‘Investigate family court cases reported by the media’ says Family Division President

By | Children, Law news | No Comments

Family court cases highlighted by the media should be investigated for any failures to protect children and other vulnerable victims, the President of the Family Division has claimed. Speaking at a recent conference on domestic abuse held by legal charity Support Through Court (formerly known as the Personal Support Unit), Sir Andrew McFarlane endorsed the interest taken by some newspapers in the family court system, noting that two are currently running campaigns on the issue. But he highlighted a disconnect between the personal accounts often given to journalists and the rulings subsequently published, which are routinely anonymised: “In almost every…

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Children should spend time with alienated father court rules

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

A mother who had pressured her children into rejecting their father must allow them to build a healthy relationship, a family court judge has ruled. During a High Court session in Brighton, His Honour Judge Bedford noted that disputes between the parents dated back many years. “The two children in this case have been the subject of litigation, on and off, for much of their lives, one child being aged 11 years and 5 months and the other children being 10 years and one month. “ He explained: “Fortunately for the children, contact took place on a regular basis following the…

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Sharing your children like an adult

By | Children, the emotional side | No Comments

There’s no question about it: successfully co-parenting your children after divorce or separation can be a challenge. It requires mutual goodwill, patience and commitment: all virtues which are easier listed than practiced, of course. Most parents want the best for their children, and are perfectly willing to work hard to ensure their happiness and welfare. They know that contact with both parents – whenever possible – has an important role to play. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of the latter principle if your marriage or relationship ended acrimoniously. Parents filled with bitterness towards their former spouse or…

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Opposite sex civil partnerships to begin on New Year’s Eve

By | Living together/cohabitation, News, the family courts | No Comments

Opposite sex couples in England and Wales will be able to enter civil partnerships for the first time on New Year’s Eve. Earlier this week the House of Lords approved the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019. These amend the Civil Partnership Act, which dates back to 2004. The newly altered provisions will allow straight couples to register civil partnerships in addition to their same sex counterparts. The amendments have been scheduled for 2 December 2019. As a 28-day notice period is still required when couples register their intention to marry or enter a civil partnership, 31 December will…

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Scottish Parliament introduces Civil Partnership Bill

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

The Scottish Parliament has introduced a bill extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples north of the border. The move follows last year’s Supreme Court ruling that the exclusion of heterosexual couples from the civil partnership option had become incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights since the introduction of same sex marriage. This had resulted in same sex couples having the choice of traditional marriage or a civil partnership, while their opposite sex counterparts were limited to marriage. The Scottish government conducted a public consultation on the matter last year, asking whether the abolition or extension of civil partnerships…

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Proportions of mothers born outside the UK falls for first time in 28 years

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The number of births to mothers born outside the UK fell last year for the first time since 1990. Two years ago 28.4 per cent of live births fell into that category, but this had dropped to 28.2 per cent by 2018 according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of a total of 471,476 live births, 185,569 were born to the mothers from outside the UK. Poland and Pakistan were the two commonest countries of origin, but the proportion from both nations also fell in 2018. The majority of foreign-born fathers were also Pakistani. This has…

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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

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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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