We all remember terms such as “custody and access”, which were replaced with the new legal framework of “residence and contact”. The hope was to bring a more positive view on the arrangements concerning children. The Children and Families Bill has now proposed that the terminology of Residence and Contact Orders will change and be replaced by Child Arrangement Orders.
The aim is to place greater emphasis on the specific arrangements rather than the label adopted. The focus of the Child Arrangement Order is placed firmly on the content of the Order, rather than the name of the Order.
With the Court giving increasing recognition to the benefits of shared residence arrangements, it is hoped that by focusing on the content of the Order and creating an environment which best suits the child’s needs, there will be more appreciation of the other parent’s role in the child’s life, rather than there being a “main parent” and a “non-resident parent”. This is following the recent shift in case law which has emphasised shared cared arrangements as being “the rule rather than the exception”. However, whether this will actually translate less conflict to those unfortunate people who find themselves in Children Act proceedings is yet to be seen.