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Revised divorce form to provide more information

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A new version of a key form used in divorce has been published. Form D81 is completed and signed by both parties to a divorce once one has applied for a financial settlement that would result in a legally binding ‘consent order’ (so called because each party consents to the agreement). D81 is formally entitled Statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy – it details each party’s financial circumstances and is used by the family courts to determine whether the agreed division of assets and property is fair and reasonable. The joint signatures also…

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Bill raising minimum age of marriage gets third reading

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A bill raising the minimum age for marriage to 18 received an unopposed third reading in the House of Commons in late February. Under current legislation, 16- and 17-year-olds can marry in England and Wales with the consent of their parents or guardian, but the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill would remove this provision if it reaches the statute books. Following an amendment, it would also prevent under-18s from travelling to Scotland or Northern Ireland to marry. The latter prohibition will also apply in reverse and extend to marriages conducted in other countries too. An official note on…

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Therapist granted declaration regarding her father

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The adult daughter of a woman born following an affair has been granted a legal declaration concerning the identify of her biological father. The therapist, ‘Ruth’, is now in her early 60s. She was born out of wedlock to a then 18-year-old mother. The mother, ‘Constance’, was from an orthodox Jewish background while the father, then aged 27, was an Irish citizen. When the mother became pregnant, the father, ‘Patrick’, refused to marry her, leaving her in a difficult position. In the family division of the High Court, Mr Justice Mostyn explained: “Constance needed to find a husband quickly as…

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Government plans changes to Human Rights Act

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The government has announced plans to revise the Human Rights Act, making Parliament the ultimate arbiter in human rights case rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. According to the Ministry of Justice, the “far-reaching proposals” would, however, maintain a firm commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights, on which the Human Rights Act 1998 was based, incorporating its provisions into UK law. Contrary to popular belief, the European Court of Human Rights is a separate organisation, unconnected with the European Union, and the UK remains a member. But the revised legislation would, the Ministry claims…

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Government launches outdoor wedding consultation

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The government has launched a public consultation on plans to continuing allowing outdoor weddings on approved premises. Couples tying the knot in the UK have only been able to hold civil wedding and partnership ceremonies outdoors, at approved venues, since July last year. Before that, weddings could only take place indoors. The change was introduced by a temporary statutory instrument (government order) in order to boost the weddings industry. But this is due to expire on 5 April. The new public consultation proposes making the change a permanent one via the issuing of a further statutory instrument. The government is…

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Outdoor weddings and civil partnerships now permanently available

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Outdoor weddings and civil partnership are now permanently available to couples in England and Wales following the introduction of new legislation.   The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 makes previously temporary measures allowing outdoor ceremonies into permanent legislation. It is a ‘statutory instrument’ – the main method by which so-called ‘secondary legislation’ is created in the UK. Secondary legislation is specific laws drafted from the broader principles of ‘primary’ legislation – e.g., acts of Parliament.   The temporary measures had been in place since summer 2021. They were introduced in order to try and encourage a…

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Girlfriend of man who disappeared in Peru receives declaration of presumed death

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The girlfriend of a man who disappeared while travelling in South America more than a decade ago has been granted a declaration of his presumed death. The man, referred to in the anonymised judgement as ‘P’, grew up in the south of England. He spent a decade working as a flight attendant, then become involved in the establishment of a restaurant in Barcelona. Then in 2008, he began a relationship with ‘D’. They lived together but did not marry. D eventually become pregnant, giving birth to a son, ‘C’, in March 2010. P was a dedicated father, spending the majority…

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Multinational couple argue over money before divorce begins

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The wife of a multimillionaire hedge fund manager has been had her claim for interim maintenance and legal costs significantly reduced by the High Court.   Referred to as ‘W’ in the judgement, she had enjoyed some business success before becoming a stay-at-home mother. She and the husband – ‘H’ – were both from outside the UK. They married in London in 2017 and went on to have two children, now aged three and one. The husband was a citizen of three separate countries, while the wife had two nationalities. The siblings are UK citizens, but they too hold other…

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Obsessive mother fails in appeal against order barring court action

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A mother who conducted an obsessive campaign against the father of her six year-old daughter has failed in an appeal against an order barring her from other court action for two whole years. A medical doctor from Hungary, with three children from earlier relationships, she met the father met in 2013. In 2015 a daughter, referred to in the Court of Appeal judgement as ‘A’, was born. In 2017 the mother travelled back to Hungary for an extended visit, leaving A and her three older children in the care of A’s father. Six months later, she returned to the UK…

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Visits by judges ‘need clearer guidelines’

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Britain’s most senior family law judge has called for clearer guidance on personal visits by judges to the subjects of hearings. Sir Andrew McFarlane is President of the Family Division of the High Court. Granting an appeal brought by the children of a women with Covid-19 complications, he said there was a “pressing need for workable guidance” on the “developing practice” of judges in the Court of Protection making personal visits. The Court of Protection is a branch of the High Court which hears cases involving the welfare of people unable to make their own decisions due to illness or…

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