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Government Proposals on Family Law have the Potential to Dramatically Improve Outcomes for Children in the UK




Families Need Fathers welcomes the Government’s response to the Family Justice Review. Although there is much work to be done to ensure that the family justice system provides better outcomes for children and families in practice, the Government’s proposals mark a clear step forward for private family law in the UK.


Families Need Fathers agrees that disputes about parenting arrangements are best settled out of court, and supports the Government’s proposals to increase the frequency and strength of private family arrangements. However, there will always be a sizeable minority of intractable cases where court becomes unavoidable, and it is in these cases that today’s recommendations mark a positive development for the family justice system. Key proposals include the intention to introduce a legislative statement on the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both parents following separation wherever possible, and a desire to strengthen enforcement sanctions where court orders are breached.


Ken Sanderson, CEO of Families Need Fathers, commented, “The proposals announced today will help to improve public confidence in the family justice system. By reinforcing the law’s commitment to ensure children benefit from the love and support of both parents following separation, the Government will help to ensure that it is not children who continue to be punished when acrimony between separating parents is played out in the courts.”


“This is not a question of equally dividing time, but of ensuring that children get to benefit from the full involvement of both parents following family breakdown. We support the Government’s belief that developing legislation emphasizing the importance of both parents in a child’s life is complimentary to the welfare needs of the child, and hope that this will be the beginning of a process of reform that will see the development of a family justice system fit for the needs of children and their families.”


Other important proposals include the replacement of ‘contact’ and ‘residence’ orders, which encourage a ‘winner takes all’ mentality in private family law disputes, with ‘child arrangements orders’, which are more child focused. However, the decision to continue requiring grandparents to apply for permission before they can make an application to court to see their grandchildren indicates that there is still work to be done to ensure that the rights of children to a relationship with their wider family are adequately protected.




For comment, case studies or information please contact:


Ross Jones, Acting Director of Policy and Research 0300 0300 110


Vahsti Hale, Policy and Research Officer 0300 0300 110



Note for editors: Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status.  



Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s relationship with both parents. 


Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.

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FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel


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