Where both parents have parental responsibility for their child they are equal before the law. There is no presumption by the court that one parent is a better parent than the other and the court is required to approach these sensitive and difficult matters in an impartial and unbiased manner. In making decisions about contact and other arrangements for children, all judges and holders of judicial office must ensure that their work is free from improper discrimination on any grounds, including gender. Rather, the Children Act 1989 requires that the best interests of the child must be paramount in any decision taken that will affect them.
However, in order to ensure that children are able to have a meaningful relationship with both their parents following separation I have asked the Family Justice Review to examine how the positive involvement of both parents following separation should be supported. In particular, I have asked the panel to consider how contact with non-resident parents can be promoted where this is in the best interests of the child. The Family Justice Review will issue an interim report with recommendations for reform at the end of March and publish its final report in autumn this year.