non-molestation orders

Non-molestation orders data under review

Since 2013, when LASPO came into force, it has been reported by the National Audit Office that up to 80% of private family law cases before the courts involve at least one party that has no legal representation. This is an increase of some 30%, or approximately 18,500 families per year, on pre-LASPO levels. Within this same time frame, the …

partnership

Civil partnership to be made open to all

Civil partnership is to be available to heterosexual couples following the recent Supreme Court case of Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for International Development [2018]. Many family law practitioners had urged the government to extend the scope of civil partnership after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Steinfeld and Keidan, wherein the court found that there was no justification for the discrimination …

cohab

Cohabiting couples seek protection with legal coalition

Couples mistakenly believe they have the same legal and financial rights and protections as married couples, say a coalition of legal bodies, including the Bar Council, the Law Society, Resolution and Relate. The government is being urged to provide legal protection to the millions of cohabiting couples, as evidence emerges of an increase in the number of civil partnerships and deathbed …

deceit

Cohabitee deceived into spending divorce settlement secures damages

In December 2010, a divorce was finalised in relation to Sacher Barker’s marriage, with Ms Barker having secured a financial settlement of £550,000. In 2011, Ms Barker met Richard Winter. Ms Barker claimed that Mr Winter represented to her that he was very wealthy, separated from his wife and in the process of obtaining a divorce himself. Ms Barker said …

civil

Marriage and civil partnerships soon open to all?

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that restricting civil partnerships exclusively to same-sex couples is discriminatory, putting the government under significant pressure to allow heterosexual couples to enter into the same unions. The court found unanimously in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, confirming that their human rights had been breached in not being able to enter into a civil …

cohabiting

Cohabiting couples – rights at separation

There is much chatter in family law circles presently regarding the possibility of a change in law, bringing about a “no fault” based divorce system. Opponents to this scheme often cite the risk such a system may create by encouraging parties to marry (and thereby risk divorce) with little “risk”. Their argument extends to suggest that cohabiting couples will be …

couple

Pensions for cohabiting couples

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court unanimously allowed a widow’s appeal, declaring that the requirement in the 2009 Regulations that her deceased husband should have nominated her as a recipient of lifetime payments for his pensions should be disapplied. In doing so, the widow is entitled to receive a survivor’s pension under the terms of the deceased husband’s pension scheme. The …

Non-molestation Orders

Non-molestation orders are court orders prohibiting an individual from “molesting” another person who is associated with them and/or a relevant child.  Applications for these types of orders are ordinarily made under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996. Molestation is not defined under the 1996 Act, but includes violence and threats of violence. It is not confined to such physical …

cohabiting

Cohabiting relationships in the future

The turn of the new year often sees reflection and shines a light on the current position and times past. In family law disputes, nowhere is that more needed than when considering cohabiting couples. Most couples’ property disputes centre on a piece of legislation known as TOLATA and our recent blog summarises this neatly. But what does the future hold …

civil partnership marriage

Civil partnerships and equality for all

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, civil partnerships are legally recognised relationships between two people of the same sex, which only exist once registered. Upon registration, these partnerships confer the same rights and responsibilities to the partners that are conferred to married couples. Since March 2014, it has been possible for civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage, …