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Family Law Journal: November 2011

Andrew Meehan outlines the courts’ approach when matrimonial assets include personal injury damages

The case of Mansfield v Mansfield [2011] revolved around how a substantial damages award, received by the husband following a personal injury claim, should be treated on his subsequent divorce. This article will conduct a brief review of the leading authority on the treatment of damages in divorce cases before going on to review the Court of Appeal’s decision in Mansfield.

Claire Glaister highlights the options when dealing with the Land Registry

Applications to the Land Registry, in the context of family law, are commonplace and are often the first step taken by family lawyers to ensure that clients are protected from disposals of property in which they may have an interest or against which they may have a claim. Most family lawyers will be familiar with the two most common forms of protection available under the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002):

Amy Harris looks at the procedural aspects of a claim under TOLATA 1996

For most family law practitioners Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) claims are not dealt with as frequently as matrimonial and Children Act 1989 cases. The reality is that the majority of cohabitation disputes do not reach the courts. This is often due to the costs and considerable litigation risk involved in proving who said what in cases where there is no written agreement in place. Consequently, family lawyers should be alerted to the difference in procedure between a TOLATA claim, which is regulated by Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR 1998), and family proceedings, which are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010). With an increasing number of couples choosing to cohabit and people who buy properties with family or friends because of the difficult mortgage terms at present, TOLATA disputes may well increase. In addition to this the government has recently announced that it does not intend to reform cohabitation law in the lifetime of this Parliament.

Suzanne Kingston and Amy Royce-Greensill summarise the current position on pre-nuptials and set out a comparison of the approach in other jurisdictions

This is the fourth in a series of international comparative articles. In the first, the discussion centred on cohabitants (‘The breakdown deficit’, FLJ73, February 2008, p9), the second on jurisdiction (‘No place like home?’, FLJ75, April 2008, p10) and the third on civil partnerships (‘Paris match’, FLJ99, September 2010, p12).

Catherine Morgan discusses the options when faced with difficulties maintaining contact

It goes without saying that, in most cases, it is in a child’s best interests to have meaningful contact with both parents. However, where the relationship between a child’s parents has broken down, a stable contact pattern can be difficult to achieve in practice and may require the court’s intervention to determine the appropriate level of contact or to promote and/or enforce contact going forward. This is not only where one parent may try to frustrate contact, but also where unusual circumstances make it difficult to agree what is in the child’s best interests.

Mandeep Gill sets out the key aspects of the 2006 Hague Convention finally expected to come into force in the UK shortly

The Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Child was concluded on 19 October 1996 (the 1996 Convention) and it is believed that it will enter into force, at long last, in November 2011.