Abducted girl Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson's father in renewed bid to be released from jail

The father of Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson, the young girl returned to Britain this week after being abducted and taken to Pakistan when she was three years-old, has launched a fresh bid to be freed from jail.

Full story: The Telegraph

Gay marriage 'could lead to unforeseen consequences' on children

The Government's proposals to legalise gay marriage could have unforeseen impacts on children, a leading Roman Catholic archbishop has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

UK in family breakdown 'epidemic'

The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world with just two thirds of children living with both parents, according to research by a global development organisation.

Full story: The Independent

Rise in number of couples seeking 'wombs for hire' abroad

Increase in British couples turning to poor foreign surrogate mothers to have their babies.

Full story: The Independent

Report reveals lack of protection for runaway children

Police forces and local authorities up and down the country are not doing enough to protect children who run away from home or care, according to a report by The Children's Society.

Full story: Family Law Week

Abducted girl coming home from Pakistan to UK

A six-year-old girl is on her way home more than three years after she was abducted by her father and taken to Pakistan, sources said today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Unmarried mothers who give up careers facing midlife financial crisis, lawyers warn

Unmarried women who give up successful careers to bring up their children risk a midlife financial crisis if their partner leaves them, family lawyers are warning.

Full story: The Telegraph

Racial matching in adoption a white obsession, poll shows

White people are far more likely to think that children need to be adopted by families from their own racial background than people from ethnic minorities are, a study shows.

Full story: The Telegraph

Relate survey: Money problems 'causing family strain'

The UK's ongoing financial problems are putting an increasing strain on family relationships, a survey has suggested.

Full story: BBC News

Abuse alert system for hospitals

An online system to identify children who may be in danger of abuse or neglect is being developed for use in hospitals across England.

Full story: BBC News

Mother wins apology after council tries to take her disabled children away

A mother who spent a year fighting to stop social services taking her disabled twins into care after she was accused of making up a condition which made them unable to walk has won an apology from her local council.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court judge criticises same-sex marriage plan

Ministers are pursuing the "wrong policy" on gay marriage, and should be focusing on family breakdown, a High Court judge has said.

Full story: BBC News

New drive to help children find adoptive families

The Prime Minister has announced a new package of support for people who want to adopt to ensure more children get a stable, loving home without delays.

Full story: Department for Education

Government announces adoption system overhaul

The adoption system in England will be overhauled to make it swifter and more robust, the government has announced.

Full story: BBC News

Family judges seek protection from parents in 'unsafe' courts

Dangerously inadequate security arrangements during family cases leave officials vulnerable to attack, say judges.

Full story: The Guardian

Appointment of President of the Family Division

The Right Honourable Lord Justice Munby appointed as President of the Family Division.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Increasing numbers of people turning 60 consider divorce

According to the Office for National Statistics the proportion of so-called “silver splitters” – people over 60 separating from their husband or wife - has almost doubled in a decade.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) (Amendment) Order 2012

This Order amends the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 to reflect the changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 as amended by the Legislative Reform (Civil Partnership) Order 2012.

Statutory Instrument

Ukip foster row couple threaten to sue council

Couple who had three foster children taken away by Rotherham council say they have effectively been blacklisted.

Full story: The Guardian

Appointment of a High Court Judge - Cobb QC

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Stephen William Scott Cobb, Esq., Q.C., to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 11 January 2013 on the retirement of Mr. Justice Hedley.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Fewer marriages ending in divorce

An estimated 42% of marriages in England and Wales ended in divorce in 2010 - a drop from 45% in 2005, the latest statistics suggest.

Full story: BBC News

Scientologist loses high court wedding battle

A member of the Church of Scientology has lost her fight to get married in one of its chapels after the high court dismissed her claim that she was the victim of unlawful religious discrimination.

Full story: The Guardian

Adoption clauses don't fulfil their aims, say Lords

House of Lords Committee on Adoption Legislation concerned that delays will not be sufficiently reduced by new measures intended to speed up adoption.

Full story: UK Parliament

Neon Roberts tumour case: Judge gives go-ahead for surgery

A seven-year-old boy with a brain tumour should undergo surgery against his mother's wishes, a court has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Thousands of the most damaged children in care being failed

Report criticises treatment of children in care outside their home areas and under supervision of youth offending teams.

Full story: The Guardian

Gay marriage: divorces over adultery face legal challenge

Unfaithful husbands could attempt to stop their wives divorcing them for adultery if gay marriage is legalised, according to senior lawyers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Even divorcees think divorce is too easy, poll finds

Getting divorced is too easy – even in the opinion of the majority of divorcees, a survey suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorce is too easy, say most Britons as figures show number of people splitting is on the rise

A new survey suggests that six out of ten of us believe that there are not enough legal hurdles to deter couples from rushing into divorce.

Full story: Daily Mail

Teen fathers feel 'marginalised', charity says

Social services in England should do more to involve teenage fathers in their children's lives, a charity says.

Full story: BBC News

Attainment gap between looked after and non-looked after children narrows slightly

For the third year an annual statistical release has been published showing reported outcomes for looked after children with comparative figures for non-looked after children.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Family Procedure (Amendment) (No.5) Rules 2012

These rules amend Parts 1, 12 and 25 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Statutory Instrument

The Justice Committee publishes report on the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Children and Families Bill

Proposed changes to family justice have been broadly welcomed by the Justice Committee in its report scrutinising the draft Children and Families Bill, but the Committee maintains significant concerns about the draft clause on shared parenting.

