Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Review: Sense and sensibilities


Notable things this week:

With summer still (just) clinging on, family law law happenings continue not to happen very frequently this week. Even Lucy Reed at Pink Tape is off building imaginary sandcastles. Still, I shall vie with the seagulls for whatever morsels are left by the sun-revellers...

It is well-known that s good lawyer never misses a business opportunity. Responding to the classic silly-season news that the Duke and Duchess of York may (or may not) be considering remarriage, Nigel Shepherd says that lawyers 'have even exploited the trend' for divorcing couples to get back together by offering them "post-marital agreements", setting out what would happen if it all goes wrong again. Edgar Venal would be proud.

Continuing the silly-season news theme, the BBC informed us that two Kenyan men have agreed to marry the same woman. The woman had apparently been having affairs with both men but was unable to choose between them, hence the polyandrous arrangement. Sounds to me like a family lawyer's dream. I wish all three of them luck - they're going to need it!

On Wednesday the Department for Work and Pensions published the latest quarterly statistics for the Child Support Agency, for the period to June. More than £300 million was collected by the Agency during that period, "vital support" which single-parent charity Gingerbread warns "is at risk" as the Agency prepares for closure. As Gingerbread also points out, there are once again question marks over the way the DWP reports the success of the CSA in collecting maintenance, with cases involving partial and irregular payments being counted as 'positive outcomes'. I'm not sure the 'receiving parents' will quite see it that way...

Perhaps the answer to the child support problem lies across the Atlantic. As I mentioned long ago, some US states require casinos to deduct any owed child support from the winnings of their patrons. The arrangement has been so successful in Louisiana that it has now resulted in the collection of more than $1 million dollars. Food for thought for the DWP/CSA...

My tweet of the week is this, in which @KarenAGLaw gives some excellent advice (thanks to @Familoo for the re-tweet which made it find my timeline):

Home Secretary Theresa May has told the BBC that she will be speaking to Parliament about how the police can improve the way they handle domestic violence. I don't know what this might involve, and I don't want to criticise the police (although I'm sure (as shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said) that the quality of police response varies from force to force), but I have always said that the police are the 'first line of defence' for victims of DV, so any improvement must be welcome.

And finally, this headline in The Telegraph yesterday will no doubt cause some raised eyebrows (if not mirth) amongst family lawyers:

Judge rules divorcing couples must be honest with each other

Have a good weekend.

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