Family Law (1-15 January)

Family News

Cost of divorce up 17% in three years amid soaring legal fees and housing costs

The Independent – 11 January

The Independent has reported that divorcing couples now spend an average of £14,561 on ‘legal and lifestyle costs’, a rise of 17% in the past three years. Legal fees are up by 109% since 2014, now reaching £2,679 whilst the cost of moving house and redecorating a previously shared home has also risen.

Separating families miss opportunity for simpler court forms

National Family Mediation – 9 January

National Family Mediation (NFM) has reported that the language used in the recently amended paperwork for separating couples applying to the family court needs to be brought up to date to simplify courtroom paperwork and processes. The national family charity says that feedback from mediation clients has pointed out that many people feel that the court forms can only be fully understood by someone with some legal background.

Wales could ban parents and carers from smacking children

The Guardian – 9 January

New legislation from the Welsh government proposes banning smacking children, by removing the ‘defence of reasonable punishment from the offences of assault and battery’. The government is currently holding a 12-week consultation on the matter, following some opposition.

Young people at YOI 'unnecessarily missing education and therapy'

Cypnow – 9 January

Following an inspection of Cookham Wood young offenders’ institution in Kent, it has been reported that the young offenders are unnecessarily missing out on education and therapy. A lack of escort officers has led to the boys being unable to get to their lessons and skilled professionals have been left waiting in empty rooms.

Changes to domestic violence evidence requirements come into effect – 8 January

As reported in an earlier family law newsletter, the removal of a five-year time limit on domestic abuse evidence came into force on 8 January, giving victims more support in taking an abusive partner to court. These changes also include widening the range of evidence that can be given.

Domestic violence and abuse: help from DWP – 5 January

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released a guide for victims of domestic violence and abuse, detailing the services and support offered by the government. Some of the topics covered include housing benefit, child maintenance and migrant partner support.

Longfield calls for schools to help children combat social media pressures

Cypnow – 4 January

Children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, is calling for schools to further prepare children for the emotional pressures of social media, following a report she published that revealed social media can make young children anxious about their appearance, and leave them exposed to cyberbullying. Longfield also suggested that parents should take a bigger role in educating their children about social media.

New year family mediation spike expected by NFM

Family Law Week – 2 January

The National Family Mediation (NFM) charity has predicted an increase in demand for its family mediation services following the Christmas and New Year period. The charity is currently seeing a slump in people attending mediation sessions, with many ignoring the fact that they are compulsory under the 2014 Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders (LASPO). However, based on previous years, NFM are still expecting a spike in demand.

Tackling 'peer on peer' child sexual abuse

Cypnow – 2 January

BBC’s Panorama has reported that ‘peer on peer’ child sexual abuse has become a real issue, with 7,866 offences last year: a 71% rise from figures obtained in 2013. Cypnow cite the need to provide the correct support to children, and to develop programmes such as the NSPCC’s ‘Turn the Page’.

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