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Family Law Blog

LGBTQ+ Families - who has parental responsibility?

Harriet Starkey
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For opposite-sex parents, the question of who has parental responsibility for any child may be easily answered. However, the same cannot be said for LGBTQ+ parents, who may face certain obstacles in obtaining parental responsibility. With June being Pride...

How has the update to the Family Procedure Rules affected Private Family Law Proceedings?

Harvey Gale
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On the 29 th April 2024, the Family Procedure Rules were updated and a new term introduced – “Non-Court Dispute Resolution”, or NCDR. The update puts great importance on MIAMs and NCDR, but what does this mean for you, should you be...

Do convicted paedophiles lose their parental rights?

Harriet Starkey
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Currently, parental rights are ‘absolute’ in law and can only be managed through a court order. However, a new law could mean that in the UK convicted paedophiles who are parents, would automatically lose the right to see their own children. This...

Happy 3rd Anniversary - Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Rhian Williams
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Four years after the domestic abuse bill was first promised in the late Queen’s speech in 2017, it finally became law on the 30 th April 2021. The act further improves the effectiveness of the Justice system, providing protection for victims of...

What is Arbitration?

Harvey Gale
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If you have reached an impasse in respect of a family law dispute, it may be tempting to make an application to the court to resolve the matter. However, there are other forms of dispute resolution which you should consider. One such method is known as...

'Raneem's Law'

Harriet Starkey
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The Labour Party have introduced the idea of a new law called ‘Raneem’s law’ – named after Raneem Oudeh, who was murdered at 22 years old alongside her mother Khaola Saleem. Ms Oudeh and Ms Saleem were murdered by Ms Oudeh’s...

Private Adoption and Donor Conception. Nothing spreads love like starting a family this Valentine's Day!

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Whilst Valentine’s Day is more commonly thought about in the context of romantic love, other types of love can be celebrated on this day. Why not celebrate familial love this Valentine’s Day by considering the ways your family can grow? Private...

What is new to Family Law in 2024?

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As the new year has begun, here is what you can expect to see in the year of 2024. Media in the Family Court (The Transparency Pilot): For decades there have been calls for more transparency in Family Courts, predominantly due to Family Judges having the...

When should I raise conduct in Financial Remedy Proceedings?

Harvey Gale
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When deciding on the fairest division of the assets, the Court will take into account factors listed in section 25(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. One such factor is the conduct of the opposing party, but when should this be argued, and what conduct...

Why you should sort out your matrimonial finances when obtaining a divorce.

Harriet Starkey
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When a couple obtain a divorce it is important to have a Financial Order from the Court - more often than not this Order can be agreed, meaning no Court attendance or formal court application. This is necessary, even if the matrimonial finances are limited,...

Divorce Day 2024

Harvey Gale
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Family Law Practitioners receive a higher volume of calls in and around the first working days of the New Year from people deciding to take steps to end their marriage and issue a divorce application. This has led to the first working Monday of the year...

Navigating divorces and child arrangements over the Christmas period:

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Going through a divorce and organising child arrangements with an ex-partner can be very stressful.  However, with the festive period approaching, this stress can be exacerbated and causing this to become a very worrying time. Below are some tips to...

What if something happens after my Financial Order is approved by Court?

Harvey Gale
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Following the conclusion of financial remedy proceedings, your situation could change unexpectedly, and you may feel that had this happened during the course of the proceedings, it would have affected the outcome of those proceedings. The Courts acknowledge...

How Much Is My Public Sector Pension Worth?

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For many people, a large part of the Divorce process will revolve around how their financial assets will be divided. However, for those who work in the public sector, the value of their pensions has been unusually uncertain over the past few years, which has...

Beware of the Remarriage Trap

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Dissolving your marriage may feel like the end of a very long and turbulent road, and that you have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. However, should you remarry, you may fall foul of what is commonly known as “the Remarriage...

Separated Parents: Can I take my child on holiday abroad?

