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Family Law News

When a parent wants to move away and take the children?

Steven Payne
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These days more and more people are spending time abroad, whether they’re overseas on business, trying to build a new life in a different country, or just taking a long trip. There are plenty of reasons a parent might want to take their child abroad...

Divorce Law Reforms

Sally Ward
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In my blog of 26 July 2018, I reported on calls for a reform of divorce law after Mrs Owens was forced to remain in a marriage that was not working because the grounds, that  she was unhappy, were insufficient for a divorce in England and Wales.  ...

When the end of summer spells the end of marriage

Steven Payne
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September is traditionally a time of new beginnings, with children off to school or university and parents back to work, but for many couples, the end of summer can spell the end of marriage. Lawyers often talk about ‘divorce day’ in January and...

School exclusion policies in the dock...

Spencer Davis
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Pupil exclusions by schools have been hitting the headlines in the run up to the start of the new academic year and parents are being encouraged to find out where they stand if their children are the focus of disciplinary action at school. Figures1...

Rise in self-harm amongst children

Sally Ward
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A survey of 11,000 children found 22% of the girls and 9% of the boys said they had hurt themselves on purpose in the year prior to the questionnaire. The self-harm statistics are included in The Children's Society's annual Good Childhood Report,...

Court rules woman "must stay married"

Sally Ward
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Tini Owens (66) petitioned for divorce from her husband on the grounds that her husband had behaved unreasonable and the 40-year marriage had broken down irretrievably. Unusually, the petition was defended by her husband Hugh (78) and the divorce was denied....

Finding solutions for children should be the new focus

Sally Ward
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The Family Court judges have a new leader from 18th July 2018. Sir Andrew McFarlane is  the new President, ie the leading judge for all family courts. When Sir Andrew was a barrister, his specialism was the law relating to children. For more than 7...

Civil partnership or cohabit - which is better?

Steven Payne
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Not everyone wants to get married in a church or registry office. For many cohabiting couples, a civil partnership is far more attractive – it moves away from the idea of women being the ‘property’ of their husbands and is infinitely more...

What happens when family is cut out of the will

Steven Payne
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High profile inheritance disputes follow celebrities and the super-rich as surely as night follows day, but such challenges are becoming increasingly common, whatever the values involved.  Some of the names to have made headlines include the artist...

What is the future for heterosexual and civil partnerships?

Steven Payne
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Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan made national headlines recently as they took to the courts their case for a civil partnership, despite being in a heterosexual relationship. As the law currently stands, only same-sex couples are allowed to enter into...

Divorce goes virtual

Steven Payne
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A new online service should cut the stress of applying for a divorce according to the Ministry of Justice, but family law professionals say it’s likely to benefit only those with simple finances who are pursuing the DIY route.   The Ministry...

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Filomena  Sterkaj
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Everyone is talking about the Royal Wedding; Meghan did look amazingly beautiful and we were all filled with joy for the new couple as they tied the knot. Some of us may have also learned that the Los Angeles-born Suits star is actually called Rachel Meghan...

Grandparents - Recognition at last?

Susan Le-Sage
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Until now grandparents have often been the unacknowledged victims of divorce, struggling to maintain contact with much loved grandchildren in the midst of circumstances beyond their control. In recent years this has caused ever increasing numbers of...

Relationship break down during the surrogacy journey?

Steven Payne
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When a couple decides to opt for surrogacy when trying to conceive this can be a very exciting time. However, years of fertility struggles can take a toll on a couple and if the couple decide to break up before the child is born, this can lead to confusion...

Britain's biggest ever divorce battle

Steven Payne
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A London court has ordered Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov to hand over his £350 million-pound superyacht to his ex-wife as part of a divorce settlement. The 115 metre superyacht known as ‘Luna’ is the second largest expedition yacht...

Contesting a Will

Justin Emerson
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There are increasing numbers of people dissatisfied with the provision made for them by family members within their wills. More and more people are looking to challenge wills. But the vast majority of wills still pass through the probate process without...

After the divorce comes the big clear out

Sarah Overy
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On Russell Crowe’s 54th birthday and what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary the New Zealand actor decided to have a bit of a clear out. In a recent article published by the BBC Russell Crowe held his "Art of Divorce" auction - a...

