The Children and Families Act 2014

The Children and Families Act 2014


This act came into force on 22nd April 2014 but what do these changes mean to you?

The reforms are designed to improve the way the family Court system works as a whole, not only by reducing delays but also making sure that the welfare of children is the focus of the Court process. 

At the same time, there is now a greater emphasis being placed on alternatives to the Court process, such as mediation. The reforms aim to shift public perception to the idea that when a couple separate, Court should be their last resort for resolve financial matters and arrangements for children. 

Previously there was an expectation that people attend an initial information meeting to find out about mediation and other alternatives to Court, before making any Court application. That has now become a legal requirement. Unless one of the limited exceptions apply, a person must now attend the information meeting and if this is not complied with, any Court hearings are likely to be adjourned until this has happened.

There are other changes too including a new emphasis on the importance of both parents continuing to have involvement with their children after separation. The previous concept of "residence and "contact" orders for children was felt to be unhelpful and these terms have now been replaced by a new "child arrangements order. In practice, the content of these types of orders will be largely the same. The change is intended to focus parents' minds on their children's needs rather than what the parents feel are their rights over them. It also hoped that by moving away from the concept of one parent having residence of the child whilst the other parent just has contact, the importance of both parents sharing responsibility and having an equally important role for their children is recognised. 

Please feel free to contact us on 01392 258451 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange an appointment or discuss matters further.