K J Smith Solicitors

Our Blog

Restriction of Civil Partnerships to opposite-sex couples ruled as discriminatory and a breach of human rights

Published: 10 July 2018

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favour of civil partnership campaigners Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, labelling the ban on civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples as 'discriminatory' and a breach of human rights.

The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill set to change the UK divorce landscape

Published: 20 June 2018

The House of Lords passed the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill through its second reading in January 2017, and although as of yet there is no set date for the Committee stage, the Bill is likely to have a significant impact on the divorce landscape in England and Wales. The Bill is considered to be designed to bring laws in England and Wales in line with those in Scotland, following admiration for laws in the North; but what impact will the Bill have on finances in divorce?

Barnardo’s Encourages UK Government to Fight Domestic Abuse with Children at the Forefront

Published: 6 June 2018

According to leading children’s charity Barnardo’s, children affected by domestic violence and abuse require specialist help in order to learn how to cope with the trauma and live a normal life. Barnardo’s are very experienced in working closely with cases of domestic abuse, offering a total of 14 specialist domestic abuse services. From their own research, they suggest that children that come from families where domestic abuse occurs are likely to be affected for the rest of their lives, as well as being vulnerable in different ways too. Whilst there are many different services throughout the UK that focus on working closely with adults experiencing domestic abuse, it is thought that there isn’t a big enough focus on the trauma that children suffer as part of it.

Online Family Law Facility to be produced following outcome of Digital Divorce Pilot

Published: 1 June 2018

Following the trial of an online divorce pilot, the Courts Service have stated that they will produce a new digital family law service, providing clients and lawyers with a range of benefits which will make the whole process much simpler. One of the key features is that lawyers will be able to submit petitions for their clients, which is likely to lead to fewer errors that currently occur on a regular basis.

Ineffective court battles caused by 'blame game' in divorce proceedings

Published: 2 May 2018

According to a new report released by the Nuffield Foundation, couples within divorce proceedings are taking part in ineffective court battles that are completely unnecessary, due to the lack of no-fault divorces within England and Wales. Led by Professor Liz Trinder of Exeter University, the Nuffield Foundation conducted a study consisting of 500 divorces, finding that many of couples who has been through a divorce were forced into cases that the law itself instigated.

Pensions Advisory Group tackles legal issues regarding pensions and divorce

Published: 26 April 2018

The Pensions Advisory Group has published two reports based on the legal issues of pensions in divorce cases, following a ‘Pensions of Divorce’ study which was funded by the Nuffield Foundationand backed by the Cardiff University School of Law and Politics.

Sir Ernest Ryder considers how decision-making for children is affected by the Justice System

Published: 19 April 2018

Earlier this month, at the BASPCAN 10th International Congress at the University of Warwick, the Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Ernest Ryder, spoke aboutthe justice system and thepart it plays in decision-making for children. Sir Ernest Ryder focused on the approach that is currently in place in relation to children, as well as how evidence influences judicial decisions.

Number of grandparents going to court to see their grandchildren continues to rise

Published: 12 April 2018

The latest figures, released by the Ministry of Justice, show that an increasing number of grandparents are going to court to secure the right to see their own grandchildren. Grandparents can play a significant role in the lives of their grandchildren and so iftheir own child and partner separate a difficult situation may arise with regard to access and contact with grandchildren, leading them to take relevant action.

Sir James Munby states that a Sexual Relationship is not required for a Marriage to be Valid

Published: 26 March 2018

When granting a parental order to a couple where one of the partners is gay, Sir James Munby said that a sexual relationship is not a requirement for a valid marriage in relation to parental orders in surrogacy cases. The case was based on requirements for a parental order under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, with Munby passing a swift judgement outlining the requirements for what is considered a valid marriage.

Interim Order for the sale of a former matrimonial home reviewed by Mr Justice Cobb

Published: 20 March 2018

In a recent case involving a former husband and wife, Mr Justice Cobb granted an appeal made by the wife during financial remedy proceedings regarding an interim order for the sale of the couple’s former matrimonial home. When the couple separated, the wife continued to live in the matrimonial home, while the husband moved into a holiday home they owned.