Divorce mediation is often the best way forward.

Steven Payne
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I am delighted announce that Sarah Overy has now completed her accreditation as a Family Mediator and she is now certified as a scheme member recognised by the Law Society. Sarah has been able to undertake mediation for some time, and has considerably...

Splitting up with a joint account? Beware the debt trap

Sally Ward
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When couples break up either one can be 100% liable for money owed on a joint account After Jennifer Davis ( not her real name ) tried to shut down the joint account she shared with her former partner, she got a nasty surprise. Her other half had taken out...

Divorce and Grandparents Rights

Steven Payne
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How do I maintain my relationship with my grandchildren when their parents' divorce? When a marriage breaks down, it is usual for the parents to discuss the arrangements for their children. Grandparents however, are often overlooked, leaving them...

Biggest marriage shake up in 200 years

Sally Ward
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Plans are afoot for heterosexual couples to be given the right to enter into civil partnerships after the biggest shakeup of marriage laws since the 1800s. The home office said it would review the operation of civil partnerships – which are currently...

Can pre-nups agreements help to save your marriage?

Steven Payne
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Wedding season is just around the corner, and has an extra buzz thanks to the brace of royal weddings planned for 2018. If you’re tying the knot this year, it’s likely you’ve spent time carefully planning everything from bouquets to...

Pre-Nuptial Agreements & Cohabitation Agreements

Steven Payne
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Historically pre-nuptial agreements were reserved for the rich and famous, but in recent years the Courts have shown a much greater willingness to uphold such agreements, provided some basic rules are followed in their preparation. There are a number of...

What happens with a cross-border divorce?

Steven Payne
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Moving abroad is a huge decision, and should not be taken lightly. If one of the reasons you are moving abroad is to join a spouse, it is highly recommended that you get an understanding of the legal implications that moving abroad will have on your...

The financial implications of divorce

Sally Ward
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In any separation or divorce the emotional upheaval can be stressful to deal with, but so too can the financial implications. If couples are unable to agree to an amicable separation or divorce and the process goes all the way to a contested court hearing,...

How can I protect my interest in a jointly purchased property?

Gregory John
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The majority of houses are no longer bought by married couples. As exciting (and often stressful!) as buying a new home is, it is of great importance to document how a property is to be held in the event the property ever needs to be sold. It is often the...

Divorce Day

Sarah Overy
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The first working Monday after the Christmas and New Year festivities have passed sees more people feeling disillusioned about their relationship. Here at Gepp and Sons we are used to seeing an increase in enquiries about divorce and separation in...

Keep Christmas for the children

Steven Payne
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Christmas celebrations for children are too often marked by family divisions when relationships break down.    According to statistics from the ONS around 100,000 children per year see their parents divorcing, with many of those families breaking...

Marriage and Civil Partnerships: What's the difference?

Steven Payne
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In 2005 Civil Partnerships were introduced for same-sex couples. Fast forward to 2014, and same-sex marriage was also made legal, meaning same-sex couples now have the choice between the two. But what are the differences? Rights for both married couples and...

Cohabitation - have you thought about the risks?

Filomena  Sterkaj
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With Christmas fast approaching you might be thinking about the next stage of your relationship and asking your partner to move in. What rights do cohabiting couples have with respect to the property they live in and other assets? Couples who are unmarried...

Fathers' rights for contact with children over Christmas

Filomena  Sterkaj
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Unfortunately, being a father with or without Parental Responsibility for your children does not automatically give you the right to spend time with them over the Christmas holidays, unless you have an agreement or a Court Order. We recommend trying to work...

6 tips for separated parents at Christmas

Sally Ward
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How to make your children's Christmas special Start the conversation about Christmas with your children's other parent as early as possible so that you have plenty of time to agree arrangements and tell the children, and they know what to...

5 Top Tips for co-parenting

Sally Ward
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It’s no secret that divorce can be one of the most stressful events a person goes through in life. Unfortunately when children are involved things can be doubly challenging. The co-parenting process can be tricky to master at first, but here are 5 top...

