Can an individual who has carried and delivered a child be recorded as the father of that child? Hearing in the High Court before the President of the Family Division.

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Jeremy Ford, Partner at Cambridge Family Law Practice, is instructed on behalf of the child in a groundbreaking case being heard before the President of the Family Division from 11-15 February 2019. The child’s biological parent (“the claimant”) is a transgender male.  He became pregnant by way of intrauterine insemination treatment using donor sperm.  The hearing has arisen as the Registrar General contends that he only has the power in law to record the claimant on his child’s birth certificate as the mother.  Whereas, the claimant argues that such approach breaches his and his child’s article 8 and 14 ECHR…

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Important amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 for single biological parents

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The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 came into force on 3 January 2019.  This now allows single biological parents who embark on the journey of surrogacy to apply for a parental order; the making of which has the transformative effect of making that person the legal parent of their child. Prior to this statute did not permit a single applicant, despite being biologically linked to their child, to be recognised in law as the legal parent of their child following the surrogacy process. The groundbreaking case of Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam)…

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Compensation payments on divorce – how are they treated?

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We are all aware of medical negligence claims or national tragedies, such as the Grenfell Tower fire, and here at CFLP, we are sometimes asked how annual grants to victims or beneficiaries from charitable, or other, trusts or compensation payments following personal injury cases, are viewed on divorce. Before dealing with this in detail, we set out a brief recap of the main principles which guide the Family Courts when making financial orders; the main factors are set out in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA), but  the overlying principles, following decisions made in the higher Courts, are:- The Sharing…

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Good Divorce Week

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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?

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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?

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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

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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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