Full story: UK Parliament

2011 Census figures highlight risks to cohabiting couples

New figures from the UK Census have revealed that more and more couples are living together without being married. These figures once again highlight the urgent need to give legal rights to millions of couples in England and Wales.

Full story: Resolution

Family judges backing court welfare reports

Family judges follow the recommendation of court welfare reports in nine out of 10 cases, research has revealed.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Supreme Court decides in favour of disclosure of allegations in contact case

The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in In the Matter of A (A Child) [2012] UKSC 60.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parental child abductions 'rise by 88% in a decade'

The number of children abducted and taken abroad by an estranged parent has risen by 88% in just under a decade, according to new government figures.

Full story: BBC News

Hotel boss obsessed with family business loses divorce appeal

A multi-millionaire hotelier who was so in love with his business that a judge described it as the third party in his marriage has lost an Appeal Court bid to reduce his wife’s £2.7 million divorce payout.

Full story: The Telegraph

Gay marriage: Religious 'opt-in' offered, but not to CofE

The Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages, the government has announced.

Full story: BBC News

Hackney social services condemned over failures after mother kills children

Coroner criticises staff who allowed woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia unsupervised overnight visits.

Full story: The Guardian

Child maintenance changes in force from today

Changes to the way child maintenance is assessed, collected and paid to recipients come into force today (10 December 2012) under the powers of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Councils refer record numbers of children into care in 2012

Family courts body Cafcass has released its latest care statistics, revealing record referrals show no signs of stopping.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Lawrence v Gallagher

Civil partnership financial remedy appeal fails.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce judges welcome ‘cookie cutter’ share-out plan

A new system of Canadian style “cookie cutter” justice could be introduced in England to cut the cost of divorce cases under reforms being drawn up by government law advisers.

Full story: London Evening Standard

MP inquiry hears how adoption targets will lead to rushed assessments and increased risks to children

The imposition of six month targets for placing children in care for adoption will lead to rushed and inadequate assessments, potentially making the process too fast for would-be adopters and open to abuse by predatory child abusers. This was the message to MPs at the second evidence gathering session of an inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Social Work into the state of the profession.

Full story: BASW News

Judge delays ruling on brain tumour boy

New developments in case lead judge to schedule return to court for later in the month.

Full story: The Independent

Gay marriage: Boris Johnson and Michael Gove give backing

A campaign group backing same-sex marriage has been launched by senior Conservative MPs and peers.

Full story: BBC News

Bank employee who accessed partner’s ex-wife’s account fined for data protection offences

A bank employee has been fined after a court heard she unlawfully accessed bank statements of her partner's ex-wife.

Full story: Family Law Week

Joint Committee on Human Rights calls for enhancement of Children’s Commissioner’s role

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has welcomed the proposed change in the Children's Commissioner's primary function, from one of 'promoting awareness of the views and interests of children in England' to one of 'promoting and protecting the rights of children in England'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Important Pension Changes – what family lawyers need to know

Clive Weir, a director with Albert Goodman Chartered Financial Planners, summarises the changes to pension provision made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government to support gay couples marrying in church in plans to be announced next week

PinkNews.co.uk understands the government is likely to push for complete marriage equality, meaning religious organisations will be allowed to provide same-sex marriages, as part of its reforms, despite widespread opposition by senior Anglican and Catholic leaders.

Full story: Pink News

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 10 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2012

This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 for the purpose of applying new rules for calculating child support maintenance to certain types of cases. It also brings into force a number of other provisions in the 2008 Act for the purposes of all cases.

Statutory Instrument

Fathers to be hit by rise in maintenance for their children following sweeping new reforms

Nearly 800,000 separated fathers face increases in their bills for maintaining their children which will run up to thousands of pounds a year, it was revealed Thursday.

Full story: Daily Mail

Whitehall cuts ‘threaten children's services’

Frontline services for children will suffer as a result of cuts to central government spending announced in the autumn statement, a think-tank has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mother and seven-year-old son found after she ran away to prevent cancer treatment

A mother and her seven-year-old son have been found by police after she ran away to prevent him receiving life-saving cancer treatment.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family fight to keep father alive in court battle

A woman has accused a hospital of secretly placing her father on the Liverpool Care Pathway as it launched a legal bid to withdraw “aggressive treatment”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Custody battle over British girl goes to US Supreme Court

A five-year-old British girl is at the centre of a bitter transatlantic custody battle that has arrived in front of America's most senior judges, as her parents fought the landmark case at the US Supreme Court.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorce battle lands pair with £1.3m legal bill

A husband ran up a £500,000 legal bill in a bitter divorce dispute he could not afford, the High Court ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme: Implementation Update Number One

The first Implementation Update has been published for the Family Justice Modernisation Programme.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Family mediation scheme extended

Membership of the Law Society’s family mediation scheme will be extended to all qualified family mediators from April.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships) Order 2012

This Order amends Schedule 20 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Schedule 20 specifies overseas relationships that may be treated as civil partnerships for the purposes of the Act, provided certain other conditions in the Act are satisfied.

Statutory Instrument

The Child Support Management of Payments and Arrears (Amendment) Regulations 2012

These Regulations amend the Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) Regulations 2009 and come into force on the day on which sections 32 and 33 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (c. 6) come into force.

Statutory Instrument

Commission to examine effect of legal aid cuts as demand for service surges

Low Commission will hold its first public meeting as advice centres across country start abandoning or rationing services.

Full story: The Guardian

Child abuse reporting guide aims to close divide between press and social workers

Northern Ireland Guide for media reporting is intended to be blueprint for UK.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family claims by counsel: new receipt form introduced by LSC

The Legal Services Commission has introduced new receipt forms for chambers to use when submitting claims for family work.

