Number of special guardianship orders triples over two years

Number of special guardianship orders triples over two years

Posted by on May 29, 2015 in News

BBC News has reported that the number of babies being made subject to special guardianship order in England has tripled in the last two years.

A special guardianship order is a long-term alternative to adoption or fostering, and means that the child can be placed with family, friends, or foster parents until they reach the age of majority. They are often used in cases of neglect or abuse.

The BBC’s figures show that in 2012, 160 babies were placed under such orders, whereas by 2014 this figure had risen to 520. The majority of the children were aged four or under.

On the other hand, the number of children being placed for adoption is falling.

There have been some concerns over these figures. Although chief executive of fostering and adoption charity TACT agrees that living with extended family “is a good thing”, he notes that there are some doubts as to whether assessment were detailed enough, saying that some family member may not be close to the child before the process begins. He also noted that the level of post-placement support was not as high as it is following adoption.

Read more on the BBC News website.

If you require advice as to children’s proceedings, please contact one of our highly skilled family law team.

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Real life ‘First Wives Club’ Formed

Real life ‘First Wives Club’ Formed

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in News

A group of divorcees have come together to form a group ‘the First Wives Club’, named after the 1996 film, staring Goldie Hawn, Bette idler and Diane Keaton.

However, this is a First Wives Club with a difference. Rather than seeking revenge on their former spouses, as in the film, this newly founded club (Formerly known as the Michelle Young Foundation) seeks to highlight injustices in the divorce system.

Michelle Young, Vivien Hobbs, and Janna Kremen founded the club following their divorces, as they believed that they unjustly suffered, as wish to help others avoid their fate, and change the system that let them down.

One of their aims is to tackle non-disclosure laws, which they claim “allow the earning spouse in a divorce to make bald-face lies about their assets”.

The divorcees claim that following their divorces they were left with ‘next to nothing’, as their ex-husbands hid the true scale of their personal wealth.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson has said:

“Family courts require full disclosure of assets in divorce proceedings, separations and dissolutions of civil partnerships. If a party is found to have hidden assets from the court they can be charged with contempt of court, which can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.”

Read more about the First Wives Club.

If you are going through a divorce, our solicitors can help guide you through the financial matters. Call us on 01273 205 805 to schedule a free 30 minute consultation, or email us at advice@brightonandhovelaw.com.

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Remember Vince v Wyatt? Now you can witness the court’s decision for yourself!

Remember Vince v Wyatt? Now you can witness the court’s decision for yourself!

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in News

The Supreme Court have launched a new ‘on demand video service’ where members of the public can watch decided and current cases from their own homes whenever they want.

Footage of proceedings in the court will be uploaded the next working day, and once a judgement is delivered, footage of the Justices’ summary will also be published alongside the full judgement text and press summary.

Many past judgements have been uploaded including the controversial case of Vince v Wyatt in which an ex-wife claimed financial support from her ex-husband, despite the divorce having been finalised back in 1992.

Now, members of the public can watch the judgement unfold from the comfort of their own home.

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said:

“Now justice can be seen to be done at a time which suits you”.

The archive will not only prove an interesting and useful resource for members of the legal profession and law students, but also allows the public to see the inner workings of our highest appeal court, and shows the background to landmark cases which affect us all.

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Retirement income: another cost of divorce

Retirement income: another cost of divorce

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in News

A study by insurers Prudential has shown that those who are planning on retiring in 2015 who have previously been divorced will have a lower expected retirement income than those who have never divorced.

The average expected retirement income is £15,700 for divorcees, compared with £17,800 for those who have never experienced a marriage breakdown. That’s a difference of £2,100 per year on average.

20% of divorcees will retire with outstanding debts, averaging £22,100, as opposed to a slightly smaller average debts for those who have never been divorced, of around £21,700.

The research also shows that divorcees approaching retirement are more likely to delay the date of their retirement than those who have never been divorced.

Furthermore, 19% of retires who have previously divorced are likely to live with an income below £9,500 – the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) minimum income standard for a single pensioner. Only 14% of non-divorcees expect to live below this line.

Claire Moffat, a pensions specialist at Prudential said:

“Unfortunately divorce is most likely among those ages 40-44, the period in many people’s lives when earning potential peaks and the most valuable pension contributions can be made.”

