Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PC? That's a computer, isn't it?

This old cigarette advert is so wonderfully non-PC (in more than one way) that I just had to find a place for it on Family Lore, even though the 'family' link is somewhat tenuous (well, they are a couple):


[Via BuzzFeed.]

You can't have too much of a... thing

OK, so you've had a man dress up as Gollum and bring the ring to your wedding, but that still hasn't satisfied your obsession with the harrowing hobbit. What to do? Why, have a Gollum wedding cake too:


For more pictures of the cake, including one of it being made, see here.

[Found on Neatorama.]

Grant Thornton matrimonial survey: Choose your headline...

Grant Thornton's eighth annual matrimonial survey has been published. Entitled For richer, for poorer and with the sub-heading What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is out of sight (more of which in a moment), the survey "looks at the divorce arena in detail as well as the key issues in the forefront of the minds of family solicitors". The survey canvassed the opinions of 101 of the UK’s 'leading family lawyers' based on their client work in the 2010 calendar year.

The report covers six areas:
  • The divorce debate - Including the top three areas in which respondents would like to see a change in legislation (protection for cohabiting couples comes top).

  • Reasons for divorce - Growing apart/falling out of love replaces extra-marital affairs as the top reason.

  • Divorce and the state of the economy - The impact of the recession on financial settlements (82% of respondents thought that people had delayed divorce proceedings due to the recession).

  • Concealment of assets - Including that 61% of respondents were concerned that the decision in Imerman makes it more likely that assets will not be disclosed.

  • Mediation and collaborative law - Including concerns "that mediation should be about agreement between the parties making it the most appropriate option and not a compulsion through a statutory requirement".

  • Cohabitation and pre-marital agreements - I'm not quite sure of the connection between these two, but the section tells us, for example, that 89% of respondents expected or had already seen a rise in 'pre-nuptial advisory work'.

The newspapers are divided as to the best headline to take from the survey. The Telegraph goes with: 'Fewer couples think an affair is a reason to divorce', the Financial Times with: 'Warning on concealed assets in divorces', the Daily Mail with: 'A third of husbands 'hiding assets in divorce battles' thanks to human rights laws' (the DM continues its policy of blaming all the country's ills on those awful people in Strasbourg) and the Belfast Telegraph with: 'Unwed couples 'do not deserve' rights married have: poll'.

I guess it all depends on your point of view...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

News for the Week (and a bit) to the 30th August 2011

A summary of the top family law news stories for the last week and a bit, this time not quite squeezing into a podcast of under three minutes:



(Those without Flash can listen here.)

Classy

Here's something for the divorcée who has done so well in the divorce settlement that she has money to burn: a 1970s Spritzer and Furman "Divorce Ring". Featuring a tasteful 18-carat gold heart being split by a diamond spike, the ring can be yours for a mere $3,200. Pure class.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Regrets

Inspired by this idea for a new warning feature in Facebook, and to combat the increasing role that that esteemed social network plays in divorce, I thought I would design my own:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

U.S. 'Bad mothering' lawsuit dismissed

I'm not sure I know what to say regarding this story about a lawsuit in Illinois taken by two adult children against their mother for 'bad parenting'. The mother was apparently accused of such heinous crimes as failing to buy toys for one child and sending the other a birthday card he didn't like. The suit was dismissed by an appeals court, which unsurprisingly found that none of the mother's conduct was "extreme or outrageous".

On second thoughts, I can think of a word to say about the outcome: "Good".

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You'll Never Wed Alone

It's a cliché that football-mad grooms sometimes have to miss the big match to attend their wedding. Well, here's an idea that will ensure that they don't miss anything: hold the wedding at the ground. Liverpool Football Club offer Weddings at Anfield, complete with "exclusive photo opportunities within the hallowed stadium, standing on the treasured KOP, or beneath the famous “THIS IS ANFIELD” sign, a marvellous backdrop for your Wedding Album".

Quite what Bill Shankly would make of it, I can only guess. He would probably have one of his witty quips available. A nearly-relevant one that springs to mind went something like this: "I was the best manager in Britain because I was never devious or cheated anyone. I'd break my wife's legs if I played against her, but I'd never cheat her." Priceless.

Eye-catching

I've posted before about lists of child support defaulters being published in America, but the scale of this one caught my eye. On Sunday the Jefferson County (Kentucky) Attorney’s office will be placing an advert in a local newspaper listing the names of no fewer than 3,995 people who owe between them more than $88 million in child support.

