Sharp focus on short marriage and sharing

The length of the marriage matters. That is the message from the Court of Appeal in Sharp. Prior to this decision, the general approach was that assets accumulated during the marriage should be shared equally between the parties, unless there is a good reason not to. The length of the marriage was not considered to be a good reason, due to Lord Nicholls remarks in the House of Lords’ decision in Miller/McFarlane: ‘A short marriage is no less a partnership of equals than a long marriage.’ Continue reading

Maintenance payments: Can’t pay or won’t pay

The extent to which a parent should take financial responsibility for their child is an issue on which most people have a strong opinion. In his recent decision of Green v Adams [2017] EWFC 2017(read full judgment here) Mr Justice Mostyn made his position pretty clear, saying of Mr Adams ‘his parsimonious approach to the support of his son is little short of scandalous.’ Continue reading

Is it right to have to stay married?

Mr and Mrs Owens have been married for 37 years but sadly Mrs Owens feels that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and petitioned for divorce in 2015.
However, as Mr Owens had not committed adultery, and the parties had not been separated for two years, the only available route was to allege unreasonable behaviour.
This is a fairly standard approach, so far. Continue reading

Civil partnerships: time for the Government to decide which way to jump

The UK government has resisted making a decision on the future of civil partnerships but the Court of Appeal has now told the government that time is running out.  Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have campaigned since 2014 for a change in the law.  On 21 February 2017 the Court of Appeal refused to allow their application for a judicial review of the government’s decision not extend the civil partnership regime to opposite-sex couples.  To do so, the Court said, would be to micro-manage government policy and it was legitimate for the government to take time to make a proper assessment.  However, the Court of Appeal made it clear that it was their unanimous view that the bar constituted a potential violation of their human rights under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention. Continue reading

Are family lawyers moving with the times?

With the approaching era of driverless cars and shopping delivery by drone, some have predicted that the role of lawyers will be greatly changed by technological advancements in artificial intelligence. Are technological advancements to be welcomed when it comes to family law? Continue reading

Quan v Bray to unsettle trust planning, charity law and family law

Judgments of the Family Courts are often dismissed as the preserve of warring couples or parents in dispute and seen as having little relevance to other spheres of life. However the Court of Appeal is today considering legal issues concerning Trusts and Settlements that could have pivotal impact on a whole spectrum of legal advice in the wealth planning sector including Trusts Law, Charities Law and Matrimonial Law. Continue reading