What is a Consent Order on divorce, judicial separation or dissolution of civil partnership?

Filomena  Sterkaj
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A Consent Order is a legally binding document which sets out the financial agreement between divorcing couples. Each Consent Order is different and is drafted according to each party's unique circumstances. The Consent Order will deal with all the...

Do you have to go to court to get a divorce?

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Many people imagine that to get divorced they will have to go to court and that this will be a long, stressful and expensive process. In fact, most divorcing couples do not need to go to court, either for the divorce process itself, or to resolve issues...

The rights of Grandparents

Sarah Overy
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In a divorce, nobody really comes out of the process a ‘winner’. Hostilities between battling former spouses can sour relationships not just between them, but throughout the wider family group too. Courts do their very best to protect the...

Married couples potentially missing out on £230

Marc Dorsett
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On the 6th April 2015, the Government introduced the Marriage Allowance for the benefit of husbands, wives and civil partners by allowing the lower earning spouse to transfer up to 10% of their unused personal allowance to their partner for that year. In...

Bets on divorce date at the wedding?

Steven Payne
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Have you ever been to a wedding where bets were being made on when the couple would divorce? Well believe it or not it does happen, and the most recent incredible example, reported in a well-known newspaper, being the groom's mother taking bets on when...

What is 'unreasonable behaviour' in divorce?

Steven Payne
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Earlier this year, a divorce case made the headlines when Tini Owens was not granted a divorce from her husband, Hugh Owens on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. This was a highly unusual case: the vast majority of divorces go undefended, but in this...

What's mine is mine!

Steven Payne
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The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's decision on a financial remedy order in favour of the husband after a 23 year marriage, on the grounds that most of the property was owned by him before the marriage began.   In August this year in...

What are the grounds for divorce?

Steven Payne
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To be legally granted a divorce in the UK, you must be able to prove one of the ‘grounds for divorce’. This means giving one of a certain set of reasons that demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, and being able to show...

Who has the right to decide on the welfare of a sick child?

Sarah Overy
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The distressing case of Charlie Gard recently put the spotlight on a question that all parents want the answer to, but hope they never have to face. In a situation where a child is seriously ill, who has the right to decide what course of treatment is...

How your Will is affected by your marriage or divorce

Steven Payne
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In an ideal world, all adults at whatever age and stage of their lives should make a Will. If the worst happens this means that your loved ones would be able to deal with your estate in accordance with your wishes and feelings.    You may have...

Who decides?

Sally Ward
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Few of us could have failed to share the pain of Charlie Gard's parents who recently made the difficult decision to allow their son to die. But this decision came following a series of court hearings when they challenged the hospitals recommendation to...

Managing Your Financial Affairs Following A Divorce

Steven Payne
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Going through a divorce can be earth-shattering to your emotional and financial stability.  One way to feel in control of your own destiny again is to organise a strategy for managing your finances as soon as possible.  Whether you are on your own...

The rise of elderly divorcees

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Retired divorcees - also known as "silver splitters" - are fast becoming Britain's biggest growing demographic. Though traditionally more likely to own their own homes, this growing demographic are renting in record numbers. According to...

A guide to cohabitation agreements

Steven Payne
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English law does not afford cohabiting couples the same legal protection and rights as married couples.  A cohabitation agreement is accordingly an essential consideration for unmarried couples. Cohabiting couple families are, according to the Office...

Life Interest Trust

Lisa Carter
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A Life Interest Trust should be considered if, for example: you want to protect your assets against care fees; you have children from a previous relationship and want to provide for your new spouse but also want to ensure your children inherit your...

What's mine is yours?

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A City trader has successfully challenged a divorce judgment of the High Court in 2015 which awarded her ex-husband of four years £2.7 million - half of the total matrimonial assets. Yesterday the Court of Appeal reduced Mr Sharp's award to...

What will happen to my inheritance if I divorce?

Sarah Overy
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Going through a divorce is often a time of significant financial upheaval, and the division of assets is a cause of worry for many couples considering a split. Past inheritances and anticipated future inheritances are commonly relied on as an essential...

