…a story from the near future when there is a presumption of 50/50 Shared Care:
`…newly appointed President of the Family Division Sir James Holman has issued new Practice Guidance in relation to the quantum of time children spend with their separated parents. All courts have been advised that any parent wishing to depart from a routine that provides children with equal amounts of time with each parent will be required to demonstrate why this view is in line with the paramountcy principle. Fathers rights groups hailed this as a major step forward, whilst Women’s Aid…’
`Hello, Family Law Assistance – how can we help?’
`Hi there. I’m looking for advice. I separated from my ex 3 months ago. She won’t let me see the kids. I’ve told her that the law means they are meant to be with me for half the time but she won’t listen’.
`Have you tried mediation? It’s always best to try to avoid court and besides it’s a requirement if you are going to make an application.
`Already done that. I went to the MIAM’.
`How did it go?’
`She went to the first one but said she wouldn’t agree to anything more than the kids seeing me on alternate weekends and mid week contact. Because there’s 50/50 Shared Care now isn’t there? She didn’t listen and refused to go to another session’.
`You’re right. There is a presumption of 50/50 Shared Care now’.
`OK thanks. She told me I had committed DV against her and abused the kids which is why she won’t agree to anything else. Will the court ignore that?’
`Allegations made will either be ignored, or you’ll be asked about them. Possibly order a Finding of Fact’.
`Will that slow things down? Will I get my kids half the time until then?’
`It’s unlikely at this stage. The court has an obligation to investigate allegations. Since the changes to Practice Direction 12J were made last year however contact may be difficult for the moment’.
`I was told that if the kids are with her and not seeing me it’ll make things harder for me to get 50/50 is that true?’
`The court has to work in the best interests of the child and if they’ve not seen you for a long time it may want to work on a schedule of increasing contact…’
Sound familar? How would a presumption of 50/50 work?