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Family Law Journal: October 2014
Family Legal

Julia Brown reports on jurisdictional aspects of Schedule 1 proceedings and the decision in O v P [2014]

Family life in 2014 is far different from that in the 1970s when the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) came into force. Figures from the Office for National Statistics for 2012 stated that more than 47.5% of children that year were born to unmarried parents. As a result when things go wrong with a relationship the modern family lawyer has to use a range of options in order to help find provision for such families, and a claim under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) can be a useful but surprisingly underused tool.

Graeme Fraser and Stephen Morrall consider the benefits of combining corporate and family law strategic advice when dealing with business assets on divorce

The disposal of shares in a family company on divorce can be the catalyst for triggering generational dilemmas and power conflicts that are already brewing in a family business. Where the constitutional documents do not contain restrictions on transfer and no nuptial agreement or shareholders’ agreement was created before or during the marriage, family courts retain a very broad discretion to redistribute wealth represented by shares in the family company in a way that can fundamentally upset the control structures, which will affect the family dynamic and the potential value of a business. This article highlights how tackling these issues through a combination of family and corporate strategic legal techniques enables a family business to be protected.

Dr Dianne Millen explores how cohabitation law introduced in 2006 in Scotland is working in practice

Eight years after the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 (FL(S)A 2006) introduced a statutory framework for former cohabitants to claim financial provision, Scottish lawyers, clients and courts continue to grapple with its complexities. From south of the border, that Scotland has a statutory cohabitation law scheme at all might look like an improvement, but practical and conceptual difficulties remain even after the Supreme Court’s guidance in Gow v Grant [2012].

Pannone LLP

Katie Lowe looks at the revised procedure for appeals and practice points for practitioners

Cases that involve advising on appeal are generally few and far between. However with the reforms brought about by the introduction of the single family court on 22 April 2014 it is important for practitioners to be familiar with the changes to appeals and the related procedure.

In the first of a two-part analysis, Debbie Stringer examines how the courts approach Gillick competence in relation to a child’s capacity

In two recent judgments the High Court has determined the issue of whether a child, in both cases a girl aged 13, possessed the necessary competence in accordance with the test set out in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] to be able to consent to or refuse an abortion. This two-part article considers the differing approaches taken by the High Court in each case and what impact the decisions may have on children’s rights.

Che Meakins sets out the courts’ approach to children’s evidence and when a child should be joined as a party to proceedings

In June 2014 the president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, announced the establishment of the new Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group (CVWWG). Part of the CVWWG’s job is to review the Family Justice Council’s Working Parties’ December 2011 guidelines on children giving evidence in family proceedings (the 2011 guidelines). The CVWWG delivered its interim report in August 2014.

Helen Cort highlights changes introduced by the Child Arrangements Programme and the likely impact on both practitioners and parties

Child arrangements orders were brought into force on 22 April 2014 by the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014). There is a hope that the new terminology will dispel the perception of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ that some parties had previously attached to the old concepts of residence and contact orders. While the change is not to be decried, it remains to be seen whether this will filter down to the public, and whether the changes have any impact on the family court’s approach when determining children’s matters.