The County Attorney does not expect to recover all of that money, but says that similar listings in the last five years have helped to locate more than 4,000 'delinquents' and collect $2.1 million in child support. Not a bad return for the $25,000 cost of the advert.

* * * * *

UPDATE: The list has now been published, as reported by local station Wave 3 News (after the commercial):

Something for the Weekend: No Escape

Following my mentions of the computer game Portal this week, here's a live action short set in the Portal world:


Friday, August 26, 2011

Miserable

U.S. census indicates children of divorce are more likely to be in poverty

A report by the U.S. Census Bureau on marriage indicates, amongst other things, that children of divorced parents are more likely to be in a household below the poverty level (28 percent), compared with other children (19 percent). I suppose it should come as no surprise, but those figures do seem to me to show a substantial difference between the two groups.

Other figures from the report which may also be of relevance on this side of the Atlantic:
  • Children living with a parent who divorced in 2009 were more likely to live in a household headed by their mother (75 percent) than in a household headed by their father (25 percent).

  • They were also more likely to live in a rented home (53 percent) compared with other children (36 percent).

  • Women who divorced in the past 12 months reported less household income than recently divorced men.

  • Women who divorced in the past 12 months were more likely than recently divorced men to be in poverty (22 percent compared with 11 percent).
Again, I suppose that none of this is surprising. Still, quite sobering to read, and raises the question of whether family law could do more to equalise outcomes after divorce.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

They're going back...

I think most parents will empathise with this (unless they are teachers, of course):



[Found on BuzzFeed.]

Why did Vicky Haigh not appeal?

Further to this post, the UK Human Rights Blog this morning published what they call a 'press release' from Sir Nicholas Wall on the Victoria Haigh case (quite why a press release was sent to them and has not as far as I can see been released elsewhere, for example on the Judicary media releases page, I don't know).

Anyhow, in the release Sir Nicholas points out that Miss Haigh did not lodge an appeal, either against the judge’s decision that the father had not sexually abused his daughter and that she had manufactured the “evidence”, or the finding that she had caused the child significant harm and the making of the care order. Lucy Reed at Pink Tape finds the absence of any appeal to be 'notable', and at first blush it does seem somewhat odd. After all, an appeal would be the first reaction of most people who are so certain of their case.

I do not know why Miss Haigh did not appeal. Perhaps this will become clearer when the judgments and documentation come into the public domain, as promised by Sir Nicholas. However, I would venture one possible reason: that she had lost all confidence in the system. Perhaps she decided that all those within the system were against her, that an appeal would thus be pointless, and that she must therefore have recourse to some other, shall we say, non-conventional means of redress.

I am not for one moment saying that the decisions of the court were wrong, just that we should not necessarily assume that the lack of any appeal amounts to an admission by Miss Haigh that she accepted that those decisions were right.

Not to be recommended...

With all this talk of computer games I hope I am not encouraging any lawyers out there to become addicted to them.

That is what happened to Pennsylvania lawyer Matthew J. Eshelman, according to this story in the Texas Lawyer. A report prepared by the Disciplinary Board said that he "reacted to the pressures of practice as well as the pressures of a troubled home life by retreating into a world of computer and video games".

Eshelman claimed that the addiction caused him to "botch" the handling of 17 cases, mostly divorce, bankruptcy and debt collection matters, by dodging his clients' phone calls and delaying work on their cases for months, sometimes missing important deadlines. In one case he admitted suggesting to a divorcing couple who were disgruntled by the long delays in their case that they lie to the judge about their date of separation in order to secure a quicker divorce decree.

Eshelman was suspended from practising law for three years.

Right, now I'm off to complete the next level of Duke Nukem and the Solicitors Regulation Authority...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Never miss an advertising opportunity...

Following my last post, Venal & Grabbit have informed me that they are having their own Portal 2 level built. Here is an early screenshot:

Psychological testing protocol

I've mentioned the game Portal 2 here before. It's something I enjoyed. I've also mentioned the trend for elaborate marriage proposals here before. It's something I mostly find nauseating. (Although as a divorce lawyer I have nothing against marriage, of course.) Well, here's something that combines the two - a marriage proposal within Portal 2:



(For those of you who don't want to go through the first two levels, or who simply don't have a clue what Portal 2 is all about and what the heck is going on, skip to 6 minutes 52 seconds for the final, explanatory, level.)

