Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Divorcing Woman Wins Right to Move House

In an unusual case, a father had succeeded in applying for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent his divorcing wife moving house - this was to facilitate Contact with his children as he lived nearby.  This has been overturned in the High Court as it has been recognised that the woman should have the right to move to seek employment for example.  She said she felt as if she was under house arrest.

The woman has been ordered to remain within England and Wales whilst Divorce Proceedings continue ( it has been going on for nearly 2 years) and to facilitate Contact which is contained in a separate Court Order.  There is a Contact Warning Notice attached to all Contact Orders now which threaten Parents with Care with Enforcement Action of they do not comply with the Order.  The Parent with Care is expected to make the child available for Contact - normally it will be the responsibility of the Non Resident Parent to collect and return the child after Contact.

It is probable that now the woman is free to move she will and my guess is that she will move quite a distance. She will need the father's agreement to any change of schooling so it is unlikely that this case will cease litigating any time soon.

In my experience once one issue has been resolved another pops up.

In this tug of war between parents the only tactic I have seen which ends a one sided fight is to turn matters upside down.  In this case it would be for the father to  relax all attempts at control and accept what the mother does, or for the mother to move and offer the children to live with their father.  If the mother is seeking to hurt the father his capitulation will remove the fire.  If the father is seeking to control the mother - he will not want to have the children live with him and will back off.  High risk stakes.  If both are determined to fight then it will go on and on.... What of the children in the middle of all this?  Perhaps neither parent wants to fight and they have both been pushed into battle by their solicitors... Perhaps not... the woman was a litigant in person...

How do you tell which parent wants the fight?  The parent who criticises the other to the children...  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Law set to change re Shared Parenting???

The Government has decided to go against advice and make it a legal requirement that both parents' share the legal responsibility for their children post separation. What does this mean in practise?  I have read the attached article in The Guardian five times now and I cannot work out what the practical effect will be.  There is to be no presumption of 50/50 shared care. The child's welfare remains the priority.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: 

"Both parents have a responsibility and a role to play in their children's upbringing and we want to make sure that, when parents separate, the law recognises that. Children should have the benefit of contact with both of their parents through an ongoing relationship with them.
"This is why we are publishing proposals today setting out that, where it is safe and in the child's best interest, the law is clear that both parents share responsibility in their upbringing."

I cannot work out what they have changed.

Is it all just words?

Access and custody was replaced by Contact and Residence to remove the perception that one parent had superiority.  That has not worked so now it will be replaced by, in the Government's own words:
By introducing a new child’s arrangement order, children’s needs will better determine the practical arrangements made for their upbringing. There will similarly be no link between contact and maintenance in enforcing court orders. These cannot be seen by parents as commodities to be traded. Children are entitled both to receive financial support from both parents and to maintain contact with both parents, where this is safe. It is difficult to conceive how withholding either of these things meets the welfare needs of the child.
 The new form of order should help parents to focus on their children’s needs. However, the making of the order needs to be underpinned by swift and effective mechanisms to ensure that any difficulties that may subsequently arise are resolved swiftly. At present, delays in getting cases back to court when contact orders are breached, and lack of effective enforcement measures, have seriously undermined the credibility of the court process.

What I don't understand is why changing the label will help parents focus on the children's needs.  It didn't work last time they changed it.  If anything there is more of a focus on the parents rights.

It will be interesting to see if any change comes of this new terminology.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is it worth fighting on twitter?

The latest high profile divorce to hit the headlines concerns a twitter spat between Ben Goldsmith and Emma Rothschild. My summary is that she has moved on to an exciting new relationship and he is angry. Fairly normal scenario.  Slightly unusual though to argue via twitter but tis a sign of the times.
Imagine retweeting their posts! Very voyeuristic. Slightly more interesting than the normal weather/ food you have eaten today update though.

The saddest show to watch is that of the rejected one desperate to make everyone else hate their ex including their ex's family! School playground tactics trying to get a gang together. Such behaviour normally backfires as you will be the one left spending weekends with people you barely like whilst your ex is off having fun.

Break ups are great for helping you find your true friends and getting rid of hangers on. Once you have an acrimonious split you will know who your true friends are and you will be bound to them for life. People who simply love you as a friend and provide fantastic support when you need it most. 

Divorce often results in a lot more changes than leaving your ex....