• UK Govt Signs up to Hague 19 Convention

The Budget 2024 What’s in it for our kids?

The Budget 2024 – What’s in it for our kids?

Family Courts – The most important measure from our perspective was to pledge £55 million for the Family Court ‘to offer online targeted guidance and earlier legal advice, shortening wait times and supporting families through non-court dispute resolution’.Save

This follows the Government’s response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on earlier resolution of private family law arrangements, to fund early legal advice, provide better and earlier information for separating parents and continue to fund the mediation voucher scheme. Whilst against the backdrop of funding cuts to the court system generally, we welcome this funding to support parents in finding out of court solutions that prioritise the best interests of their children without the need for lengthy and often ruinous family court proceedings.

Child Benefit – Child benefit ceased being a universal benefit in 2013 when anyone earning more than £50k would no longer be entitled to the full payment, tapering off to no benefit if earning more than £60k. The Government announced the new taper to move between £60k to £80k. There was still no clarity on who gets child benefit with a shared care order.

The child benefit rules are still unfair. A dual income household earning a combined income of just under £100k will receive full child benefit while a single income household earning £60k would now have to start paying it back through higher tax. There was no resolution to this in the budget, though the government has stated they are reviewing this.

Household Support Fund – HSF, which allows local councils to help families via foodbanks, warm spaces and food vouchers, is to be extended by six months.

NHS – The Chancellor announced a “landmark public sector productivity plan”, using new technology to improve efficiency and make savings. This includes the NHS App which is often the only way a separated parent can keep up with their children’s medical progress.

Childcare – Rates paid to nurseries to fund free childcare for parents of children aged more than 9 months will continue for two more years. Welcome news for residential parents, though takes little or no notice of non-residential parents, who can provide loving, reliable and free childcare. We continue to push for investment in paternity leave, with the consequent improvement in child welfare that contact with both parents ensures.

UK Govt Signs up to Hague 19 Convention

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