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 …

change

Changes to divorce law on the horizon

Married couples may soon be entitled to no-fault divorces and spouses will lose the right to defend and contest the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as standard, under proposals for a historic change of the divorce laws, currently being drawn up by the government. Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, David Gauke, is expected to soon announce a government …

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 …

vary

Attempts to vary spousal maintenance fail at the Supreme Court

In a pronouncement described by some as ending the “meal ticket for life”, the Supreme Court has ruled that a divorced husband should not have to increase his spousal maintenance payments to his former wife, after she mismanaged her finances post-divorce settlement, rejecting the wife’s application to vary the previously agreed arrangement. The Supreme Court heard that after the parties’ …

dispute

Dispute over forum considered by Court of Appeal

Highlighting once again the importance of the jurisdictional forum of divorce proceedings, the courts have recently considered the matter of Mr and Mrs Thum and their jurisdictional dispute.   Catja Thum, won the race to lodge her divorce petition in England, before her financier husband, Oliver Thum, did the same in Germany, after she found out that Mr Thum had taken …

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 …

maintenance

Supreme Court’s judgment on varying spousal maintenance.

The Supreme Court is expected to shortly deliver its judgment on the matter of Mills. The case relates to the proper approach to a party’s application to vary periodical payments (spousal maintenance) orders made under s.31(7) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, after the grant of a decree of divorce. After the parties’ 2002 divorce, they settled the matrimonial finances …