through contact being of a sufficient frequency and duration so that each parent is able to have this substantial involvement in the child’s day-to-day routine and activities.
“Naturally the welfare of the child remains the paramount consideration. However amendments to primary legislation of this form should significantly ensure that children have a continuous and good relationship with both parents despite parental separation (with appropriate caveats in place where domestic abuse is an issue).”
- There should be a
partnership of funding between central government, local government, CAFCASS and the centres themselves, whilst recognising that the centres for their part may continue to rely on volunteer work and charitable donations.Whilst we understand that many attend these centres reluctantly and this has deterred many centres fromcharging, payment by parents except for exceptional services should become the norm, given the lack of available finance for this essential service and the fact of parental responsibility.
- “Changes to the Children Act 1989, proposed above, would be the starting point and provide guidance, where it is currently lacking, as to how the non-resident parent can be better factored into the decisionmaking process as regards relocation.” “…there must bemuch greater consideration given to the wider implications for the child of a geographical relocation, and more than the simple alternative choice of with which parent to live.”
- “Given the level of support for curbing or removing the two-stage process, our recommendation is that grandparents seeking contact shouldnot be placed in the same legal position as other extended family members or stepparents to the family who need leave to apply to the court.” “We concluded that an approach that supports and encourages early mediation between the grandparent and the parent with residence (like that facilitated in Australian Family Relationship Centres) may have a real prospect of producing better outcomes for the family.” “Given many parents’ preference for informal childcare, especially that provided by grandparents, we also reiterate the recommendation in Breakthrough Britain that there be a change in the rules to allow the use of childcare tax credit to pay unregistered close relatives (albeit at a lower rate).”
- “Our proposal on financial provision is that all assets of the couple on divorce should be categorised into marital assets and non-marital assets and divided differently. Marital assets should be divided equally subject to overriding calls on those assets, and non-marital assets should stay with the relevant spouse again subject to overriding calls on those assets and unless there is any good reason tomake any distributive orders.”
In addition, the Full Report makes reference to Child Maintenance issues as follows:
The family courts shall have power to make child maintenance orders where both parties are not in receipt of or claiming welfare benefits and the court is making other orders between them concerning income or capital and in any event where are arrears of more than 6 months.
Written agreements after legal advice by parents regarding child support, when neither is in receipt of welfare benefits, shall count as child-support assessments.
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“It is a rare breed of human who can blend a free spirit, a decisive nature, a deep respect for life, love for adventure, and an uncompromising sense of integrity into human happiness and being. Such individuals hear the heartbeat of wholeness.”
“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” Convention on the Rights of the Child