Abusive or neglectful parents who attempt to escape prosecution for child cruelty by blaming each other will face tougher punishments in future. The aggravating factor has been included in proposed guidelines published by the Sentencing Council today. Analysis of court transcripts found shirking responsibility to avoid prosecution is a common tactic.

The Times, Page: 14   The Sun, Page: 21

Posted 13/06/2017


A High Court judge says he will ban domestic abusers from cross-examining their victims in his court, Mr Justice Hayden made the pledge in a judgment that described how a mother suffered at the hands of a violent husband who had threatened to kill her. “For my part, I am simply not prepared to hear a case in this way again. I cannot regard it as consistent with my judicial oath and my responsibility to ensure fairness between the parties,” said Mr Justice Hayden.

The Guardian

Posted 03/06/2017


Family lawyers say a steep increase in the number of divorcing couples representing themselves in court is causing a backlog of cases. Lyn Ayrton, from Lake Legal, said: “Following the removal of legal aid in most types of family law cases four years ago, self-representation has steadily increased in child related and financial cases, leading to many divorce courts grinding to a halt as a result.” However, a pilot online divorce service has seen favourable results, HM Courts and Tribunals Service has said, with judges and lawyers predicting advances in digital divorces will increase calls for the scrapping of fault-based grounds for divorce. Separately, the Mail details how separated parents are using children’s passports as bargaining chips often resulting in judges ordering former spouses to surrender their child’s travel documents. Cara Nuttall, a solicitor with JMW, said there was a sharp rise in such cases before Easter and she is expecting more ahead of half term and the summer holidays.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9   The Sun, Page: 15   Daily Mail, Page: 15

Posted 22/05/2017


A man who won a £101m Euromillions jackpot does not have to “cough up” financial support for his son “whenever asked”, a court has ruled. Former factory worker Dave Dawes, 53, from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, and his wife Angela, 49, won the money in 2011. Central London County Court heard Mr Dawes’ son Michael, 32, was given £1.6m, but funds stopped after a row. He was seeking a ruling that his father and stepmother must financially support him for the rest of their lives. Judge Nigel Gerald said Michael “was provided with the funds to have a comfortable life” but instead behaved like a “profligate son” who expected his father to bail him out.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 11   The Times, Page: 19   Daily Mail, Page: 5   Daily Express, Page: 3   Evening Standard, Page: 5    The Guardian, Page: 15

Posted 19/05/2017


A High Court judge has criticised new child support rules which remove consideration of parents’ assets. Mr Justice Mostyn said changes have created an “extraordinary state of affairs” which can see rich parents paying “pitiful” sums. In one case he oversaw, a millionaire was paying just £7 a week in child support because the calculation was only based on his state pension.

Independent I, Page: 17    The Press and Journal, Page: 14

Posted 05/05/2017


Resolution is calling on politicians to commit themselves to reforming divorce laws by bringing in no-fault divorce. In a letter to the main parties, Nigel Shepherd, Resolution’s chairman, said the organisation was calling for four specific reforms that would “make a huge, positive difference to the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people that separate each year.” As well as no-fault divorce, he called for basic rights for cohabiting couples, fair access to the family justice system, and more financial clarity on divorce. The letter states that “current divorce law does not encourage couples to divorce amicably” and that “people often have to cite unreasonable behaviour or adultery on the petition”. Resolution claims this situation leads to unnecessary conflict and reduces the chances of reaching agreement on children and financial issues.

The Times, Page: 2

Posted 05/05/2017


Lawyers at Hall Brown have warned couples getting divorced they are risking jail if they open each other’s post or log on to their partner’s computer to spy on emails. The firm says 20% of cases have clients who admit to doing such things and express surprise that it should be illegal.

Daily Mail, Page: 35

Posted 29/04/2017


The House of Lords passed ‘Claudia’s law’ on Thursday, in honour of Claudia Lawrence, who has been missing since 2009. The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill means a guardian can be appointed after an adult has been missing for more than 90 days, allowing families and friends of missing people to manage their affairs. At present, the Post notes, a claim for a ‘declaration of presumed death’ from the High Court can only be made once someone has been missing for seven years or more.

The Sun, Page: 2    Daily Mirror, Page: 9   Yorkshire Post  

Posted 28/04/2017



Following Heston Blumenthal’s divorce from his wife Zanna, the Telegraph’s Flic Everett examines the growing trend for “slow divorce.” The chef and his wife spent six years apart before officially dissolving their marriage, and Ms Everett says more couples are taking a step back from the visceral immediacy of the divorce process, and waiting.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 16   Evening Standard, Page: 4    The Sun, Page: 27  

Posted 27/04/2017