Full story: Family Law Week

Coleridge J cleared of misconduct on pro-marriage stance

Mr Justice Coleridge has been cleared of judicial misconduct over his involvement with pro-marriage charity the Marriage Foundation, but said he would take a “lower profile” position.

Full story: The Lawyer

Councils must drive out delays in adoptions

Councils must do more to ensure children awaiting adoption are not deprived of a loving permanent family because of council delays, children’s minister Edward Timpson said today.

Full story: Department for Education

Working smarter to improve child protection

Plans to allow Ofsted to share the names and addresses of children’s homes with the police and other bodies have been launched today.

Full story: Department for Education

Help for separating parents at their fingertips as new web app launches. A third of children now live in separated families

For the first time, the 300,000 families undergoing separation every year in Britain will be able to get free online advice tailored to their needs.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

150 firms sending divorce clients to litigation loan provider

Courts 'actively encouraging people' to get loans to reduce litigants in person.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Marriage's decline a key cause of social breakdown, says CSJ

Family breakdown and the decline in the importance of marriage are cited by the public as key causes of the serious social problems facing Britain, according to a new opinion poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Centre for Social Justice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Met police launch series of dawn raids in domestic violence crackdown

Week-long campaign targeting violence within the home and hate crime has led to 264 arrests so far.

Full story: The Guardian

Changes in adoption guidelines threaten military families

Prospective adoptive parents who serve in the Armed Forces worry that the speeding up of the adoption application process could sideline them more than ever before.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ukip fostering row: senior councillor in Rotherham accuses people of 'wading in to pass judgement'

A senior councillor in Rotherham has accused people of "wading in to pass judgement" on the Ukip fostering row without "any real knowledge" of the case.

Full story: The Telegraph

Information obtained under mutual legal assistance provisions cannot be disclosed in financial remedy proceedings

The Home secretary and the Crown Prosecution Service have won their appeal against Moylan J's decision in P v P [2012] EWHC 1733 (Fam).

Full story: Family Law Week

Government supports Thurrock in tackling violence against women

A new strategy to tackle violence against women and girls has been launched in Thurrock by Victims and Equalities Minister Helen Grant.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Rotherham council leader: Ukip membership is no bar to fostering

Roger Stone says case that caused national furore is complex, and children involved are 'safe and in good care'.

Full story: The Guardian

Petrodell v Prest appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court

The Court of Appeal, comprising Lord Justices Thorpe, Rimer and Patten, have given permission to Yasmin Prest to appeal to the Supreme Court against its decision in Petrodell Resources Limited v Prest [2012] EWCA Civ 1395.

Full story: Family Law Week

Anti-stalking legislation has come into force

New offence of stalking involving fear of violence carries a maximum 5 year sentence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ministers preparing tax breaks for married couples in next year's Budget

Conservative ministers are drawing up plans to deliver tax breaks to married couples from next year in a move which will please their own MPs but spark a new clash with the Liberal Democrats.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic violence accounts for 10% of emergency calls, data shows

Home Office figures obtained under FoI requests prompt fresh demands for strategy to deal with 'hidden crime'.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorcing parents turn to 'brainwashing' children in custody battles

Warring parents are increasingly attempting to “brainwash” their children to get the upper hand in custody disputes, according to lawyers.

Full story: The Telegraph

UKIP couple have foster children removed from care

A couple have had three foster children removed from their care because they belong to the UK Independence Party.

Full story: BBC News

A master of half truth: the man who lied about wealth in £1.8m divorce

A businessman has been described as “a master of the half truth” by a judge who said the man lied to his wife about how rich he was when they agreed a £1.8 million divorce settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Fifteenth state signs up to EU’s enhanced cooperation procedure on international divorce

The European Commission has confirmed Lithuania's decision to join the enhanced cooperation procedure allowing international couples to select which country's law would apply to their divorce and legal separation.

Full story: Family Law Week

ICO fines council £60k after details of child neglect case given to wrong person

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined a local authority £60,000 after details of a child neglect case were sent to the wrong recipient.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Mr Justice Ryder calls for an ‘investigative’ family justice system

Delivering the keynote speech to the ALC Annual Conference on the 16th November, Mr Justice Ryder called for a significant change of culture in the litigation of family disputes.

Full story: Family Law Week

LSC publishes more points to remember when making family fee claims

Lack of evidence for level 2 fee claims causes more than 65 per cent of reported ‘over-claims’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Urgent action needed to protect children from sexual exploitation, says Children’s Commissioner

A nationwide Inquiry by the Office of the Children's Commissioner has found that 2,409 children and young people were confirmed victims of child sexual exploitation in gangs or groups in the 14 month period from August 2010 to October 2011.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ofsted publishes first annual data on the number and profile of adopters and children

Ofsted has published for the first time its collection of data on adoptive families received from adoption providers. The data were collected via a survey in April-June 2012 and are used to inform the inspection of adoption provision.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adopters' parental leave and pay to be brought into line with birth parents

The Government has announced that it will change parental leave and pay available to adoptive parents to bring it more closely into line with the leave and pay rights available to birth parents. The proposals are in response to the Modern Workplace consultation and the will be implemented by 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Gay marriage could be approved within weeks

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have reportedly agreed to speed up legislation to allow gay marriage, meaning it could be approved in the coming weeks.

Full story: The Telegraph

Life after family break-up: research challenges law change proposal

Government plans to amend the 1989 Children Act by introducing a presumption of shared parenting are well-intentioned but misguided, say the authors of new research into childhood experience of family break-ups.

