News Update: 13th November 2012

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Standard Directions in Hague Convention Cases involving Cafcass High Court Team
The acting President of the Family Division, the Hon Mr Justice Holman, has issued guidance on standard directions in Hague Convention cases involving the Cafcass High Court Team. Full story: Family Law.

Wives who divorce wealthy husbands can't expect big payouts, judge warns
Wives who divorce wealthy husbands have been warned they cannot expect large payouts simply because they are used to an affluent lifestyle. Lord Justice Thorpe said payouts in "big money" divorces, where wives feel it is "reasonable" to ask for millions to maintain their lifestyle should be consigned to history, adding: "We only talk about 'needs' when there isn't a lot to go round. The bigger the family fortune, the less relevant needs become." Which sounds all very well, but doesn't seem to fit with this case, reported last week, in which Mrs Justice Baron said that a Saudi wife was entitled to an affluent lifestyle. Full story: The Telegraph.

Time limit for care cases ‘impractical’
Family law groups have warned that the government’s plan to impose a 26-week time limit for courts to conclude care cases is impractical in most cases and constitutes ‘potentially unlawful interference with judicial discretion’. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Gove calls for more adopters to help find homes for more than 4200 children ready for adoption
Michael Gove has called on more people to adopt children. The call comes as it has emerged that more than 4200 children are ready for adoption but have not yet been able to move in with a family – a figure that has grown by 650 in each of the last two years. Full story: Department for Education.

Care applications continue to rise
In October 2012, Cafcass received a total of 937 applications. This is a 9% increase on October 2011 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Written evidence on draft Children and Families Bill to Justice Select Committee
The Law Society's written evidence to the Justice Select Committee as part of its inquiry into the draft legislation on the Children and Families Bill.

Changes to LSC arrangements for family law cases with projected costs over £25,000
Changes to regulations and guidance affecting high cost family cases have taken place following consultations between the LSC and representative bodies. Full story: Family Law Week.

Case on disclosure of identity of accuser to parties in contact proceedings heads to Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has given permission for an appeal in a case over whether the identity of an individual who has made allegations of serious sexual abuse should be disclosed to parties in contact proceedings. The appeal, listed as In the matter of X (FC), will be heard on the 29th November. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Lesbian couple in ten year battle over custody of children
A judge has warned a mother to stop poisoning her children against her lesbian ex-partner after hearing how the couple have fought a bitter ten year custody battle costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. The G (Children) case - see below. Full story: The Telegraph.

Children suffer effects of parents' divorce into adult life - study
The children of divorced parents can suffer the effects of the break-up well into their adult life, a report has found. Full story: The Telegraph.

Child protection system is failing older children, warns Education Committee
The child protection system is not meeting the needs of older children and must be reviewed urgently according to a report from the Education Committee. Full story: UK Parliament.

Courts can make their own calculations of absent fathers’ earnings
Courts do not have to rely on the records of HMRC when calculating the earnings of absent fathers, appeal judges have ruled. The Gray v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Anor case - see below. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Shared parenting provision to be inserted into Children Act section 1
The Department for Education has announced that it proposes to introduce amendments to the Children Act 1989 in order to provide for a presumption of shared parenting. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the article by David Hodson below, the post by Marilyn Stowe below, and my post, here.

The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations 2012
These Regulations make provision to facilitate the application of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23rd November 2007 in England and Wales.

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2012
These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 to take account of the application of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23 November 2007 in England and Wales.

The Child Support (Meaning of Child and New Calculation Rules) (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2012
These Regulations contain provisions consequential on, or connected with, the bringing into force of the changes to the meaning of “child” for the purposes of the Child Support Act 1991, provided for in section 42 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, and the changes to the rules for the calculation of child support maintenance, provided for in Schedule 4 to the 2008 Act and the Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012.

Gray v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 1412 (05 November 2012)
Appeal against child support assessment, involving issue of whether CMEC or a Tribunal have to rely on figures from HMRC for the absent parent's self-employed earnings. Held that they do not, and could make their own findings of fact as to the parent's actual income. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.

Re L [2012] EWHC 3069 (Fam) (8 October 2012)
Cross-applications for sole residence and application by mother for leave to remove the child to the USA. Relocation application rejected and shared residence order made. Full report: Family Law Week.

Re N (Care Proceedings: Adoption) [2012] EWCA (31 October 2012)
During care proceedings the judge made an order that the children be placed for adoption without hearing submissions from the parents. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

G (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1434 (07 November 2012)
Appeal against variation of shared residence order and termination of contact. Appeal allowed. In the course of his judgment Lord Justice Thorpe stated that in cases where neither party is represented (a situation the courts are obviously likely to face more frequently in the future), the children's guardian, as the only party with the benefit of legal advice and representation, "must also be vigilant to avoid procedural or other unfairness to one or other of the unrepresented parties." Full report: Bailii. For a summary see my post, below. See also the news story, above.

K (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1433 (07 November 2012)
Application for permission to appeal against care and placement orders. Permission refused. Full report: Bailii.

Re G (Contact: Variation) [2012] EWCA (30 October 2012)
Appeal by father against variation of contact. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

“The government has just introduced equal shared care”
"On Tuesday, 6 November, 2012 at 2:36 AM, according to timing on an e-mail from the Department of Education, the UK Government announced its response to the consultation regarding amendments to the Children Act 1989 on the question of parental involvement in the lives of children at a time of parental separation ... On Tuesday, 6 November, 2012 at 4:06 PM at the Principal Registry of the Family Division in a hearing between two litigants in person at which I was the deputy district judge, the father announced proudly and assertively that the government had just introduced equal shared care." A father gets the wrong end of the stick, as explained by David Hodson in Family Law.

Privacy and financial settlements
"A v A [2012] is the first reported case on the reporting of financial remedy proceedings in the family courts by the media." So says guest blogger Anna Ratcliffe on the Marilyn Stowe Blog.

G (Children): The difficulties that courts face when the parties are unrepresented
A summary of G (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1434 [above], which involved an appeal against the variation of a shared residence order and termination of contact. Full post: Family Lore.

Government opts for shared parenting presumptions
"In news which should be welcomed by family lawyers across the country, the government has announced that it plans to legislate for a legal presumption in favour of shared parenting." Marilyn Stowe gives her views on the shared parenting presumption in this post, found amongst all the news items now appearing on her blog.