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06 February 2018Catherine 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 2018Catherine 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 2018Catherine 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 2018Catherine 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 2018Catherine 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 2018Catherine 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 2017Catherine 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…
06 September 2017Catherine Dow Family Law
As the headline implies, the Civil Partnership fight we reported on our Website in March will continue to the highest Court in the UK - The Supreme Court - following permission being granted to Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan. This is viewed as a significant step in the journey to achieve equality in Civil Partnerships for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
04 August 2017Catherine Dow Family Law
Don’t be fooled into thinking you do not need legal advice on the new Divorce Petition On 7th August 2017, a new form of Divorce Petition is to be used, and will be available on the Government website to download. The impression given is that the new Petition is designed with a view to an individual being able to complete and submit the Petition to the court themselves. At first sight, it might look straightforward as it contains ‘helpful’ notes for guidance next to each section of the document. However, these notes do not tell the whole story and they…
02 August 2017Catherine Dow Family Law
You may have seen the recent report of a senior Judge from the Liverpool Family Court who has been very critical of some lawyers who 'double book' cases coming before the Court. Court listings departments all over the Country may sometimes, without realising, schedule more than one case at the same time on the same day in separate court rooms, where one firm of solicitors happens to be acting in all, or more than one, of the matters. It has been the policy of some firms to simply send one legal representative to court to cover all the cases, which…

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