Court Reporters - CAFCASS - mislead again
----- Original Message -----
From: Dow, Catherine
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2004 1:17 PM
Subject: F.A.O Baroness Pitkeathley
Dear Mr Mortimer
Many thanks for your recent enquiry, to which I am responding
on behalf of Baroness Pitkeathley, the Chair of CAFCASS.
CAFCASS recognises that children generally benefit from a
continuing relationship with both parents after a family breakdown.
We also acknowledge that the best outcomes for children are
usually where parents themselves reach agreement about arrangements
for the future of their children, as most do without resorting
to the courts.
Where agreement cannot be reached, state intervention in family
life may be needed, but is generally likely to be second best.
Fewer than one in 10 parental disputes end up in the courts
but when cases do go to court, decisions will be made on the
facts of each individual case in which the child's welfare
is the court's paramount consideration.
CAFCASS does not believe it is possible to set rigid standard
rules for contact between children and their parents as the
circumstances of families vary considerably. Shared residence
(or joint residence) is one of a range of options available
for families. When considering these options, we base our
recommendations on what arrangements are in the best interests
of the child.
CAFCASS continues to take note of developing caselaw  and
research on the subject of shared residence, which shows that
successful shared residence depends on a high degree of co-operation
between the parents. When parents are in conflict or find
it difficult to communicate, there can be difficulties for
some children who split their time equally between their parent's
houses after divorce or separation, particularly as they get
 D v D  1 FLR 495, Re A  1 FCR 177, Re F 
2 FLR 397 and A v A  EWHC 142 (Fam).
 Smart, C., Neale, B. and Flowerdew, J. (forthcoming 2003)
Follow up study to The Changing Experience of Childhood: Families
and Divorce Polity Press (2001).