Phew, a day of changes in family law or at the least of labels used.
Inflammatory words like residence and contact have been banned and lawyers are now talking about child arrangements. To help resolve disputes concerning these are Signposting Services whilst a Gatekeeping Team is going to determine the correct allocation of court applications after checking to ensure that sparring couples have been referred to a mediation service for a MIAM.
New and convoluted abbreviations are now in common parlance; the FACDIBB rules for instance.
Forms have changed or been abolished altogether.
Strict timescales have been introduced for the resolution of child care cases.
However, if all that wasn’t enough, the crowning glory of the reforms has to be a new court. Except it isn’t; locally the court buildings are still in the same place. Administrative functions of some staff have altered, as has the address to which some paperwork must be delivered but yes there has been a name change. All cases are now to be directed to the aptly named Single Family Court.
“Can I still start proceedings if we haven’t actually become single families yet?” asked one client today after hearing about the changes in a news bulletin.
“Only if you use the correct terminology, explore mediation, find the correct form and then potentially attend at a court office 20 miles away to issue the application,” could have been the confused response.