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Divorce linked to family history

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A person’s genetic background may influence the likelihood of them getting divorced, according to a joint US-Swedish study. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States and Lund University in Sweden examined data concerning nearly  83,000 individuals. Previous studies had shown that the children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced themselves in adulthood but researchers had been assumed this was due to learned behaviour. To try and shed further light on the causes, the US-Swedish team compared the marital histories of adopted children in their data to that of both their adoptive and biological parents. Lead…

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Court fee refunds now available

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The Ministry of Justice has launched a service allowing litigants who paid court fees between April 2014 and March 2018 to apply for refunds. A review in 2018 concluded that some litigants in the family and other civil courts had been overcharged during that period, with fees set above the actual costs incurred by the judicial system. The scheme applies both to overcharging and wholly erroneous fees. The Ministry noted: “As part of our ongoing improvements we are making to the justice system, we will continue to annually review the level at which court fees are set, including the methodology…

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Resolution welcomes return of ‘no fault’ divorce bill

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The family law organisation Resolution has welcomed a recent announcement that legislation introducing ‘no fault’ divorce in England is to be returned to Parliament. Following years of campaigning by Resolution and other organisations, the Divorce, Dissolution ad Separation Bill was first introduced last summer, but then suspended when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the December 12 general election. The bill make significant changes to existing marriage law, removing the long-standing need to cite specific reasons for a divorce application or attribute fault to one party. Instead applicants will only need to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and…

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McKenzie Friends “biased and misleading” claims study

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McKenzie Friends provide “biased and misleading advice” to people caught up in family court disputes, a new study has claimed. McKenzie Friends are courtroom advisors who work with ‘litigants in person’ (LiPs): people who represent themselves during a court case, usually because they cannot afford legal representation. Despite their role, they do not need legal qualifications. Some charge fees while others work purely informally. Without legal qualifications McKenzie Friends cannot address the Judge while in court unless they are invited to do so. But they are allowed to provide advice to the litigant and help with note-taking and court papers….

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