The Children and Family Relationships Bill was enacted on 6 April 2015.
The purpose of the Children and Family Relationships Act is to:
- modernise the law regarding children living in diverse family forms;
- establish that the best interests of the child are paramount in decisions on custody, guardianship and access;
- set out how parentage is to be assigned in cases of assisted reproduction;
- extend automatic guardianship to non-marital fathers who have lived with the child’s mother for at least 12 months, including 3 months following the child’s birth;
- enable civil partnered or cohabiting couples to be eligible jointly to adopt a child;
- allow civil partners, step-parents, those cohabiting with the biological parent and those acting in loco parentis for a specified period to apply for guardianship and custody;
- enable members of the wider family to apply for access to the child;
- enable a donor-conceived child, born through assisted reproduction, to trace his/her identity. A mandatory national donor- conceived person register will be established. Hospitals and clinics will be required to provide details of donors and of donor-conceived children born through assisted reproduction.
- Anonymous donations will be prohibited.
The Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015 is available at the following link: Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015