Marriage makes people happier than six figure salaries and religion

Marriage makes people happier than religious beliefs, earning six-figure salaries and having children, a study for the Office of National Statistics has found for the first time.

Full story: The Telegraph

International child abduction cases up 81%

Child abduction is a “growing problem” with the number of reported cases up by 81 per cent over the last nine years, ministers warned today.

Full story: The Independent

Widower loses court fight to annul divorce from late wife

A husband attempting to have his divorce annulled even though his wife has been dead for more than two years has had his legal bid dashed.

Full story: Evening Standard

Domestic violence victim seeks bedroom tax judicial review

Woman who lives with son in three-bedroom house with fortified loft has been told she will lose some of her benefits.

Full story: The Guardian

Benefits cap will have catastrophic effect on families, court will hear

Vulnerable families challenging £500-a-week cap say it may force victims of domestic violence to return to their abusers.

Full story: The Guardian

Some government efforts on domestic violence 'are virtually meaningless'

Women's organisations say positive action in some areas of government is undermined by Department for Education.

Full story: The Guardian

Japanese Parliament paves way for ratification of Hague Convention on Child Abduction

Japan is assured of ratifying the Hague Convention on Child Abduction by March 2014 after the Lower House of the Japanese Parliament approved the necessary bill on 22nd May.

Full story: Family Law Week

EU-wide protection for victims of domestic violence to become law

Draft regulation should be adopted by Council of Ministers in June.

Full story: Family Law Week

Associations criticise care placement decision making

Independent foster care and children’s home bodies have come together to call on local authorities to use third sector providers to reduce inappropriate care placements.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Nine in 10 children born to cohabiting couples this year will 'see parents split by the time they are 16'

Nearly nine out of ten babies born to co-habiting parents this year will have seen their family break up by the time they reach the age of 16, says a study.

Full story: Daily Mail

Ministers write to local authorities about housing benefit changes and foster carers

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform in the Department for Work & Pensions, and Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister in the Department for Education, have written a joint letter to local authorities about the housing benefit under-occupancy rules and their impact on foster carers.

Full story: Family Law Week

Councils rise to minister's challenge on care leaver support

Nearly two thirds of local authorities are providing care leavers with grants of at least £2,000 to help them set up home after children’s minister Edward Timpson called on them to boost levels of support.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Rotherham council apologises over way it handled removal of children from Ukip foster parents

A council has apologised over the way it handled a decision to remove three Eastern European children from foster parents who were members of Ukip.

Full story: The Independent

Gay marriage: Final reading in Commons

The government's same-gender marriage bill is to receive a third and final Commons reading after surviving resistance from Tory opponents on Monday night.

Full story: BBC News

Maria Stubbings murder: IPCC report prompts inquiry call

The family of a woman murdered by her ex-partner are calling for a public inquiry into how complaints of domestic violence are handled.

Full story: BBC News

Huge rise in fixed fees for family and probate

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of solicitors offering fixed fees for probate and family work, a report for the legal services consumer panel has found.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Top family judge urges earlier involvement of local authority lawyers

Local authority lawyers need to get involved earlier – advising and assisting their social work clients – than is often the case, the President of the Family Division has argued.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

A fairer child maintenance system for a country where paying for your children is 'now the norm'

New official statistics on the proportion of separated parents who are paying for their children through the Child Support Agency.

Full story: GOV.UK

Revised Public Law Outline comes into effect on 1 July 2013

In the second edition of Sir James Munby's 'View from the President's Chambers', he has confirmed that an interim version of the revised Public Law Outline will be published at the end of May 2013 and will come into effect on 1 July 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Gay marriage bill returns to Commons

Plans to legalise same-gender marriage in England and Wales return to the Commons later, amid continuing opposition from some Conservative activists and MPs.

Full story: BBC News

Elena Ambrosiadou wins legal battle with ex-husband Martin Coward over software

High Court judge says hedge fund tycoons gave ‘tainted’ evidence in fight for spoils of marriage.

Full story: The Independent

Divorcee keeps overpayment of pension made as part of divorce settlement

The Pensions Ombudsman has determined that a divorcee need not repay to Scottish Widows an overpayment secured in her divorce settlement as a result of an incorrect transfer value provided by the pension scheme administrator.

Full story: Family Law Week

First ever chief social worker for children and fast-track training to lead social work reform

Education Secretary Michael Gove today announced the appointment of a children's chief social worker and a new fast-track training programme for top graduates.

Full story: GOV.UK

Gay marriage: Review of civil partnerships possible but not until 2019

Ministers have said they are prepared to review whether civil partnerships should be extended to heterosexual couples but not until 2019.

Full story: BBC News

Funding for foster care recruitment boost unveiled

The government has today unveiled a new package of support to help local authorities attract and retain more foster carers from a wider range of backgrounds.

Full story: GOV.UK

Stopping poor quality and time-wasting expert evidence in family courts

New national standards to raise the quality of experts used in family courts were announced by the Government today.

Full story: GOV.UK

DWP’s child maintenance data is ‘misleading’

Gingerbread has today criticised the government’s reports of its own success in collecting child maintenance as ‘misleading’, after the DWP launched a consultation on new reporting standards.

Full story: Gingerbread

Ministers seek to cut £50m legal aid bill for expert witnesses in family courts

Ministry of justice says it wants to introduce new standards to ensure only highest calibre of evidence is permitted.

Full story: The Guardian

Social work evidence to carry greater weight with Court of Protection

Court expected to revise guidance to make it clear it will accept mental capacity assessments from social workers, and not just from doctors, psychologists or therapists.