Full story: Family Law

30% shortfall in domestic violence advisers as council cuts bite

Campaigners call for mainstream funding for independent domestic violence advisers amid concerns that cuts have "depleted" support for domestic violence victims.

Full story: Community Care

Boy brings legal test case over decision to put him in care

A 15-year-old boy denied the chance to give evidence to a legal hearing about whether he should stay with his mother or be taken into care has launched a Court of Appeal test case.

Full story: The Telegraph

Boris in 'divorce in London' plea

Boris Johnson has made an extraordinary appeal for billionaires' wives to sue for divorce in London.

Full story: Belfast Telegraph

Only 15% of divorced women say that pensions featured in their settlement

According to the eighth annual Scottish Widows Women and Pensions Report published earlier this month, out of the divorced women surveyed, just 15% said pensions were discussed as part of their settlement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoption process is being rushed by councils, say judges

Children face split from other family members as fears expressed about Michael Gove's 'unrealistic' plans.

Full story: The Guardian

‘Troubled families are not lost causes,’ says BASW in response to Gove speech

The British Association of Social Workers, in response to Michael Gove's speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research, has called for 'careful assessment of the long-term needs of children, backed by better resources to do this vital work'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge warns against idolising celebrity marriages which are more prone to fail

A leading High Court judge has warned that it is “dangerously flawed” for young people to take seemingly glamorous celebrity relationships as a model for their own after research found the rate of divorce among stars is twice the national average.

Full story: The Telegraph

Michael Gove: children at risk of abuse should be put in care more quickly

Education secretary calls for 'assertive' approach from social workers after report into brutal Edlington attack.

Full story: The Guardian

Risk of divorce pushes women to work longer hours, claims new research

New research conducted by Dr Berkay Özcan of the London School of Economics and Political Science claims that an increased risk of divorce pushes women to work longer hours outside the home.

Full story: Family Law Week

Collection of child maintenance rises to £305 million for the last quarter

The Department for Work and Pensions has released a summary for the three months ending 30 September 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Local authority criticised by Ombudsman for withdrawing support for child with mental health difficulties

Isle of Wight Council wrongly withdrew social services support from a child in need, leading to cancellation of a residential school placement, the Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, has found.

Full story: Family Law Week

Overview of current research evidence for family justice professionals published

The Department for Education has published an overview of current research evidence for family justice professionals concerning child development and the impact of maltreatment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Damning child protection report sparks fears of new 'get tough' approach

As social work braces itself for yet another damning Ofsted inspection report for Doncaster, Community Care understands the government is casting about for different “intervention” approaches when councils fail to protect children adequately.

Full story: Community Care

British pilot thwarts wife's attempt to divorce him from Brazil

A pilot whose Brazilian wife refused to return to England with their children after a half-term holiday in her home country has won his battle to have a divorce settlement in British courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children of divorced parents could be classified as in poverty

Children whose parents are divorced could be classed as growing up in poverty under government plans to redefine disadvantage.

Full story: The Telegraph

Give married couples tax break, MPs tell David Cameron

David Cameron must deliver a tax break for married couples within months, senior Conservative MPs say.

Full story: The Telegraph

Risk-averse care system stifling foster placements, warns Fostering Network

Foster carers do not know whether it is safe to hug a child or encourage them to climb trees due to blanket bans on them taking decisions for children, warns charity's chief executive.

Full story: Community Care

The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations 2012

These Regulations make provision to facilitate the application of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23rd November 2007 in England and Wales.

Statutory Instrument

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2012

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 to take account of the application of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23 November 2007 in England and Wales.

Statutory Instrument

Standard Directions in Hague Convention Cases involving Cafcass High Court Team

The acting President of the Family Division, the Hon Mr Justice Holman, has issued guidance on standard directions in Hague Convention cases involving the Cafcass High Court Team.

Full story: Family Law

Wives who divorce wealthy husbands can't expect big payouts, judge warns

Wives who divorce wealthy husbands have been warned they cannot expect large payouts simply because they are used to an affluent lifestyle.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care Inquiry holds first session under chairmanship of Dorit Braun

First session on 14th November will explore recent trends in children care law and practice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Time limit for care cases ‘impractical’

Family law groups have warned that the government’s plan to impose a 26-week time limit for courts to conclude care cases is impractical in most cases and constitutes ‘potentially unlawful interference with judicial discretion’.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Gove calls for more adopters to help find homes for more than 4200 children ready for adoption

Michael Gove has called on more people to adopt children. The call comes as it has emerged that more than 4200 children are ready for adoption but have not yet been able to move in with a family – a figure that has grown by 650 in each of the last two years.

Full story: Department for Education

Care applications continue to rise

In October 2012, Cafcass received a total of 937 applications. This is a 9% increase on October 2011 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Written evidence on draft Children and Families Bill to Justice Select Committee

The Law Society has been asked to submit written evidence to the Justice Select Committee as part of its inquiry into the draft legislation on the Children and Families Bill.

Full story: The Law Society

The Child Support (Meaning of Child and New Calculation Rules) (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2012

These Regulations contain provisions consequential on, or connected with, the bringing into force of the changes to the meaning of “child” for the purposes of the Child Support Act 1991, provided for in section 42 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, and the changes to the rules for the calculation of child support maintenance, provided for in Schedule 4 to the 2008 Act and the Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012.

Statutory Instrument

Changes to LSC arrangements for family law cases with projected costs over £25,000

Changes to regulations and guidance affecting high cost family cases have taken place following consultations between the LSC and representative bodies.