[Found on several sites. I can't recall which was the first, but Boing Boing was one of them.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A quick health check...

It may be something to do with the 'silly season', but there seem to be a lot of stories going around that are giving marriage/divorce health advice. I am, of course, no expert in these matters, but as part of my public service, I felt it my duty to bring the following to your attention.

The BBC (and others) is reporting that both marriage and divorce can trigger weight gain, according to research being presented at the American Sociological Association. In other words, a change of lifestyle can lead to a person gaining weight. So not exactly rocket science, then.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph (and others) is reporting that happily married people who undergo major heart surgery are three times more likely to survive than those who are unmarried, according to a new study. In other words, having a supportive spouse and a reason to "stick around" helps people to survive. So not exactly rocket science, then.

Neither report says anything about the effect that reading such stories has upon the will to live...

A Warning

It's one of the worst things a mother can do when contesting children proceedings: make false sexual abuse allegations against the father. Victoria Haigh, however, went further: she spread the allegations on the internet. What is more, she did so in breach of court orders.

These matters were disclosed by the High Court yesterday, when Sir Nicholas Wall took the unusual step of naming the parents, so that the father, David Tune, could “tell the world” he was not a paedophile. The child now lives with him under a local authority care plan, and a s.91(14) order has been made against Miss Haigh, preventing her from making any further application in relation to the child for a period of two years, without the leave of the court.

Hopefully, this case will receive much publicity, and will send out a warning to others who are contemplating making such false allegations. (And before anyone points it out, yes, I know that fathers may also make similar false allegations against mothers.)

As The Telegraph points out, Miss Haigh came to public attention after John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP, identified her in Parliament. As part of his campaign against "secret family courts", he used parliamentary privilege in April to say that Doncaster council was looking to imprison her after she spoke at a meeting in the Commons about the family courts. Such are the perils of only listening to one side of any story...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Speeding up the system

Andrew Woolley today writes about the 'slowing divorce process', caused primarily by court staff cuts. He says that the divorce process is "regularly stretched out to six months".

Six months doesn't actually seem much more than I used to experience before I gave up practising two years ago, but then my local court was particularly bad (many local solicitors used to avoid it by issuing in another court in another town). Notwithstanding that, other anecdotal evidence I have read or heard does suggest that things are taking longer, and it will obviously only get a lot worse when legal aid for most family matters is abolished and litigants in person have to find their way through the documental nightmare of court proceedings.

Andrew says that nothing is being done about the problem of delay because no one is complaining about it. He suggests that firms and clients write to the Ministry of Justice. Whilst that surely couldn't do any harm, to be honest I'm not certain what effect it would have, as there seems to be little that the MoJ can do in the present economic climate.

Clearly, there is no possibility of more money being found to increase staff levels. Andrew does hint at another possibility: greater use of electronic document transmission, i.e. email. Certainly, this could be done with little further investment (all courts already have email addresses), and would save postage times, if nothing else. There is, however, the problem of documents that require an original signature, which would require rule changes if it were to be resolved. Similarly, the court obviously couldn't send out papers with original seals.

As for other uses of technology to speed up the system, for example electronic payment of court fees, they are likely to have to wait until such time as more resources become available, whenever that might be.

News for the Week Ending 22nd August 2011

A summary of this week's top family law news stories, such as they are during August, once again squeezed into a podcast of under three minutes:



(Those without Flash can listen here.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No fun

It sounds like a strange concept, but the Chinese government is apparently trying to encourage women to marry for love rather than money, according to this report in The Telegraph today. I'm not sure whether the Chinese government has control over decisions of its Supreme Court, but the report tells us that the court "has now ruled that from now on, the person who buys the family home, or the parents who advance them the money, will get to keep it after divorce". Doesn't sound like much fun for Chinese divorce lawyers...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New paint job

The eagle-eyed reader returning to this blog may spot one or two differences from their last visit. I've taken advantage of the summer lull to finally get around to doing something I've been meaning to do for literally years: update this blog's template. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure about it, so there may be more changes in the coming days...

Something for the Weekend: World's Funniest Dinner Trick

A piece of wonderful nonsense that I found on Boing Boing this week:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Get a celebrity to pay your child support

Over the years I've come across many ways in which people try to avoid paying child support, but this is a new one on me. Actress Kirstie Alley (left) claims that people keep asking her to pay child support for them. According to this brief report she: "has urged those trying to dodge their responsibilities to "man up" and do the right thing".

