Good Divorce Week

By | divorce, Law news, Mediation, News | No Comments

At CFLP, we are all proud members of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues surrounding family breakdown in a constructive way. As Resolution members, we will always seek to reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation, to support and encourage families to put the best interests of any children first, and to act with honesty, integrity and objectivity. We all are, or have been, involved with Resolution at local and national level: our Adam Moghadas is former Chair of the local Cambridge and West Suffolk group, our Tricia Ashton is…

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Government to consult on ‘no-fault’ divorce

By | divorce, Divorce myths, FAQ, Law news, marriage, News | No Comments

In recent months, the government launched a consultation on ‘no-fault divorce’, calling for the existing fault-based system of establishing marriage breakdown to be abolished. This follows the highly publicised Supreme Court decision in Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41, where a wife of 40 years was refused a divorce due to ‘flimsy and exaggerated’ examples of unreasonable behaviour. At present, a person can only petition for divorce on the basis that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, and this must be supported by one of five ‘facts’: Unreasonable behaviour by the other party Adultery by the other party Desertion by…

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Bereavement Benefits for Unmarried Partners

By | Law news, Living together/cohabitation, News, the emotional side, the family courts | No Comments

Co-habitation has once again come under the spotlight with the recent Supreme Court decision that denying bereavement benefits to unmarried, cohabiting partners with children is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The case – An application by Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48 – centred around the widowed parent’s allowance (‘WPA’) – a contributory, non-means-tested benefit payable to men and women with dependent children who were widowed before March 2017. Ms McLaughlin’s partner, John Adams, died on 28 January 2014. They had lived together for 23 years and had four children. In accordance…

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A New Dawn for Maintenance Payments?

By | Children, financial | No Comments

As you are probably well aware, the Government has struggled to enforce child maintenance payments since time immemorial. This summer, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has taken further steps towards coherent enforcement and has published its response to its own consultation seeking views on a new child maintenance compliance and arrears strategy. The Government has said that these changes, along with previously announced proposals to allow deductions from joint bank accounts, will be introduced during autumn 2018. These measures will complement the existing spectrum of collection and enforcement powers, which are currently employed by the Child Maintenance Service…

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Habitual residence and child abduction – where are the boundaries?

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

When a child is taken by one parent to a foreign country away from their other parent, emotions will always run high and the law will often be complex. Recently the BBC attempted to explore the legal minefield that is international child abduction law by covering the story of Tracy, whose daughter had been taken by her father, a Czech citizen, from Bradford to the Czech Republic. In the programme the BBC suggested that: ‘Under the Hague Convention, which governs cases of child custody waged across international borders, a child’s base is considered to be the country in which he…

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Vulnerable witnesses

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

Our new partner, Jeremy Ford, brings to Cambridge Family Law Practice his experience in international family law. Earlier this year, Jeremy, at short notice, represented the children in a fact finding hearing in the High Court which tested the jurisdictional capacity of English law and which considered the best interests of four siblings who had been brought up in different jurisdictions. This case was reported as M v F & Ors [2018] EWHC 1720 (Fam) (16 February 2018) and is a good example of how the court addressed the issue of a litigant in person, who was an alleged perpetrator,…

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Needs vs ‘Meal Ticket for Life’?

By | divorce, Divorce myths, financial, Law news, News | No Comments

A new briefing paper funded by the Nuffield Foundation has found that high profile, ‘meal ticket for life’ cases have given a distorted view of final settlements in divorces. Dr Emma Hitchings (University of Bristol) and Joanna Miles (University of Cambridge) recently published a briefing paper outlining key findings from their research on financial settlements in divorce cases. The briefing focuses on the current debate over ‘meal ticket for life’ divorces and provides evidence to refute widespread anecdotal claims of women as lifelong ‘alimony drones’. A key finding from the study highlights that immediate clean breaks between divorcing couples are…

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Law Commission Report on Surrogacy

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

A new report, published by Surrogacy UK, claims to dispel many of the myths concerning international surrogacy and brings into focus the practice of surrogacy in the UK. Surrogacy laws were first introduced about 30 years ago but society and the medical options available to couples have changed over the years since then. Many parents, medics and legal professionals (uncluding us at CFLP!) have concluded that the current surrogacy legislation, once thought to be ground breaking, is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and doesn’t meet the needs of the surrogate, the parents and, most importantly, the baby. This new report…

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On the value of legal representation

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

The status of legal representation has recently appeared in the news, again. Readers of our blog might already be aware that since LASPO (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, 2012) when Legal Aid was largely removed for family cases, more than a third of all family court proceedings feature unrepresented parties (litigants in person) on both sides with many more family hearings where one party is represented and the other is not. Huge numbers of litigants are having to find their way through the minefield of law and procedure rules without legal assistance. Problems arise for all…

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Contempt of Court and Family Proceedings

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

This week, we are taking a look at what can happen in family proceedings if an individual thwarts court orders and is held in contempt of court. Being held in contempt of court can invoke draconian consequences for litigants, however the more draconian consequences such as committal to prison have rarely been applied in the family court. Recently, an 83-year-old property developer was jailed for contempt of court after obstructing his financial settlement with his ex-wife. This is a timely reminder of the Court’s powers and sadly, how acrimonious litigation can entrench an individual to such an extent that they are not…

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