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The Tightening of Domestic Abuse Legislation

By | the emotional side, the family courts | No Comments

Domestic abuse has been in the news again. A recent report released by the Fawcett Society, here, has found that violence against women and girls is ‘endemic’ in the UK. It considers that the legal system is failing women and needs fundamental reform. The report, which the Fawcett Society says is the first of its kind, calls for a number of specific changes to the legal system. These include extending the definition of coercive control to include after a couple have separated, making any breach of a domestic abuse order a criminal offence, making ‘up-skirting’ an offence, making misogyny a…

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Early legal advice helps resolve legal problems sooner

By | financial, Law news, the family courts | No Comments

Research conducted for the Law Society by Ipsos MORI shows a clear statistical link between seeking early legal advice and resolving legal problems sooner. “Without early advice, relatively minor legal problems can escalate, creating health, social and financial problems, placing additional pressure and cost on already stretched public services,” said Law Society vice president, Christina Blacklaws. Early legal advice, defined as ‘within 3 months of the issue first occurring’, helps people to identify solutions– meaning simple issues do not needlessly spiral or end up in court, bringing unnecessary costs to the taxpayer. Professional legal advice is defined as advice from…

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It’s snowing! Let’s talk about Freezing Orders…

By | divorce, FAQ, financial, the family courts | No Comments

Most separating couples will sort out the fair division of their assets on divorce by agreement however this is not always the case for everyone. Unfortunately, there are situations where an individual considers hiding or disposing of their assets, in an attempt to minimise the resources that they must share with their spouse. Unsurprisingly, the law says that the parties to a divorce must be totally honest and transparent when disclosing the full extent of their resources because, without all the facts, it is impossible to determine a truly fair financial settlement. If a spouse is tempted to hide assets…

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Can Children Thrive in Modern Family Structures?

By | Children, News, the emotional side | No Comments

What is important in families to support healthy psychological adjustment and gender development for children? Is family structure the crucial factor? That is, does parents’ gender, number, their sexual orientation and genetic connection matter for children’s development? What role is also played by other factors such as the quality of relationships in the family, warmth, levels of interaction, openness of communication and methods of discipline? Research conducted by Susan Golombok, Professor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, in her recent publication, ‘Modern Families – Parents and Children in new Family…

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Jewish transgender parent successfully appeals letter-only contact order

By | Children, Law news, News, the family courts | No Comments

The exclusion of a transgender woman from her children’s lives must be reconsidered, the Court of Appeal ruled late last year, in a case that contrasts what has been considered to be deeply discriminatory practices in some communities against the more broadminded outlook of the modern world. A woman left her family and the broader Orthodox Jewish Haredi community in Manchester two years ago after deciding to transition from male to female. Her estranged wife refused to let the transgender woman see their five children claiming they would be ostracised by their very religious and conservative neighbours if they did so, despite pleas…

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On Being ‘Published’

By | FAQ, Law news, News, the family courts | No Comments

Regular readers of our blog might well be aware that the legal system in England and Wales is based on both statute (laws passed by Parliament) and case law (decisions by the higher court judges which set ‘precedents’ to be followed in future cases), these precedent cases are published and available to all to read and consider. In England and Wales there is a principle that justice must not just be done, it must also be seen to be done. Family cases are often heard in private, and the privacy of the family court has been criticised for being an…

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Specialist family courts being piloted for financial matters

By | financial, Law news, News | No Comments

You may well have seen recent reports in the newspapers on plans to open specialist family courts to deal with the ‘super-wealthy’ battling over their finances following relationship breakdown. These headlines and articles have been somewhat misleading. It is true that the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, did circulate a statement on Friday 8th December, six months after declaring that the time had come to ‘de-link’ applications for divorce (decree nisi / decree absolute) from financial proceedings, indicating that there will be a pilot of a specialist court dealing solely with finances following the breakdown of a marriage….

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A round up of 2017

By | Law news, News | No Comments

It is CFLP tradition at this time, to do a little review of the year, recapping some of the developments we’ve seen during the last 12 months. As we start the New Year, we can look back on a year of major calls for changes to family law in England and Wales and on a small number of new developments. In January, we wrote about the Law Commission’s proposals for improvements to the court’s powers to enforce financial orders. These proposals focus on giving the courts more specific powers of enforcement, along with providing clearer Practice Directions, to ensure that…

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The Loss Cycle

By | divorce, FAQ, Mediation, News, the emotional side | No Comments

We’ve written previously about the emotional process of divorce or separation and at this time of year, it is worth revisiting how the loss of a relationship can affect you. For most people who experience it, the end of a committed relationship comes as a shock. Perhaps you have to go through a divorce or separation to understand how long shock can last: it is as often a long painful bewilderment as it is a clean cut catastrophe. For this reason, the process of getting through divorce/separation is often likened to the process of grieving over a death and parallels…

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Conflict, Alienation or Abuse?

By | Children, News, the family courts | No Comments

Followers of our blog might have recently spotted the Guardian’s front page article on 17 November  about a “ground-breaking” new trial that Cafcass were running, to tackle parental alienation. Parental alienation is the process, and the result of, psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members. The Guardian article contained substantial quotes from Cafcass’s Principal Social Worker, Sarah Parsons. The headline was very striking: ‘Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner – Measures being trialled to prevent ‘parental alienation’ feature penalties including permanent loss of…

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