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16 November 2018Breakthrough Family Law Blog
With the gap between children waiting and available adopters the biggest it has ever been, couples are being asked to consider adoption to help reduce the number of children seeking a safe and comfortable place to live and to ease the pressure on the UK's adoption system. National Adoption Week 2018, which runs from October 15th until the 21st, is used as an opportunity to raise awareness about the shortfall in adoptive parents and to celebrate stories from across the country that show the hugely positive impact that adoption can have on the lives of some of the UK's most…
12 October 2018Breakthrough Family Law Blog
  The government is planning to undertake a consultation on introducing ‘no-fault divorces' in England and Wales. David Gauke, the justice secretary, who previously acknowledged that there is a "strong" argument for making changes to the law regarding divorce, is expected to launch a public debate on modernising legislation that has been in place for over 50 years. Mr Gauke stated that the current law is "out of touch with modern life". Currently, anyone seeking a divorce must prove that their partner was at fault though adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour. Alternatively, if both parties agree to the divorce, they…
05 October 2018Breakthrough Family Law Blog
  Family lawyers have welcomed a Supreme Court ruling which stated that denying an unmarried mother of four a widowed parent's allowance was illegal. Judges held that the government's refusal to pay up to £117 pounds a week in benefits was a breach of the family's human rights, and in the process significantly extended the rights of unmarried couples. Siobhan McLaughlin, from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, was refused a bereavement payment and widowed parent's allowance following the death of her partner, John Adams, who died of cancer in January 2014. The couple were neither married nor in a civil…
07 September 2018Breakthrough Family Law Blog
  A woman seeking a divorce from her husband after 40 years of marriage on the grounds that their relationship is ‘loveless' and has broken down has been told that she must remain married. Tini Owens was seeking to challenge decisions made by the Family Court and Court of Appeal which prevented her from relying on the joyless nature of their marriage as grounds for divorce. As the law currently stands, in the absence of fault or if one of the spouses does not agree to a divorce, then the petitioner (that is the spouse who is seeking the divorce…
04 September 2018Breakthrough Family Law Blog
  A man who divorced his wife over 15 years ago should not have to increase the amount he pays in monthly maintenance payments to compensate for her poor financial decisions, judges have decided. Graham Mills, who agreed to pay his ex-wife Maria a lump sum of £230,000 plus ongoing maintenance payments of £1,100 per month to support her and their son when they divorced in 2002, will only be required to continue paying this amount despite his ex-wife having accrued substantial debts in the intervening years. Mrs Mills had sought increased maintenance payments as a result, but the Supreme…
06 February 2018 Family Law
In March and September 2017, we reported on civil partnerships and the journey to achieve equality in civil partnerships for all, regardless of sexual orientation. Now, more than three million heterosexual couples could be allowed to form a civil partnership under Government backed proposals. A bill proposed by the Conservative MP Tim Loughton received an unopposed second reading last week. If passed, Mr Loughton said that the legislation would “correct an unintended but glaring inequality” between same sex couples and heterosexual couples. Extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples is one of five planks of The Times ‘Family Matters campaign for…
30 January 2018 Family Law
On 23 January 2018, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division,   set out his vision of what needs to be done to deal with  finances following a marriage breakdown. Sir James has said  he considers the present system is the  ‘Cinderella of family justice’ and says his ‘core ambition is to improve significantly both the ‘application of procedural justice and the delivery of substantive justice’. In terms of procedure, he considers there should be appointed a group of specialist judges to a ‘Financial Remedies Court’ (FRC) where early allocation of a case to the right judge at the right…
29 January 2018 Family Law
You will have seen various newspaper articles in January about ‘Divorce Day’. The suggestion is, repeated as each year comes in, that people fall over themselves to issue divorce petitions on the first working day of the year. This story runs in the press with regular monotony as each new year dawns, but what are the facts and figures? Family Court quarterly statistics actually reveal that, in 2017, 34.1% of petitions were issued between January and March, 32.6% between April and June and 33.3% between July and September. The final quarter figures for 2017 are not yet published, but the…
22 January 2018 Family Law
Millions of couples at severe financial risk due to ‘common-law marriage' myth A Poll, marking Cohabitation Awareness Week (which was held in December 2017) , underlines couples’ misunderstanding of law Millions of unmarried couples living together are unaware that they are at severe financial risk as a result of the current legal system, Resolution has warned. A poll of over 2,000 British adults, conducted by ComRes and commissioned by Resolution, to mark Cohabitation Awareness Week, has highlighted the misunderstanding of many cohabiting couples of the law in this area. The poll found that: A quarter of Britons (27 per cent) wrongly believe…
18 January 2018 Family Law
Changes to spending on legal and lifestyle costs on separation According to Aviva’s Family Finances Report, UK couples spend an average of £14,561 on legal and lifestyle costs when they break up, which is an increase of 17% since 2014 when it totalled £12,432 The report found: Couples typically spend £14,561 on legal and lifestyle costs when they divorce or separate, an increase of 17% since 2014 when the total was £12,432 Total UK cost of separation expenses reaches £1.7 billion, up £100 million from 2014 One in six (16%) who separate also buy a new home, spending an average…

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