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Family Law Journal: July/August 2013
Withers LLP

James Copson considers the implications and practical consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision in Prest

At first glance the Supreme Court ruling in Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] would appear to be a single case-specific decision. It relies on the particular factual matrix and evidence (or, more properly put, lack of it) in the case. However, there are some key practical points that can be extracted from it in cases involving offshore companies holding English property.

Zoë Fleetwood and Wendy Ramus examine the two-stage process of transferring care proceedings and the designation of a local authority

The decision in Re LM (A Child) [2013] acts as a useful guide to a jurisdictional transfer of public law proceedings. The case also illustrates the factors considered upon allocation of a case to a designated local authority. The originating member state, in this case the Republic of Ireland, made an Article 15 Brussels II bis request for transfer. The request was in response to the mother’s application to transfer proceedings to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The mother, in an advanced stage of pregnancy, travelled to the Republic of Ireland in June 2012 with her husband, the father of the baby, in her own words, ‘to avoid my child being stolen’. In July 2012, she gave birth to her fourth child, a baby girl (LM).

Amy Harris contemplates the finality of separation agreements and applications to show cause

The case of T v T [2013] concerned a separation agreement executed by a divorced couple some 20 years earlier. It provides helpful guidance as to the approach that should be taken when considering a separation agreement in accordance with s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973).

Withers LLP

Mark Harper and Myfanwy Probyn discuss the circumstances in which a biological father of a child born to lesbian civil partners is not a legal parent

In Re G (A Child); Re Z (A Child) [2013], Baker J handed down a decision in which applications for leave to apply for orders under s8 Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989), by men who provided sperm for lesbian couples in a civil partnership, were considered for the first time following the change in the definition of legal parent brought about by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (HFEA 2008). HFEA 2008 changed the law so that a biological father is not recognised as a parent and has no legal status with respect to children conceived by lesbian couples who are in civil partnerships at the time of conception.

In the conclusion to a two-part consideration of the changing legal market, Paul Linsell and Kate Stovold look at the increase in ‘unbundled’ legal services

Part one: 'Informed options', FLJ127

It is often mooted that a precarious economic climate is one of the many factors that precipitate relationship breakdown. Arguably, high levels of financial strain, potential changes in employment with threats of redundancy and pay freezes and the related need for adjustment to lifestyle, can all impact on couples who are perhaps already debating the future of their relationship. The counter argument suggests that an unfavourable and uncertain economic climate may incentivises couples to stay together, eg it might be sensible to delay the sale of the family home until the market turns a corner. Other couples might agree that they would like to see their children through school before embarking on a process that will require the division of the matrimonial pot to finance not one but two households.

Lucy Marks and Vitaliy Eremin analyse the potential implications of the coming into force of the 1996 Hague Convention in the Russian Federation

When it comes to separation and divorce, family lawyers in this country all too often deal with international couples, some of whom wish to return to their homeland following the divorce or separation with their children. Court applications for leave to remove children permanently from this jurisdiction are increasing each year.

Clare Walters explores the potential role of divorce coaching in this jurisdiction and the extent to which it has developed in other jurisdictions.

Partnering with a divorce coach makes sense more than ever as family lawyers strive to attract clients in an increasingly competitive market. A skilled coach can help the client to clarify and express their priorities, be flexible and positive in negotiations and minimise the negative impact of the divorce on all parties, including the children. This will result in more efficient use of the lawyer’s time, the possibility of fixing a fee at the start of the process and a satisfied client who will give positive feedback about your services. These benefits will apply in mediation and collaboration as well as adversarial cases.