The single Family Court came into force yesterday (22nd April 2014) as part of a major shake-up for the family justice system. This new Family Court replaces three separate tiers of Court which currently deal with family law proceedings.
Some of the changes include:
- There will be a single gateway into the family justice system whether dealing with divorce, finance, children in care or adoption so that the right level of judge is appointed for a particular case and the most suitable location.
- All divorcing couples will now have to attend a mediation and agreement information service (MIAM) before they can proceed to Court to resolve children and/or financial issues, although there are exceptions.
- The terms ‘residence order’ and ‘contact order’ will be replaced by ‘a child’s arrangement order’ to encourage parents to focus on the child’s needs
- The target for resolving care cases will be 26 weeks which should mean speedier and better outcomes for vulnerable children. Also, expert evidence will only be permitted when necessary to resolve the case justly.
For more information on the above changes or any other family issues, please contact our Family Department