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Family Law Journal: November 2017
Withers LLP

James Copson asks whether the stringent approach to temporary removal applications involving non-Hague countries is justified

The decision in AM v DF [2017] has highlighted once more the choppy waters that separated parents can face when planning trips overseas with their children. In the past, practitioners would often rely on a risk assessment as to the likelihood of abduction, and secure copies of return air tickets, details as to where the children would be visiting and contact telephone numbers, accompanied by an undertaking to return, and the holiday could go ahead as planned. It is now not as simple as that.

Burgess Mee

Joanne Hall summarises the factors considered in a case concerned with both leave to remove and allegations of domestic abuse

In Re CB (International Relocation: Domestic Abuse: Child Arrangements) [2017] Cobb J dealt with both the impact of parental conflict and emotional (domestic) abuse on children and the fundamental rights of children, in the context of a proposed relocation. In this comparatively short judgment, Cobb J delivered a swift masterclass on how parents, practitioners and the judiciary should approach difficult children matters with ‘authenticity’, by following the requirement that an application be determined by reference to the best interests of the child (in accordance with ss1(1) and 1(3), Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989)) and that each decision be assessed based on its impact on the child (Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), PD 12B, para 14.13). Further that the welfare test is the ‘only authentic principle’, and applies to all relevant issues: contact, child arrangements, and relocation (see para 32).

Chris Bryden and Jyoti Wood analyse the Privy Council decision in Marr v Collie and the significance of a commercial aspect to a personal relationship

In Marr v Collie [2017] the Privy Council was concerned with an appeal in respect of a dispute as to the beneficial ownership of real and personal property, and considered in particular whether the Stack v Dowden [2007] approach should apply where the personal relationship between the parties had a commercial aspect.

Frances Bailey looks at the potential impact of physical or mental disabilities on financial awards, and the relevant case law

Section 25, Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) specifically directs the court, when considering a financial remedy application, to have regard to ‘any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage’.

Withers LLP

Suzanne Todd and Victoria Nottage consider the case for no-fault divorce

As we look forward with a degree of optimism to the Supreme Court’s consideration of our divorce laws in Owens v Owens [2017], following the grant of permission to appeal, the need for reform to include the introduction of a system of no-fault divorce seems more urgent than ever. While the family justice system is currently undergoing administrative reform, the introduction of no-fault divorce requires amendment to primary legislation.

Kevin Danagher examines the High Court’s decision in Christoforou v Christoforou, and the approach to evidencing claims that are non-matrimonial

In Christoforou v Christoforou [2016] the court was concerned with a case where there was a high level of assets (an agreed asset schedule revealed total assets of approximately £55m), where some of the assets were less than transparent, both parties had credibility problems (in this case especially the husband), and there were a number of as yet unresolved tax issues, making it difficult for the court to come to a judgment. Although the judgment deals with a number of issues, of particular note is its approach to the test for non-matrimonial property. The judgment also deals with the evidence required when dealing with the question of what is matrimonial or non-matrimonial property. While the case does not deviate from existing case law, the judgment provides a useful guide on evidential issues in particular.

Lottie Tyler suggests that the impact on family law of the planned departure of the UK from the EU will be wide-reaching

Since the one-year anniversary of the UK vote to leave the EU, is there any more certainty as to what changes family lawyers should expect in March 2019? Is Brexit creating complexity for current and future UK/EU family law disputes, or was a UK departure from EU family law already inevitable based on differing attitudes to applicable law?