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Family Law News

What is a Consent Order on divorce, judicial separation or dissolution of civil partnership?

Filomena  Sterkaj
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A Consent Order is a legally binding document which sets out the financial agreement between divorcing couples. Each Consent Order is different and is drafted according to each party's unique circumstances. The Consent Order will deal with all the...

Do you have to go to court to get a divorce?

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Many people imagine that to get divorced they will have to go to court and that this will be a long, stressful and expensive process. In fact, most divorcing couples do not need to go to court, either for the divorce process itself, or to resolve issues...

The rights of Grandparents

Sarah Overy
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In a divorce, nobody really comes out of the process a ‘winner’. Hostilities between battling former spouses can sour relationships not just between them, but throughout the wider family group too. Courts do their very best to protect the...

Married couples potentially missing out on £230

Marc Dorsett
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On the 6th April 2015, the Government introduced the Marriage Allowance for the benefit of husbands, wives and civil partners by allowing the lower earning spouse to transfer up to 10% of their unused personal allowance to their partner for that year. In...

Bets on divorce date at the wedding?

Steven Payne
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Have you ever been to a wedding where bets were being made on when the couple would divorce? Well believe it or not it does happen, and the most recent incredible example, reported in a well-known newspaper, being the groom's mother taking bets on when...

What is 'unreasonable behaviour' in divorce?

Steven Payne
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Earlier this year, a divorce case made the headlines when Tini Owens was not granted a divorce from her husband, Hugh Owens on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. This was a highly unusual case: the vast majority of divorces go undefended, but in this...

What's mine is mine!

Steven Payne
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The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's decision on a financial remedy order in favour of the husband after a 23 year marriage, on the grounds that most of the property was owned by him before the marriage began.   In August this year in...

What are the grounds for divorce?

Steven Payne
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To be legally granted a divorce in the UK, you must be able to prove one of the ‘grounds for divorce’. This means giving one of a certain set of reasons that demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, and being able to show...

Who has the right to decide on the welfare of a sick child?

Sarah Overy
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The distressing case of Charlie Gard recently put the spotlight on a question that all parents want the answer to, but hope they never have to face. In a situation where a child is seriously ill, who has the right to decide what course of treatment is...

How your Will is affected by your marriage or divorce

Steven Payne
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In an ideal world, all adults at whatever age and stage of their lives should make a Will. If the worst happens this means that your loved ones would be able to deal with your estate in accordance with your wishes and feelings.    You may have...

Who decides?

Sally Ward
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Few of us could have failed to share the pain of Charlie Gard's parents who recently made the difficult decision to allow their son to die. But this decision came following a series of court hearings when they challenged the hospitals recommendation to...

Managing Your Financial Affairs Following A Divorce

Steven Payne
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Going through a divorce can be earth-shattering to your emotional and financial stability.  One way to feel in control of your own destiny again is to organise a strategy for managing your finances as soon as possible.  Whether you are on your own...

The rise of elderly divorcees

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Retired divorcees - also known as "silver splitters" - are fast becoming Britain's biggest growing demographic. Though traditionally more likely to own their own homes, this growing demographic are renting in record numbers. According to...

A guide to cohabitation agreements

Steven Payne
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English law does not afford cohabiting couples the same legal protection and rights as married couples.  A cohabitation agreement is accordingly an essential consideration for unmarried couples. Cohabiting couple families are, according to the Office...

Life Interest Trust

Lisa Carter
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A Life Interest Trust should be considered if, for example: you want to protect your assets against care fees; you have children from a previous relationship and want to provide for your new spouse but also want to ensure your children inherit your...

What's mine is yours?

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A City trader has successfully challenged a divorce judgment of the High Court in 2015 which awarded her ex-husband of four years £2.7 million - half of the total matrimonial assets. Yesterday the Court of Appeal reduced Mr Sharp's award to...

What will happen to my inheritance if I divorce?

Sarah Overy
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Going through a divorce is often a time of significant financial upheaval, and the division of assets is a cause of worry for many couples considering a split. Past inheritances and anticipated future inheritances are commonly relied on as an essential...

