• 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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  • Divorce Rates

    According to the Office of National Statistics 42% of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce. The divorce rate is viewed by some as a symptom of a broken society. The truth of the matter is that the divorce rate for those who have been married for over ten years hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Couples are more likely to divorce during the first ten years of marriage, particularly between years three and six. As many as 20% of marriages entered into 2013 are likely to end in divorce in the first ten years. When there are difficulties …

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  • Pensions

    When couples divorce, pensions are often one of the most complicated assets to deal with. Very often one spouse has a much larger pension provision than the other, particularly where one of the parties has taken time out of work to raise children. Sometimes, it may seem as though each spouse has a similar amount of money in their pensions, but because of the type of pensions they have, the values can be misleading. Finding a fair and sensible way to deal with any discrepancies in the pension provision, is not always straightforward. The first step is to work out …

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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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  • How to get the best out of your solicitor

    When you instruct a solicitor to deal with a family matter on your behalf, you may have many different concerns and issues. You may also be worried about the costs of instructing your solicitor. This guide is designed to help you get the best out of your solicitor in the most cost effective way.   Every client is different and will have their own set of priorities. Make sure you tell your solicitor what your main concerns are so that they can address them in the best way possible.   It can help to contain your costs if you try …

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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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  • 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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  • Changes to the Family Court System

    The whole family court system is changing: whether or not this is for the better remains to be seen. As Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division wrote in May’s edition of Family Law, “we must do the very best we can with what we have.” This is undoubtedly true but the changes to the new system do, on the face of it, give cause for concern. It is questionable how much of the new system has come from a desire to improve the Courts and how much from budgetary concerns.   Currently, solicitors consider each case and decide …

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