Figures Recently Released by the ONS highlight the need for Legal Reform

Published: 8 March 2018

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently released a report on marriages within England and Wales in 2015, looking at the overall number of marriages by sex, age, previous marriages and whether the marriage involved a religious or civil ceremony.

Supreme Court highlights difficulties faced by lower courts in abduction cases

Published: 1 March 2018

The Supreme Court has highlighted the struggles that lower courts face when dealing with cases of international child abduction. In 'the matter of C (Children)’, the Supreme Court was requested to consider how an application under the Hague Convention may come into effect if a child has become a permanent resident in the destination state. In addition, the Supreme Court looked at whether there was a wrongful retention if the child has been removed from their home country after the agreed period of absence had expired.

Government to Test Online Divorce Application Process

Published: 19 February 2018

The Government has recently announced that it is to test a new online divorce application, which is designed to make the whole process much simpler and far less stressful for families navigating through the divorce process in England and Wales. Industry experts and organisations have long been calling for a revamp of the family justice system, with an eye on it becoming in line with today's society and better suited to supporting modern families.

Divorce Battle between Rich Couple is a Waste of Time, according to UK Judge

Published: 12 February 2018

A UK judge has described a divorce battle between a rich couple as a ‘waste of court time’, with the couple having spent almost a third of their wealth on lawyer fees already. The couple have assets worth more than £6.5m, of which £2m has now been spent throughout the divorce process, with a further £200,000 expected to be spent should the case go to court

The Rights of Children within International Divorce Disputes Requires Greater Protection says the European Parliament

Published: 2 February 2018

As the rates of both international divorces and cross-border child abductions increases within the EU, the European Parliament has called for an increased focus on the protection of children’s rights within international disputes of divorce. Members of the European Parliament are calling for experienced and practicing family law judges to play a key role in child abduction cases, as well as for children to be able to express their opinions within cases.

UK Families Breaking Down as Overworking Causes Unnecessary Stress on their Lives

Published: 26 January 2018

A new study has revealed that working parents in the UK are suffering from the strain that work requirements are placing upon their family, with many looking to downscale their careers in order to protect their family life and marriage. Working Families and Bright Horizons, a charity which describes itself as a‘work-life balance organisation’, recently released the report suggesting that work can place such unbearable pressure on relationships that it can lead to separation.

National Family Mediation expect family mediation to increase this January

Published: 15 January 2018

While recent figures regarding family mediation show that the number of family mediation sessions taking place within the UK is decreasing, the National Family Mediation expect to see a spike in sessions during this month.

Experts are encouraging the Government to protect children from the potential implications of Brexit

Published: 5 January 2018

Child experts throughout the UK are joining forces to create the ‘Brexit and Children’ coalition, publishing a report that highlights the potential implications and effects that Brexit might have for children in the UK. Barnardo’s and The Children’s Society are just two of the organisations that have come together to form this coalition, which is focusing on ensuring correct measures are put in place to provide sufficient protection for children and their rights following Brexit.

Parents in Court Hearings without Legal Representation can Negatively Impact Children

Published: 21 December 2017

A recent survey conducted by the Magistrates Association has found that 68% of those in family court hearings are unrepresented, which is an increase of 27% since 2014, the year following significant cuts to legal aid. Such situations where parents are not represented often lead to incorrect decisions, but more importantly a tough, long process for the children to endure.

Recent Budget Announcements mean Divorced Couples will be Exempt from Stamp Duty Surcharges

Published: 12 December 2017

Following the recent 2017 Autumn Budget announcement, divorcing couples across the country who faced the prospect of paying higher stamp duty rates have been given a reprieve, with Chancellor Phillip Hammond announcing changes to stamp duty surcharges on second homes. Having first been introduced in April 2016 aimed at those buying additional property to their own home, the 3% surcharge has had a number of implications that were initially unintended by the former Chancellor, George Osborne.

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