New rules for social workers following adoption reform

Planned guidance to help social workers understand the reformed adoption system published for consultation.

Full story: Department for Education

Legally enforceable pre-nuptial agreements could "diminish London's allure" for wealthy foreign divorcing couples, says expert

The introduction of legally enforceable pre- and post-nuptial agreements for divorcing couples could reduce the number of wealthy foreign couples bringing divorce proceedings in England and Wales, an expert has said.

Full story: Out-Law.com

Resolution welcomes Law Commission report

Resolution, the membership body for family law professionals, has today welcomed the recommendations by the Law Commission which, it says, will provide greater clarity for many married couples on separation.

Full story: Resolution

Law Commission recommends that ‘qualifying nuptial agreements’ should be enforceable

Report calls for Govt study into non-statutory formula for assessing needs-based outcomes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Thousands at risk of domestic violence

Nearly 11,000 people, mostly women, are considered by the police to be at high risk of being killed or seriously injured by their current or former partners, according to official figures.

Full story: The Independent

Bill seeks to extend protection for domestic violence

Coercive control and emotional blackmail would become offences under a proposed bill aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Half of children affected by domestic abuse 'not known to social services'

Children exposed to domestic abuse are not visible enough to children's social care services, charity warns.

Full story: The Guardian

Child Support Agency quarterly summary statistics: December 2013

A statistical report providing figures on caseloads, enforcement, appeals, collections and outstanding arrears.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Domestic violence 'wake-up call' issued by watchdog

Doctors and nurses should receive special training so they can recognise the signs of domestic violence and ask questions, the health watchdog says.

Full story: BBC News

UK Government: Those in civil partnerships will be able to convert to marriages by end of year

Equalities Minister Helen Grant has confirmed that couples who are in civil partnerships in England and Wales will be able to convert them to marriages by the end of 2014.

Full story: PinkNews

Manuela Sykes in dementia care court victory

An 89-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and says she is "miserable" in a care home has won the first stage in a court fight to live in her own home.

Full story: BBC News

Family set blames legal aid cuts for closure

Barristers at a leading family law set with 28 members have voted to dissolve the chambers, blaming the impact of legal aid cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Sheffield children's services ‘requires improvement’

Sheffield has been told to improve its children’s services after an inspection highlighted weaknesses in performance on looked-after children and adoption.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Pauffley J commends the ‘constructive collaboration’ of parents in dispute

In Re J and K (Children: Private Law) [2014] EWHC 330 (Fam) Mrs Justice Pauffley has praised the approach of parents and advocates in, what she described as,' this most satisfactory of collaborative efforts'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Schizophrenic with a gangrenous leg allowed to refuse amputation

Doctors at a West Midlands hospital were faced with the medical dilemma after the unnamed woman, whose infected foot became mummified and fell off, refused to undergo the operation.

Full story: The Telegraph

Couple desperate for baby duped by bogus herb doctor

British couple duped by fraudsters whose bogus herbal treatments convinced them they were parents of baby girl.

Full story: The Telegraph

'Sext' message blunder sparks legal battle over son

The High Court hears a man’s attempts to maintain contact with his young boy suffered a "huge set-back" when a picture of his "private parts" was sent to his ex-partner.

Full story: The Telegraph

Decline of nuclear family may have benefits, says judge

Lord Wilson, of the Supreme Court, backs gay marriage and says divorce may strengthen family life.

Full story: The Telegraph

One in ten fathers in Britain have doubts over the paternity of their children

Nearly one in ten British fathers harbour doubts over the paternity of their children, according to shocking new research.

Full story: Daily Mail

Jamie Kightley death: Serious case review highlights concerns

Experts have criticised a paediatrician who "apparently failed" to identify child abuse injuries on a baby.

Full story: BBC News

Birmingham sees huge fall in identification of vulnerable children

Birmingham Council is taking action to improve the way child protection tip-offs are acted on following a worrying drop in the numbers of children subject to protection plans.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Couple in custody feud told: 'sit down and have a cup of tea'

Man and woman embroiled in years of legal action over children suggested by judge to "sit down around the kitchen table".

Full story: The Telegraph

Five new family law QCs appointed

The Lord Chancellor has approved the appointment of five new family law Queen's Counsel today.

Full story: Family Law

Ofsted finds serious child protection failings in Slough

Children’s services in Slough have been rated as inadequate after Ofsted inspectors found serious weaknesses in its child protection work.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

UK in breach of its international obligations on FGM, warns Bar Human Rights Committee

BHRC submission to Home Affairs Committee calls for specific Government action.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother loses custody battle over ‘permissive’ parenting style

High Court rules that mother who left boys to play on Xboxes while she napped or used her iPad and was more like a ‘friend’ than a parent ‘significantly failed’ them.

Full story: The Telegraph

Publicly funded mediation continues to decline

MIAMs attendance in November 2013 almost 60% down year-on-year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Pauffley J deprecates Justices adopting LAs’ ‘Facts and Reasons’ in care proceedings

In Re NL (A child) (Appeal: Interim Care Order: Facts and Reasons) [2014] EWHC 270 (Fam) Mrs Justice Pauffley has deprecated the widespread practice in care proceedings in the family proceedings court by which parties, usually the local authority, draft the 'Facts and Reasons' which are then adopted by the Justices.

