Resolution is a community of family law professionals who subscribe to a Code of Practice to assist working with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.
The family team at Pinney Talfourd are all proud to be members of Resolution and subscribe to their Code of Practice which has recently been revised.
The ethos of the Code is to encourage families to deal with their issues without conflict or confrontation, to support and encourage them to put forward the best interests of their children first, to act with honesty, integrity and objectivity and to strive to resolve matters so far as it is possible to do so without the need to apply to Court.
A full copy of the Code of Practice can be seen here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/site_content_files/files/code_of_practice_full_version_web.pdf
As part of the campaign, Resolution will be attending Parliament to lobby for a change in the law to include ‘no fault’ divorce and improving the rights of cohabiting couples.
It is never too early to start working with the other parent to sort out which part of the coming Christmas holidays your child or children will spend with each of you.
You always know Christmas is around the corner when the shops start selling cards and gifts, lights go up in offices and shops - even though it is only the second week of November!
If your child or children live with their your ex spouse or ex partner, then it is never too early to start working with the other parent to sort out which part of the coming Christmas holidays your child or children will spend with each of you.
It’s a good idea to try and share the time equally and alternate from year to year, especially when your children are young, so that as the years go by, you can both enjoy the experience of waking up on Christmas morning and opening their presents with them. It will always be best for your child or children if you can agree this without the need for the Court to get involved.
However, if you cannot agree on a schedule of time that your child or children will spend with each of you, you may need to apply to Court for an Order, which is now called a Child Arrangement Order (we no longer use the phrases ‘access’, ‘contact’, ‘custody’ or ‘residence’ when talking about children), though save in limited circumstances you must at least try and reach an agreement through mediation otherwise you will not be able to apply to the Court for a Judge to sort things out.
When a financial settlement is reached in divorce proceedings it is important that this is recorded within a consent order. This will ensure that all claims that both parties can make against the other are fully resolved and the terms are embodied within the consent order. Once approved and sealed by the court they become enforceable upon Decree Absolute (final decree) being granted.
Therefore if one party refuses to comply with the implementation of the order the other party can apply to the court to seek enforcement and the application can include asking the court to make an order for costs against the offending party.
It is therefore beneficial to both parties that a consent order, to reflect all terms of a full and final settlement, is put in place before Decree Absolute is granted.
Without this neither party are protected. Either party could apply to the court for a further order in relation to the matrimonial finances even if the parties have already agreed to the division of net proceeds of sale or a transfer of the marital home to the other party.
Currently in England both men and women, or shall we say girls and boys, can marry at the age of 16, with their parent’s consent. Many will say this is far too young to marry with or without the consent of a parent. Quite often, young people who marry at the age of 16 miss out on educational opportunities, particularly where they reach the age of 16 before finishing secondary education, in those cases some do not even finish the school year and take their GCSE’s.
There is a private members Bill currently going through parliament to raise the age of consent to marry or enter into a civil partnership, for both men and women, to 18 years old.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday 21st October 2016. At this stage there will have been a general debate on all aspects of the Bill. The date for the next stage, the committee stage, at which there will be a line by line reading and examination of the Bill, is yet to be announced.
This Bill was introduced to parliament by Baroness Tonge and concentrates on the problems in marriages of young persons between the ages of 16-18. The Bill also seeks to create an offence of causing a person under the age of 18 to enter into a marriage or civil partnership, which is in line with The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which made forced marriage a criminal offence.
It is hoped that the Bill will assist in preventing forced marriages, particularly in circumstances where young people marry between the ages of 16-18 with their parent’s encouragement and, so as to not disappoint their family, these young people go along with the marriage consensually regardless of their own wishes/feelings. If this Bill is passed, these marriages will be no more.
Alembic Strategy was delighted to be joined by Catherine Polli, a Partner at Pinney Talfourd for the second webinar in a series of three at the Law Society. These were aimed at helping Lexcel firms respond effectively to the strategic planning component on the Lexcel Standard (v6).
Catherine explained how the use of strategic planning has been crucial in driving growth and performance over that past few years at Pinney Talfourd. The strategic planning process is driven by the 2020 Business Plan which covers all aspects of the firm’s growth up to 2020, from the number of partners and fee earners, the culture of the firm and fee income growth, with an emphasis on staff focused objectives to allow everyone to play a role in achieving goals set. Good communication of this plan is vital in achieving it.
This strategic planning was proven very effective and Pinney Talfourd has just been recommended in an outstanding ten categories by Legal 500 UK 2016. We are also shortlisted for the Private Client Practice Award at the Law Society’s Legal Excellence Awards.
We are delighted to announce that the Family Law Department are now ranked as Tier 2 firm by Legal 500 UK 2016.
This means that we are now the leading firm in our local boroughs of Havering and Brentwood, beating stiff competition from other firms in Romford and Brentwood.
The Legal 500 rankings are carefully selected after rigorous assessment and provide a guide to the top legal providers across the UK.
Resolution is an organisation of 6,500 members, mainly family lawyers but also other professionals in England and Wales who are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Resolution members promote a sensitive and cost-effective approach to resolving family disputes. The members are trained to come up with solutions that consider the needs of the whole family and resolve the dispute in the least acrimonious way.
The current chair of the organisation is arranging an event for all members to attend at Westminster to lobby Parliament for the day. The lobby day is planned to take place on 30th November 2016 and Resolution are calling for all members country-wide to pledge their support and attend.