He said he shouldn't have to pay her maintenance!

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A Cambridge don has won a divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who claimed he shouldn't have to pay her maintenance now she is working full-time. Despite having children to care for, Kathleen Liddell moved from part time to full time...

NO FAULT DIVORCE REMAINS AN URBAN MYTH

Spencer Davis
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The Court of Appeal has ruled that a "desperately unhappy" marriage is not in itself a ground for divorce. Tini Owens Petitioned for Divorce last year alleging her husband had behaved unreasonably. Hugh Owens disagreed and said that the couple...

Unmarried couples need to protect themselves

Steven Payne
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A landmark victory in the Supreme Court has seen a Northern Ireland woman win a share of her former partner’s pension, with commentators saying it’s likely to add impetus to the drive for greater rights for unmarried couples. But, in the...

Mother's petition to Downing Street

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THE MOTHER OF TWO BOYS KILLED IN A HOUSE FIRE STARTED BY THEIR FATHER HAS HANDED IN A PETITION AT DOWNING STREET CALLING FOR A CHANGE IN THE LAW GOVERNING ACCESS TO CHILDREN. Jack and Paul Sykes, aged 12 and nine, died when their father Darren, 44, set fire...

Making sure you get what you are entitled to from the financial order in your divorce

Spencer Davis
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It is tempting to think that your divorce is finally over once you have a final order for financial settlement but there are still likely to be further steps to be taken to implement the order. In most cases this is not a problem. But what happens if your ex...

Is your business protected?

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A divorce is tough to go through especially when you have children but even tougher if there is a business to consider. When you are happily married, having a document outlining what happens if the business were to end is not attractive, however divorces do...

Divorcees could face travel bans!!

Steven Payne
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Ex-husbands and wives who refuse to pay their former spouses' divorce settlements could be banned from driving or travelling abroad under  new proposals  from the Law Commission. Tough penalties are needed to tackle divorcees who avoid paying,...

Getting rocky relationships through tinsel-time

Steven Payne
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The family-focus of Christmas is often followed in January with news of unhappy couples who decide to call it quits, leading to so-called Divorce Day, as family lawyers receive a surge of enquiries when they re-open after the break.  And as the...

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

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A cohabitation agreement records arrangements between two or more people who have agreed to live together, as a couple or otherwise. The agreement usually sets out the following criteria • Each party's rights and responsibilities in relation to...

When Time Forgets

Lisa Carter
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It is often said that ‘things are never lost – only misplaced’. So what happens if no one knows where a loved one's Will is stored, or more to the point whether they ever made a Will. At Gepp & Sons once we have advised our clients...

Resolution survey - impact on children of divorce

Sally Ward
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Around 230,000.00 people are going through a divorce every year in England and Wales and almost half of the break ups have at least one child under 16 in the relationship. This therefore meant that tens of thousands of children see their parents separate and...

Mediation - the preferred choice...

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The news that the Court of Appeal is to stop hearing all challenges made in local family courts serves another reminder of the pressure our family court system is under. The quarterly Family Court Statistics, for example, showed some stark trends: a 10%...

Good Divorce Week

Steven Payne
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There can never be a good time to get divorced but this week marks Resolution's campaign to improve the process for dealing with divorce and relationship breakdowns. Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and...

Financial needs on divorce

Steven Payne
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The Family Justice Council published Guidance on ‘Financial Needs’ on Divorce. Define ‘financial needs’ on divorce and. Covers two areas: What are needs and how are they measured? The main needs in most cases are for housing...

Life lessons from headline breakdowns

Steven Payne
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Watching others acting out the ending of a marriage on a public stage can provide a valuable lesson on how to ‘uncouple’ with least pain Whether fiction or fact, marriage breakdown issues have been stealing more than their fair share of...

