UK divorce law

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

This might be a strange question as everyone assumes they know what mediation is.   But when you also have collaboration, arbitration and compromise, what exactly is mediation and how does it differ from the other approaches to problem-solving? With mediation there is generally one mediator with two people who have, for whatever reason, not been(…)

WHAT IS A MARRIAGE?

I am writing this following the recent debate about same-sex marriage – should it be allowed, should it go ahead, what do religious institutions feel about it. But what does the Law say about it? This encouraged me to look at the whole issue of void and voidable marriages. A marriage is void if it(…)

WHO HAS THE CHILDREN?

When parents separate a key question is what is going to happen to the children.  Contrary to popular belief both parents not just fathers, fear that they will see less of their children.  Obviously dads worry that they may not have so much contact with their children but mums worry about that too.  The question(…)

NEW LAW FOR PARENTS

On the 25th February MPs passed the new Children and Families Bill which extends the statutory rights for parents in relation to their children’s upbringing.  This has an impact in both employment and family law.  One example is that maternity leave, available from two weeks to 12 months following birth can be used by the(…)

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE LAW?

My feeling is that most people want and assume the law to be on their side, to create fairness, to right wrongs, to put things in order. But when a person comes to me to seek fairness, it tends to be interpreted from their perspective.  In a matrimonial dispute, the Court does indeed want to(…)

THE CHANGING FACE OF DIVORCE

The Government seems to be more and more interested in how people get divorced,  and how to make the process less damaging and less expensive – primarily for the taxpayer rather than for the individuals concerned.  Courts are expensive institutions to operate – parties are encouraged to attend mediation before issuing any type of Court(…)

THE BEST LAWYER?

This blog was prompted by a telephone call I received late one Friday from someone extremely anxious about the way his separation was going.  He had hoped to keep things fairly low key and amicable between himself and his wife.  A family friend was acting as a go between in helping them to sort out(…)

A CHILD’S DILEMMA

I am reading a fascinating book at the moment – ‘The Science of Love and Betrayal’ by Robin Dunbar, it is all about why people fall in love, is there any scientific or logical reason for this, does it actually help the development of the human race? It appears not, we do not actually need(…)

THE MODERN MEDEA

Medea is a Greek Tragedy written by Euripides around about the 5th Century BC. It tells the tale of a wife scorned by her husband so enraged by her predicament that she takes revenge through their children. In her desire to hurt him she kills their children. Far fetched? Well, I have just been listening(…)

BACK TO SCHOOL – TIME FOR A CHANGE? DON’T FORGET THE KIDS

Divorce and Children Apart from the Olympics it’s been a pretty awful summer for many:- whether it be washed out summer fetes, no improvement in the economy (whatever that means!) or graduate unemployment, times have been difficult for some.  Thank goodness for the Olympics which gave us all something else to focus on. However back to(…)

5 MORE WAYS TO AVOID SEEING A DIVORCE LAWYER

Following on from the previous blog here are 5 more issues to consider:- 1)   Children. They can be a source of great joy, but also of great stress. Becoming parents introduces a different dynamic to your relationship. Be prepared to adapt to this and support one another. 2)   Take a look at your spouse’s parents(…)

IS DIVORCE CONTAGIOUS?

I have just come back from a few days in France, during which I read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.” The book talks about how events that were, at one point unusual become common place, styles that were uncommon suddenly become all the rage. One example he used was Hush Puppies, a shoe that went(…)

THE COST OF ‘FAIRNESS’

This blog was prompted by a lot of conversations recently about the concept of ‘fairness’. What is or can be ‘fair’ about divorce and the inevitable division of the family assets? Who decides what is fair and reasonable – well ultimately a Judge at the end of an expensive and sometime acrimonious legal process. Alternatively,(…)

HOLIDAY REFLECTION ON THE END OF LAWYERS

Just to cheer myself up while I was on holiday I re-read ‘The End of Lawyers?’ by Richard Susskind. It’s subtitled rethinking the nature of legal services and the gist of his argument is that we should be moving towards what he refers to as the commodification of legal services. This would make everything lawyers(…)

CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS – A NEW TYPE OF CONVENTION?

Civil partnerships recognise the validity of same sex relationships. They provide the same legal and social recognition as heterosexual couples who marry. It is a public statement, sign of commitment and a legally recognised category. As with marriage, civil partnership changes the legal relationship between couples and gives them certain rights, responsibilities and entitlements which(…)

THE DIFFICULTIES OF JOINTLY OWNED PROPERTY

The ownership of jointly owned property can be a minefield.  People can own it in all sorts of different capacities, all of which have different results if they fall out or want to sell the property. So, first of all, what happens if two people who are not married buy a property together?  You might(…)

DIVORCE AND BANKRUPTCY

We often come across people who have separated, but never quite got round to doing anything about getting divorced, or dealing with all the other aspects of their life together that may have to change because of their separation.  So for instance one party might move out of the matrimonial home leaving the other with(…)

PEOPLE DON’T FIT INTO BOXES

WHY I AM SO PASSIONATE ABOUT COLLABORATIVE LAW We all know that we are all different and yet we are always faced with situations and circumstances that try and generalise and fit us all into the same box.  In divorce the court assumes a standard separation, a standard divorce, a certain way of dealing with(…)

THE COST OF LEGAL AID

I am not so much talking about the cost to the tax payer of providing Legal Aid, but the cost to those involved in family disputes once Legal Aid is reduced to the absolute minimum as the Government proposes.  Everyone, apart from possibly the Government, knows that an immediate consequence will be a huge increase(…)

CHANGING FAMILIES

We perhaps all know that the traditional nuclear family – mother, father and children that they have produced together, although possibly the “norm” is by no means the only concept of “family” which society recognises. With the increasing recognition of same sex relationships, other family arrangements are made and it follows too that when these(…)