Full story: Family Law Week

Case on disclosure of identity of accuser to parties in contact proceedings heads to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has given permission for an appeal in a case over whether the identity of an individual who has made allegations of serious sexual abuse should be disclosed to parties in contact proceedings.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Lesbian couple in ten year battle over custody of children

A judge has warned a mother to stop poisoning her children against her lesbian ex-partner after hearing how the couple have fought a bitter ten year custody battle costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children suffer effects of parents' divorce into adult life - study

The children of divorced parents can suffer the effects of the break-up well into their adult life, a report has found.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child protection system is failing older children, warns Education Committee

The child protection system is not meeting the needs of older children and must be reviewed urgently according to a report from the Education Committee.

Full story: UK Parliament

Courts can make their own calculations of absent fathers’ earnings

Courts do not have to rely on the records of HMRC when calculating the earnings of absent fathers, appeal judges have ruled.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Shared parenting provision to be inserted into Children Act section 1

The Department for Education has announced that it proposes to introduce amendments to the Children Act 1989 in order to provide for a presumption of shared parenting.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers 'at rock bottom' over issue of race and adoption

Professional body to tell Lords committee that political stereotyping has hampered efforts to re-home vulnerable children.

Full story: The Guardian

Saudi wife entitled to affluent lifestyle, divorce judge rules as he awards her £4 million

A Saudi businessman has been ordered to pay his estranged wife £4 million and give her £150,000 a year for life after a judge ruled she was entitled to continue living an affluent lifestyle.

Full story: The Telegraph

Absent fathers to get legal right to spend time with their children

Absent fathers are to be given a legal right to spend time with their children, unless they are likely to cause them harm, under changes to access laws unveiled yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family courts 'ignoring needs of domestic violence victims'

Report finds women are frequently put in unsafe positions during proceedings, and government plans could make matters worse.

Full story: The Guardian

Fifth of adults believe 40 is too old to adopt

A fifth of adults in the UK believe they would be ruled out of adopting a child after the age of 40, a study has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Dream holiday homes becoming ‘millstones’ for divorcees after Euro property plunge

For couples in the midst of divorce, tumbling property values in countries hit by the Euro crisis are rapidly turning former “dream” homes into a “toxic” legacy, lawyers have warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Chancery judge declines bankrupt husband’s application for release from ancillary relief order

In McRoberts v McRoberts [2012] EWHC 2966 (Ch), Mr Justice Hildyard, sitting in the Chancery Division, has declined an application by a bankrupt husband under s 281(5) of the Insolvency Act 1986 to be released from the bankruptcy debts arising within ancillary relief proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children in need numbers fall slightly in last 12 months

The Office for National Statistics has published final figures on the numbers of children referred to and assessed by children's social services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Catholic Care loses gay adoption fight

A Roman Catholic adoption agency has been told it cannot turn away gay couples if it wants to keep its charitable status.

Full story: BBC News

Munro backs separate chief social workers for children and adults

Ministers' child protection reviewer backs government shift, saying single chief would "drown" under pressure of covering children's and adults' services.

Full story: Community Care

Children in care are usually not offered an independent visitor, says report

The Independent visitors report published by the Children's Rights Director documents children in care's views and experiences of having an independent visitor, as well as their views about not being offered one.

Full story: Family Law Week

Trapped by a Maldives passport stamp, the businessman who told his ex-wife he could not pay his debt

A businessman who claims to be bankrupt has lost a legal battle to avoid paying maintenance to ex-wife, after a judge ruled his exotic holidays suggests he may have a secret income and his finances may improve.

Full story: The Telegraph

Number of opposite gender cohabiting couples has doubled since 1996

The number of opposite gender cohabiting couple families has increased significantly, according to the latest statistical bulletin on families and households released by the Office for National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law Week

1996 Hague Convention comes into force on 1 November 2012

The Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (the "1996 Hague Convention") comes into force on 1 November 2012.

Full story: Family Law

Child maintenance powers 'emasculated' after court ruling

Absent parents who fail to support their children may no longer be threatened with jail after a court ruling against a Government body set up to pursue them.

Full story: The Telegraph

Toyota system halves care proceedings time

Three London councils have halved the time it takes for care proceedings to go through the family court by implementing a time management system developed by the car manufacturer Toyota.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Lawyers braced for post-recession surge in divorces

Lawyers are preparing for a possible surge in the divorce rate as the economy moves out of recession.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government urged to help children stay in care post 18

As ministers launch a charter for care leavers, the Fostering Network says it is 'disappointed' no action has been taken to implement a programme that would help young people stay in care until 21.

Full story: Community Care

Support for care teens in England a 'national scandal'

Too many teenagers in England leave care without enough support, ending up in a "trap of poverty and joblessness", the children's minister has said.

Full story: BBC News

Multi-millionaire who lost his £1.8m home and had to move into a rented flat in 'disastrous' divorce is given reprieve by judges over 'too favourable' settlement to his wife

A multi-millionaire estate agent whose 'disastrous' divorce left him unable to afford to buy a home of his own has won a ruling that parts of a family court judgement made last year were 'too favourable' to his ex wife.

Full story: Daily Mail

Domestic violence kills at least 105 English women in 18 months

Despite a national scheme to help police better serve their communities on this issue, research by the Guardian suggests there are still a disturbing number of fatal assaults in the home.

Full story: The Guardian

Barnardo’s launches Charter for Care Leavers

The UK’s largest children’s charity will today launch the Government’s first Charter for Care Leavers.