Bethany  Gray
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With the summer holidays fast approaching, many will be seeking some summer sun overseas. However, for some separated or divorced parents, this can be problematic and we suggest having the conversation about holidays as soon as possible, to try to prevent...

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022

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A new piece of legislation came into forced on the 27 th February 2023, which means it is no longer possible for anyone under the age of 18 to marry or enter into a civil partnership. This is a huge change because previously, 16 and 17 years olds have been...

Romantic Contracts: Pre-nuptial Agreements

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Divorce solicitors and Valentine’s Day are not typically topics mentioned in the same sentence.  However, as pre-nuptial agreements become more widely used, what better time to consider preparing a pre-nuptial agreement than Valentine’s Day,...

'My ex-partner won't let me see my child despite there being a Court Order - What can I do?

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What can I do? A Child Arrangements Orders can be useful when used to regulate arrangements in relation to a child, where parents cannot agree. It can order where the child lives, which can be with one or both parents (including both an equal split, or a...

"Divorce Day" 2023

Monica  Patel
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Divorce Day 2023 We know that the New Year is typically a time for reflection, and this includes thinking about relationships. Often, this period sees an increase in couples deciding to end their marriage or civil partnership. The first working Monday in...

What is a 'Nesting' arrangement?

Bethany  Gray
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What is a 'Nesting' arrangement? A ‘nesting’ arrangement is a type of shared care arrangement in respect of children, after parents have separated. With nesting, the children stay in the family home and the parents move around them,...

GOOD DIVORCE WEEK (28 Nov - 2 Dec '22)

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‘Good Divorce Week’ is an annual campaign by Resolution, a community of family solicitors and other professionals who work with families and individuals promoting a non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues, including divorce, the...

What is an application for Exceptional Hardship?

Rachel  Gaffney
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An application for exceptional hardship can be made when a driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points on their licence within any 3 year period, resulting in the Court determining whether they are to be disqualified from driving under the totting up...

The Dangers of 'self-help' Financial Disclosure

Bethany  Gray
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Acrimony and Hostility between parties in divorce and finance proceedings can often give rise to a lack of trust in the financial disclosure submitted by the opposing party. In some cases, this can cause many a mistrusting spouse to conduct their own probing...

No-fault divorce: Important dates

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The no-fault divorce is to be introduced on Wednesday 6 th April 2022. The Government have now published key dates, including cut off dates in relation to existing applications under the existing legislation . We have been notified by HMCTS   of...

Impact of divorce on Wills & LPAs

Jessica  Latimer
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According to the latest figures the current rate of marriages ending in divorce in the UK is 42%. When going through divorce proceedings it is important to review and consider your Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys , and the implications divorce has...

No fault divorce: what is it?

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The first working day of January is usually referred to as ‘Divorce Day’. This is because, historically family solicitors receive the greatest number of enquiries about starting divorce proceedings. This year, however, there is speculation that...

What can I expect when I start divorce proceedings?

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Deciding to start divorce proceedings can be a very overwhelming experience and you can often not know where to start. The following article explores the different steps involved in the divorce procedure and provides assistance on the process. Provided that...

Change in Court fees

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Generally, when an application is made to the Court a Court fee is required. As of 30 th September 2021, the HMCTS have raised their Court fees in respect of Family matters. Therefore, the Court fees are now: Divorce Petition       ...

Can I take my child on holiday if the other parent does not consent?

Bethany  Gray
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Now that the national lockdown has lifted and the possibility of international travel is an increasingly more viable option, many will be looking to get away and go abroad for some proper summer sun. Issues often arise when parents are separated and one...

Do I need a Consent Order?

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We are often asked if a Consent Order is needed in divorce proceedings the answer is yes, it is advisable and recommended.  A Consent Order is a document that is entered into willingly by both parties and it records the financial terms agreed...

What can I do if my spouse doesn't respond to my divorce papers?

