• 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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  • Children Arbitration Scheme

    In July 2016, a new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme will be rolled out.  At present it is possible to arbitrate financial family disputes, but not matters relating to children.  The new Children Scheme will allow disputes concerning arrangements for a child and the exercise of parental responsibility to be resolved using arbitration, rather than the court system.   The benefits of arbitration are now well established in the area of financial disputes.  One of the main advantages of arbitration is the speed with which disputes can be resolved.  When children are at the centre of a dispute, resolving matters …

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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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  • Arbitration in financial disputes

    In early 2012, family arbitration was introduced as a new option for resolving financial disputes in family law cases.  The process has therefore been in existence for just over two years and is still a relatively new option for clients.   Arbitration is a process tailored around the parties to a dispute but it is based on the principles of English law and it delivers a binding decision.  The parties to a dispute are able to define the issues to be determined in arbitration and can limit what it is they require the arbitrator to decide.  The decision would then …

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