Full story: Barnardo's

Demand for child protection continues to rise, say Directors of Children’s Services

Levels of demand for child protection and care services continue to rise nationally, new research shows, and a majority of directors of children's services fear that pressures will continue to rise in future years.

Full story: Family Law Week

After the Savile scandal, a revolution in child protection

A revolution in child protection which would see elite graduates fast-tracked into social work has been given the go-ahead by Michael Gove, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

Gay sperm donor told to pay child maintenance for 'his' two children

A gay man from Essex who donated his sperm to enable a lesbian couple to have two children, but who was never named on their birth certificate and had no role in their upbringing, is being forced by the Child Support Agency to pay for their support – 13 years after the first child was born.

Full story: The Guardian

CoA delivers shock verdict in big-money divorce case

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has delivered a shock verdict in a hotly anticipated big-money divorce case, ruling that companies belonging to oil tycoon Michael Prest should not be forced to hand over assets totalling £17.5m to his former wife.

Full story: The Lawyer

Poorest child maintenance claimants ‘forced into a corner’, warns Barnardo’s

On the final day of the government’s consultation into child maintenance, the UK’s largest children’s charity is warning that the poorest parents will be forced to make an impossible choice under the new child maintenance system.

Full story: Barnardo's

The Child Support Maintenance (Changes to Basic Rate Calculation and Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations 2012

These Regulations modify the provisions in Schedule 1 to the Child Support Act 1991 relating to the calculation of the basic rate of maintenance and the minimum amount of liability where the non-resident parent is party to another maintenance arrangement.

Statutory Instrument

The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012

These Regulations provide for a range of matters in relation to the calculation of child support maintenance under the Child Support Act 1991.

Statutory Instrument

Stoke council fined over child protection e-mail

A city council has been fined £120,000 after a solicitor sent e-mails about a child protection case to the wrong person.

Full story: BBC News

Atkinson warns against using international evidence to reform UK care system

Central and local government should be cautious about modelling provision for vulnerable young people on international examples, the children’s commissioner for England has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Early intervention 'reduces demand for child protection services'

Investment in early intervention is reducing demand for child protection services by up to 30 per cent in some local authorities, while other areas struggle to cope with huge increases in demand for support, research by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Cambridgeshire's 'inadequate' child protection addressed

A council has said it will learn from an Ofsted report describing its child protection services as "inadequate".

Full story: BBC News

Divorce row over billionaire's refusal to pay ex's head chef

The former wife of a billionaire is claiming he has breached their divorce settlement by failing to maintain her two luxury homes, cutting down on the number of her servants and refusing to pay her head chef's salary.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care leavers' charter seeks to smash stereotypes

Care leavers want support workers to help them develop their personal identities and give them more respect, according to a new charter.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children's directors plan to overhaul care system

Directors to investigate how permanence, stability and support for teenagers can be improved, and warn government reforms to children's homes and adoption are too narrowly focused.

Full story: Community Care

Child benefit chaos for divorced couples

New partners of divorced parents face losing part of their salary under changes to the child benefit system if they earn over £50,000, even if the children are not theirs, accountants at Deloitte have warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Former company boss says bankruptcy should wipe out debt to his ex-wife

A ruling in favour of Alexander McRoberts would open the door to 'all the bankrupts out there who don't want to pay their lumps sums in family proceedings,' a judge is warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Lords debates Inheritance (Cohabitation) Bill

Lords debated the key principles and purpose of the Inheritance (Cohabitants) Bill on Friday (October).

Full story: UK Parliament

Family Justice Review draft legislation

The Law Society's response to the Family Justice Review draft legislation.

Full story: The Law Society

Home Secretary and CPS appeal ancillary relief order to disclose material obtained under mutual legal assistance provisions

Permission has been granted to the Home secretary and the Crown Prosecution Service to appeal Moylan J's decision in P v P [2012] EWHC 1733 (Fam).

Full story: Family Law Week

Couple can keep Nigerian baby after 'scam' ruling

A couple, who could not have children, have been told by the High Court they can keep a baby born in Nigeria, despite tests showing they were not the child's biological parents.

Full story: BBC News

Birmingham City Council child protection 'inadequate'

The effectiveness of Birmingham City Council's arrangements for protecting children has been judged "inadequate".

Full story: BBC News

Commments on the 26 week timetable by McFarlane LJ and Ryder J to the NAGALRO Conference

‘Timetable for the child may anticipate proceedings being completed in up to 26 weeks or more dependent on the facts of the case’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Bar Council publishes templates for agreements between chambers and local authorities

Framework agreement and detailed articles available.

Full story: Family Law Week

Rising child referrals cancel out austerity savings

Rising referrals to children’s services have largely cancelled out savings made over the past two years as part of austerity measures, the Family and Parenting Institute has found.

Full story: Community Care

Social workers forced to focus on family crises due to coalition cuts, study says

Erosion of 'lighter touch' preventative services for children happening despite government's commitment to early intervention.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge orders nationwide hunt for four missing children

A High Court judge today launched a nationwide hunt for four missing children.

Full story: The Independent

Labour MP Chris Bryant to introduce ten minute equal marriage bill

Labour MP Chris Bryant’s decision to introduce a ten minute rule bill on equal marriage in the House of Commons has been described as the “first shot” in the parliamentary battle for marriage equality.

