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Family Law Journal: June 2014

Rebecca Stone reviews the case law relating to family businesses and the differing approaches taken by the courts to such assets

The question of how to deal with a shareholding in a private company following a divorce/dissolution can be tricky. Pre-White the courts tended to look at the income produced by the business/shareholding and consider what was available to meet ‘reasonable requirements’. Post-White the courts have had to consider how to adhere to the ‘yardstick of equality’ principle when some assets are tied up in a business.

Richard Adams considers applications for legal services orders and the guidance available from the courts

The decision of Mostyn J in Rubin v Rubin [2014] provides an invaluable and comprehensive overview of the principles to be applied by the courts when considering an application for a legal services order (referred to by Mostyn J in his judgment as a legal services payment order) under ss22ZA and 22ZB of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) and the equivalent provisions in Sch 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

In the first of a two-part analysis, Claire Glaister and Frances Bailey look at the prospects of success when seeking to set aside an order on the basis of non-disclosure

In what circumstances may a court exercise its discretion to set aside a consent order? The first part of the article considers non-disclosure and also touches on the procedural test for introducing fresh evidence and whether such evidence alone is a separate ground for setting aside a consent order.

KBW Chambers

Deborah Smithies and Olivia Checa-Dover discuss the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and concerns as to how it is working in practice

As the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) approaches its tenth birthday, practitioners and politicians alike are taking stock. Is the MCA 2005 working as envisaged in practice? What pitfalls for practitioners have been revealed? And what, if anything, can be done to improve its operation?

Anthony Gold

Lehna Hewitt and Camilla Fusco set out the remedies available to step-parents in relation to children

In a recent address to the Medico-Legal Northern Ireland Society, Lord Wilson of Culworth drew attention to the prevalence of blended families in modern society. He stated that partly due to divorce, the blended family often now replaces the nuclear family, and added that there were potential benefits to children learning from an early age ‘to cope with relationships in a mixed and wider family group’.

Withers LLP

Vanessa Mitchell examines the options available under the Insolvency Act 1986

Most family lawyers are familiar with the provisions in s37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) and applications for freezing injunctions where there is an intended disposition or transfer out of the jurisdiction with the intention of defeating a financial claim. But as family practitioners, we tend to shy away from the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986). The recent decision in B v IB (order to set aside disposition under Insolvency Act) [2013] may give us the confidence to use the additional remedies available under the IA 1986 when the circumstances of the case make it a useful option.

Rebecca Harling reports on the often vexing issue of the ownership of pets on relationship breakdown and the courts’ approach

A recent survey by the charity Dogs Trust highlighted that a fifth of separating couples found deciding who should keep the family pet as stressful as deciding where and with whom the children should live. Some couples have turned to mediation to reach an agreement about this issue. Pet owners are often very attached to their animals, who, in many cases, take on an almost childlike role within the family unit.