News

Blog articles by Graham Simm

10 tips for reducing your legal fees.

While the cost-of-living crisis continues to challenge families the prospect of facing a separation or divorce can seem very daunting indeed. Add legal fees to the mix and the whole situation can seem pretty overwhelming. However, for most people legal advice or representation of some sort will be a necessary part of the separation process. Here are our top tips to keep fees down:- 1. Early legal advice.  Do…

Family Pets and Divorce

The PDSA say that in 2023 statistics show that 53% of UK adults have a pet.  The question of what happens to them in the event of divorce can be stressful, and at times heart rending for those involved. Disputes as to the arrangements following separation are relatively common, with the issue coming up in many cases.  It can come as a complete shock to learn that in the English…

​ Hybrid Mediation

Mediation has helped many thousands of couples resolve their financial and children issues via negotiation, rather than having to navigate their dispute through court. This has the benefit of not only saving substantial sums of money that they might otherwise have spent on litigation, but also enabling a non-confrontational and more constructive resolution to the issues that they face.  One of the criticisms of the traditional model of family…

Changes to the Family Procedure Rules

Alongside the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposals to encourage the use of Non-Court Dispute Resolution, as of 29 April 2024, there have been various changes to Part 3 of the Family Procedure Rules which aim to bring immediate positive impact to the currently over burdened family justice system.  The definition of Non-Court Dispute Resolution has been widened to include arbitration, evaluation by a neutral third party (private FDRs) and collaborative law. Previously…

Court refuses to overturn Divorce obtained in error

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the family division of the High Court, has rejected an application to overturn a Final Order for Divorce obtained inadvertently by the wife’s solicitors. On October 3rd 2023 the online Divorce portal operated by HMCTS issued a Final Order of Divorce in proceedings between Mr and Mrs Williams. The solicitors acting for the Applicant, Mrs Williams, had used the online portal to apply for th…

MOJ announce increase in Court Fees

On 1st April, the Ministry of Justice published a post consultation report following its consultation on increasing Court and Tribunal fees. The consultation was launched in November, and sought views on the proposals to increase selected Court and Tribunal fees. The consultation process received 52 responses, and the MOR are to implement an increase of 10% on 172 of the 202 fees originally proposed.  One of the fees which will not increase…

So what is this Form D81?....

Form D81 is the form used in family law proceedings to provide a summary of the financial situation of both parties in a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, and is used when the parties have reached agreement and are asking the court to make a Consent Order. The form must be completed accurately and truthfully, as it forms the basis for the Court to make decisions regarding the…

Family Justice Council - Draft guidance re Responding Allegations of Parental Alienation.

For some time now the Family Courts in England and Wales have increasingly been asked to consider and act upon allegations of Parental Alienation.  The concept of parental alienation is both vexed and highly emotive, and there are polarised opinions appearing in research literature about it. One school of thought is that it is a tool used by the perpetrators of domestic abuse to smokescreen the court into…

Impact of Childhood Verbal Abuse

A recent study, published in the periodical “child abuse and neglect”, concludes that there is clear scientific evidence that a child’s exposure to maltreatment contributes to negative social behavioural, mental, and physical health across the whole of the child’s lifespan.  There are four subtypes that fall into the definition of child maltreatment, namely:-  1. Physical abuse 2. Sexual abuse 3. Emotional abuse  4. Neglect Sadly, childhood emotional abuse ha…

"Nesting"

“Nesting” is an arrangement whereby the children remain in the same house at all times while the parents take turns living in that house with the children, as opposed to the situation where the children pass between houses. For some it is a wholly unworkable and terrible idea, for others it makes perfect sense. The immediate and most obvious benefits are:- 1. The children remain in the same home 2. All of t…