I’m Melanie, a family lawyer at Clarke & Son in Basingstoke. I’ve been doing family law since I qualified in 2007 and I still find it as fascinating now as I did then. Family law in England and Wales is constantly developing, adapting itself to the nation’s changing lifestyle. And of course there is always something in the press to titillate readers. Just in the first month of 2016 we’ve seen:
- Some Building Societies have eased mortgage rules for divorcees, also taking into account child maintenance payments
- The House of Commons called a panel meeting to discuss opening up Civil Partnerships to different sex couples at the same time as Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld began a two day hearing in the High Court in judicial review proceedings challenging the government’s failure to offer civil partnership to heterosexual couples
- The saga of the faulty Form E continued into the new year with 1,403 affected cases still being live and therefore under review by the Court. The other 2,235 files were closed and may therefore not need to be reviewed.
- The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, and Mr Justice Mostyn have been busy trying to regulate and limit paperwork in the family courts by setting guidelines on the amount of pages in Court Bundles and the length of Skeleton Arguments for Financial Proceedings
- The No Fault Divorce Bill which seeks to introduce an extra ground for divorce on the basis of a joint no fault divorce petition has sadly had its second reading postponed from 22nd January to 11th March 2016.
- The Ministry of Justice is having difficulties recruiting and retaining High Court judges so they’ll be getting an increase in salary of 3%, raising their annual income from £178,000 to over £183,000.
It’s been pretty busy at the start of 2016. Let’s see what happens next…