The contact provisions of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 are finally coming into force on 28 November following a brief consultation in the summer. Draft rules have been published. See Family Law Week for links to the relevant MoJ pages. What is unclear is how this will all work in practice. There will be additional burdens placed upon CAFCASS and no doubt at least initially confusion about what service providers can assist the court in implementing orders (for example perpetrator programmes). As with so many things involving contact disputes the courts’ theoretical legal powers may be difficult to apply in practice because of resources issues.
One thing’s for sure – family practitioners need to refresh their memories about the long dormant contents of the 2006 Act, bone up on the rules that will apply and try to work out what is available in their area to make the new powers come to life.