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Family Law Journal: February 2011
Serle Court

Jonathan Harris considers the European and international aspects of Granatino v Radmacher and its aftermath

Granatino v Radmacher has attracted headlines as a landmark decision on pre-nuptial agreements in English law, but the facts were emphatically European and international in nature, involving a German national, a French national and a pre-nuptial agreement executed before a German notary and governed by German law. These cross-border elements greatly influenced the Court of Appeal and steeled its resolve to bridge the gap with EU states that gave far greater weight to pre-nuptial agreements. While the effect of the Supreme Court ruling may be to close that gap, the international aspects of the case were given notably less weight by the Supreme Court; this has the potential to increase cross-border tensions in the future.

Meredith Thompso n investigates the evolving, and slightly contradictory, position of same-sex parents

Although, at the time of writing, we still await the first reported decisions on the treatment of civil partners in ancillary relief proceedings, several cases in 2010 considered same-sex couples and their status in relation to other aspects of family law including financial provision for children, adoption and the meaning of family relationships and child maintenance.

Melanie Barnes outlines the available options when dealing with international child maintenance

As the numbers of family cases with an international element increases, there is greater need for expertise on child maintenance where the child or parents live, work, or have financial resources abroad. In the majority of cases, the Child Support Agency or court will have jurisdiction, but in some instances a direct application can be made within, or to, another country by way of agreed reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders (REMO). This article provides an overview of child maintenance where the applicant, respondent or child lives outside of the UK.

Jane Wilson highlights the developing practice in children cases where there is a risk of domestic violence and harm

The law has been slow to recognise the impact of children witnessing domestic abuse despite the growing body of research on the subject, which shows that children of any age can suffer emotional harm from seeing or hearing an adult who cares for them being subjected to domestic abuse. Babies who are exposed to domestic abuse can develop excessive screaming, difficulty sleeping and ill-health (see Jaffe, P, Wolfe, DA and Wilson, S Children of Battered Women ). According to research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) (see reference point box), pre-school children display the most behavioural disturbances, such as anxiety, stomach aches, bedwetting, regression, temper tantrums and difficulty sleeping. Children are also likely to blame themselves for the adult anger (Jaffe et al, op cit).

Emma Mould analyses the risks of failing to obtain a final ancillary relief order when dealing with an insolvent spouse

W arwick (Formerly Yarwood) v Trustee in Bankruptcy of Clive Graham Yarwood [2010] is a further reminder (if needed after Haines v Hill & anor [2007]) of the need for family lawyers to advise clients of the risk of bankruptcy during their matrimonial proceedings and that the status of an agreement and a court order are very different.

Seamus Burns

In the first of a two-part analysis of the regulation of embryology, Seamus Burns examines the role of recently culled Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

The recent announcement by the new coalition government of the cull and bonfire of many quangos or arm’s length bodies, (ALBs), including the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) whose functions will be allocated to other existing and retained health ALBs by the end of this current Parliament (ie May 2015), signals the demise of arguably one of the more effective and respected quangos, and it is an opportune time to reflect and assess the role, successes and challenges faced by HFEA since its creation in 1991 up to the end of 2010.

In the first of a two-part discussion, Claire Glaister and Frances Bailey look at procedure, practice and potential pitfalls when dealing with divorce proceedings

The purpose of this article is to bring to the busy practitioner’s attention those miscellaneous issues that occasionally arise in relation to divorce proceedings. These provisions correspond generally to civil partnership dissolution. In addition the provisions regarding, for example, service apply to nullity and judicial separation suits also. This article does not provide a comprehensive summary in relation to each and every application but guides the practitioner to the relevant procedural points and where further information can be found. Unless stated otherwise, references to any rule is to the relevant section of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 (FPR 1991).