DISPUTE RESOLUTION WEEK - Private law court applications in relation to children25th Sep 2012
Draft legislation, in line with Mr Justice Ryder’s proposals, has been recently published. As part of Resolution’s Dispute Resolution week, each day this week we will be publishing our Solicitor’s thoughts on these proposals. Today Emma Hamilton Cole, in the Family and Matrimonial Department, discusses private law court applications in relation to children and the changes in terminology used by the courts.
When dealing with our client’s disputes as to the care of their children following a separation, our initial advice encourages the parents to try and engage in constructive and non-confrontational dialogue. This can include family mediation or the collaborative family law process. However, occasionally, it is necessary to start court proceedings in order for important decisions to be made in relation to children’s care arrangements. When making court applications we are automatically struck with the terms “Contact” and “Residence”, creating a perception of one parent being more important than the other.
The practical reality of the way in which the courts deal with such disputes is quite different to this; the courts try to decide what the most suitable plan is for the children. The proposed changes to the law include removing the words “Contact” and “Residence” and replacing them with the term “Children Arrangements”. We welcome any proposals such as these, which make the court process and access to justice more simple and straight forward for all parents who’s relationship has broken down.