“The support of a professional financial adviser or retirement specialist should help ensure that any financial decisions taken have the least possible impact on incomes available later in life.”

If you require advice on wealth management following divorce, please contact one of our highly trained professionals.

For further details contact us.

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Parents cannot use their child’s refusal as an excuse for non-contact

Parents cannot use their child’s refusal as an excuse for non-contact

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in News

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has reminded parents that they have an obligation to encourage contact between their children and the children’s parents, even if the child does not wish to see them.

In the case Re H-B (Contact) [2015] EWCA Civ 389, the father had not had direct contact with his two daughters since 2008, following an incident with the father’s new wife. The father was, in this case, appealing against a refusal of his application for direct contact with the daughters.

The President compared contact with other things that children may not wish to do, or even refuse to do, for example going to the dentist, going to visit relatives, going to school, or doing homework.

Dismissing the appeal, the President held that it was a parent’s job to “get the child to do what is does not want to do” and that a child refusing to see one of their parents was not a justification for that parent to be estranged from the child.

Read the full text of the appeal judgement on Family Law Week website.

If you need advice relating to contact with your children, please call us on 01273 205 805 or email advice@brightonandhovelaw.co.uk.

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Social media: causing problems for couples

Social media: causing problems for couples

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in News

New research, commissioned by firm Slater and Gordon, has shown that social media is causing rifts between couples, and is often cited as a reason in divorce cases.

Andrew Newbury, head of family law at Slater and Gordon said:

“Five years ago Facebook was rarely mentioned in the context of a marriage ending, but now it has become common place for clients to cite social media use, or something they discovered on social media, as a reason for divorce.”

The study focused on married couples and their activities on social media sites such as Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter and Whatsapp. Examples of problematic activities include contact with an ex-partner, sending secret messages, posting inappropriate photographs, and even failing to post any photographs of the couple themselves.

The results show that social media is often problematic in modern relationships.

  • Just under half of all adults in the UK admit secretly checking their partner’s Facebook account, and one in five went on to argue about what they discovered.
  • One in seven admitted contemplating divorce following a partner’s social media habits.
  • Nearly a quarter of the persons asked said that social media sparked at least one argument a week, and 17% said that social media caused a row daily.
  • 14% of participants said that they had used social media to find evidence of infidelity.
  • 15% of those asked considered social media to be a danger to their relationship, with Facebook being cited as the most dangerous of all the social media sites.
  • One in ten admitted hiding posts and images from their partners.
  • 8% admitted to having secret social media accounts.
  • A fifth of participants said that they had discovered something on their partner’s social media which made them uneasy, and 43% had confronted their spouse about this immediately.
  • A third of participants kept their social media log-in details a secret from their partners, however 58% said that they knew their partner’s log-in details, even if their partner wasn’t aware of this.

Andrew Newbury has said that following these startling results:

“We are now actively advising our clients to be cautious when it comes to using Facebook and all forms of social media because of its potential to damage relationships.”

If you are find yourself facing problems with a spouse and wish to know more about the options that are available to you, contact one of our solicitors and arrange a free 30 minute consultation.

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A new study has shown that how parents raise their kids has no effect on intelligence

A new study has shown that how parents raise their kids has no effect on intelligence

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in News

In the past it was believed that the way parents raised their kids had an effect on how intelligent those children would grow up to be.

However, a surprising new study has now shown that parental socialization has no effect, and in fact intelligence is simply genetic.

Many parents believe that activities such as reading bedtime stories, engaging in conversation and eating nightly dinners together positively aid in a child’s development. However Criminology professor Kevin Beaver, who undertook the recent study, has said that the results show that in fact these activities will have no future effect. He suggests that

“…in reality the parents who are more intelligent are doing these things and it is masking the genetic transformation of intelligence to their children”.

Professor Beaver has stressed that these results do not mean that parental neglect or traumatisation of a child will not have negative effects on a child’s intelligence, but simply that

“…the way you parent a child is not going to have a detectable effect on their IQ as long as that parenting is within normal bounds”.

In order to test the theory that intelligence is passed down from parent to children genetically, not socially, the study included adopted children who share no DNA with their adoptive parents.

The study, entitled ‘A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design’ has been published in Intelligence journal , and the whole article is available for a fee on Science Direct website.

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