A ruling of the Upper Tribunal's Lands Chamber means that thousands of flat owners who rent out their homes are probably breaking the law. The issue is due to 'private residence only' clauses, a common feature of such leases. With an estimated four milli

Spencer Davis
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The short answer is no, the law does not punish a party for committing adultery(other than costs for the divorce suit). Adultery will not have any influence on how the court divides the financial assets. However, if your ex-partner moves in with a new...

Mother of 3 awarded property as the price her ex has to pay for refusing to marry her.

Steven Payne
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An article in the Daily Mail on line on 19 July 2016 reports on how a judge ruled that an un-married father of 3 should let the mother of his children keep the house that he bought in her name as the price he had to pay for denying her the financial security...

Why everyone should make a Will and consider funeral arrangements

Lisa Carter
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One of the few certainties in life is death. None of us like to think about our own passing, but failure to do so can create difficulties for those we leave behind.Despite the uncomfortable reality that death comes to us all, of the 51 million adults living...

Parent wins term time holiday case at High Court

Spencer Davis
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A father who refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday, has today won his case at the High Court. The court's decision is likely to redefine the way the law is applied in England. When the case...

What price divorce in the Workplace?

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There have been some interesting facts that have emerged recently from research about the impact of divorce and separation in the workplace. The impact of divorce or separation is painful for couples, their children, families and friends. It is often...

Divorce down as pre nups rise

Steven Payne
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The first working day in January is commonly known as Divorce Day, when family lawyers receive more enquiries than at any other time of the year, but they are more likely to be faced with ‘silver splitters’ than young couples these days.  ...

Domestic abuse legislation tightened

Elizabeth Bradshaw
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A new law targeting domestic abusers, brought into force in England and Wales, follows a Home Office consultation in which 85% of participants said the existing law did not provide sufficient protection. Citizens Advice said it has supported more than 5,400...

Christmas often a tough time for children following divorce

Steven Payne
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Child experts are clear that the most important factor in a child’s healthy development is the stable and healthy relationship of their parents. Yet the sad fact is that half of all children in Britain are no longer living with both parents by the time...

Ministry of Justice error leads to divorce deals being threatened

Sarah Overy
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When dealing with divorce settlements, couples have been filling out faulty Ministry of Justice forms since April 2014, it has been discovered. Debts were not included in the calculations, potentially producing inflated and inaccurate figures.  Though...

The rising cost of "paupers' funerals"

Lisa Carter
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The number of 'public health funerals' has risen by 11% in the past four years, according to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC. This 11% hike has by consequence seen a 30% increase in cost to local councils in holding these funerals,...

Property prices help fuel family inheritance court battles

Spencer Davis
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Rising property prices are helping to fuel increased numbers of inheritance disputes reaching the courts, with second marriages another major contributory factor. Such challenges are no longer the preserve of the wealthy, although they continue to feature...

Parent wins term time fine victory

Spencer Davis
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A father who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter to Disney World in Florida during term time has had the punishment overturned.   Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, was taken to court after refusing to pay the £120 fine for taking his...

MP says couples should be allowed to apply for 'no fault divorce'

Steven Payne
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On Tuesday 13th October a controversial amendment to Family Law was proposed in the House of Commons by Richard Bacon, the South Norfolk MP. Speaking in the Commons, he said: "I propose one simple amendment to the law - the option of divorce without...

Nailing down agreements on divorce

Steven Payne
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Kathleen Wyatt has been granted permission to lodge a belated claim against multi-millionaire Dale Vince, who made his fortune through a green energy company founded in the 1990s, which is said to be worth £57m. The couple met and married in 1981 and...

A Civil Marriage...

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This can be undertaken by a simple service in a Registry office or in a ceremony conducted by a Registrar. Upon conversion the married couple will receive a back dated marriage certificate similar to a conventional certificate. The date of the civil...

£337 million divorce settlement...

Steven Payne
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Sir Chris Hohn, 48, and 49-year-old Jamie Cooper-Hohn had fought over who should get what in one of the biggest divorce fights seen in an English court. He said she should get a quarter of his wealth, but she had argued she should get half because the...

