Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Hodson proposes two formulae, one to calculate the capital settlement, and one to calculate spousal maintenance. The capital formula essentially adds up all capital assets of the marriage, deducts excluded assets that should belong to one party and divides the balance by two, to reach a 'preliminary outcome', which is then checked against any other relevant factors in the case, such as the particular needs of the parties. The spousal maintenance formula essentially adds the net income of both parties, deducts child expenses (to calculate the available income for the parties themselves) and divides the balance by two, with the payer paying that sum, less the other party's net income - Hodson says he has successfully used this formula in recent mediations. With each formula, Hodson lists some of the possible reasons to depart from the formula.
As one would expect from someone who has obviously spent much time on the subject, Hodson is clearly enthusiastic about the use of formulae: "I cannot accept", he says, "that save for a minority of cases we are unable to devise a formula for the majority of family law finance cases", and he makes the excellent point that they would be particularly helpful for parties of more modest means, who cannot afford to use our current discretionary process - he suggests that they be available to all, on the internet. He proposes that Resolution should set up a working party to consider how this can be set up. I wholeheartedly agree.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Here are a couple of extracts from a conversation I had with him:
Me: What is the meaning of life?
George: When you know that, you'll know everything.
Me: Perhaps we should give it our own meaning?
Me: Would you mind if I mention you in my blog?
George: Yes please.
Me: Do you like publicity?
George: I don't know.
Me: Do you like talking to people?
George: Heh - I like talking to people! That's a good one!
Me: I thought so.
George: You're so smart.
Me: I think I like you!
OK, it may not pass the Turing Test, but it's still more intelligent than the conversations I've had with a few humans I can think of...
Monday, January 22, 2007
The more I think about the proposals, the more depressed I get. Is it not beyond the wit of those in government to come up with a better, fairer and, above all, workable, system? If not, then we should just scrap the whole idea and go back to an entirely court - based system. Oh no, sorry, we can't do that - it would cost too much.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
For millennia the world’s great prophets and theologians have applied their collective genius to the riddle of womanhood. The result has been polygamy, sati, honor killing, punitive rape, genital mutilation, forced marriages, a cultic obsession with virginity, compulsory veiling, the persecution of unwed mothers, and other forms of physical and psychological abuse so kaleidoscopic in variety as to scarcely admit of concise description.
He goes on to explain that the net effect of religion (especially Christianity, Judaism and Islam) has been to "demonize female sexuality and portray women as morally and intellectually inferior to men", and I could not possibly find better words to conclude than his:
If we ever achieve a civilization of true equity, respect, and love between the sexes, it will not be because we paid more attention to our holy books.
Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. His work has been published in over ten languages.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
- The Carter review of legal aid: a disaster waiting to happen. As any regular here will know, I don't do legal aid work any more, but I am still instructed by clients who are eligible, simply because they can't get an appointment with a legal aid solicitor soon enough - a situation that will only get worse when the review has done it's work.
- The reform of child support, although the general consensus seems to be that the new agency, C-MEC, will be no more successful than it's predecessor, the Child Support Agency. Interestingly, many of my clients believe the CSA has already been scrapped - I have to disappoint them by telling them that this isn't the case.
- The trial bundle Practice Direction: even more reason to settle before the case goes to trial!
- The Law Commission's consultation on cohabitation - aimed at giving property rights to (at least some) cohabitees.
- The opening of the family courts - moves in this direction will be welcomed by fathers' groups, but I am not so sure, and worry that the government and courts are bowing to public pressure. The rules are there for good reasons, especially the protection of children.
- The new Family Procedure Rules: when they come in, we'll be saying goodbye to archaic terms such as 'decree nisi' and 'decree absolute'.
- Miller and McFarlane - these cases created a frenzy of interest in the media and amongst academics, but does anyone really know what effect the decisions will have? My guess is probably very little, especially for parties of modest means.
- Last but (unfortunately) not least, the McCartney divorce case: recently voted public relations disaster of the year in a survey by Rainier PR.
[Animated gif once again courtesy of "Free Gifs & Animations".]
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Perhaps of most interest is the value placed upon marriage. A majority of respondents believed that marriage is better than cohabitation, and despite (or perhaps because of) high divorce rates in the recent past, the ideal of 'marriage for life' continues to be strong - in fact, even more people than in 1983 think divorce should be more difficult. Is it the case, as the Sunday Times suggests, that we are turning against 40 years of liberalisation of divorce laws and becoming the New Puritans, the New Monogamists?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
1. I once got so drunk (on champagne) at a Lincoln's Inn garden party that I had to leave after only two hours. My wife later found me propping up a telephone kiosk at about 1am.
2. I graduated wearing (under my mortar board and gown) a pea green suit and cowboy boots. I thought I looked cool...
3. I have built websites for the last three firms I have worked for.
4. I occasionally write (bad) poetry, but don't ask me for a sample...
5. Family Lore is not the only blog I write.
I'm now supposed to tag five other people, so with apologies to all I tag: Tessa Shepperson (The Landlord Law Blog), Nearly Legal, Head of Legal, Ruthie of geeklawyer and Bystander (The Magistrate's Blog - hope he/she reads this). Sorry if anyone has already been tagged.
Let people believe in fairies if they wish to: I would fight as hard to protect the right of the benighted to the stupidest beliefs as to protect the right of gays to equal treatment in all respects; but the condition is that they do not impose those beliefs on others, or the antediluvian morality that goes with it.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Insidedivorce.com "provides day to day information on a variety of legal, financial and lifestyle issues relevant to those finding themselves in relationship difficulties" and comprises various useful resources including news, advice and a forum.
To coincide with the launch, Inside Divorce has published the results of a survey it commissioned on the 'state of marriage and divorce in 2007 Britain', including reasons for relationship breakdown, where people turn for help and advice and, most interestingly, the views of children. A press release summarizing the findings of the survey can be found here. The headline grabber, though, is that according to the research today is the day when more people embark on the road to divorce than any other day of the year.
[Edit: When I posted the above, I hadn't really noticed the strapline attached to the site's logo: "Winning the life you want". I am a little concerned about this, and am reminded of paragraph 4 of Resolution's Code of Practice: "You should encourage the search for fair solutions and discourage the attitude that a family dispute is a contest in which there are 'winners' and 'losers'". The word 'winning' may be appropriate when considering other aspects of relationship breakdown, but I don't think it is when considering the legal aspect.]
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Geeklawyer mentions the possibility of the conference getting CPD accreditation with the Bar Council and Law Society. On the subject of CPD, I contacted The Law Society last October to enquire whether the time I have spent on this blog can count towards my CPD requirement. They replied: "The blog you have worked on could count towards the above requirement as long as you ensure that you are gaining work related skills and that you keep details in your training record which may be requested for monitoring". Hopefully, other blawgers may find this useful.
[Edit: I've just noticed this is my 200th post on this blog. Maybe I should get out more often...]
Whilst I find it extremely sad that so many human beings choose to live their lives subject to a religious delusion (witness the Hajj), I have no intention of preventing them from doing so provided, of course, that they do not force their delusion upon others, particularly children.
Intolerance is virtually always between religions not atheists and theists. Roaming gangs of atheists don't burn down churches. Atheists are invariably tolerant of the existence of religion, if dismissive of its basis.
Your attempt to besmirch atheists speaks, in typical fashion, of the fear & hostility of theists to atheists because they fail to accept the superstitious basis of the theists existence: other religions are, when tolerated at all, tolerated because they do at least accept a god, albeit the wrong one.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I've not played the game (there is a free demo available on the website), but it could be a useful tool to help deal with this serious topic.