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The presumption of parental involvement
Tim Adkin – Family Solicitor
Recent figures show that the number of applications from fathers seeking to spend more time with their children after divorce and Separation has increased by 39% in the last twelve months. Contact applications now represent 60% of all applicants in respect of where a child lives and how their time is split between parents.
The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced a “presumption of parental involvement” designed to encourage Courts to recognise the role of each parent in a more equal way. In order to keep up with social changes, the Act helps to recognise the importance of fathers having an active role in their children’s lives, which signals the end of the traditional idea that a mother is the “main parent”.
This increased role of fathers, which includes more overnight stays, is impacting on financial arrangements established by the Courts including child maintenance. Where fathers have taken on a bigger parental role post Separation/divorce and have taken on more of the costs of housing, feeding and clothing to their children themselves means that maintenance payments for the children can be smaller, or sometimes non-existent.
Whilst it is possibly still the case that in many instances the children spend more nights in their mother’s home than in their father’s, the Courts are increasingly moving away from the ideas that a child must have one designated “home”. The changes made as a result of the Act can therefore be seen to have a big impact on decisions made by the Courts and the advice given to the parties concerned by the lawyers.
For legal advice on parental responsibility or any other family matter please contact us or call 01453 832566.
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