Online online divorce applications could start as early as 2017 says President

Prediction contained in his speech to the FLBA Annual Dinner.

Full story: Family Law Hub

New Forms D650 and D651 to tackle HMCTS errors in Forms E and E1

Following consultation with the President of the Family Division two specific forms have been created to deal with applications by any parties who are concerned their proceedings may have been affected by the problem.

Full story: Family Law

Big money divorce case secrecy row could trigger appeals, warns judge

Disagreement between top judges over whether details of couples’ lives can be publicised ‘needs to be dealt with’, says Mr Justice Moor.

Full story: The Telegraph

'Very limited rights of challenge' to arbitration award: Mr Justice Mostyn

Challenges to arbitration awards to be fast-tracked for allocation to a High Court judge.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research into draft guidance for judges in anonymisation practices

Dr Julia Brophy, Principal Investigator, Family Justice and Policy and Research Officer, has been awarded a grant by the Nuffield Foundation to develop draft guidance for judges in anonymisation practices.

Full story: Family Law

Updated template to help social workers prepare for court launched

The ADCS and Cafcass have launched an updated template for local authority social workers to use when submitting evidence to support an application for a care or supervision order to the courts.

Full story: Family Law

Judiciary consults on the approach courts should take to McKenzie Friends

The Judicial Executive Board has issued a consultation paper proposing reforms to the existing guidance for ‘McKenzie Friends’, non-lawyers who offer assistance and in some cases seek to appear as advocates on behalf of litigants-in-person.

Full story: Family Law

Court lets mother appeal against ban on using dead daughter's frozen eggs

Daughter had eggs frozen in 2008 fearing that cancer treatment might leave her unable to have children.

Full story: The Guardian

Government details full scale of domestic violence impact on children

Close to 200,000 initial child protection assessments during 2014/15 involved domestic violence as an identifiable factor, the government has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Transparency Project publishes guidance on use of 'voluntary' accommodation of children

The Transparency Project has today (24 February 2016) published guidance relating to voluntary accommodation of children by local authorities.

Full story: Family Law

Court of Protection authorises termination of pregnancy

The Court of Protection has authorised the termination of a young woman's pregnancy on the basis that she lacked capacity to decide and that it was in her best interests.

Full story: Family Law

New research on family court judgments involving children and young people

Dr Julie Doughty of the School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University, has been awarded a grant by the Nuffield Foundation to evaluate the responses to, and effects of, judicial guidance on publishing family court judgments involving children and young people.

Full story: Family Law

'OK take custody' email did not constitute 'clear and unequivocal consent'

Mr Justice Baker grants mother’s application for the summary return of three children to France.

Full story: Family Law Week

Faults found in old version of Form E1

Faults affected version used between April 2011 and March 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mining tycoon in 17-year divorce battle is facing homelessness with less than £5 in the bank after being forced to pay £2million to his ex-wife

A mining tycoon who was locked in a 17-year divorce battle with his ex-wife has been left facing homeless and with less than £5 in his bank after being ordered to pay a £2million settlement.

Full story: Daily Mail

Consultation launched on statutory definition of CSE

Proposals aim to ensure that all professionals are working to the same definition.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge criticises council for section 20 ‘drift’

The council waited a year after a child was removed from his home under police protection before initiating proceedings.

Full story: Community Care

Wife wins £7.4m divorce pay-out from drug-addicted husband who claimed she took him 'for better or worse'

Franoise Rapp's oil trader husband David blew £200,000-a-year of the family's money on drink, drugs and call girls.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child outcomes after parental separation: variations by contact and court involvement

Analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study, exploring child outcomes after parental separation.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Study reveals the men at highest risk of breaching domestic violence orders

Victoria Legal Aid study of 15,522 clients finds men with an acquired brain injury, an intellectual disability or a history of legal problems pose highest risk.

Full story: The Guardian

Changes to legal aid for domestic violence victims ruled 'invalid'

Court of Appeal declares alterations to rules on obtaining support legally flawed, in victory for women’s rights campaigners.

Full story: The Guardian

Violent domestic abusers to be tackled by new programme

Men who pose a high risk of domestic violence are to be given one-to-one support to change their behaviour.

Full story: BBC News

Woman wins court fight over home she shared with married man

Judge rules Joy Williams can make claim against estate of Norman Martin, with whom she lived in ‘loving and committed’ relationship.

Full story: The Guardian

Child given placement order after special guardianship arrangement lasts two weeks

A judge found one of the child's special guardians had used an allowance to "fund the purchase of drugs, alcohol and for gambling".

Full story: Community Care

Tax break for married couples is an 'utter flop' after latest figures reveal 8 per cent of those eligible have applied

Conservatives had been pushing for the marriage tax allowance since the Coalition was formed in 2010, but only 330,000 couples have successfully applied for the tax break since it came into force in April.