He said he shouldn't have to pay her maintenance!

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A Cambridge don has won a divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who claimed he shouldn't have to pay her maintenance now she is working full-time. Despite having children to care for, Kathleen Liddell moved from part time to full time...

NO FAULT DIVORCE REMAINS AN URBAN MYTH

Spencer Davis
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The Court of Appeal has ruled that a "desperately unhappy" marriage is not in itself a ground for divorce. Tini Owens Petitioned for Divorce last year alleging her husband had behaved unreasonably. Hugh Owens disagreed and said that the couple...

Unmarried couples need to protect themselves

Steven Payne
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A landmark victory in the Supreme Court has seen a Northern Ireland woman win a share of her former partner’s pension, with commentators saying it’s likely to add impetus to the drive for greater rights for unmarried couples. But, in the...

Mother's petition to Downing Street

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THE MOTHER OF TWO BOYS KILLED IN A HOUSE FIRE STARTED BY THEIR FATHER HAS HANDED IN A PETITION AT DOWNING STREET CALLING FOR A CHANGE IN THE LAW GOVERNING ACCESS TO CHILDREN. Jack and Paul Sykes, aged 12 and nine, died when their father Darren, 44, set fire...

Making sure you get what you are entitled to from the financial order in your divorce

Spencer Davis
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It is tempting to think that your divorce is finally over once you have a final order for financial settlement but there are still likely to be further steps to be taken to implement the order. In most cases this is not a problem. But what happens if your ex...

Is your business protected?

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A divorce is tough to go through especially when you have children but even tougher if there is a business to consider. When you are happily married, having a document outlining what happens if the business were to end is not attractive, however divorces do...

Divorcees could face travel bans!!

Steven Payne
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Ex-husbands and wives who refuse to pay their former spouses' divorce settlements could be banned from driving or travelling abroad under  new proposals  from the Law Commission. Tough penalties are needed to tackle divorcees who avoid paying,...

Getting rocky relationships through tinsel-time

Steven Payne
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The family-focus of Christmas is often followed in January with news of unhappy couples who decide to call it quits, leading to so-called Divorce Day, as family lawyers receive a surge of enquiries when they re-open after the break.  And as the...

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

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A cohabitation agreement records arrangements between two or more people who have agreed to live together, as a couple or otherwise. The agreement usually sets out the following criteria • Each party's rights and responsibilities in relation to...

When Time Forgets

Lisa Carter
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It is often said that ‘things are never lost – only misplaced’. So what happens if no one knows where a loved one's Will is stored, or more to the point whether they ever made a Will. At Gepp & Sons once we have advised our clients...

Resolution survey - impact on children of divorce

Sally Ward
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Around 230,000.00 people are going through a divorce every year in England and Wales and almost half of the break ups have at least one child under 16 in the relationship. This therefore meant that tens of thousands of children see their parents separate and...

Mediation - the preferred choice...

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The news that the Court of Appeal is to stop hearing all challenges made in local family courts serves another reminder of the pressure our family court system is under. The quarterly Family Court Statistics, for example, showed some stark trends: a 10%...

Good Divorce Week

Steven Payne
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There can never be a good time to get divorced but this week marks Resolution's campaign to improve the process for dealing with divorce and relationship breakdowns. Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and...

Financial needs on divorce

Steven Payne
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The Family Justice Council published Guidance on ‘Financial Needs’ on Divorce. Define ‘financial needs’ on divorce and. Covers two areas: What are needs and how are they measured? The main needs in most cases are for housing...

Life lessons from headline breakdowns

Steven Payne
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Watching others acting out the ending of a marriage on a public stage can provide a valuable lesson on how to ‘uncouple’ with least pain Whether fiction or fact, marriage breakdown issues have been stealing more than their fair share of...

A ruling of the Upper Tribunal's Lands Chamber means that thousands of flat owners who rent out their homes are probably breaking the law. The issue is due to 'private residence only' clauses, a common feature of such leases. With an estimated four milli

Spencer Davis
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The short answer is no, the law does not punish a party for committing adultery(other than costs for the divorce suit). Adultery will not have any influence on how the court divides the financial assets. However, if your ex-partner moves in with a new...