Full story: Pink News

Care runaway 'lived in cave'

A teenager spent three weeks living in a cave rather than go back into care, an official study into how children feel failed by the system has disclosed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Woman who does not believe she has cancer can undergo operation

A schizophrenic woman who does not believe she has cancer can now undergo a risky operation against her wishes that could save her life, on the orders of a senior judge.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court awards wife £8.7m in ‘needs’ case involving inherited wealth

In Y v Y [2012] EWHC 2063 (Fam) Mrs Justice Baron has awarded a wife a lump sum of £8,738,000 in a case which, in the light of the wife's needs, required her to 'invade' the husband's inherited assets.

Full story: Family Law Week

Bad weather now blamed for rise in domestic violence

Police have blamed a sharp rise in domestic violence on the weather claiming rain drives up attacks.

Full story: The Telegraph

Couple win back children from social services after High Court battle

A couple whose two daughters were taken away by social services have been praised by a judge for “weathering the storm” of a lengthy High Court battle to win them back.

Full story: The Telegraph

Virtual schools help raise the profile of educational attainment for children in care

Ofsted report explores measure to reduce the gap in educational achievement of children in care and their peers.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child protection case time limit 'penalises kinship carers'

Family members could be missing out on the chance to become legal guardians for children who can no longer live with their birth parents, due to the new six-month time limit for completing care proceedings in the courts, charities have warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Resolution founder honoured at Family Law Awards 2012

Resolution’s founder, John Cornwell, was honoured last night at the prestigious Family Law Awards 2012, held at the London Hilton Hotel in Mayfair.

Full story: Resolution

Survey demonstrates ongoing impact of Imerman v Tcheinguiz

Family lawyers are increasingly handling divorce cases in which they have knowledge of concealed assets or income but are unable to rely on any of the documents in court.

Full story: New Law Journal

Fury over Eastenders' 'misleading' social work storyline

Social workers and campaigners have condemned an 'inaccurate' and 'misleading' storyline on the BBC soap Eastenders, which showed a social worker removing a baby from a teenage mother.

Full story: Community Care

Conservative conference: Tact calls for care leaver support to be bolstered with priority pass

Young people leaving care should be given priority access to support from agencies such as mental health and housing until they reach their early 30s, the chief executive of the charity Tact has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Not enough adoption placements are being found for children

The number of children waiting to be placed with families has risen as adopters appear not to be getting adequate support.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge rules devout Muslim man with severe brain damage should not be resuscitated

A High Court Judge ruled that a devout Muslim man with severe brain damage should not be resuscitated even though he accepts it is his wish to be kept alive.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge children’s welfare ‘by standards of 2012’, Munby LJ says in Ultra-Orthodox ruling

Appeal judges back mother's choice of schools to ensure 'equality of opportunity'.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Cafcass care demand statistics September 2012

Between April and September 2012 Cafcass received a total of 5,374 applications.

Full story: Cafcass

Married couples 'will be in the minority by 2050'

The Centre for Social Justice has criticised the Government’s “failure” to do more to tackle family breakdown.

Full story: The Telegraph

Gay marriage backed by George Osborne and William Hague

The foreign secretary and chancellor have both said they will back the introduction of same-sex marriage when MPs are given a free vote on the issue.

Full story: BBC News

End of easy credit could be slowing divorce rate, lawyer says

The end of the age of “easy credit” could have helped slow the rise in the divorce rate by making it harder for angry partners to call in lawyers, a leading barrister has suggested.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 9) and the Welfare Reform Act 2009 (Commencement No. 9) Order 2012

This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (c. 6) and the Welfare Reform Act 2009 (c. 24).

Statutory Instrument

Father has no 'sacred right’ over education of children, rules judge

The days are gone when fathers held exclusive power over their children’s education, a judge ruled yesterday in rejecting the objections of an ultra-orthodox Jewish father to his ex-wife’s choice of schools for their children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Four sisters in Australian Hague Convention case must return to Italy

The four Italian/Australian sisters, who have been the subject of a high profile Hague Convention case in Australia, have been ordered to return to Italy.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother jailed for smacking freed as judge rules 'loving and caring' parents do strike children

A mother jailed for smacking her children has been freed after a top judge said her actions were no worse than those of "many loving and caring parents".

Full story: The Telegraph

Charities launch major inquiry into the care of looked-after children

An inquiry into how best to provide stable homes for children who cannot live with their birth parents has been launched by a group of eight charities.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Lord Chief Justice expresses concern about increase in litigants in person

The Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Judge, has expressed concern about the increase in litigants in person and the effect upon the efficiency of the courts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Existing family mediation providers can request additional outreach locations under their LSC contract

Existing family mediation providers will be given the opportunity to request additional outreach locations under the terms of their LSC contract.

Full story: Family Law Week

Number of looked after children in Wales in last year rises by 6 per cent

The latest National Statistics on Children Looked After in Wales produced by the Welsh Government have been released.

Full story: Family Law Week

Retirement of the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales

Sir Nicholas Wall will retire as the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales on 1 December 2012 on grounds of ill health.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Couples who share the housework are more likely to divorce, study finds

Divorce rates are far higher among “modern” couples who share the housework than in those where the woman does the lion’s share of the chores, a Norwegian study has found.

Full story: The Telegraph

reunite granted leave to intervene in European Court of Human Rights case

reunite International Child Abduction Centre has been granted leave to intervene in the case of X v Latvia, which is being heard by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on 10th October 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family lawyers call for more ADR support

A leading family lawyer has called for more government and judicial support to encourage separating couples to resolve disputes out of court.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social workers unlikely to act quickly on neglect cases

Research by Community Care and the NSPCC has revealed child neglect is not a priority for social workers, with 60% saying they feel pressure to downgrade cases.

Full story: Community Care

Statement from Edward Timpson on adoption statistics

Statement by Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, on adoption statistics released today.