Talking it out can save the children

Steven Payne
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According to the research, published by the Marriage Foundation, one in three children under the age of 15 woke up with just one parent on Christmas morning.  Alongside, are many more families where couples will have ‘held it together’ for...

A Better Way For Separated Families And Children

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If you are in that situation help is available if you and your partner want to resolve matters. The options available in conjunction with legal advice include  mediation . This is helpful and gives people the time and space to enable them to reach...

Straight talking protects family business

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A businessman is facing a hearing in the Supreme Court to answer claims that he misrepresented the value of his company to cheat his ex-wife out of millions in their divorce settlement. When the Sharlands divorced after 17 years of marriage, Alison...

Lifelong campaigner leads the way for dementia sufferers

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In a case that has emphasised the importance of making one’s wishes known before illness strikes, a challenge to Westminster Council over residential care has successfully been fought on behalf of dementia campaigner and former politician Manuela...

Top judge suggests moving simple divorce cases out of the courtroom

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The result could be that childless couples who consent to divorce could in future obtain their decree by a simple visit to the registrar. Judge Munby describes the current system as 'essentially bureaucratic and administrative' requiring judges to...

Family law judge calls for 'no-fault' divorce

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As the law stands, couples wishing to be granted a divorce within a two year period from separation must cite reasons of adultery or unreasonable behaviour in their divorce petition.  In the absence of any such reasons, the couple must be separated for...

Better support for children whose parents are separating

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The act includes a number of specific measures with the Family Justice and Civil Liberties Minister Simon Hughes stating: “We are making sure the welfare of children is at the heart of the family justice system. We want to keep families away from the...

Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton Divorce will now just 'Roll With It'

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The words 'quickie divorce' seem to suggest that there has been some departure from what otherwise would have been the ordinary route to take.  Many people will be curious as to what is so 'quick' about it. It is actually the case that...

More talk time is priority for splitting couples

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The multi-million pound divorce case of  Young v Young  was, according to the judge, “extraordinary even by the standards of the most bitter of matrimonial breakdowns”.  The seven-year court battle between the couple has cost...

New media guidelines for Family Courts

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The president of the family division, Sir James Munby, informed newspaper editors recently that later this year practice guidance will be introduced that covers the publication of judgments from family courts and the Court of Protection. He said that many...

Pre-nups like Nigella's can take the pain out of divorce settlements

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High-speed divorce is back on the discussion boards following the breakdown of the marriage between art collector Charles Saatchi and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, with the news that their divorce is expected within the month. Whilst the pre-nup between...

England and Wales to say "I do" on same-sex marriage after US Ruling?

Steven Payne
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The recent ruling in the US Supreme Court focused primarily around the issue of certain federal benefits not being available to people in a same-sex union, compared with those who are married.  The Supreme Court found such laws discriminated against...

Ongoing custody battle

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On 2nd July a High Court judge, Mr Justice Roderic Wood, ruled that a father who refuses to reveal the whereabouts of his six year old daughter will be returning to jail for being in contempt of court. The father, Tamar Salama, married Naomi Button in...

Police must treat 17-year-olds in custody as children

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During the time he was in custody he was not allowed contact with his mother, who only found out about his arrest four hours after he was detained. On arrival at Battersea Police Station having learned of her son's arrest she was denied access to him....

Why baring all may be best for the kids.

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Elderly parents wanting to benefit children or friends before they die need to consider the consequences, and be clear and open about their intentions if they want to avoid family fights and court battles. A recent case highlighting this problem revolved...

Parents should read the small print when it comes to mobile phones for children

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In a recent case, the father of a young man with learning difficulties turned to a newspaper to highlight the problems he faced in challenging a £5,500 mobile phone bill, run up by his autistic son making calls and texts to sex lines.  The son is...

Divorce down, but family business in lockdown when it comes to settlements

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Official figures released in December 2012 show that the number of divorces dropped by 1.7%* in the previous year, but divorce statistics continue to peak in the period following Christmas, with the second week in January notoriously the busiest month for...

