Surge in calls to male domestic violence charity

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Appeals for help to a charity for male victims of domestic violence jumped by 60 per cent during lockdown, according to new figures. The Respect Men’s Advice Line received 13,812 phone calls and emails between April and July, compared to only 8,648 in the same period last year. Contact via email almost doubled in June alone, from 372 in 2019 to 728 in 2020. Over the quarter, Respect received an average of average of 92 phone calls and 22 emails per day. Ippo Panteloudakis founded the helpline and is now the charity’s Head of Services. He explained that callers: “…were…

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Law Commission considers greater choice in wedding venues

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The Law Commission has launched a consultation on possible reforms to marriage law which would allow couples a greater choice of venues and ceremonies. Announcing the consultation, the Commission explained: “The main law which governs marriage is from 1836 and has failed to keep pace with modern life. How and where marriages can take place is tightly regulated, and differs depending on the type of wedding. At present, couples have to make a choice between a religious or a civil ceremony, with no option for a ceremony reflecting other beliefs. Couples having an Anglican wedding can give notice to the…

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Three year-old can remain in the UK, Court of Appeal rules

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The Court of Appeal has overruled the High Court and set aside an order for the return of a three year-old boy to the Balkan country Bosnia and Herzegovina. In B (A Child), the parents were both Bosnian, although the mother had been resident in England since 1995 after arriving as asylum seeker in 1995 when she was just 14 years of age. She had been fleeing the Bosnian war with her own mother and these early experiences left her with lasting mental health problems, including obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. B’s father, meanwhile, was a Bosnian citizen who…

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What is a cohabitation agreement?

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Cohabitation has become an increasingly popular choice in recent decades. According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, a startling 88 per cent of opposite sex couples now live together before tying the knot, an increase of 19 per cent in a little over 20 years. For some couples cohabitation means postponing that walk down the aisle or trip to the registry office – for others it means avoiding marriage altogether. Quite why so many contemporary couples now delay or shy away from traditional marriage is a complex topic. Social attitudes and priorities have certainly changed and widespread…

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More than 40 per cent of divorcees now borrow from friends & family

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A full 41 per cent of people aged under 55 now borrow from friends and family to finance their divorce, according to a recently published report. By contrast just 11 per cent of divorcees aged 55 or over reported having done so. According to Divorce in the UK – can we improve the process?, this stark difference is likely due to the fact that older divorcees were more likely to have been eligible for legal aid at the time their marriages ended. Eligibility for legal aid was drastically curtailed in 2013. Younger people have also embraced online divorce. While two…

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Senior Judges say thank you to family law professionals

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Two of the most senior family law judges in England and Wales have thanked legal professionals for their efforts in maintaining the legal system during the current covid-19 pandemic. Lady Justice King and Mrs Justice Theis issued a message on behalf of Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, who is currently recuperating from heart surgery. They wrote: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that this year more than any other has been extraordinary. Even in these unprecedented times each one of you has played your part to keep our heavily burdened system functioning.” The swift…

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Court transfers care of nine year-old to father

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A nine year-old girl has been sent to live with her father by the High Court thanks to her mother’s continuing involvement with a New Age organisation. In Re S the parents had separated when the girl was just a year old. The mother then became involved with Universal Medicine, an Australian group which promotes New Age spiritual beliefs and healing practices, which it calls the “Way of the Livingness”. The daughter was closely involved with the mother’s lifestyle, eating the same restricted diet and attending healing sessions and group events. The father came to believe the doctrines of Universal…

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Calls to NSPCC reach record numbers

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Over 22,000 calls were made to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) during the lockdown months of April, May and June. The figure represents an increase of almost a third over the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown. A total of 8,287 calls were made in May alone: the highest number on record. Callers expressed concerns about possible the neglect and abuse of children they had encountered or the behaviour of parents. The charity reports that it referred a higher-than-normal 40 per cent of lockdown calls to local authorities  or the police…

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23 year-old divorce decree corrected by High Court

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A final decree of divorce issued 23 years ago contained an incorrect date, the High Court has ruled. X v Y concerned a couple who married twice – firstly at a secret ceremony in Spain in 1993 not attended by their families, and a second time in England a year later after reconciling with their relatives. The second ceremony would not have been allowed to proceed if they told the registrar about the earlier marriage in Spain because, under English law, they were already married. Two years later the marriage broke down. Mr X petitioned for divorce on the grounds…

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