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Family Law Journal: October 2016

Lehna Hewitt considers when information from financial remedy proceedings can be disclosed in related legal proceedings

Where criminal proceedings arise in relation to a child, in addition to care proceedings, it is recognised by both the family and criminal justice systems that the children involved and their families need consistent treatment. There is therefore a detailed and comprehensive Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) protocol dealing with the disclosure of information from family law proceedings involving children in related criminal proceedings (see www.legalease.co.uk/protocol). The position in relation to financial remedy proceedings is different however, and this article aims to provide a brief overview of how the courts deal with issues of cross-disclosure in financial remedy proceedings and the development of the case law in this area.

Mundays LLP

Josh McEvoy suggests that long-established principles regarding children giving evidence may at long last be followed by the courts

The right of a child to be heard within family law proceedings has often provoked debate among legal professionals. The law has for a long time adopted a rather conventional, paternalistic approach to the giving of evidence by children, and historically decisions have been taken for children by appointed representatives with a presumption that those decisions represent the child’s best interests. In recent years we have seen a growing number of cases that have attempted to deal with this thorny issue, however, despite guidance from the Supreme Court back in 2010 (Re W (children) [2010]) that judges should not presume that a child should not give evidence, many have remained somewhat conservative in their approach.

Fiona O’Sullivan examines the increase in divorce rates for older couples and the financial considerations that may apply in such cases

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics confirm that there were 126,716 divorces in the UK in 2013, a decrease of 2.9% when compared with 130,473 divorces in 2012. The statistics show that the overall number of divorces has decreased across almost all age groups with the exception of the over-50s where the rate of divorce has reached a 40-year high. The increasing number of couples aged 50 or over who are filing for divorce highlights a trend of ‘silver separations’ which has developed over the years and looks set to continue. The increase may have arisen quite simply because a bigger proportion of this age group are in fact married, rather than living together, or the increase may be fuelled by other factors.

James Carroll and Shantel Burbridge highlight the disparity in the courts’ approach to cohabitation that precedes marriage or civil partnership, and cohabitants who do not marry or enter into a civil partnership

This article explores the contrast between a period of cohabitation being taken into account in calculating the length of marriages and civil partnerships, and the current state of law on cohabitation.

Switalskis

Andrew Baines looks at the conundrum of mediated agreements that may be ‘too good’ to work in practice

This article sets out my understanding of one major reason why a parenting couple can fail to follow an agreement they have come to in mediation. In a nutshell, the parties reach an agreement that, at the time, makes sense to them and meets their needs. However it places demands upon them that are beyond their day-to-day capacity to meet and so fails. How and why does this situation arise?

Rayner Grice sets out key considerations and practical tips when dealing with multi-generational households and third-party property interests within families

A recent study by Aviva forecast that 3.8 million people aged between 21 and 34 will be living with their parents by 2025, a third more than at the moment. The number of households containing two or more families is also expected to rise from 1.5 million to 2.2 million. The main reason is the affordability of housing.

Paula Butterworth and Sohinni Sanghvi provide an overview of the court’s powers to make financial orders and the significance of the timing of the decree nisi

The courts have the power under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) to make financial provision for a spouse or any children of the family on the breakdown of the relationship between married parties. The opening words of s23, MCA 1973 provide that orders for financial relief may only be made on the granting of a decree of divorce, nullity or judicial separation or at any time thereafter. In this article we will review the recent decision in K v K (Financial Remedy Final Order prior to Decree Nisi) [2016], the central feature of this case being whether a financial order made before decree nisi can be remedied by a later order, and what steps practitioners can take to ensure the correct drafting of orders in such circumstances.