Divorcing couples struggling with holiday properties

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Many couples with a variety of levels of income take the decision to buy a property abroad at some point during their marriage. However, an increasing number of these couples who are now facing divorce are finding that falling property prices in countries...

Divorce rate on the decline!

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In 2010 approximately 42% of marriages were expected to end in divorce, compared to 45% in 2005. Furthermore, there was a drop in the number of divorces of 1.7% from 2010 to 2011. In Scotland the number of divorces dropped by 2.8% in the same period. ...

Children found after Judge orders a search

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In recent days, a High Court Judge took the unusual step of disclosing the names and identity of four children who had disappeared with their mother following a contact visit to her. The children lived with their father on the Spanish island of...

Divorce settlements set for seismic shift

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The trend for massive divorce settlements is set for seismic change if new recommendations go ahead, and experts are predicting a rush to the courts for unhappy spouses looking to capture a big pay-out before changes are introduced. At present the law gives...

Divorce Reform - An end to legal sharing

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The Daily Mail recently ran an article regarding couples who have split up and may have to divide their assets according to a ‘divorce formula’ which legal reformers have suggested. The proposal being mooted by the Law Commission would end the...

Eight years for Mother who caused late abortion of her baby

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Sarah Louise Catt aged 35, took medication when she was 39 weeks pregnant to cause an early delivery.    Catt had a scan at hospital in Leeds at 30 weeks confirming her pregnancy, however suspicions were raised when she failed to register the...

Warring parents told to face up, not fall out over contact with children

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In a move which could see parents being told to turn to counselling or therapy to deal with their attitude – whether it’s based on anger or anxiety - the Court of Appeal has said that the responsibility for achieving the best outcome for a child...

Families Put On Hold

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A recent survey commissioned by Shelter stated one in five 31-44 year olds who did not have children said they are delaying starting a family due to the lack of affordable housing. This 63% increase since 2009 has been put down...

Give more to pay less tax!

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With a new approach to inheritance tax law, the Government aims to boost gifts to charity but encouraging people to give more away can also benefit their children and others who stand to inherit.  Here, legal expert Danny Carter of Gepp & Sons...

Man loses right to die case at High Court

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Earlier this year, we reported on Tony Nicklinson who suffered from locked-in syndrome who was going through the court's fighting for the right to end his life without fear of prosecution.  The case was in the High Court this week and was slightly...

Is the Family Court System set for a shakeup?

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Mr Justice Ryder has been tasked with producing a response to the recent Family Justice Review that reported on the whole of the family justice system in England and Wales.  That report concluded that there are too many delays in cases that involve...

Changes to Child Maintenance payments by benefits claimants.

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It is hoped that this scheme will be faster and simpler than the two Child Support Agency schemes now in operation. Parents on income-related benefits who live apart from their children are to have the amount of child maintenance they must pay increased...

Hopes pinned on change in law for unmarried couples who break up

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The call for change came as judges ruled in the case of Gow v Grant where one partner claimed compensation for financial losses when the relationship ended, which ended up in the Supreme Court after a battle through the Scottish courts.   She had...

Litigants in person -beware costs orders in divorce cases

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A couple had been married for over 30 years and were in their late 60s.  They had had four children together.  Within divorce proceedings it was established that between them the parties had business assets, mainly comprising of property and...

A boost in child protection

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The Domestic, Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012 came into force on 2nd July 2012.  The Act extends the offence of ‘causing or allowing the death of a child’ to ‘causing or allowing serious physical harm’. The 2012...

Husband and wife jailed for keeping men as 'slaves'

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Husband and wife James John Connors, 34, and Josie Connors, 31, were convicted of two counts each of servitude and forced labour at Luton Crown Court. The facts of the case are shocking, almost seeming to belong to another era, and it has been...

No fault divorce

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It may be that the majority of people consider that divorce today is simply based upon irretrievable breakdown and therefore there is a suggestion that there is no fault.  However as can be seen from our  website  the irretrievable breakdown...

Extension of family provision claims in the pipeline?