Full story: Community Care

Councils to be allowed to delegate looked-after children work

The Department for Education proposes changes to the law to allow local authorities to delegate work for looked-after children to external organisations.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child maintenance now being paid in four out of five cases

For the latest quarter, maintenance had been collected or arranged by the CSA via the statutory maintenance service on behalf of 921,000 children.

Full story: Family Law Week

College sounds warning on fostering-for-adoption plans

Government plans to speed up the adoption process could undermine efforts to place looked-after children with family members and potentially harm child welfare, The College of Social Work has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Civil partnerships for heterosexual couples a bad idea, says Maria Miller

Equalities minister tells parliamentary committee such a move should not be included in same sex marriage legislation.

Full story: The Guardian

How foster care separates siblings

More than half of children are split up from their brothers and sisters as demand for carers rises.

Full story: The Independent

Pre-proceedings process does not shorten care proceedings, research shows

A major new research report on the pre-proceedings process shows how local authorities, lawyers and the courts have operated this part of the 2008 PLO reforms.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013

These Regulations amend the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 which make provision relating to the exercise by adoption agencies (local authorities and registered adoption societies) of their functions in relation to adoption under the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

Statutory Instrument

Japan announces abduction pilot scheme

Reunite reports that Japan has recently announced a pilot scheme to provide legal advice to those involved in parental child abduction cases who reside outside of Japan.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family email advice line tries to fill gap left by cuts

Clients will be referred to University of Law LPC students by CAB.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013

These Regulations amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, which make provision about care planning for looked after children.

Statutory Instrument

Breakdown of care applications by local authority shows wide variations across the country

Next step is to find the causes of variations, says ADCS.

Full story: Family Law Week

G4S will run Child Maintenance Options service

Company granted five year contract to run advice and help service .

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications in April 2013 show continued rise

In April 2013, Cafcass received a total of 908 applications. This is a 20% increase on April 2012, and the highest ever recorded by Cafcass for the month of April.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass reports private law demand up 28% on a year ago

In April 2013, Cafcass received a total of 4,400 new private law cases, a 28% increase on April 2012 levels. This is the highest ever recorded by Cafcass for the month of April and also the joint highest month (with October 2012) on record.

Full story: Family Law Week

Barnardo's calls for Government not to abandon children looked after by the state

Barnardo's is calling for more to be done to help children in care move to adulthood.

Full story: Barnardo's

Criminalisation of forced marriage included in Queen’s Speech

Under the Crime and Policing Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech, forced marriage will become a criminal offence, as will a breach of a forced-marriage protection order.

Full story: Family Law Week

Home Office policy on discretionary leave for children to remain is unlawful

New High Court judgment upholds the rights of children affected by immigration decisions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal strikes out claim brought against wealthy ex-husband 18 years after divorce

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a husband against the dismissal of his application to strike out his former wife's claim for a financial remedy, which she issued some 18 years after the parties were divorced.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doncaster's new mayor 'prioritises' child protection

Doncaster's newly-elected mayor Ros Jones has pledged to make children's services her "absolute priority".

Full story: BBC News

Court refuses to vary unsealed consent order in “big money” case

Sir Hugh Bennett, sitting in the Family Division, has dismissed a wife's application to reopen financial remedy proceedings in a "big money" case in which heads of agreement and a consent order were approved by the court but the order was not yet sealed.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family court 'delays' on care decisions cut

The time it takes for the family courts to make decisions about whether children should be taken in to care or adopted has been cut.

Full story: BBC News

BLP wins as CoA looks to Russian law in key matrimonial case

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has successfully fought off a attempt by a Russian businessman and former politician to use English law in a dispute over the ownership of a London property with his ex-wife.

Full story: The Lawyer

No one should be jailed in secret, says top judge

Lord chief justice issues urgent guidance to judges following court of protection's imprisonment of Wanda Maddocks.

Full story: The Guardian

DfE backs domestic abuse projects

Children and young people affected by domestic abuse are to be given support through new projects backed by the Department for Education.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Committal for Contempt of Court Practice Guidance

Guidance issued by Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division and President of the Court of Protection.

Practice Guidance: Bailii

New 'Passport to support' for adopters

From today, adopters will be able to see exactly what support is available for them and their child with the new ‘Adoption Passport: a support guide for adopters’.

Full story: GOV.UK

Post adoption support: a rapid response survey of local authorities in England

Study published looking at how post adoption support teams and services are structured and to identify barriers to effective provision.

Full story: GOV.UK

Council failed to safeguard children, finds Ombudsman

Compensation of £10,000 recommended for failings in handling complex neglect case.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Protection openness call by justice secretary

The justice secretary has asked a senior judge to consider whether the court dealing with the affairs of mentally incapable people in England and Wales can become more open.

Full story: BBC News

Unbundling family legal services

Practice note for family practitioners who want to offer unbundled (ie partial retainer) legal services to their clients.

Practice Note: The Law Society

Society endorses ‘a la carte’ advice – but warns of risks

Family lawyers offering ‘pay as you go’ legal services are warned of the risks they carry and how to avoid them in a practice note published today by the Law Society.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Increase in cross-border cases, according to Lord Justice Thorpe

The number of cross-border family legal disputes have grown by tenfold in a decade and more than doubled in two years, according to the annual report of the Office of the Head of International Family Justice.

Full story: Family Law

England's failing care system needs urgent reform, finds inquiry

Leading charities recommend fresh approach to care reform, backed by children’s services directors.

Full story: Community Care

First person jailed by Court of Protection speaks out

A woman, understood to be the first person imprisoned for contempt of court by the Court of Protection, has said the "judge would never have dared jail her" if the case had been made public, the Daily Mail has reported.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Why an ex in the city gets a better divorce settlement than wives in the provinces

Wives living in small towns and villages get worse divorce settlements than those who split in big cities, according to new research.

Full story: Daily Mail