High Court considers “nightmare” adoption case

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

A toddler placed with prospective adopters should be returned to her biological parents, a High Court Judge has ruled. This emotional case concerned ‘A’, who turned one in July. Sitting in the Family Court at Cardiff, Mr Justice Francis described the dispute over her future as one involving “two decent couples” who “have found themselves pitted against each other in litigation which none of them could have wished for in their worst nightmares.” “…the human misery in this court is palpable,” he noted. Before A’s birth her parents had decided to give her up for adoption. They had been experiencing…

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Surrogate mothers ‘should be paid’ says Bar Council

By | Children, Law news | No Comments

People who commission surrogate children should able to able to pay the birth mothers, the Bar Council has claimed. Currently it is only legal in the UK to cover the expenses incurred by surrogate mothers and commercial arrangements are illegal. But the Bar Council, which represents barristers across England and Wales, now believes that: “It should be open to intended parents to compensate a surrogate for career interruption, disruption to career progression and loss of earnings or bonus or other remuneration by reason of the pregnancy, childbirth or the post-partum recovery.” The claim was made by the Council’s Law Reform…

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Nearly 30 per cent of retirees plan to shun families in their wills

By | divorce, Law news | No Comments

More than 28 per cent of retired people do not plan to leave their assets to immediate family members, according to a new survey. In the poll, by financial firm Responsible Life, respondents cited a number of reasons for not wanting to leave legacies to family members in their wills. These included a desire to reward supportive friends and neighbours and lingering estrangement from their relatives. Some said they preferred adult children to be self-reliant and they wanted their assets to help charities instead – with animal charities an especially popular choice. However, the firm noted a recent upsurge in…

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Same sex marriage legalised in Northern Ireland

By | marriage, News | No Comments

Northern Ireland has become the final part of the UK to legalise same sex marriage, no less than five years after England, Wales and Scotland all did so in 2014. Same sex marriage will officially become legal in the Province on 13 January, with the first weddings expected to follow four weeks later, on 14 February. The legislation has taken an unusual route. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, which received royal assent in July, extended the available period for forming a new government in the region after the Northern Ireland Executive collapsed more than three years ago. When…

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How to pay for a divorce lawyer if funds are low

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Legal representation can make all the difference during divorce – especially if the split has been an acrimonious one. A good solicitor can ensure you receive all the assets you deserve and need for your new life even if your soon-to-be-former spouse attempts to hide their assets or evade their responsibilities. But what if you don’t have much money to hand? How do you pay for a divorce solicitor? Sadly, legal aid for most aspects of divorce was abolished back in 2013. But don’t despair, there are other possibilities you may not have considered if it’s become clear you won’t…

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Family courts told not to “press the pause button”

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

Family court judges should proceed with caution when postponing final decisions in a case, the Court of Appeal has declared. The case of S-L (Children: Adjournment) concerned a local authority’s appeal against a ruling made earlier this year. The recorder in that case had adjourned the council’s application for care and placement orders for two young children. The parents of the three year-old girl and her seven month old baby brother were suspected of neglect and had poor parenting skills. ‘Care and placement’ orders are twin rulings made by family courts to take children into care and then place them…

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Doctors ‘can perform caesarean on pregnant woman against her will’

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

Doctors treating a mentally ill woman can conduct a caesarean section against her will, the Court of Protection has ruled. The unnamed woman, in the final stages of pregnancy, has insisted she does not want a C-section. But her medical team told Mr Justice Hayden that she has bipolar affective disorder, as well as a history of both depression and psychosis and they believe there is a real risk that she could relapse while in labour and make irrational decisions if serious complications occur. The Court of Protection is a division of the High Court which makes decisions on behalf…

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What are civil partnerships?

By | FAQ, News | No Comments

Until just a few years ago, civil partnerships had a very clear role. They provided a way for committed same sex couples to formalise their relationships in a legal union very similar to marriage. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was created in recognition of the increasing social acceptance of same sex relationships, while recognising that many traditional and religious people still remained opposed to the idea of full marriage for such couples. But public opinion continued to shift and same sex marriage finally arrived less than a decade later. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received royal assent in…

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How to get divorced: a checklist

By | divorce, Divorce myths | No Comments

Divorce is a difficult and inevitably emotional topic. Ending your marriage means major changes and a great deal of disruption, no matter how welcome the end of a painful relationship may be. Settling your finances, explaining the situation to your children or just deciding who gets to keep what…it can all seem very daunting. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a simple checklist to work with – a bullet point guide to the key stages. We hope the following proves useful. Have you been married for at least 12 months? If not, you will need to wait that long…

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What is child abduction?

By | Children, News | No Comments

The term child abduction conjures up frightening images of sinister strangers pouncing on innocent children as they play in the park. Of course, such crimes do occur and they grab headlines and break hearts when they do. But abduction by strangers is rare. The majority of the child abduction that does take place is considerably more mundane and much closer to home: most children who are abducted are taken by their own parents. This type of abduction occurs most commonly following an acrimonious divorce or separation, between couples at loggerheads over arrangements for the children. Sometimes the parent with whom…

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