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Feb 01

Divorcees to be given better rights to see children

According to The Daily Telegraph, divorced parents will be given an improved legal right to see their children.

Under plans being drawn up by ministers, courts will have to ensure that both parents are given access to children in divorce settlements and parents who refuse to accept the orders will be in contempt of court and risk serious penalties and possible jail time.

The proposals mark a change to current laws, under which family courts tend to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of cases. As a result, one in three children, roughly 3.8million, now live without their father, the Office of National Statistics has revealed.

The plans have been given high profile support from the likes of Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith, and the Conservatives also pledged to introduce the reforms before coming into government.

“Our vision is to establish that, under normal circumstances, a child will have relationship with both his or her parents, regardless of their relationship with each other,” said Tim Loughton, the Children's Minister.

“We must do everything we can to improve the system so that it gives children the best chance of growing up under the guidance of two loving parents.

“All the evidence tells us that children genuinely benefit from a relationship with both parents, with the potential to make different contributions to their child’s development.”

The Coalition is expected to announce the plans as part of its official response to the Norgrove report by the end of this month, The Daily Telegraph revealed.

"The Government fully supports the Family Justice Review's position that the vast majority of children benefit from a continuing relationship with both parents after separation,” said a government spokesperson.

"We are looking closely at all options to promote this. We will publish the Government's response to the Family Justice Review shortly.”