Monday, June 20, 2011

Cameron slates absent fathers

Father's who exit from their children's lives should feel Society's disapproval and be stigmatised like drink drivers says David Cameron in The Sunday Telegraph.

This statement assumes that all absent fathers are solely responsible for the position their children are in.  Some are indeed feckless, but not all.   
What about mothers who make contact difficult? Who alienate their children from their father?  Who devote their time to ruining contact, to making children feel guilty and who keep a bitter argument going for years? Some of these are the same single mothers who are roundly praised for bringing up children alone.

If David Cameron truly wants fathers to play a full role in their children's lives perhaps the balance of power should be adjusted? That, after all, was why parental responsibility was  brought into effect and why the terms custody and access were changed to residence and contact.  

Some Governments assume fifty fifty shared care on separation. Would this work here? Some fathers are not interested in having such a role but many are.  If children have regular contact with their non resident parent they virtually have two homes in any event. This would have a direct impact on finances.  Many mothers would be reluctant to accept this due to a significant loss of income.  Maybe the whole children's tax credit situation needs to be redesigned? It amazes me the amount people are paid to work less provided they have children - this whole system encourages single parenting and has developed the 16 hour working week.  What are children growing up in such an environment to think?  Oh yes, we have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Separating and want to grab your ex's financial documents?

When couples separate there is often a lack of trust.  This can be based upon events that have happened or worry and anxiety about events that might happen.  Often there is suspicion that the other party is not supplying the true picture of their finances.  Thinking that your ex is going to be less than honest about his/her financial situation can encourage some to take action in what used to be termed "self help" in matrimonial finances and take and copy financial documents for use in their case.

This is no longer accepted by the family courts.  It has been ruled  case of Immerman) that such action is not acceptable and if a party is concerned that the other is being less than honest then an application to court is needed with a request to search their premises Sounds expensive, which is why "self help" grew up in the first place.  If you get it wrong - launch what is in effect a fishing expedition - then there are severe costs penalties.  What about the overriding objective of proportionality?
The only way to take another's documents is if they are left lying around the home (often happens - bank statements left on the breakfast table) or stored in a joint area - such as a shared desk or filing cabinet.

Marco Pierre White has recently won an apology and an out of court settlement from his wife's solicitors Withers as reported in The Telegraph. His wife was advised to take his personal documents - including a letter from his daughter - and Mr White decided to sue and got as far as the Court of Appeal  At the same time the case of Immerman was going through which confirmed that interference with another's documents was reprehensible and not to be upheld by the Courts.  Just to make it even worse for Withers Mr and Mrs White reconciled. 

That is the fascinating thing about family law - nobody can predict what will happen next.

So the advice is - have an open marriage!  

Not in that sense -know the facts before you separate and share information with each other - unless of course you are seeking to keep your money for yourself.

This latest development has been dubbed the cheats charter...