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Family Law Journal: March 2012

Frances Bailey considers the latest case on lottery winnings and the courts’ approach to non-matrimonial assets

In ‘Money Can’t Buy You Love’, FLJ100, October 2010, I lamented the very limited guidance on the treatment of lottery winnings by the courts in domestic case law. Some 12 months later the courts finally had the chance to delve into the issue in the case of S v AG (Financial Remedy: Lottery Prize) [2011]. This article looks at the facts of S v AG, the guidance given as to the treatment of lottery winnings and generally at case law concerning non-matrimonial assets.

KPMG

Kathryn Britten and Annette Barker set out the role of the forensic accountant in analysing financial information

While the world’s economic landscape is ever-changing, one thing remains constant: people will always fall in and out of love. Matrimonial disputes and divorces therefore continue despite the economic backdrop.

Tom Farley-Hills calls for a reconsideration of the costs rules in family proceedings

When the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) came into effect in April 2011, one of the significant changes they introduced was the pre-application protocol for mediation information and assessment under Part 3 FPR 2010 that obliges all litigants to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before applying for an order within relevant family proceedings. The intention was to discourage people from litigating to resolve family law issues. There are two reasons for this: firstly for the parties’ and their children’s good and secondly because the creaking court system struggles to cope with the volume of cases brought before it. Litigation should be regarded as a last resort and that if a dispute, particularly where it involves children, can be resolved through ADR then it should be resolved through ADR.

Suzy Ashworth explains why it’s time for family lawyers to develop their social media business strategy

Devising business development strategies for promoting family law services is tricky. It’s not considered appropriate to approach people directly and ask if they want a divorce, you have to be subtle, indirect, and a little bit clever to reach the clients you want. Historically, we, as a profession, have targeted our efforts at those in a ‘trusted family adviser’ position, believing that these people are those most likely to be asked to recommend a family lawyer when their clients need one. We are used to using our network of contacts to target our marketing efforts. However, there are new ways of networking and marketing that family lawyers can harness to develop their business. Social media and the internet can cement relationships and reach audiences never before imagined. This article introduces these tools and explains the benefits of participation.

JMW

James Brown looks at the Court of Appeal’s approach to committal for consecutive terms of imprisonment for contempt of court

Family practitioners will be familiar with the question a client may ask as to what happens if the other party ignores a court order. We explain that to ignore a court order is contempt of court and that the ultimate sanction is for the person in breach to be committed to prison. We know, however, that this is not always the ideal solution. Imprisonment does not guarantee achieving what your client actually wants, such as the return of a child or payment of a lump sum. It is very much a sanction of last resort with the hope that by the threat of a prison sentence the party will be coerced into compliance.

Kate Clark reviews the Court of Appeal decision in Re K and adding conditions to contact orders

It is often necessary to be creative when it comes to arrangements for contact and parents may reach agreements between themselves to facilitate contact that a court simply could not, or would not, order. However, there are many occasions when there is no ‘easy’ answer, and there are increasing numbers of international families where negotiating the intricacies of contact arrangements does not only involve disputes about handover times and dates, but also questions as to in which country the contact is to take place, who is going to pay for it, and how the child is to travel to see the other parent abroad.

Caroline Watson and Matthew Feldman discuss the impact of Jones v Kernott in cases where there is an express declaration of beneficial interests

Successive governments have been reluctant to pass legislation in relation to the interests of unmarried cohabitants in property on the breakdown of the relationship, and the present government has indicated that it does not intend to take forward the Law Commission’s recommendations for reform of cohabitation law in this parliamentary term. It has therefore been left to the courts to determine this difficult area. This point was referred to by their Lordships in Jones v Kernott [2011]. Lord Wilson said, at para 78: