K J Smith Solicitors

Our Blog

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.

Millions at Risk Financially Due to Misunderstanding of Common-Law Marriage

Published: 5 December 2017

Millions of people in the UK are at risk of losing out on finances due to the current legal system and the general misconception surrounding 'common-law marriages'. Couples that are unmarried but living together, otherwise known as cohabiting couples, are one of the fastest growing family types in the UK, and yet many of them do not understand their legal rights in the event of their relationship coming to an end.

Potential Client in Family Law Case Meets with Family Solicitor to Prevent Him from Representing Other Party

Published: 22 November 2017

A top family solicitor has revealed that a meeting with a potential client was nothing more than an attempt to create a conflict of interest, in order to prevent the solicitor from acting on behalf of the other party.

Office for National Statistics Report Shows a Rise in the Number of Cohabiting Couple Families

Published: 15 November 2017

A report has recently been released by the Office for National Statistics highlighting patterns and trends in living arrangements. In the report, it is stated that cohabiting couple families are now the second largest family type in the UK, as well as the fastest growing. This has, of course, highlighted the need for more awareness of how little legal protection cohabiting couples in England and Wales currently have, particularly as married couples currently have far greater legal rights when compared to cohabiting couples.

Scottish Widows Suggests Divorced Women Miss Out on £5bn of Pension Payments Each Year

Published: 10 November 2017

Following new research conducted by Scottish Widows, it has been found that 70% of couples never consider pensions throughout their divorce, meaning that women are missing out on approximately £5 billion per year. The research has highlighted some key statistics regarding this issue, which should almost certainly influence a change to divorce proceedings in the future.

Dissolutions and Annulments of Marriage: Marital Status, Age and Sex of Divorcees

Published: 6 November 2017

Figures for the dissolution and annulment of marriages have recently been released by the Office for National Statistics. These statistics are particularly useful for understanding the profile of divorcees in today's society and are collated from sources of information recorded by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, during cases of divorce, including previous marital status, sex and age of the individuals getting divorced.

Legal Aid Cuts Have ‘Shaming’ Impact Suggests Senior Judge

Published: 20 October 2017

Senior family court judge Mr Justice Bodey has stated that the impact of legal aid cuts have been detrimental, and that cases which involve individuals representing themselves are ‘shaming’ to preside over. After speaking at his retirement ceremony, it also became clear that he has had to cross-examine witnesses on behalf of litigants in person during his career.

Billionaire property developer claims that he was never married to his ‘wife’ to protect his fortune

Published: 14 October 2017

In a hearing at the High Court, a property developer based in London has made the claim that his ‘wife’ of 14 years is not entitled to his money because they were never actually married in the eyes of the law.

Family Court holds Mortgage Liability Indemnity Power

Published: 6 October 2017

After giving a judgement that was approved by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, Mr Justice Mostyn has confirmed that the Family Court is able to dictate action in relation to mortgage payments. This includes instructing an individual to make the payments, as well as being able to seek compensation for any payments not made.

New Labour-Backed Report Calls for Additional £400 million per year for legal aid

Published: 28 September 2017

A recently released report, backed by the Labour party, suggests that an extra £400m should be spent per year to provide UK residents with access to better legal aid. The report also outlines details that would see a generous legal aid system providing the UK with a right to justice through legal enforcement.The report, which consists of a review led by former Justice Minister Lord Bach, suggests alternative provisions for equality and condemns policies that have led to unfair cuts to legal aid.

HM Judiciary set to reconsider proposals for regulating McKenzie friends

Published: 21 September 2017

HM Judiciary is set to make a reassessment of proposals for regulating the McKenzie Friend sector, following a recent consultation around the banning of fee recovery. The consultation received a large amount of responses, leading the board to create a working group that will aim to review the original proposals set out for regulating McKenzie Friends.

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