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When the Petitioner makes an application for a divorce, the spouse, known as the Respondent, is sent a copy of the application along with a form to complete called an Acknowledgement of Service (AOS). They are required to complete the AOS, which acknowledges...

Covid-19: What if parents cannot agree on vaccinating their child?

Bethany  Gray
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The decision as to whether to order the vaccination of a child has been an issue for the Courts for many years before the existence of the Covid-19 virus. Now that the roll-out of the vaccines for the virus have been a success in respect of adults, the...

What is a Section 7 Report?

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A Section 7 report is a report prepared by CAFCASS or a social worker from the Local Authority (Social Services) in cases where an application has been made to the Court under Section 8 of The Children Act 1989. A Section 7 report may be required in cases...

How do I complete a Form E?

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When you are going through a separation, your first thought might be to start divorce proceedings, but it is important to try and reach an agreement in relation to the finances at the same time. This can take some time as there are many things you will need...

What can I expect if I apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

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It is common that when a relationship breaks down, conversations need to be had about the arrangements for the children to be able to spend time with both parents. It is always best if parents can reach an agreement between themselves in an attempt to ensure...

Special Guardianship - An Agenda for Change

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In August and November 2019, I wrote articles considering whether Special Guardianship Orders required reform. The case of Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407  spurred the need for change. Developments continue within this area of law....

Is it normal to exchange financial disclosure to reach a financial settlement in divorce?

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Trying to agree a financial settlement during a divorce can be an intimidating and daunting prospect. In order to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement, we always advise clients of the need to exchange full and frank financial disclosure, whether in...

My relationship has ended: what happens to the house?

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According to the Office for National Statistics, there are over 6m people cohabiting without being married or in civil partnerships, However, unlike spouses and civil partners, cohabitees have no automatic right to make a financial claim against their former...

What is the role of mediation in family law matters?

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When a relationship breaks down, many issues can need resolving such as finances, divorce proceedings and often child arrangements. Sometimes it can be difficult to resolve these issues with your former partner and conversations may become heated. Roughly...

Separation - What are your options?

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Deciding to separate or divorce is one of the hardest decisions to make, but the process itself does not have to be difficult. Once you have decided to separate the first step should be finding the right solicitor for you and for the outcome you are aiming...

Does lockdown affect whether I can spend time with my children?

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As England is placed into another national lockdown, many parents will have concerns about what impact this has on Child Arrangements. The government have released national lockdown guidance which includes direction for child arrangement matters. The...

Domestic Abuse - Am I eligible for Legal Aid?

Bethany  Gray
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Legal Aid is the provision of financial assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal Aid is payment from public funds, and only provided in cases of need. If you have been the victim of domestic...

Declarations of Trust: what they are and when you should use one

Laura Anderson
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If a property is in joint names, and the owners aren’t married/civil partners, the presumption upon sale is that each person will get an equal share of the net sale proceeds. If each individual owner contributed equally to the deposit and the mortgage,...

What can I do if my ex-partner is stopping me from seeing my child?

Bethany  Gray
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Many parents experience problems securing contact with their children following the breakdown of a relationship.  Are you one of them?  If so, this article may help. In accordance with the Children Act 1989, as long as it is safe, children are...

Remote Hearings in the Family Justice System: A review of the Rapid Consultation by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

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It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in virtually every aspect of our lives.  Arguably, one of the most significant changes for us at Johnson Astills, and for our clients, is that court hearings for Family and...

What do the Court consider when making a financial order?

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When the Court decide how to distribute assets following the breakdown of a marriage, they have to consider the checklist contained within Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The main principle is that the settlement must be fair and reasonable...

Human Rights - How they protect children and parents in care proceedings

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A person’s human rights are protected under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. The protection of a person’s human rights is paramount in all aspects of law, and this is of high significance in Care...

"Divorcing? Think of the children..."

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Recent research reported in the press has revealed that divorced parents are often in denial with regard to the impact of the breakdown of the relationship upon their children. Three quarters of parents surveyed thought that their children had ‘coped...