New shared parenting provision published, but will it make any difference?

It seems slightly strange to me that this isn't (yet) a news item on the Department for Education website, but there have been considerable developments in the last 24 hours regarding the issue of shared parenting. As I mentioned in my News Update below, the Government's response to the consultation has been published, and the favoured option is a presumption that the welfare of the child will be furthered by involvement in the child's upbringing of each parent. In addition, the Government has published a draft clause to be inserted into section 1 of the Children Act, together with an explanatory note.

The explanatory note includes the following flow diagram (or, to use the jargon (because 'flow diagram' is clearly too easy), 'process map'), which explains how the presumption is expected to fit with the decision making process:

I have commented before that I am not sure how much difference, if any, a presumption will make to outcomes (although it may increase the amount of argument). The explanatory note also includes five fictitious examples of how the court might apply the presumption in practice. I have to say that I am finding it difficult to conclude that any of those example cases would have been decided differently under the old (i.e. current) law.

You can read more about the new provision on Family Law Week, here.


  1. The scenarios are ridiculous. Who would apply for such an order- bring the child home on Saturday night, off to bed and then straight back to the other parent in the morning? Is that "involvement?"
    Is that "shared parenting?"
    Faced with such a proposal, I would expect any decent family court judge to send the parties outside again to come up with a proposal that actually made sense, assuming that a family lawyer had let it slip through the net in the first place.
    It just highlights how out of touch with the reality of family life these politicians are and, more importantly, the need for some definition of "involvement."
    Other than that, it looks pretty much the same as the current legislation and how it is applied.
    The emperor's new clothes again....

    1. Yes, seems to me little more than window dressing.

    2. It seems to introduce a mechanical preliminary decision making process which brings the court back to much the same position as at present.
      I can't see it making any difference at the first dispute resolution hearings and I think it is a case of being seen to do something.

    3. Yes, that seems to be the case.

  2. Urgently seeking DIVORCED OR SEPARATED PARENTS that are implementing 50/50 access to their children to take part in a Channel 4 Documentary. We are aiming to film in December so, if you wish to find out more about the programme please email as soon as possible


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