Mother of 3 awarded property as the price her ex has to pay for refusing to marry her.

Steven Payne
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An article in the Daily Mail on line on 19 July 2016 reports on how a judge ruled that an un-married father of 3 should let the mother of his children keep the house that he bought in her name as the price he had to pay for denying her the financial security...

Why everyone should make a Will and consider funeral arrangements

Lisa Carter
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One of the few certainties in life is death. None of us like to think about our own passing, but failure to do so can create difficulties for those we leave behind.Despite the uncomfortable reality that death comes to us all, of the 51 million adults living...

Parent wins term time holiday case at High Court

Spencer Davis
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A father who refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday, has today won his case at the High Court. The court's decision is likely to redefine the way the law is applied in England. When the case...

What price divorce in the Workplace?

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There have been some interesting facts that have emerged recently from research about the impact of divorce and separation in the workplace. The impact of divorce or separation is painful for couples, their children, families and friends. It is often...

Divorce down as pre nups rise

Steven Payne
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The first working day in January is commonly known as Divorce Day, when family lawyers receive more enquiries than at any other time of the year, but they are more likely to be faced with ‘silver splitters’ than young couples these days.  ...

Domestic abuse legislation tightened

Elizabeth Bradshaw
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A new law targeting domestic abusers, brought into force in England and Wales, follows a Home Office consultation in which 85% of participants said the existing law did not provide sufficient protection. Citizens Advice said it has supported more than 5,400...

Christmas often a tough time for children following divorce

Steven Payne
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Child experts are clear that the most important factor in a child’s healthy development is the stable and healthy relationship of their parents. Yet the sad fact is that half of all children in Britain are no longer living with both parents by the time...

Ministry of Justice error leads to divorce deals being threatened

Sarah Overy
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When dealing with divorce settlements, couples have been filling out faulty Ministry of Justice forms since April 2014, it has been discovered. Debts were not included in the calculations, potentially producing inflated and inaccurate figures.  Though...

The rising cost of "paupers' funerals"

Lisa Carter
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The number of 'public health funerals' has risen by 11% in the past four years, according to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC. This 11% hike has by consequence seen a 30% increase in cost to local councils in holding these funerals,...

Property prices help fuel family inheritance court battles

Spencer Davis
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Rising property prices are helping to fuel increased numbers of inheritance disputes reaching the courts, with second marriages another major contributory factor. Such challenges are no longer the preserve of the wealthy, although they continue to feature...

Parent wins term time fine victory

Spencer Davis
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A father who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter to Disney World in Florida during term time has had the punishment overturned.   Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, was taken to court after refusing to pay the £120 fine for taking his...

MP says couples should be allowed to apply for 'no fault divorce'

Steven Payne
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On Tuesday 13th October a controversial amendment to Family Law was proposed in the House of Commons by Richard Bacon, the South Norfolk MP. Speaking in the Commons, he said: "I propose one simple amendment to the law - the option of divorce without...

Nailing down agreements on divorce

Steven Payne
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Kathleen Wyatt has been granted permission to lodge a belated claim against multi-millionaire Dale Vince, who made his fortune through a green energy company founded in the 1990s, which is said to be worth £57m. The couple met and married in 1981 and...

A Civil Marriage...

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This can be undertaken by a simple service in a Registry office or in a ceremony conducted by a Registrar. Upon conversion the married couple will receive a back dated marriage certificate similar to a conventional certificate. The date of the civil...

£337 million divorce settlement...

Steven Payne
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Sir Chris Hohn, 48, and 49-year-old Jamie Cooper-Hohn had fought over who should get what in one of the biggest divorce fights seen in an English court. He said she should get a quarter of his wealth, but she had argued she should get half because the...

Talking it out can save the children

Steven Payne
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According to the research, published by the Marriage Foundation, one in three children under the age of 15 woke up with just one parent on Christmas morning.  Alongside, are many more families where couples will have ‘held it together’ for...

A Better Way For Separated Families And Children

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If you are in that situation help is available if you and your partner want to resolve matters. The options available in conjunction with legal advice include  mediation . This is helpful and gives people the time and space to enable them to reach...

