This article in The Observer this Sunday suggests that they are and is well worth a read.
If you are a father seeking contact with your child the onus is on you to prove that increased time with the father is in the child’s best interest. A visit to CAFCASS website describes what Residence and Contact are, and what the Courts are required to consider. It states that CAFCASS are neutral and there is no bias towards either parent.
The public policy has been that it is in the child’s best interest to live with one parent and have regular contact with the other. Some states in America, such as Florida, take a different approach and the starting position on separation is 50/50. There has been an increase in Shared Residence Orders, ie the children are to live with both parents and not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.
For all you fathers out there who think this is too hard to achieve His Honour Mr Justice Mostyn gave judgement in Re AR (A child: Relocation) (2010 EWHC 1346 (Fam) at para 52:
“I am clearly of the view that a joint or shared residence order should be made. Indeed, such an order is nowadays the rule rather that the exception even when the quantum of care undertaken by each parent is decidedly unequal. There is very good reason why such orders should be normative for they avoid the psychological baggage of right, power and control that attends a sole residence order, which was one of the reasons that we were ridden of the notions of Custody and control by the Act of 1989.”