The organisation’s aim is to raise awareness of the current issues in family law that Resolution feel need to be addressed by the government. Resolution have for some time been calling for change in the legislation of a number of areas such as; the introduction of no fault divorce, access to justice for vulnerable people and better rights for cohabiting couples.
The lobby day will give members the opportunity to meet with MPs and discuss the issues in detail and hopefully influence the government’s decision to make the policies that Resolution feel are required to move family law forward.
The family lawyers here at Pinney Talfourd are members of Resolution and plan to support their organisation and take part in the lobby day.
In June 2015 the Government set up 11 divorce centres across England and Wales to deal with the issue and administration of new divorces. For London and the South East, a huge geographical area, all divorces begin in Bury St Edmunds divorce centre rather than the local family court. It was thought that, once up and running Bury St Edmunds would deal with 40% of the divorce work in England and Wales.
12 months on, the first statistics have been published and they make worrying reading - indicating that the number of divorces issued in the last 12 months far exceeds the levels that were anticipated or planned for.
By way of example, every day they receive;
It is anticipated the Bury St Edmunds are likely to be issuing between 40,000 to 45,000 new divorce petitions in the 12 months it has been open.
In the wake of these figures, Resolution, the national organisation for family lawyers has stated that the divorce centres are under “significant strain”.
As the summer holidays were heating up so were disputes between separated parents. September is set to be a busy month for new children matters being issued at the court with the school summer holidays kicking up all kinds of disputes.
Parents often find school holidays, whether it is Summer, Easter or Christmas the most difficult times of the year. During the long summer break parents find themselves arguing about when and for how long each of them should spend with the children and whether or not either parent can travel abroad with their children for the purpose of a holiday.
Despite the court rule changes in 2014 requiring that disputing parents attend mediation prior to issuing any court application, save for urgent or exempt applications, the stats from the Court advisory service (CAFCASS) show that parental disputes are still on the rise.
In July 2016, CAFCASS received 3,468 new cases and the number of new cases received in the first quarter of the current financial year is up by nearly 10% compared to last year. August figures will no doubt be just as high.
Our family law specialists are trained to advise and assist parents in these situations to resolve matters, whether that be by way of negotiation or via the court. The team includes members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and Advanced Family Panel, accredited Resolution specialists and Collaborative Family Lawyers.
Time flies. 20 years have passed since a no-fault route to divorce landed on the statute books and was then promptly removed. While divorce is possible after 2 years separation – without blame – there is still the wait. 2 years is a long limbo period.
Urban myth is rife in the law. The notion of Common Law spouses is just such an example that often requires us to deliver hard advice to clients who have held that belief, often for decades. So too the idea that a couple can divorce on the basis that they simply have irreconcilable differences. We all know what that means, we think, but tough; we can’t use it.
If we can marry without too much trouble while in the delight of love and romance, why can’t it be undone just as simply if the love goes? Financial security is the main answer. The law is there to ensure financial security for a divorcing couple. But is the idea that dissolving a marriage with less distress, exposes people to financial risk? No. The hurdle is the law striking a balance between the religious significance of marriage and ensuring human compassion.
English law is a finely tuned, ever developing machine. But in the field of divorce, it would seem that an increasingly secular society and family is developing faster and we are dealing with outdated technology that risks causing serious animosity between a couple when what they want is help, not (more) heartache.
These types of cases rarely come to court as the UK law provides no protection to any person entering into a surrogacy agreement and the parties are usually at the outset very aware of the lack of legal regulation.
It is only when a child is born in a surrogacy situation and there is a dispute that the court may become involved. The dispute will be dealt with as all other matters relating to children are in that the court will assess what is in the best interests of the child and make a determination accordingly.
Entering into a surrogacy agreement provides no guarantee for either party if things go wrong and therefore the most important advice we lawyers can give is that disputes should be avoided at all costs. Of course this is easier said than done, however there does remain a number of successful surrogacy arrangements in the UK each year.
The case that was recently before the courts involved a surrogacy agreement between a young and vulnerable woman and a male same sex couple who had met via a Facebook forum. This particular arrangement began to show cracks in the early stages. The couple were judged to have been dismissive of the surrogate’s feelings and had viewed her as no more than a service provider. When the child was born the surrogate refused to consent to the couple having the required parental order made in their favour and for the child to live with them. The Judge even considered that the surrogate may have never really fully understood the process. The Judge therefore had the difficult task of deciding who this child should live with; the surrogate woman, who was not the biological mother of the child, or the couple - one of whom was the biological father.
The Judge determined that the child should remain living with the surrogate mother as she was best placed to meet the child’s emotional needs. The Judge was critical of the couple and found that they were unable to accept the bond that the child had made with the surrogate mother and expressed his concern that if the child was to be placed in their care they would not allow the relationship between the child and the surrogate to continue. He therefore ordered that the child should remain living with the surrogate mother and spend time with the couple just one weekend in eight.
If you would like more information please contact our Family Law Department on 01708 229444 or book a free initial family consultation using our online booking form.
This article was written by Jennifer Herbert, Family Law solicitor at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at April 2016.
If you would like more information on your options in light of this fee increase please contact our Family Law Department on 01708 229444 or book a free initial family consultation using our online booking form.
This article was written by Sebastian Burrows, Family Law solicitor at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors and Chair of Resolution Essex The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at March 2016.