Oh well, maybe another rich celebrity...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Genuinely expensive


Genuine quality to be promoted by Law Society private client campaign (and see here) - Law Society, 18th August 2011

Disaster recovery

Here's yet another creative American idea for collecting child support arrears. In Louisiana, the authorities have been deducting arrears from compensation payments made by BP in respect of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Apparently, nearly 10,000 (!) of the claimants owe some $101 million in child support. Already, $5.5 million in payments has been intercepted. I guess in every disaster there is an opportunity...

Story: UPI, via Florida Divorce.

I shall not be posting about the riots...

You can tell there hasn't been much family law news around recently, as many family law writers have turned their hand to commenting upon the riots. These include Lucy Reed at Pink Tape, Penny Booth and Kate Gomery at Family Law, 'familylawyer' at Confessions of a Family Lawyer, Dianne Benussi and even Judith Middleton (who usually keeps things a little more light-hearted). Follow the links to see what they have to say.

I, on the other hand, will NOT be posting anything here mentioning the riots...

Misplaced expectations

Reading the first paragraph of DJ* Glover's article on the effect of the legal aid cuts on the courts in the Law Society Gazette this morning I was reminded of a famous Basil Fawlty quote. He (DJ Glover, that is) begins:
"The House of Commons’ justice committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith MP, predicts an increasing number of litigants in person by reason of the government’s curtailment of legal aid."

The quote, if you haven't already guessed it, is: "Next contestant, Mrs. Sybil Fawlty from Torquay. Specialist subject - the bleeding obvious."

The article goes on to say how these clever politicians have told the courts that they must make ‘adjustments’ to cope with this influx, and examines the likely impact of the proposed legal aid ‘reforms’ on family litigation in the county courts. Here are a couple of tasters:
"The commentary on the legal aid cuts has had the usual talking heads pirouetting about the usual platitudes. None of them face up to the fact that the virtual elimination of publicly funded professionals from family cases in the county court threatens its collapse under the weight of misplaced expectations."

and:
"Family cases will take up more, perhaps much more, of a finite amount of judicial time. This will result in longer delays and increase the difficulties for other litigants in person whose passage through the court will be further extenuated."

Excellent stuff, and well worth a read.

(*I refer to him as 'DJ', as I used to appear before him - somehow, 'Peter' doesn't seem appropriately respectful!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Portal Wedding Rings

Anyone who has played the excellent Portal or Portal 2 will realise that this is quite a clever idea:

Say it with a rock

Dany Larivière, the mayor of Saint-Théodore-d’Acton, east of Montreal, has given his ex-wife "the biggest rock she’ll ever get in her life", by dumping a 20-tonne boulder on her lawn. The boulder is spray-painted “Happy Birthday, Isa XX” and topped with a big pink bow - a nice touch. Unfortunately, his ex-wife doesn't seem to appreciate the gift, as she has called the police, who are deciding whether criminal charges can be laid...

Child Support Amnesty Week

I've often posted about American ideas for enforcing child support. Here, after the commercial, is an idea to avoid enforcement action:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Marilyn Stowe Competition

Just a quick post to publicise a competition that Marilyn Stowe is running. She sets out a marriage scenario, and asks the reader to give their opinion of the outcome. The best answer received before Monday 29 August will win a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne. (I shall not be entering myself, as I am on a diet.)

[Image credit: ‘Composition X’ by Kandinsky.]

Doing quite nicely

I have received the following press release from Messrs. Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors:

===PRESS RELEASE===

London, 15th August 2011: Not wanting anyone to think that their partners were in the poverty sub-£1 million earnings bracket, Venal & Grabbit wish to explain why they do not appear in The Lawyer million-pound table this year.

The reason for the omission is quite simple: as anyone who knows them will tell you, the partners at Venal & Grabbit are very modest people who are not driven by pure profit, but rather by an altruistic desire to serve their clients, and society in general. Indeed, they find the whole idea of such a table to be somewhat distasteful, particularly in this harsh economic climate. Accordingly, they have requested that their earnings not be disclosed to the taxman The Lawyer.

In fact, due partly to a gratifyingly healthy increase in insolvency work, the partners at Venal & Grabbit are doing quite nicely, thank you very much.

