• Thinking about Christmas…

    Although it is only just October and Christmas may still feel far away, for separated parents it is worthwhile spending sometime sorting out the holiday arrangements early, if this has not already been done. Christmas is a special and magical time for children and any conflict surrounding the arrangements can dampen the celebrations considerably.  Each December, we are contacted by clients who are having difficulty finalising the arrangements for the Christmas holidays.  Sometimes we are asked to sort things out as late as the week before Christmas, which can be incredibly stressful for parents (as well as the children). Some …

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  • Separated Parents Information Programme

    When a couple separates there are many difficult issues that may need to be resolved, from what should happen to the family home to who should keep the car. There is often a difference of opinion as to the appropriate outcome, but what people generally agree is that they want the best for their children. What is not always clear is how to achieve this. Contemplating an ongoing relationship with an ex-partner can be daunting, but where there are children involved it is something that is worth thinking about at an early stage. Communication can be challenging and many parents …

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  • 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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  • Christmas Day Divorces

    January is a famously busy time for family lawyers, with many couples on the brink of separation finding the stress of Christmas to be the final straw for their relationship. The first week of the New Year has become a much talked about period for new divorce enquiries. This year, with the introduction of an online divorce petition in May 2018, it seems that this busy period for divorces started earlier, with government figures saying that thirteen people actually completed the online application on Christmas Day. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were a total of 455 online applications …

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  • What does normal look like?

    This is a question we are often asked by separating parents deciding how to agree the arrangements for their children. Parents often ask what other families do and what is considered usual or normal when deciding how many nights per week their children should spend with each of them, or how they should divide school holidays.   The advice that we often give is that there is no normal. Each family, and each child, is unique and therefore the arrangements that will be in their best interests will also be unique. What works for one child may not work for …

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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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  • Early Neutral Evaluations

    If you are trying to agree the arrangements for your children or your finances with your spouse/ex-partner directly, it is likely that you will be greatly assisted by obtaining an informed, neutral and expert opinion as to likely outcomes were your particular case to be brought before a court. At Family Law Associates we are pleased to offer Early Neutral Evaluations directly to members of the public who are trying to resolve their issues directly, or within mediation.   An Early Neutral Evaluation is a meeting which both parties would attend, and at which both parties would have an opportunity …

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  • When to go to back to court regarding maintenance

    A maintenance order is part of the outcome in many divorce cases. These maintenance orders can be time limited, or they can continue during the joint lives of the former spouses until an event, such as the receiving party’s remarriage, terminates the payments.   Whilst these payments are initially ordered on a “joint lives” basis, maintenance orders are always capable of being reviewed and varied. Over the past two years, there has been a significant shift in judicial thinking when it comes to maintenance orders. A joint lives order was almost a certainty for an economically weaker party divorcing in …

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