Full story: Family Law Week

Average duration of care proceedings is now 36 weeks

Disposal times for care and supervision applications fall by 25% in 12 months.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doncaster report reveals delays in establishing trust

Efforts to create an independent trust to run children’s services in Doncaster are weeks behind schedule, it has emerged.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

One in seven put off divorce or separation because of financial worries

As many as one in seven people who are divorced or separated admit they stayed with their partner for too long due to financial worries, a new survey found.

Full story: This is Money

Court statistics (quarterly) July to September 2013

This bulletin presents National Statistics on activity in the county, family, magistrates’ and Crown courts of England and Wales.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Russia bans adoptions from countries that allow gay marriage

Decree aimed at 'protecting children's psyche' from the 'undesirable effects' of exposure to unconventional sexual relationships.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic violence experienced by 30% of female population, survey shows

Latest figures reveal extent of sexual abuse, family abuse and stalking suffered by men and women across England and Wales.

Full story: The Guardian

Sir Martin Narey: overhauling children’s social work training

Sir Martin Narey publishes his report, 'Making the education of social workers consistently effective'.

Full story: Department for Education

Court orders relating to family law

We are consulting on changes to the statutory guidance on the Children Act 1989. The guidance relates to public and private family law orders and is being updated in light of the Children and Families Bill 2014.

Full story: Department for Education

Private law cases received by Cafcass in January 2014 13% down

In January 2014, Cafcass received a total of 3,343 new private law cases. This is a 13% decrease on January 2013 levels.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications in January 2014 9% down on a year ago

In January 2014, Cafcass received a total of 883 applications. This figure represents a 9% decrease compared to those received in January 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Husband wins Sharland appeal 2:1

The Court of Appeal has just handed down judgment in the case of Sharland v Sharland [2014] EWCA 95, [2014] 2 FLR (forthcoming) (reported at first instance as S v S (Non-Disclosure) [2013] EWHC 991 (Fam), [2013] 2 FLR 1598).

Full story: Family Law

Staying Put’ amendment made to Children and Families Bill

Lords agree that over-18 year olds should be able to stay with their foster carers.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court will hear ex-wife’s appeal in claim against husband brought 18 years after divorce

Appeal in Vince v Wyatt [2013] EWCA Civ 495 to be heard in December.

Full story: Family Law Week

Simon Hughes says he want courts to become more welcoming places

Justice minister says one of his priorities is to make courts less forbidding and 'alien' to those entering for the first time.

Full story: The Guardian

Number of divorces in England and Wales increased in 2012

The Office for National Statistics has released statistics for divorces in England and Wales in 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

One in three families has step-child from previous relationship

Almost two million children live in a two-parent family where one parent is not their own, according to a report.

Full story: The Telegraph

Failures to intervene pinpointed in case of murdered four-year-old Daniel Pelka

Report identifies staffing difficulties and delays in information being shared by health, school and social work professionals.

Full story: The Guardian

Lords warn child maintenance charges are ‘unjustified in principle’

Plans to start charging parents who need to use the new Child Maintenance Service were passed in parliament last night, despite a warning from former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay that the charges for single parents were ‘unjustified in principle’.

Full story: Gingerbread

Fostering and adoption agencies routinely put personal data at risk warns Information Commissioner

Privacy watchdog issues 'wake-up call' to fostering and adoption agencies over IT security.

Full story: Community Care

'Shared parenting' legislation amendment places child welfare before presumption of equal access

A consortium of children's charities has successfully campaigned for an amendment to the Children and Families Bill which it feared could endanger the welfare of children whose parents are separating.

Full story: Family Law

Cuts threaten child contact centres

Safe meeting places for parents and children to rebuild fractured relationships face closure as councils axe funding.

Full story: The Guardian

Law Commission report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements to be published this month

The Commission is due to publish a report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements on 27th February 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Single parents must brace for new charges as child maintenance plans go through parliament

Sweeping changes to the child maintenance system that will see charges introduced for both parents are set to go through parliament this week – but Gingerbread is calling on MPs and Lords to oppose the plans.

Full story: Gingerbread

Prenuptial agreements to be made legal

Prenuptial agreements are to be enshrined in law under plans to revolutionise Britain’s divorce rules, it has emerged.

Full story: Daily Mail

Court enforces pre-nuptial agreement in application for interim maintenance

In BN v MA [2013] EWHC 4250 (Fam) Mr Justice Mostyn has enforced a prenuptial agreement in an application by the wife for maintenance pending suit under s 22 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ryder LJ gives guidance on split hearings in public law children proceedings

In S (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 25 Lord Justice Ryder has considered the appropriateness of split hearings in public law children proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge approves forced Caesarean for mentally-ill woman

Doctors have been granted permission to perform an urgent Caesarean section on a mentally-ill woman with diabetes.

Full story: BBC News

Widow begins case to keep dead husband's sperm

A widow’s High Court case to preserve her late husband’s sperm has begun.

Full story: The Independent