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At present, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 ("the Act") allows claims to be brought by a member of the family or someone maintained by the person who has passed away.  However, recently published draft bills, if...

Divorce and child poverty

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The recently published Welfar Reform Bill will see many existing state benefits will be abolished to be replaced by a single “universal credit”.  The Government believes this will simplify the current complex benefits system and more people...

'Loophole' closed to protect the vulnerable from abuse

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On Monday the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012, brings into force a new piece of legislation creating a charge to prosecute those who cause or allow physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult.  It will also create an offence...

Funeral Payment help for low income families

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Yesterday on the BBC news programme, the availability of Funeral Payments for those on a low income was discussed.  This is something many may have previously been unaware of. If you are on a low income and require assistance to pay for the...

Mother jailed because of truanting children

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The woman, from Merthyr Tydfil had previously been prosecuted twice – firstly in Autumn 2011 and then again, in March of this year. The Council declared that she was first seen in Court in 2011 under the Education Act 1996 for her children’s...

About Family Mediation

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Gepp & Sons have always recognised that mediation can be a cost effective and constructive way for separating or divorcing couples to resolve their differences whether in relation to financial issues or in matters concerning their children.  We are...

Unmarried couples/cohabitees: beware!

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Many people embark on a relationship and soon start living together perhaps in a property owned by one of the partners before the relationship started or during the course of the relationship they may purchase a property together.   What happens if...

The Marriage Foundation: Will it make a difference?

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When Mr Justice Coleridge publicly launched the Marriage Foundation a few weeks ago there was much discussion in the legal press and media as to whether it was appropriate for a serving Judge to concern himself with such matters.  The danger of the...

Inheritance Act Claim Upheld

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The couple who were both 64 years old at the date that the husband died, leaving an estate worth approx £6 million.  They had been married just over two years at the time of the husband's death, having also lived together for a short time...

Protecting your Assets on Divorce

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It comes as no surprise that Englandhas been dubbed the divorce capital of the world. With settlements such as that seen between Heather Mills and Sir Paul McCartney; spouses have been able to gain large fortunes upon divorce.  However, there are...

Rights of Cohabiting Couples to the Family Home.

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Parliament has been extremely active in legislating to grant rights to couples who have married or entered into a civil union. For example married couples have been given the right under statute to occupy the family home and upon breakdown of marriage much...

Child's right to see absent parent on divorce or separation.

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Regular readers of our website articles will recall that a recent Family Justice Review, published by David Norgrove in November 2011 made a recommendation against enshrining in law a right of the child and of the absent parent, often the father, to have a...

The biggest shake up of Family Law for more than 20 years.

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Separating couples are to be forced to go to  mediation  before turning to the courts in the biggest shake up of Family Law for more than 20 years. At Gepp & Sons the Family Law Department Team are all members of Resolution which is an...

January: a busy time for marriage breakups

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January statistically has shown itself to be the busiest month for breakdown in marriages where parties are deciding to divorce. Divorce proceedings can be extremely costly and very often result in considerable acrimony between the parties.  It is...

More marriages are breaking up, but couples should jaw jaw, not war war

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And this year has been no exception, if celebrity announcements are anything to go by.  Hard on the heels of Katy Perry and Russell Brand, super-couple Seal and Heidi Klum have said they will be going their separate ways, as will reality star Kim...

Assisted suicide proposals published

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Assisting someone to die is currently punishable by a term of imprisonment under the Suicide Act 1961. A change in the law such as suggested in the report by the Commission on Assisted Dying would prevent the doctor falling foul of this legislation. The...

Norgrove rejects fathers groups plea for equal status

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Fathers rights campaigners had wanted the Norgrove Report to recommend that Dads roles in their children's lives after divorce would be treated with the same importance as Mums role. Mr Norgrove rejected calls to include a principle that children should...

Common misconceptions about family law, divorce and the marital home

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The client had been married for a long time but had amicably separated from her husband a couple of years previously. Between them they had agreed how their assets should be split. The wife had paid the husband a capital sum and in return he had transferred...