conference

Are settlement conferences the future of family law?

Settlement conferences originated in Canada as an innovative and less adversarial model for reaching decisions in public and private family law cases. The Ministry of Justice has been running a two year pilot from 2016 to 2018, to understand how settlement conferences might successfully operate in the family courts of England and Wales. In August 2016, former President of the …

pre

Pre-nuptial agreement set aside

Mr Justice Mostyn has delivered a judgment setting aside a pre-nuptial agreement drafted to benefit the heiress to the Avon cosmetics empire. The parties in Ipecki v McConnell met in 2003 and began cohabiting in January 2005, marrying later that year. The parties agreed a restrictive pre-nuptial agreement which effectively sought to ensure any dispute was governed by the exclusive …

alienation

Parental alienation increase demands fresh guidance from CAFCASS

Cafcass – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – have released new guidance designed to help their welfare officers identify and appropriately assess cases which may feature “parental alienation”.  For many years now, those charged with looking after children’s welfare have been aware of parental alienation in family law proceedings, which has been supplemented by a growing …

spousal

Spousal maintenance – what to consider

Sir Nicholas Mostyn recently spoke at the Devon and Somerset Law Society on the issue of spousal maintenance, highlighting the future of how the courts will deal with these payments. A spousal maintenance award is properly made where the parties’ Financial Statements and supporting evidence illustrates that choices made during the marriage have generated hardship and financial need on behalf …

centre

Divorce centre delays reach unprecedented levels

Following their 2015 launch, the divorce centre structures in England and Wales have struggled to maintain a consistent service level in processing divorces and associated applications. Each divorce centre was originally set up as a consequence of the impact of austerity on the Ministry of Justice’s handling of divorce work, with benefits sought from centralising work and delegating aspects of …

varying

Varying a Child Arrangements Order

It is common to find separated parents in dispute over the terms of contact with the children following the end of half-term or other school holiday. Naturally, following informal discussions between the parents, it frequently leads to one parent to feel there is no alternative but to apply to court to vary the terms of an existing child arrangements order. …

contact

Applications for contact by unrepresented parties swell family court system

The number of parents being forced to represent themselves in court has more than doubled in the past six years, following the scything cuts in legal aid. The latest government data revealed in 2017, 23,881 parents had no legal representation when making their application in private law proceedings for a child arrangements order, such as contact with a child . Since 2011, this figure has …

remarriage

Falling into the remarriage trap

Following the breakdown of a marriage, the parties naturally look to consider what their future may entail and in particular, how they might manage financially. Yet for some, dealing with the miasma of issues surrounding separation means that they never formalise the terms of any financial settlement with their spouse by way of a court order. The court only makes …

common

Common law marriage myth continues

46%of people in England and Wales mistakenly believe that unmarried couples who live together have a “common law marriage”. The British Social Attitudes Survey – carried out by The National Centre for Social Research – reveal that 46% of the population are under the wrong impression that cohabiting couples form a common law marriage and enjoy the same rights as …