Straight talking protects family business

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A businessman is facing a hearing in the Supreme Court to answer claims that he misrepresented the value of his company to cheat his ex-wife out of millions in their divorce settlement. When the Sharlands divorced after 17 years of marriage, Alison...

Lifelong campaigner leads the way for dementia sufferers

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In a case that has emphasised the importance of making one’s wishes known before illness strikes, a challenge to Westminster Council over residential care has successfully been fought on behalf of dementia campaigner and former politician Manuela...

Top judge suggests moving simple divorce cases out of the courtroom

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The result could be that childless couples who consent to divorce could in future obtain their decree by a simple visit to the registrar. Judge Munby describes the current system as 'essentially bureaucratic and administrative' requiring judges to...

Family law judge calls for 'no-fault' divorce

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As the law stands, couples wishing to be granted a divorce within a two year period from separation must cite reasons of adultery or unreasonable behaviour in their divorce petition.  In the absence of any such reasons, the couple must be separated for...

Better support for children whose parents are separating

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The act includes a number of specific measures with the Family Justice and Civil Liberties Minister Simon Hughes stating: “We are making sure the welfare of children is at the heart of the family justice system. We want to keep families away from the...

Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton Divorce will now just 'Roll With It'

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The words 'quickie divorce' seem to suggest that there has been some departure from what otherwise would have been the ordinary route to take.  Many people will be curious as to what is so 'quick' about it. It is actually the case that...

More talk time is priority for splitting couples

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The multi-million pound divorce case of  Young v Young  was, according to the judge, “extraordinary even by the standards of the most bitter of matrimonial breakdowns”.  The seven-year court battle between the couple has cost...

New media guidelines for Family Courts

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The president of the family division, Sir James Munby, informed newspaper editors recently that later this year practice guidance will be introduced that covers the publication of judgments from family courts and the Court of Protection. He said that many...

Pre-nups like Nigella's can take the pain out of divorce settlements

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High-speed divorce is back on the discussion boards following the breakdown of the marriage between art collector Charles Saatchi and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, with the news that their divorce is expected within the month. Whilst the pre-nup between...

England and Wales to say "I do" on same-sex marriage after US Ruling?

Steven Payne
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The recent ruling in the US Supreme Court focused primarily around the issue of certain federal benefits not being available to people in a same-sex union, compared with those who are married.  The Supreme Court found such laws discriminated against...

Ongoing custody battle

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On 2nd July a High Court judge, Mr Justice Roderic Wood, ruled that a father who refuses to reveal the whereabouts of his six year old daughter will be returning to jail for being in contempt of court. The father, Tamar Salama, married Naomi Button in...

Police must treat 17-year-olds in custody as children

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During the time he was in custody he was not allowed contact with his mother, who only found out about his arrest four hours after he was detained. On arrival at Battersea Police Station having learned of her son's arrest she was denied access to him....

Why baring all may be best for the kids.

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Elderly parents wanting to benefit children or friends before they die need to consider the consequences, and be clear and open about their intentions if they want to avoid family fights and court battles. A recent case highlighting this problem revolved...

Parents should read the small print when it comes to mobile phones for children

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In a recent case, the father of a young man with learning difficulties turned to a newspaper to highlight the problems he faced in challenging a £5,500 mobile phone bill, run up by his autistic son making calls and texts to sex lines.  The son is...

Divorce down, but family business in lockdown when it comes to settlements

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Official figures released in December 2012 show that the number of divorces dropped by 1.7%* in the previous year, but divorce statistics continue to peak in the period following Christmas, with the second week in January notoriously the busiest month for...

Divorcing couples struggling with holiday properties

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Many couples with a variety of levels of income take the decision to buy a property abroad at some point during their marriage. However, an increasing number of these couples who are now facing divorce are finding that falling property prices in countries...

Divorce rate on the decline!

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In 2010 approximately 42% of marriages were expected to end in divorce, compared to 45% in 2005. Furthermore, there was a drop in the number of divorces of 1.7% from 2010 to 2011. In Scotland the number of divorces dropped by 2.8% in the same period. ...