===ENDS===

News for the Week Ending 15th August 2011

A summary of this week's top family law news stories, neatly packaged in a podcast of under three minutes:



(Those without Flash can listen here.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wife not entitled to share of husband's inherited wealth

I would be interested to see the full report of this case, mentioned in The Telegraph yesterday.

The case involved a couple who had been married for twenty-five years and had a total wealth of between £21 and £24 million, most of which had been inherited by the husband from his father. The wife sought a £7 million share, but the husband argued "that applying the “sharing principle” to give the wife a stake in her husband’s inherited wealth would be an “invasion” of a fortune he owed to his father".

Mr Justice Moylan agreed, ruling that the wealth of the couple was “not the product of their endeavours”, so the sharing principle should be ignored. He said the husband’s wealth was 'non-matrimonial' and that it was fair to base the wife’s award on a “generous assessment” of her needs. Accordingly, she was awarded a lump sum of £3.3 million, on top of her £1 million assets, which would enable her to buy a £1.1 million house and give her an income of £115,000 a year, plus additional "discretionary" spending.

Whether the case actually breaks any new ground is not clear from the Telegraph report, but hopefully a full report will shortly be available - I'll put it on Family Lore Case Digest as soon as I find it.

Something for the Weekend: A room with a view - Fawlty Towers

How does one choose a favourite clip from Fawlty Towers? It's like choosing a favourite child - you love them all equally. Accordingly, I shall say that this is one of my equal favourite clips:



(I remember watching Fawlty Towers whilst at university. After the shows we would all say that it was the funniest thing we had ever seen. More than thirty years later, that remains the case.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

An ear miss

Child protection? What's that? Personally, I can't see anything wrong with this:



[Found on BuzzFeed.]

There is only 'a child'

I've just found this article on RichardDawkins.net. The writer and his wife are going through the process of being approved for adoption. He complains about the 'right' of the birth parents to require that the child be adopted only by parents of their choice of religion, and the child raised in that particular faith. He says:
"There are 2-year-old children who must be raised as Muslims because their father is listed by their Irish mother as "unknown, presumably Iraqi (Muslim)" and so they are deemed to be genetically Muslim. There are children who are 1 year old but are, according to their substance-abusing mother, Catholic and so they cannot go to a couple of heathens like us."

Now, I'm no expert on adoption but this article on Adoption UK (mentioned in the comments to the above article) indicates that new guidance is moving away from a requirement that children be placed with families of the same background. The article does, however, state that "Current advice states that social workers must give "due consideration to the child's religious persuasion..."". I'm sorry? How does a child have a 'religious persuasion'?

I know I've said this before, but when are we going to learn that there is no such thing as a 'Christian child', a 'Muslim child' or, indeed, an 'atheist child'? There is only 'a child'. Period.

How not to address a judge

Well, I've scoured the entire internet this morning and not found anything to report. So here, instead, is a lesson I found in how not to address a judge:



Ouch.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never miss an opportunity...

Classy

This Walmart wedding took place back in 2007 (I think I may have mentioned it somewhere before), but the video has only recently appeared on YouTube. As the accompanying blurb says, the couple "actually have their ceremony at the Garden Center, since that is the most romantic place of the store". Class.

Slow-track Procedure

The UK Supreme Court Blog today posted the Supreme Court poem, written by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate between 1999 and 2009, which is enscribed on the semi-circular stone benches opposite the main entrance to the court. The poem tells us that "Here Justice sits and lifts her steady scales", and about how the court's judgments balance "The weight of rights and freedoms" "With fairness and with duty to the world". Strangely, though, there is nothing about how long it takes the court to hand down those judgments...

Fast-track Procedure

As I'm sure I've said before, many things in family law are universal. One such, it seems, is delay in deciding children disputes. Here's an idea to deal with the issue from South Carolina.

Appalled by a case in which a twelve-year-old boy took his own life after his parents had spent the previous six years waging war over his custody, Charleston Family Court Judge Paul Garfinkel launched the 'Fast-Track Custody Initiative', which aims to resolve custody disputes within four months of the first court filing. The system works as follows:
  • So long as there are no mental illness, substance abuse or domestic violence issues, the parties can agree to take part in the program.

  • At a fifteen minute temporary hearing, the judge will determine where the child will live as the case proceeds. The hearing also arranges mediation between the parents.

  • If appropriate, the judge will appoint a guardian ad litem, who must report back within sixty days.

