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07 September 2018 Breakthrough 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 2018 Breakthrough 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 Catherine Dow 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 Catherine Dow 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 Catherine Dow 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 Catherine Dow 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 that…
18 January 2018 Catherine Dow 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…
12 January 2018 Catherine Dow Family Law
Marked rise in Litigant’s in Person (LiP’s) are a key challenge for family lawyers The rise in the number of LiPs in the Family Court since the 2013 legal aid reforms has topped a poll of the causes of discontent and concern among family law practitioners for the fifth year running. The annual matrimonial survey by Grant Thornton found one in five of the family lawyers it consulted named the rise of LiPs as being the biggest single issue facing their legal practice. Other central issues were overburdening of the family courts, delays resulting from court closures and courts not…
03 November 2017 Catherine Dow Family Law
Are family courts reaching crisis point? Concerns are increasing as a result of the latest Government figures which highlight the rising number of private law cases and litigants in person. This all adds to recent warnings from the legal profession about the family justice system. Ministry of Justice figures show 13,029 new private law applications were made between April and June this year, a 3% increase on the same period last year. Neither the applicant nor respondent were represented in 36% of cases, compared with 34% in the previous year. It is said that 'even a little' publicly funded advice…
19 September 2017 Jeannette Redway Family Mediation
Increasingly, Family Mediation is becoming the preferred method to resolve and prevent family disputes, especially where children are involved. Agreements that have been freely negotiated can help restore communication, understanding and trust. Financial settlements can be achieved in a fraction of the time taken by using other methods and a fraction of the cost. For this reason, we at Breakthrough Family Law are now able to offer Family Mediation with a highly experienced accredited mediator. Find out more about Family Mediation.

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