• Is an “out of court service” more appropriate for my family than court?

    The number of court cases relating to children has increased significantly since the beginning of 2016, and there is no sign of this trend slowing down.  Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, is conducting a review of the system and has said the family courts are having to “run up a down escalator” due to the increased burden. The president of the family division has said that some parents needs to be persuaded not to bring their cases to court, in order to reduce the pressure and begin to stop the delays that are …

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  • Renewed Calls for Divorce Law Reform

    The highly publicised case of Mr and Mrs Owens has focused considerable attention on the ongoing calls for divorce law reform in England and Wales. Under the current law, there are five “facts” (reasons) that can be used to demonstrate that a marriage has irretrievably broken down. These are:   1. Adultery 2. Unreasonable behaviour 3. Desertion 4. Living apart for more than two years, where both parties agree to the divorce 5. Living apart for at least five years, even if one party disagrees.   Desertion is a rarely used technical reason for a divorce. Adultery often does not …

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  • The danger of not having a financial order on divorce

    One of the main concerns of couples who are getting divorced, is the finances. Typically both parties will want to make sure that an agreement is in place that is fair and workable and that gives each of them a degree of financial security.   Where the assets are straightforward couples can sometimes reach an agreement between themselves, but problems can occur much further down the line if their agreement has not been approved by the Court at the time of the divorce. This problem can also arise where the parties have reached no agreement at all but have just …

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  • Resolution’s Parenting Charter

    As part of the Resolution Manifesto for Family Law, Resolution proposes a Parenting Charter which clearly sets out what children should be able to expect from their parents if they are separating, and what separating parents need to do in the best interests of their children.   This part of the manifesto differs from the other aspects (the full manifesto can be found here) as it does not call for a change in the law or public policy.  Resolution hopes that the charter will be a tool for lawyers, mediators and others working with separating couples, as well as for …

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  • Are we heading towards no-fault divorces?

    At present, the law sets out the circumstances in which a divorce can be obtained.  If a couple wishing to divorce would like to do so without apportioning blame against one another, the current law requires them to wait for a period of two years before they can proceed.  If they do not want to wait that long, then one of them will need to cite another reason for the divorce – usually either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.   The apportioning of blame can make an already difficult process much harder.  An element of unpleasantness can be introduced at a …

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  • Litigants in Person

    On 1st April 2013 the government withdrew legal aid for most family cases. The purported rationale behind this decision was to encourage people to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation. This actual reason was to save money.   The problem is that where there are many cases in which ADR is appropriate, there are many cases in which it is not. It is also worth noting that even if you, as a client decide to attend mediation you will still need legal advice to understand your position and your options so that you can negotiate properly. You will …

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  • Court cases relating to children not in decline

    Litigation over children is not decreasing significantly despite the government’s push for parents to attend mediation. In April 2011, the government made it compulsory for parents to consider mediation before making an application to court in relation to arrangements for children. The idea was that parents should attend a meeting to find out about the mediation process before they could make an application to court, and that this should significantly reduce the number of court cases issued each year. However, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, the number of cases has fallen slightly but not dramatically. In the …

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  • Getting the get

    A Get is a Jewish divorce which is required by Jewish couples in addition to the civil divorce. When Jewish couples marry, the civil and religious requirements are combined in one ceremony but this is not the case when divorcing. If the Get is not obtained and there is only a civil divorce, the couple will remain married for Jewish purposes and neither party can have a religious remarriage. The failure to obtain a Get can have serious consequences for the parties and any future children they may each have. It is therefore vital for the Get to be obtained. …

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