Domestic abuse bill needs ‘better protection measures’

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A draft bill amending on the law on domestic abuse should be strengthened, a parliamentary committee has concluded. In a newly published report, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill said the provisional new law needs greater protection measures for the most vulnerable. Children should be treated as victims and given appropriate support even if they only witnessed domestic abuse, the report stresses. Meanwhile, it continues, local authorities should be required to ensure that suitable support services are available to all victims. The report also considers one of the central recommendations of the draft bill – the…

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Fathers should have ‘equal access’ to children, YouGov survey reports

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The majority of Britons would support a change in the law so that children spend equal amounts of time with both parents by default, according to a new survey. Welsh campaign group Families Need Fathers Both Parents Matter Cymru commissioned polling firm YouGov to survey 2,000 adults in different parts of the country. More than 80 per cent agreed with the statement that the law should be changed so family courts start with the assumption that children should spend equal amounts of time with both parents following divorce or separation, unless the children would be at risk in such an…

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Government publishes no fault divorce bill

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After decades of delay, a bill introducing no fault divorce has received its first reading in the House of Commons. Under current legislation, in order to apply for divorce it is necessary to cite one of five “facts”: Adultery Unreasonable behaviour Desertion Two years’ separation with consent (i.e. your former partner must agree to the divorce) Five years’ separation without consent (i.e. even if your former does not agree) The need to cite a specific reason has been a source of controversy for years, with campaigners arguing that it encourages unnecessary acrimony between divorcing couples, incentivises dishonesty and adversely affects…

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Family courts mishandling domestic abuse lawyers claim

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Here at Cambridge Family Law Practice we have seen an increase in sharp time limits placed on even the most complex domestic abuse cases, which may feature multiple allegations over an extended period of time. Our partner, Tricia Ashton comments: “This of course impacts on the extent to which the allegations of abuse are explored….It is certainly our experience that the Court will limit the number of allegations to no more than ten, for example. The question in every case is whether this strikes the right balance between actively managing the case (which the Judge is required to do) and…

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What happens if you lose your job during divorce?

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There are few times in life when your finances will come under greater scrutiny than during divorce. In order to negotiate a fair financial settlement between you and your former partner, it is necessary to declare your income in full, along with all your financial assets, on the famous Form E, a document that anyone who has been through a divorce will recall vividly. But what happens if financial disaster strikes during this complex process? What happens, in short, if you lose your job – or your spouse does? Finding oneself unemployed is always a stressful event –your life has…

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Legal change opens the door to heterosexual civil partnerships

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New legislation has come into force allowing the government to legalise civil partnerships for heterosexual couples. The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 empowers the government to “amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 so that two persons who are not of the same sex are eligible to form a civil partnership in England and Wales (provided that they would be eligible to do so apart from the question of sex).” This amendment must be in force, it continues, “no later than 31 December 2019.” Civil partnerships were originally introduced by the 2004 Act to provide LGBT couples…

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Helpful books for children going through divorce or separation

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If you are going through divorce or separation the emotions you are likely to be feeling may range from anger, shock, denial, envy, loss, desperation, loneliness any many more.  Your children are likely to be going through a similar range of emotions and will require the support of both parents to successfully traverse this difficult period of change. We have often referred clients to the books below to help them and specifically their children deal with the varied feelings that arise during divorce or separation.  We have categorised them in age range which we hope you will find useful.  Most…

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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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