  • The parents then go to mediation, where they are expected to settle all issues.
The parties should reach a resolution within ninety days of the temporary hearing, shaving some nine months off the average time taken under the 'normal' procedure.

It's an interesting idea that seems to have some merit, but its obvious weaknesses are that it is purely voluntary, and that the mediation may not be successful. Unfortunately, the main problem in long-running children disputes is the unreasonableness of one or both of the parties, and that issue is not addressed, as such parties can easily circumvent the system. All of which is obviously reminiscent of our government's reliance on mediation as a panacea to resolve all problems with our own system.

For the full story, see this article in The Post and Courier, which I found via Florida Divorce.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Appalling

I have received the following press release from Messrs. Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors:

===PRESS RELEASE===

London, 10th August 2011: Venal & Grabbit wish it to be known that they are appalled at the news that Scottish firm Burness is awarding all staff members a 10 per cent bonus, after posting rises in turnover and profits for the 2010-11 financial year.

Senior Partner Edgar Venal said: "This is setting a terrible example for the profession. Employed staff should be grateful they have work at all, and should not be encouraged to expect to be rewarded simply because profits are up. Profits are required to maintain the lifestyle of partners.

"The next thing you know, staff will be demanding more than the minimum wage. Where would that leave us?"

===ENDS===

Summer vacation Q & A

In the absence of any serious family law news upon which I feel moved to comment, I thought I would respond to some of the search queries that have recently found landfall on the shores of Family Lore. As usual, the following is subject to the disclaimer in my sidebar:

sTATEMENT OF iNFORMATION FOR cONSENT oRDER

Advice: (1) You have caps lock on; (2) You can find the form here.

stripped bare

You are probably looking for a different kind of website. Try here.

why courts favor mothers

They don't. They proceed only upon what is best for the welfare of the child.

How Do You Prove Cohabitation UK?

This can be very difficult, especially if the 'cohabitees' are endeavouring to hide the fact. You could try a private detective, but that can be expensive. Ask yourself (or take advice as to) whether it would actually make any difference to the end result if you can prove cohabitation - often, it does not.

how to behave at a wedding with your parents

I suppose that depends upon how old you are.

fantastic four wives should be kissed not heard

Interesting, but I think that is a statement, rather than a question.

effect of alcoholism on divorce financial settlement

This would come under the heading of 'conduct'. For conduct to have an effect upon the financial settlement it would have to be considerably more serious than the 'usual' 'misconduct' involved in the breakdown of many marriages. On its own, alcoholism would normally have no effect.

mother sent to prison for no contact

It can happen, but it is very rare, and only used as a last resort.

do i need to go to my consent hearing

If the court has fixed a hearing date, then you should attend, unless the court says otherwise. For example, if this is to approve a financial consent order, then the court may wish to ask you questions to ascertain whether the order is reasonable.

form D50K AND guidance

You can find the form here. I don't think that the Ministry of Justice publishes any guidance for it.

family lore blog how to subscribe

See the 'Subscribe' button towards the bottom of the sidebar.

can you get a consent order without getting a degree absolute?

(I think you mean 'decree'.) Yes. In fact, in most cases you do - the order takes effect upon decree absolute. This ensures, for example, that a party does not lose rights to the other's pension when the divorce is finalised. You can't get the order before decree nisi, though.

And finally:

david cameron dickhead

I won't argue with that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More in hope than expectation...

Quentin Pompous-Arse QC,
1 Crooked Orifice Row,
Temple,
London.
9th August 2011

My Dear Quentin,


Re: Your outstanding fee notes

I refer to the letter from your Head Clerk, enquiring as to when you might expect your outstanding fee notes to be paid. I can assure you that they are receiving attention, and that rumours that we have been using them as fuel to heat our offices are entirely without foundation.

Yours etc.,

Edgar Venal

Well, it's all business...

It may be a missed opportunity for divorce lawyers, but at least it's providing work for a civil litigator. In Malaysia a man is suing his former fiancée for more than $360,000 (£219,000) for leaving him six hours before their wedding, according to this report in the Guardian today. The report says that:
"Lawyer Latifah Ariffin said Masran Abdul Rahman, 32, and his family were distressed and embarrassed when Norzuliyana Mat Hassan called off their June wedding at the last minute.

"Latifah says Masran invited 1,200 guests to the reception and was seeking compensation for damages and defamation from Norzuliyana and her father."

