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Family Law Journal: April 2012

Amanda Melton looks at the government response to the Family Justice Review recommendations and the potential issues

On 6 February 2012 the government published their much-anticipated response to the recommendations made by the Family Justice Review panel. There is one particular government proposal that seems to have monopolised public opinion and this is the introduction of a presumption of shared parenting after divorce. Exactly how this presumption will be framed is still to be decided. However, the government has said that courts will have a duty to consider:


Clare Williams analyses the courts’ approach in a limited assets case and the correct procedure on appeal

Family lawyers often complain about the remoteness of the reported cases from the realities of everyday practice. It is very often disproportionate in practice to pursue a case to final hearing, never mind an appeal. As a result, the fact-patterns of cases that give rise to judge-made law can feel very far removed indeed from the world of the ‘squeezed middle’. It is therefore unusual to find a middle-income case that has been decided by a High Court judge on appeal. A v L [2011] is such a case and a salutary reminder of how difficult it can be to reach a satisfactory decision where there are simply not enough assets to go round. It is also a rare insight into how the higher courts believe the law should be applied to a very ‘ordinary’ case.

Aina Khan compares and contrasts Islamic family law with domestic family law

This is a fascinating area of law and one that is seeing rapid development. This is a time when anyone who wants to become embroiled in controversy only has to use the word ‘Sharia’. Since February 2008, when the Archbishop of Canterbury caused a furore by saying that Islamic family law was ‘inevitable’, Sharia law has not been out of the news. There are currently bills pending in many US States proposing the outlawing of religious law. Ironically this will affect Jewish Beth Din as well as Sharia councils.

Neale Grearson and Hanna Stek highlight the particular challenges and options when dealing with clients who divorce in later life

The one thing that we all have in common is that we are getting older! This is now being reflected in the numbers of later life divorces that are becoming more commonly described as ‘saga divorces’. Newspapers reported a couple who were each aged 98 years at the time of their divorce (the Telegraph, 9 November 2009). While having a divorce at the age of 98 is unusual, more and more couples are divorcing in their retirement years. This is bringing with it particular issues for divorce lawyers.

Pannone LLP

Liz Cowell examines the courts’ approach to insolvency and transactions at an undervalue

The position of the spouse or civil partner of a bankrupt was much improved following the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Haines v Hill [2007], but the application of Haines has been placed in doubt by a recent decision concerned with a transaction at undervalue.

Rachel Cook looks at the government proposals on adoption and alternative solutions

The topic of adoption seems, once again, to be in the news. You may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. Many of us will remember the emphasis on government imposed adoption targets back in 2002. Back then we questioned whether adoption decisions were being made because they were in the best interests of the child or because they assisted social services with their government target? At that time there were attention grabbing headlines such as ‘Too fat to adopt’; ‘If you smoke, you cannot adopt’, etc.

Amy Harris considers the post- Radmacher approach to marital agreements

The Supreme Court in Granatino v Radmacher [2010] held that: