variation

Variation of arrangements for contact with a child

Many separated families find that agreed arrangements for contact and other child matters need constant review, often being tweaked and changed to reflect the changing dynamic of the separated family unit. Often these types of variation can be relatively small, such as the location or time for collection or drop off. However, there are occasions when a variation cannot be …

changes

Changes to divorce law and matrimonial finances

The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill has been scheduled to commence its Committee stage in the House of Lords on 23 November 2018. This stage affords the proposed bill to be scrutinised on a line by line basis, in order to consider changes proposed to existing legislation. The proposed bill, sponsored by Baroness Deech, suggests changes to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 …

Northampton

Northampton becomes part of Family Court pilot scheme

The Family Court at Northampton is soon to join the Financial Remedies Pilot, as part of the court’s strategy to manage court proceedings relating to matrimonial finances. Following further consultation, the current President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, announced that the regional piloting scheme was to be extended to eight new courts, including Northampton. The Financial Remedies Court is …

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 …

transparency

Transparency on the increase in family courts

Running from 1 October 2018 until 30 June 2019, family law courts in England Wales are now operating a pilot for “duly authorised” lawyers to “blog” about report on private hearings. However, there are still some restrictions and rules in place to protect the parties’ privacy. The greater transparency of these hearings is operating for a pilot period, with rules set …

skype

Skype the answer to modern day court user needs

In his retirement speech at the Royal Courts of Justice, outgoing President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby suggested that members of the public should be asked if they want to go to a physical court building or simply talk to the judge via Skype “…from their kitchen…”. Sir James Munby went on to state that “…anyone who thinks …

petition

Tini Owens loses divorce petition fight at Supreme Court

Tini Owens has lost a Supreme Court appeal to be granted a divorce because she said her marriage was unhappy. In May 2015 Mrs Owens issued a divorce petition which has been the subject of a great number of court hearings, concluding in the Supreme Court proceedings. Mrs Owens’ petition was based upon section 1(2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, in which …

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 …

settlement

Court reject claim for financial settlement 27 years after separation

In the recently reported case of  A v B (No 2) [2018], the court concluded that a former husband, who brought an application for financial remedy 26 years after the grant of decree nisi, did not merit any financial provision. The parties had met in 1980 and married in 1983, later having two children in 1986 and 1989.  The marriage broke …