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High earning wives ‘bullying’ men out of generous divorce settlements

According to a recent report in the Telegraph, more men than ever are receiving generous payouts from the divorce courts, with some also securing ongoing monthly maintenance from bread-winning wives.

This is likely to be an increasing trend, with women earning higher salaries and often being the main earner in a family. The Institute of Public Policy Research states that for 1 in 3 UK families, it is the wife who is the higher earner.

Childcare issues following divorce or separation

Relationship breakdowns are often more challenging where there are children to consider. The children rarely understand why their parents must live apart and have difficulties themselves coping with the changes. Resolving issues such as where your children will live and how you’re going to care for them now you are separated can be a minefield.

The potential complexities surrounding childcare have featured heavily in the media as, following his recent and very public split from Angelina Jolie, actor Brad Pitt is seeking joint custody of their six children.

Gary Lineker attacks “greedy” divorce lawyers

Former England striker Gary Lineker has gone on the attack, criticising lawyers for attempting to boost their fees during the divorce process. The comments come following Mr. Lineker’s split from his second wife. He was previously married to his first wife for 20 years. Talking to the Radio Times, he said that: “Just generally speaking,…

Refusal to allow heterosexual couples civil partnerships is NOT a breach of human right

The campaign to allow heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships suffered a blow last month as the High Court ruled that the current law – which denies opposite-sex couples this option – does not breach human rights legislation. Under UK law, while same-sex couples can choose to have a civil partnership or marry, opposite-sex couples cannot make a relationship official by any means other than marriage.

Bank of Mum and Dad forcing children to sign pre-nups

According to The Law Society of England & Wales, there has been a sharp increase in the number of inquiries about pre-nuptial agreements. This rise is fuelled by parents looking to protect their investments when helping children onto the property ladder.

Rising house prices and strict mortgage requirements mean that today, more and more first-time buyers are struggling to afford a home. With deposits of at least 10% needed in many cases, and a severe shortage of affordable homes, according to a report by the National Housing Federation, some 3.7million young people will be living with their parents by 2020.

Legal aid cuts leave families without lawyers

A recent article has highlighted the real life cost of the cuts to legal aid.

Addressing the thorny issue of access to justice, The Guardian introduces readers to a man forced to battle for custody of his children without a family lawyer, as he cannot afford to pay for legal representation.

Judge allows publication of article about children in care

A judge has permitted the reporting of a child care case by a freelance journalist.

The case in question involves a mother whose severe mental health problems did, at times, make it unsafe for her to care for her children. The mother has had a number of children taken into care in the past, but is now able and well.

The mother speaks publicly about her experiences on and offline, and, with her full support, the journalist applied to the court for permission to incorporate her story into an in-depth article about the care system.

Should heterosexual couples be able to enter into civil partnerships?

A campaign is mounting in the UK to allow heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Under UK law, same-sex couples can now have a civil partnership or marry under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. However, opposite-sex couples are not afforded the same options, and cannot make a relationship official through any means but marriage.

However, with a vast number of people turning their backs on marriage, the ability to formalise long-term relationships through other legal means has never been more important.

Privacy in Family Law Proceedings

The question of privacy in family law proceedings was considered by the courts recently in the high profile case of Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton. Both had lived their lives in the public eye for many years and indeed courted attention (no pun intended) but, when it came to their divorce, they wanted to keep a very low profile.

They met in 2000 when Gallagher was lead singer in ‘Oasis’ and Appleton was with girl band ‘All Saints’. They married in 2008. In 2013 their marriage collapsed following revelations that Gallagher was expecting a child with an American journalist with whom he’d had an affair. They divorced in 2014 and have since then been trying to sort a financial settlement. Where discussions and negotiations are unsuccessful, it is left to the court to decide on financial settlement and the proceedings issued in this case for that purpose were the subject of that recent publicity.

Couple cleared of child abuse unlikely to see their child again

A mother and father wrongly accused of child-abuse are unlikely to see their child ever again.

The parents, who brought their baby to the hospital three years ago after it started bleeding from the mouth, have been cleared of all charges after it was discovered that the bruising and suspected fractures were caused by blood disease and vitamin D deficiency.

During investigations and the subsequent trial, the baby was put into foster care. However, as the child has now been formally adopted, it is unlikely that the family will be reunited.

Landmark rulings could open the floodgates for divorce settlements to be revisited

This week, the Supreme Court found in favour of two women whose ex-husband’s lied about the extent of their wealth during the divorce process.

The rulings could make many divorcees nervous about the legitimacy of their settlement agreements, even if their divorce took place years ago.

Because of the landmark decisions, Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil – who both claim that they were deliberately misled by their ex-husbands – are now likely to see their settlements revised and increased.

As marriage rates collapse among middle classes, it has never been more important for cohabiting couples to protect their rights

According to a recent study by the Marriage Foundation, the middle classes are turning their backs on marriage.

While the vast majority (84%) of middle earning families with young children were still marrying in 1994, only 59% were married in 2012. That’s a drop of 25% over 18 years. In the 1990’s, this trend away from marriage was, on the whole, confined to low-income groups. However, if the research is correct, this now seems to be spreading.

Of course, today the UK benefits from a variety of diverse family structures, and, for many, the idea of marriage has become both outdated and unnecessary. However, according to the Marriage Foundation: “When a social-economic group turns away from marriage, we see a corresponding hike in the rates of family breakdown” and that is worrying.

Family judge rules that single father has no rights over his own son

In a recent child custody case, Britain’s top family judge has ruled that a single father has no rights over his own son. The child was conceived via surrogacy in the United States, using the man’s sperm and a donor egg. Unbelievably, in this case, the man had the full support of the surrogate mother, officials and social workers. However, despite this, the child, who is just over one-year-old, is currently a ward of court without a family.

Despite being officially recognised as the boy’s sole parent in Minnesota, where he was born, the judge has ruled that, here in the UK, the surrogate mother is the child’s only legal parent. The man, who paid £20,000 to the surrogate mother for the baby may now have to apply for adoption to become legally recognised as the child’s father.

Is it time for the no-fault divorce?

An important new study is to take place, exploring how the law deals with divorce and civil partnership dissolution.

It is hoped that the results of the research will help advise the government on whether, and how, current divorce law in England & Wales could be reformed.

Divorcing couples increasingly likely to try mediation rather than heading to court

Separating couples are increasingly likely to try to come to an agreement through mediation rather than heading to court according to National Family Mediation.

The dispute resolution specialists have seen the number of calls to their telephone helpline more than double over the past year. At the same time, figures show a big fall in the number of people beginning private law cases.

More support pledged to adoptive parents as the number of babies available for adoption drops

Recent years have seen visible campaigns to drive more individuals and couples wishing to become parents to consider the adoption route.

From the beginning of May 2015, the £19.3 million Adoption Support Fund became available nationwide however, it has been reported that the number of babies made subject to special guardianships, and therefore placed with extended family members, friends or foster parents rather than adopters, has tripled.

Adoption has changed. As same sex couples gain the right to marry, and England and Wales allowing single people to adopt, there are more prospective adopters waiting to start or grow their family.

Landmark ruling may open floodgates to historical financial claims decades post-divorce

The Supreme Court has recently allowed an appeal which could make a lot of divorcees very nervous about their financial position, even if their divorce was finalised decades previously.

The highest court in England and Wales ruled in March 2015 that a former wife could bring a claim for financial provision against her ex-husband despite the couple having been divorced some 20 years earlier.

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