Children and Families Bill

19 Jun 2012

Yesterday’s Queen speech unveiled plans for more flexible parental leave, speedier adoptions and a radical shake-up of support for children with special educational needs. The measures, which are all in the Children’s and Families Bill and which may be of interest to you are outlined below.

Parental leave

The plans for a more flexible system of parental leave will allow women who want to return to work earlier after having a baby to do so, by transferring some their maternity-leave entitlement to the baby’s father.

Parental rights

The government is also pressing ahead with plans which are aimed at strengthening the rights of divorced fathers to see their children. The Queen’s speech said “ministers intend to strengthen the law to ensure children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation, where this is safe and in the best interests of the child”.

The government will be consulting shortly on how legislation can be framed to achieve this.


There will be a new time limit for cases of children going into care and the family law courts should make a decision on whether a child should be taken from their parents and placed in care within six months.

This is part of the government’s drive to speed up the adoption process. The government announced earlier in 2012 that it believes too many children stay for too long in care, which has a detrimental effect on children.

Children’s commissioner powers

The Bill will also give more powers to the children’s commissioners for England to protect children’s rights, taking over some responsibility from England’s school inspectorate, Ofsted.

The children’s commissioner, Maggie Atkinson will be given more independence from ministers and powers to carry out assessments of the impact of government policy on children.

How Osbornes Solicitors can help?

Our expert family law solicitors can provide you with advice on any family law issue including what to do if you are seeking a divorce, what to do if you end a relationship with another person whom you are co-habiting with but are not married to and all other family law enquiries.

To have a confidential conversation with a member of our family law team contact us by:

  • Calling us on 020 7485 8811
  • Filling in our online enquiry form
  • Follow us on Twitter @osborneslawyers

The family department at Osbornes is recommended and ranked by independent legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.  Our specialist family lawyers in London advise on all aspects of family lawincluding divorce law.

Share this article