What prospects such an action has of success, I have no idea. Still, the main thing is that the lawyers are kept in work...

[Thanks to Jailhouselawyer for the link to this story.]

Monday, August 08, 2011

New Book: How to Bully Litigants in Person, by Edgar Venal

Edgar Venal is proud to announce the publication of his new book, How to Bully Litigants in Person. Subtitled An Essential Handbook for 21st Century Legal Practitioners, the book provides lawyers with all they need to know when dealing with that scourge of the courts: the litigant in person. The book includes chapters on the following essential topics:
  • Blinding them with legal jargon

  • Threatening costs orders

  • Use of aggressive language

  • How to wind them up

  • Avoiding settlement

  • Ensuring they are nervous in court

  • Belittling lay advisers
How to Bully Litigants in Person will soon be available at all good legal booksellers, at the very reasonable price of £499.99.

News for the Week Ending 8th August 2011

As things are quite quiet due to the summer vacation, it was not difficult to keep this week's summary of top family law news stories to under three minutes:



(Those without Flash can listen here.)

Child Support Jackpot #2

I posted some while back about the Colorado idea of deducting child support arrears from casino jackpots. The Evansville Courier & Press now reports that a similar scheme in Indiana has netted some $650,000 from 376 'deadbeat' parents since October.

The program works by the state providing the casinos with a list of parents who are at least $2,000 or three or more months behind in their child support payments. Casinos are required to check the names of gamblers who win $1,200 or more against the list, and then withhold money from those who owe. The money is passed to the Department of Child Services, which holds it for 10 days for possible appeals, before it's sent to the parent with care.

The article says that it is estimated that the program might eventually result in $1 million or more annually in intercepted payments, although the amount could decrease each year as more gamblers become aware of the law and find ways to avoid it, for example by getting friends to collect their jackpots.

On the other hand, some gamblers have been caught more than once, so perhaps they actually approve of the system. Or perhaps they are just slow on the uptake...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Gollum at a Wedding

I didn't post this video when I first saw it a few days back as, being genetically averse to reality TV shows, I didn't really understand what was going on. However, Neatorama explains:
"What happens when you invite a bunch of shallow reality tv show stars to a geek wedding complete with Gollum from the Lord of the Rings? If you’re one of the girls on tv, you’ll be disgusted. If you’re a geek who likes off-beat weddings though, you’ll enjoy the pure hilarity of their responses."

How did Matt O'Connor get on with his hunger strike?

I posted back on the 7th July that Matt O'Connor (above) was going on hunger strike. Not having heard any more about the stunt, I was wondering how he got on.

A quick trip to the Fathers 4 Justice website tells me what I didn't realise previously (obviously but not surprisingly I was not paying sufficient attention), i.e. that it was only a seven-day hunger strike. I'm not saying I'm disappointed, but personally I can't see the point of a time-limited hunger strike. Who is going to care if you lose a few pounds? By the amount of media coverage the stunt seemed to get (and I check family law-related news every day), not many people.

Undeterred, F4J are planning a similar stunt outside Buck House on the 24th and 25th September. I wonder if her Maj will notice...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The saga continues...

It has all the elements of good old-fashioned soap opera: power, money, property, love, divorce, tragedy etc. You can see why the Daily Mail is interested in the Sir Nicholas Mostyn divorce saga. The latest instalment can be found here. To be honest, there's not a lot in the article that's exactly new, but then most soap operas aren't exactly full of originality either...

Something for the Weekend: NYC Construction Worker Sings 'Summer Wind'

Friday, August 05, 2011

Spot on

"Money for old rope. It's basically how much solicitors are prepared to pay someone to go and visit a grot hole of a place they'd never be seen dead in themselves. Let me guess. It's in Harlow County Court?"

"Medway."

As usual, Tim Kevan hits the nail on the head as our hero BabyBarista gets given a brief to do a directions hearing at my local county court, situated amidst the delights of Chatham town. (Please don't tell anyone that I used to practise five minutes from the court.)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Лучшее свадебное видео за всю историю свадеб

There seems to be a fad in Russia to create wedding videos with special effects. I can't honestly say that I approve, but this one is so bad that it's good:



[Found on Neatorama.]

Inviting


Columbia dubbed ‘the ‘lawyer murder capital of the world’ - Law Society Gazette, 3rd August 2011