Reforms to the Family Justice System

On Tuesday 22 April 2014, some of the most significant reforms to the Family Justice System in a decade are implemented. The new Family Court will open its doors, and many other changes come into effect.

MIAMS: The Children and Families Act 2014 includes provision to require the potential applicant to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before being able to apply for certain types of court order.

Child Arrangements Programme: The Child Arrangements Programme (CAP), which revises the Private Law Programme, is intended to be a more comprehensive guide to the Private Law process and to be more accessible for all, particularly Litigants in Person. It will also encourage disputes to be settled outside of the court system.

Child Arrangements Orders: The introduction of the Child Arrangements Order will replace Residence and Contact Orders under s.8(1) of the Children Act 1989.  The purpose is to bring greater focus on the practical issues of the day-to-day care of the child.

The Family Court: The Crime and Courts Act 2013 brought in new legislation to establish a Family Court which will replace the current three tiers of court. Proceedings will be issued by the Family Court and will be allocated to a level of judge according to their type and complexity.  The aim of these changes is to tackle delays and to improve judicial continuity.

Changes to divorce:  A Statement of Arrangements for the Children no longer needs to be completed and lodged at Court in divorce proceedings, as arrangements for children will no longer be scrutinised as part of the divorce process but can be resolved through separate proceedings.

We are able to assist you with any concerns you have about arrangements for your children, putting your children first with expert Legal Advice and practical support or Mediation, including MIAMS.

Lisa Broddle 24 April 2014