Full story: The Telegraph

Commons Library publishes ‘common law marriage’ and cohabitation paper

The Library of Commons last week (Tuesday 9 February 2016) published a new briefing paper relating to ‘common law marriage’ and cohabitation across England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law

Domestic violence in year to March 2015 lowest since Crime Survey began

The Crime Survey for England and Wales has provided a picture of the extent of domestic violence for the year ending March 2015.

Full story: Family Law Week

Allow Huntington's disease sufferer to die, judge rules

Man in advanced stages of disease has pulled out feeding tube more than 100 times and relatives believe ‘he wants to go’.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge criticises independent social worker for ‘face value’ assessment of abusive father

The independent social worker's evidence was in direct conflict with that of two other social workers assessing the man.

Full story: Community Care

Laura Ashley boss ordered to make his wife an offer in 'titanic' £440m divorce battle

Khoo Kay Peng, 77, has 21 days to 'lay out his stall' and make his wife an offer as legal bills rise to £6.1m in three-year legal battle.

Full story: The Telegraph

MOJ confirms closure of 86 courts

The government has today (11 February 2016) announced their intention to close 86 courts across England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law

1.9m people could have suffered domestic or family abuse last year

Figures released by the ONS in their bulletin: Violent crime and sexual offences in England and Wales: financial year ending 2015.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Judge orders caesarean if needed for mentally ill mother-to-be

Court of Protection makes order while telling 21-year-old, who faces losing custody of newborn, that doctors will try to carry out natural delivery.

Full story: The Guardian

Seven per cent increase in private law cases received by Cafcass in January

Figures released by Cafcass show that, in January 2016, the number of private law cases received increased by 7% from January 2015 levels.

Full story: Family Law

Care applications received by Cafcass in January increase by 16%

Figures released by Cafcass show that the number of care applications received in January 2016 increased by 16% from those received in January 2015.

Full story: Family Law

One in ten Brits regret not signing a pre-nuptial agreement

One in ten married Brits wish they had insisted their partner sign a pre-nuptial agreement, according to a new survey.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Updated private law orders released

Following on from the draft private law orders published in late January, new versions have been circulated which have some minor changes and corrections and also include Welsh versions.

Full story: Family Law

Special guardianship regulations updated to strengthen assessments

New rules, which will come into force at the end of February, focus on guardian's relationship with child and their future needs.

Full story: Community Care

Competition complaint over family mediation

A solicitor has referred the Family Mediation Council to the Competition and Markets Authority over concerns that guidelines introduced at the end of last year will block new entrants from mediation.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Saudi billionaire denied diplomatic immunity in UK maintenance battle

Judge finds Sheikh Walid Juffali’s defence that he was shielded from courts ‘spurious’ in dispute with ex-wife Christina Estrada.

Full story: The Guardian

State pension sharing on the termination of a marriage or civil partnership

DWP information note published on changes from 6 April 2016.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children Arbitration Scheme to be launched

Resolution announces plan to roll-out scheme in July 2016.

Full story: Family Law Week

Clear advice and guidance key to supporting young people leaving care, says Ombudsman

Council makes mistakes in its handling teenager’s immigration status.

Full story: Family Law Week

Quarter of foster carers rarely or never keep in contact with former foster children

The Fostering Network launches campaign to help maintain foster relationships.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge rules £200k a year is 'appropriate' provision for Arab royal's son

Court hears mother of boy wanted £800k a year so that the youngster could "replicate" his father's lifestyle.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016

These Regulations amend the Schedule to the Special Guardianship Regulations (2005) which prescribes the matters to be dealt with by local authorities in reports they prepare for the court in applications for special guardianship orders.

Statutory Instrument

Latest deprivation of liberty ruling has ‘huge implications’ for children’s social workers

Experts say the case could soon be talked of as having a similar impact to Cheshire West itself in terms of the role of the state and its obligations to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Full story: Community Care

Christian couple have adopted child removed after people 'talk in tongues' at prayer meeting as he had 'demons'

Boy told social workers he was 'held down by numerous people' who had 'spoken in a different language' in a prayer meeting at the couple's home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Criticisms made of fertility clinic

In the judgment F v M and Others [2015] EWHC 3601 (Fam), [2016] FLR forthcoming, Pauffley J was concerned with a couple who conceived a child as a result of fertility treatment at a licensed clinic.

Full story: Family Law

Non-biological mother wins international child abduction appeal in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by a non-biological mother of a child, holding that the unilateral removal of the child to Pakistan by the biological mother did not cause the child to lose her English habitual residence, and that the English court retained full jurisdiction to make decisions about her welfare.

Full story: Family Law Week

Foster carers and children ‘prevented’ from keeping in contact after separation

The Fostering Network has called for the government to publish guidance to ensure social workers enable contact to continue.

Full story: Community Care

Paedophile awarded legal aid in fight to see son, eight

Convicted sex criminal, named only as 'Q', was given taxpayer funding on human rights grounds to fight lack of contact with son.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court to deliver judgment in habitual residence case

Appeal from B (A Child) (Habitual Residence) (Inherent Jurisdiction) [2015] EWCA Civ 886.

Full story: Family Law Week