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Family law

Divorce proceedings fee set to rise by one third to £550 later in 2015

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced plans to increase the divorce petition fee by one third from its existing £410 to £550. The fee hike will be introduced by the end of 2015 following a period of consultation.

Whilst this is quite an increase, the MoJ had planned to lift the fee by 80% to £750 but backed down after this was heavily criticised. It is unlikely to stem the tide of divorce cases in England & Wales although it does place additional pressure on low income couples who already have no rights to legal aid funding (with the exception of mediation matters).

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Clare’s law

It has been announced that Clare’s Law is to be expanded to cover all of England and Wales after a successful pilot scheme, yet what is this law and what does it cover?

The law is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Manchester, whilst unaware that he had a history of violence against women. It is expected to be rolled out early next year.

Background

Forced marriages

The statistics on forced marriages are worrying with around 14 million girls under the age of 18 marrying, while in Britain alone at least 10% of adolescents marry under the age of 18. The Forced Marriage Unit in the UK gave advice or support in relation to possible forced marriages in 1,485 cases last year.

Family law court proceedings

What the family courts deal with

The family courts deal with a range of different matters relating to children, divorce and some aspects of domestic violence.

  • Adoption

An adoption order, if granted by the court, removes the natural parents or guardian of their rights, duties and obligations towards the child and gives them to the adoptive parents. When adopted the child will therefore, for the purposes of the law, effectively become the child of the adoptive parents. 

Adoption and its benefits

A recent study has revealed that having a happy life is strongly linked with starting a family, be that child the product of a natural birth, through fostering or adoption.

It also found that those who decided to adopt after having unsuccessful IVF treatment have a better quality of life than childless couples and couples who don’t have fertility problems.

So, how does a couple who wish to adopt go about it?

What is Cafcass?

Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of family law and children’s services in particular will have heard of Cafcass. However, do they know what the letters stand for and what work the organisation does?

Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services.

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