Full story: Department for Education

Children adopted from care numbers rise by 12% in the last year

Latest figures released by the Department for Education show that there were 67,050 looked after children at 31 March 2012, an increase of 2 per cent compared to 31 March 2011 and an increase of 13 per cent compared to 31 March 2008.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children in care in England rises

The number of children in the care system in England is rising, official figures show.

Full story: BBC News

Schools need to act earlier on child protection, commissioner says

The children's commissioner is appealing to teachers to accept more responsibility for spotting signs of child neglect.

Full story: The Guardian

Supreme Court to hear care proceedings appeal where authority relied on findings in other proceedings

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal in J (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 380 on the 17th and 18th December 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Four out of five people say children should come first in divorce

The overwhelming majority of Britons believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors if going through divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national family law association.

Full story: Resolution

Father in child access battle wins right to know secret accuser's identity

Father who faces being restricted from seeing his daughter after unidentified woman made sexual abuse claims against him wins right to be told name of his accuser.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoption halted as court told baby milk led to 'innocent' couple being accuse of abuse

Vitamin supplements in baby milk may have led an innocent couple being condemned for battering their newborn son, a top family judge has heard.

Full story: The Telegraph

Third of leaving care services scale back provision

Up to a third of leaving care services have been forced to scale back provision because of budget cuts, despite rising numbers of young people requiring support, the National Care Advisory Service has claimed.


Full story: Children & Young People Now

Co-op adds family law to shopping trolley

The march of supermarket brands into reserved legal services takes another forward step today with the official launch of Co-operative family law services.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Cohabiting couples now as likely to have children as those who are married

Cohabiting couples are for the first time as likely to have children as those who marry, according to a report on changing family relationships in the UK published on Thursday.

Full story: The Guardian

Consultation on adoption and fostering welcomed by sector

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering and Fostering Network have welcomed the Government's newly published consultation on proposed changes to adoption and fostering.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge criticises warring couple for squandering £1.7 million on bitter divorce battle

A couple who squandered £1.7 million during a bitter divorce and custody battle were criticised by a judge for driving their marriage 'full tilt onto the rocks.'

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorce star Ward leaves Manches for Stewarts

Manches’ star family partner Helen Ward has quit the firm for rival Stewarts Law.

Full story: The Lawyer

Call to allow foster carers to register with multiple agencies

Foster carers should be allowed to register with more than one agency to increase the number of placements available to children in care, the Norfolk Foster Care Association has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

New guidelines issued on domestic abuse

The definition of domestic abuse has been widened so it covers forms of non-violent coercive behaviour and under-18s for the first time.

Full story: BBC News

Measures to improve adoption and fostering

Adopting and fostering will become a faster and more efficient process thanks to new arrangements for approving carers, Children’s and Families Minister Edward Timpson announced today.

Full story: Department for Education

Controlling partners 'to be prosecuted for domestic abuse'

Men who emotionally abuse their partners by controlling their finances, preventing them from seeing friends or verbally abusing them could soon be prosecuted under domestic violence laws, it has been claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Payne Hicks Beach among firms heading LeO’s ‘list of shame’

Complaint about family law department triggers compensation award.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

'Three-parent baby' fertility technique could be made legal

A fertility treatment which eliminates hereditary disease by engineering babies to carry healthy DNA from a third biological parent could be legalised next year.

Full story: The Telegraph

Welsh charity criticises lack of police support for forced marriage victims

Charities supporting victims of forced marriage have criticised police and local authorities in Wales for not doing enough to encourage victims to come forward.

Full story: Family Law Week

Serious case review launched into Rochdale sexual abuse case

The council will examine the experiences of four young people to establish what lessons can be learned to improve child safeguarding in Rochdale.

Full story: Community Care

One in five brides with cold feet are divorced within four years

Brides-to-be should heed their nagging doubts, a new study shows, as nearly one in five women with cold feet before their wedding are divorced four years later.

Full story: The Telegraph

Joint Committee on Human Rights launchies inquiry into human rights of unaccompanied migrant children

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is launching an inquiry into the human rights of unaccompanied migrant children and young people in the UK, with a particular focus on those who are seeking asylum or have been the victims of trafficking.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications in April to August reach unprecedented levels

Cafcass care demand statistics for August 2012 published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Third of councils spend nothing on advocacy for children in care, warns charity

Looked-after children are being let down by a lack of independent advocacy services, which means they miss out on the chance to air their views, a report by The Children’s Society has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Prenups, marital property, divorce: law firms respond

Lawyers react to the Law Commission consultation paper on dividing up marital assets on divorce.

Full story: The Guardian

Help kids in drink abuse homes, says commission

The government should pay as much attention to the parents who drink too much as it does to those who misuse illegal drugs, says a report.

Full story: BBC News

100,000 parents with care stand to lose an average £6 per week under new Child Support formula

100,000 parents stand to lose an average of £6 a week due to a little known technical change to the child support assessment system, to be debated by MPs today.

Full story: Gingerbread

Divorce case settlements 'must be clearer'

Divorcing couples and judges hearing their cases should be given a clearer idea of their financial aims in court, according to the Law Commission.

Full story: BBC News

Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements

Following its 2012 consultation on marital property agreements (“pre-nups”), the Law Commission has opened a supplementary consultation on needs and non-matrimonial property.

Full story: Law Commission

All-round roasting for family justice reforms

MPs, judges and expert practitioners yesterday condemned the government’s planned legal aid cuts and family justice reforms, warning that the fiscal imperative driving them will harm children.

Full story: Law Society Gazette