New support for people affected by ‘parental alienation’

New support for people affected by ‘parental alienation’

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in News

Parental alienation is a process where one parent knowingly makes a child turn against the other parent. This has become a common feature in family law and is on the rise. These are one of the most difficult issues for Cafcass to deal with because finding a solution for the welfare of the child may be difficult. Sarah Parson, the assistant director of Cafcass said: “Parental alienation is responsible for around 80% of the most intransigent cases that come before the family courts”.

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Cohabitation and remaining single is on the rise but marriage is declining

Cohabitation and remaining single is on the rise but marriage is declining

Posted by on Jul 30, 2016 in News

The Office of National Statistics has reported that cohabitation is on the rise but marriage is declining. The percentage of people aged 16 or over entering a marriage in England and Wales has declined by a small margin. In 2002 54.8% of the population was married however this has now dropped to 50.6% in 2015. Cohabitation is now common as an alternative to marriage for couples, with cohabitation figures now rising to 9.5% in 2015 from 6.8% in 2002.

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Calls to make failure to report suspected or evidential child abuse a criminal offence

Calls to make failure to report suspected or evidential child abuse a criminal offence

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in News

There have been calls by survivor charities for more protection and support available for children suffering abuse. They say that failure by schools, care homes, hospitals and local authorities to report suspected or evidential child abuse should be a criminal offence.

The government will announce a 12 week consultation on the mandatory reporting of child abuse. Supporters of mandatory reporting are calling for stricter law enforcement in this area. Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC has said: “Reporting child abuse is the first step to protecting children and helping them recover”.

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Court fees for divorce petitions are on the rise

Court fees for divorce petitions are on the rise

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in News

Court fees increased in April 2015 to £550 although previously in January 2015 the government has said the fees would not increase from £410. The new figure indicates a change of direction and decision by the government.

However the increase in court fee has been questioned a report published by the ‘Justice Select Committee’ (JSC) in early 2016 has criticised the increase in court fees and tribunal fees. By raising such type of fees it can cause doubt for potential divorcing parties and even how they will be able to finance for a divorce to take place.

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How Brexit will affect international divorces and family law issues

How Brexit will affect international divorces and family law issues

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in News

With the UK now leaving the EU, there will be potential implications in international family cases. A potential effect is cross border parental responsibility changes concerning children. Every year there are disputes involving international divorces and then the issue of who has custody of children needs to be resolved. There is however an overlap between the 1996 Hague Convention and Brussels II Revised. Family law practitioners can therefore consider approaching family cases involving an EU member state the same way even when Brussels IIa Revised becomes irrelevant to the UK because they both focus on the habitual residence of a child.

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Grandparents may in the near future not require leave of the court for a Section 8 order

Grandparents may in the near future not require leave of the court for a Section 8 order

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in News

Family court judge Mrs Justice Hogg returned Ellie Butler to her birth parents. The result, which later led to the sad killing of Ellie Butler, could be a turning point in the law on the area of grandparents’ ability to bring a Section 8 order or custody order. A judge’s role in law is to consider the welfare of the child which would be the paramount principle and grandparents’ can in the future now be given more consideration.

Grandparents’ currently in law do have a say, but it is the birth parents who are given first consideration in being given parental responsibility for a child. But this case may in the future lead to changes as to how grandparents can obtain parental responsibility more quickly and easier.

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Is a balance achieved between granting parties autonomy over their financial futures and allowing the court discretion to achieve fairness achieved?

Is a balance achieved between granting parties autonomy over their financial futures and allowing the court discretion to achieve fairness achieved?

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in News

Many practitioners and family law solicitors would agree that a balance is achieved between autonomy and fairness as the courts do not interfere with the agreement concerning financial provisions unless it is unfair. Lord Wilson’s words in Granatino once were:

“The reason why the court should give weight to a nuptial agreement is that there should be respect for individual autonomy . . . It would be paternalistic and patronising to override their agreement simply on the basis that the court knows best”

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