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Family Law Journal: April 2015
Anthony Gold

Giles Peaker highlights housing issues arising in a public children case and suggests the potential remedies from a housing law perspective

The public children case of P (A Child: Use of S.20 CA 1989) [2014] involved s20, Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) care (ie provision of accommodation by a local authority for a child in need within its area), an attempted placement order, and a transition plan for the return of the child to the parents. In this article I will offer my view of the proceedings as a housing lawyer, in particular on the ways in which one of the local authorities involved in the proceedings, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, attempted to avoid or deny any obligations to accommodate the family. It seems that the court, and perhaps those acting for the parties, had not grasped that housing is not something that the court can simply require to be provided.

Gemma Vines considers practical issues when contemplating mirror orders on an application for leave to remove

Increasingly, family lawyers are instructed by parents wishing to take their child abroad or, conversely, the other parent who objects to their child being taken abroad for fear of the child not being returned. Most often a dispute arises in families with international connections where a parent wishes to take their child abroad to a country with which they have links, in most cases their home country, to visit relatives. These are difficult and emotive cases. Not surprisingly, following separation and divorce, trust between the parents is often damaged, communication diminished and the potential for cooperation reduced. Consequently, it is not unusual for the left-behind parent to become anxious and suspicious about whether the other parent’s plans to take the child abroad on holiday are in fact plans to abscond abroad permanently without returning.

Simon Thomas wonders whether the only certainty that arises from a nuptial agreement is uncertainty

The enforceability of nuptial agreements is not recognised or defined in legislation: it has been shaped by case law. The landmark decision in Radmacher v Granatino [2010] placed nuptial agreements firmly under the spotlight. According to the law in England and Wales, nuptial agreements, whether entered into before or after marriage, are not binding on the court. Nothing can override the court’s ability to make a decision regarding the division of a couple’s finances, nor can either party be prevented from applying for financial provision following divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.

Mena Ruparel outlines recent developments in Prest and the requirements to be satisfied on a judgment summons application

The Supreme Court decision in Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] will be familiar to practitioners as piercing the corporate veil. The lead judgment in the Supreme Court was given by Lord Sumption, who described the husband’s conduct of the proceedings as having been characterised ‘by persistent obstruction, obfuscation and deceit and a contumelious refusal to comply with rules of court and specific orders’. It may therefore come as no surprise that the proceedings in Prest are not yet concluded and that the most recent judgment deals with the wife’s efforts in relation to enforcement.

Ed Heaton examines recent developments regarding applications to vary periodical payments and the potential impact of pension reform

The continuing, steady trickle of reported cases relating to variation applications is a constant reminder to practitioners of the dangers inherent in periodical payments orders and of the fact that, in many cases, clients may be left feeling that fairness and finality are impossible bedfellows.

JMW

James Brown summarises and comments on the key points in the final report of the Financial Remedies Working Group

The final report of the Financial Remedies Working Group (FRWG) was published in December 2014, following its interim report of 31 July 2014, and brings to mind the thoughts of the poet John Lydgate that:

Pannone LLP

Claire Reid looks at what is required for the court to conclude that a party has made a stellar contribution

In Cooper-Hohn v Hohn [2014] one of the principal issues considered by Roberts J was whether a departure from equality was justified on the basis of the alleged special contribution made by the husband, ie his ‘stellar contribution’. The courts’ statutory duty is to consider the personal efforts of both parties during the marriage, either under s25(2)(f), Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) as to the parties’ contributions, or under s25(2)(g) as ‘conduct it would be inequitable to disregard’. A sea-change in the court’s consideration of personal contributions came with the decision in White v White [2000]. The House of Lords confirmed in White that where the reasonable needs of the parties have been met, the starting point for distribution of the assets should be 50/50. All property is available to be shared, and an award should thereafter be judged against ‘the yardstick of equality’. No distinction should be made between a homemaker and breadwinner.