Avoiding a turkey of a Christmas when the family gets together

With the pandemic putting relationships under pressure and divorce rates recording their biggest percentage rise since 1972, family professionals and support groups are encouraging couples to focus on the wellbeing of the family over the festive season. Traditionally, more people petition for divorce in January than at any other time of the year, which is attributed to the pressure of the family Christmas get-together.  This season it’s expected that many more relationships, already under stress as a result of the life challenges brought about by coronavirus, will struggle to survive.…

Christmas, coronavirus and separation: what are the rules around taking children away from home?

For many parents, the issue of spending time with children at Christmas can be tense. Both parents want to spend Christmas day with their loved ones and their children, but this becomes complicated when they do not live in the same town or city or if they have to travel to visit relatives. In addition, coronavirus restrictions may mean that travel and visiting relatives is not advised or even permitted. In this article, we look at some of the key issues and questions surrounding, Christmas and coronavirus for separated parents.…

Virus transmission spike is matched by divorce advice spike

There are concerns that the latest spike in coronavirus transmissions may see more relationships taking a hit, after a surge in divorce enquiries following the nationwide lockdown. Back to school traditionally sees a peak in petitions for divorce, but this autumn has seen a bigger number of distressed couples seeking support, according to divorce professionals. Data from the Citizens Advice charity showed a 25% rise in searches for advice on divorce during the first weekend in September, compared with the same weekend last year.  This trend has continued, replacing issues…

COVID-19 and the law: Can I take my child on holiday during term-time?

It has been a long and difficult year for most of us, with many considering finally taking a family holiday. With children having returned to school and travel plans frequently changing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, taking children on holiday during term-time may be a consideration for many parents. The rules concerning term-time holidays changed in 2013, and headteachers may no longer grant holidays of up to 10 days in ‘special circumstances’. Headteachers may now only grant permission for term-time absence in exceptional circumstances. But surely, we are…

Remote family court hearings – how do they work?

The introduction of social distancing in response to the coronavirus outbreak has caused disruption to many vital services – including in the justice system. Many services that would typically have taken place face-to-face have been adapted to meet the challenges of our current climate. One such service is family court hearings, which may now take place remotely. In this post, we look at how remote family court hearings currently operate. Will my family court hearing be held remotely or in-person? For now, it is the default position that family court…

A toolkit for family breakdown in the lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds.  For couples who are struggling in their relationship, or trying to manage co-parenting, anxiety levels are likely to be heightened if it seems there is nowhere to turn, while personal movements are restricted and even the family courts are working remotely.  "For myself, and my colleagues across the country, being a family lawyer means being there for all the challenges, not just the day in court, and at this…

Private Fostering – A short guide

In 2000, the country was shocked to the core by the murder of 8-year-old Victoria Climbié. She was privately fostered with her great aunt, who had arranged a fostering agreement with the child’s parents. After this tragic case, legislation was swiftly introduced to stop another tragedy by ensuring that vulnerable children were placed in safe, secure homes, regardless of the relationship of the carer to the child. It also means that local authorities now have to be a part of any private fostering arrangement, regardless of whether or not it’s…

Back to school – what’s the law on uniform policies?

This can be a very expensive time of the year for parents, as their children have now all returned to school. Not only are there all the usual essentials to buy, but also those big-ticket purchases, like a new school uniform. The majority of schools in the UK have some form of dress code or uniform, and most are pretty strict about enforcing compliance from pupils, whether it’s a school tie or a top-to-toe uniform with strict rules on everything from the type of shoes worn to caps, personal jewellery,…

When can you let your kids fend for themselves?

If you’re a parent, you’ll be familiar with how long it takes to get your children ready to leave the house. Whether it’s setting up the pram for the baby, filling your bag with all the supplies you need or finding lost shoes, it can be a real pain to do anything quickly, especially if you have an appointment to get to, or shopping to buy. If only you could safely leave your child on their own and get those daily tasks done quickly. But where does the law stand…

The question of surrogacy in the UK

It’s an area of family law that isn’t often discussed in public. Indeed, many people incorrectly think that it’s still illegal in this country. But surrogacy is an accepted practice in England and throughout the UK, as long as it isn’t done for profit. However, in June the Law Commission of England and Wales, along with the Scottish Law Commission announced that surrogacy laws were falling behind the times, were unfit for purpose, and need a complete overhaul. The intention with any review of the surrogacy laws is to ensure…

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