Lib Dem Contact Proposals

A colleague emails:

…When looking through the LibDem manifesto this week, I noticed an express commitment, buried deep in the document at page 52, which may be of some interest (and reads, as follows)….
“The Liberal Democrats will “introduce a default contact arragangement, which would divide the child’s time between their two parents in the event of a family breakdown, if there is no threat to the safety of the child”
I’m wondering (a) what the default position will be (b) how many cases I have had in the last 4 years where a care and contact pattern has not been completely tailored to the circumstances of the particular family (less than 1 hand of fingers) and (c) how it would be implemented….?”

He’s right on the nail there as far as I can see. But I don’t see the other two parties as being exactly a family lawyer’s dream party either, so this won’t change my vote.


The Lib Dems will also incorporate the UN Convention on the rights of a child into UK law, publish anonymised Serious Case Reviews and they make a number of generalised pledges about such things as the reduction of child poverty.

Thanks AC for the heads up.

6 thoughts on “Lib Dem Contact Proposals

  1. Elliott_Lancaster

    I was left even more uneasy by Gordon Brown’s interview with Paxman that I saw tonight and his promise to cut Legal Aid.

    This morning, I had no idea who I was going to vote for. At least this has enabled me to narrow it down to two…..

  2. Elliott_Lancaster

    basically that, that savings will come from, inter alia, cutting legal aid. Oxymoronic quote from Labour manifesto as well, which is well worth a read:

    “To help protect frontline services, we will find greater savings in legal aid and the courts system – increasing the use of ‘virtual courts’, which move from arrest, to trial, to sentencing in hours rather than weeks or months”.

    Never though I’d see this from a Labour party!

  3. Pascal ze frog

    The Lib Dems’ idea of a default contact is a sound and necessary principle given the length of and tedious Court proceedings. Children without contact from one parent are suddenly more likely to build a conflict of loyalty defense mechanism, which can also be furher enhanced by negative comments from the custodian parent.
    Alternated weekends and one night a week are very acceptable minima to start with while cases are going through the motions.
    With Cafcass uncompetent interference, and given the recent publicised SS cases, “erring on the side of caution” has meant no contact being put forward as default until procedural boxes are ticked…Children need contact not paperwork.
    Your(?) analysis on Dr Weir’s comments last year reflects a reality attached to the above. An uncompetent Cafcass officer will interpret a 7-yr old child wishes of no contact as bible instead of using common sense, never mind family court and psycholigical assessments “conventions” of reading between the lines.
    You can easily build a bad case from misinterpretation (I’m biased as I feel mine is) but over cautiousness forbids contact by default too easily … go to fathers organisations meetings to check…

  4. Paul Randle-Jolliffe

    I agree with you Pascal.

    Caution has led to presumtion of risk and this becomes entirely the opposite of the interests of children which has meant that fairness in proceedings has become a rare thing.

    What I see is almost a determination to make a risk case in the face of no proper risk assessement or risk factors, this is not either good practice or law.

    A presumtion of risk by common practice without proper proceedure to risk assess creates risk.

    There must be presumtion that there is no risk except there is proper risk assessment where risk is higlighted.

    What justification can there be to allow cases to go on for years when one or another party is just playing the systems flaws and fear of risk when actually there never is one and also in cases when there is and it is never properly assessed.

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