• Forecast For Family Law In 2024

Forecast For Family Law In 2024

There are several changes to look out for that may or may not improve the family courts in 2024 and beyond.

Forecast for Family Law in 2024

There are several changes to look out for that may or may not improve the family courts in 2024 and beyond. 

  • Resolving family matters out of court – the government has responded to the consultation on earlier resolution of family law arrangements, which FNF inputted on as well as having a meetings with Ministry of Justice officials – Supporting earlier resolution of private family law arrangements  (LINK). The government has stopped short of mandating that separating parents attend parenting programmes or mediation and there will therefore be no use of costs orders for failure to engage with either. There will though be new early legal advice pilots, planned to launch by summer 2024 in specific regions, to test if providing early free, government-funded legal advice can help parents reach agreement at an early stage without the need to resort to court. There will be improved information and signposting to set out the available options for separating parents, more encouragement to attend parenting programmes earlier in the process and continued support of the mediation voucher scheme.  The pathfinder pilots, with the aim to make proceedings more investigative and less adversarial, will be extended to South-East Wales and Birmingham in April and June 2024 respectively with the intention to eventually roll them out to all courts in England and Wales.

Whilst we were arguing for a more radical overhaul, we do believe these are steps in the right direction and are supportive of all efforts to avoid separation ending up in court whenever possible.

  • Presumption review – FNF is an integral member of the panel feeding into the government’s review of the Presumption under the Children Act 1989 that parental involvement will further the child’s welfare (unless there is evidence to suggest that involvement parent would put the child at risk of suffering harm). This has been subject to delays but is planned to report in November. The review has been instigated by the 2020 Harm Report, which had no involvement with, and considered no evidence from any groups representing dads.
  • Financial Remedies on divorce. Reporting in November, the Law Commission is carrying out an analysis of the current laws on financial remedies on divorce, to determine whether there are problems with the current framework that require reform, and what the options for reform might look like. FNF was invited to and is participating in the scoping report which will be provided to the government. The full terms of reference can be found on the project’s web page,here.
  • Proposed amendment to Victims and Prisoners Bill affecting parental responsibility – currently at committee stage, this will automatically remove parental responsibility for parents convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter – there will be exemptions for victims of domestic abuse.
  • Family Court Fees to rise -The government is consulting on increasing most court fees by 10%; this would mean a C100 will rise from £232 to £255. Users of His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), including the family court, currently contribute to the cost of the justice process by paying fees. Court fees generated £727 million of the total £2.3 billion cost to run HMCTS in 2022/23, with the remainder funded by the taxpayer. Please note theHelp with Fees Remission schemeto assist those on low and middle incomes with paying for court and tribunal fees.
  • General Election – Whilst we await the date of this (which must be before 28 January 2025), we will scrutinise the manifesto of each main Party as to whether they progress or push back the cause of shared parenting in this country.
Forecast For Family Law In 2024

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