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Family Law News 29th November- 14th December 2010
1. Government pledges £7.5 million a year for relationship support
David Cameron has announced that £30 million of Department for Education's budget will be ring fenced for relationship support from 2011-2015. In a speech to relationship counselling service Relate on Friday, following a meeting with Kids in the Middle, the prime minister confirmed that £7.5 million a year (an increase of approximately £2.2 million) will be provided to organisations such as Relate which are supporting relationships and announced that space in government buildings will be made available after hours to cut counselling waiting lists.
2. One in two children will see parents split by the age of 16, warns new study http://www.familylaw.co.uk/articles/CentreSocialJustice07122010-5423
According to a study carried out jointly by the Bristol Community Family Trust and the Centre for Social Justice, the probability of a child's parents splitting up by the time they are 16 has risen from 40% in the mid-1980s to 48% today.
The report also claims that divorce is not the main cause of breakdown in families. The increase in lone parenthood is due to the collapse of cohabiting relationships, says the researchers.
3. New legislation recommended to create an independent Children’s Commissioner http://www.familylaw.co.uk/articles/ChildrensCommissioner07122010-9875
The review report, by John Dunford, the former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, recommends that the role of Children's Commissioner should be strengthened and have greater independence from government, by reporting directly to parliament rather than just the Department for Education.
Mr Dunford also recommended that the Children's Rights Director for England should be dissolved into the role of the Children's Commissioner in order to enhance its remit and save money.
4. Proportion of married residents in England and Wales falls to 40% and proportion of divorced rises to 8% http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed73075
Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the estimated number of married people in England and Wales was 21.7 million in mid-2009, down 16,000 compared with the previous year.
Court cases of interest:
1) The link http://www.familylaw.co.uk/articles/2010EWCA1280 stated the case of:
RESIDENCE: Re W (Residence: Leave to Appeal)  EWCA Civ 1280
14 December 2010
(Court of Appeal; Sir Nicholas Wall P; 18 November 2010)
The mother had refused to participate in the court process and was refusing to permit her child to have contact with the father. The father used drugs regularly. By the final hearing the mother had, over three years, failed to provide the child for 28 of the 34 contact sessions ordered. The judge made a residence order in favour of the paternal grandmother. The judge dealt with the mother's disobedience of previous court orders by recording that he had made it clear to the mother that future breaches might lead to a sentence of immediate imprisonment. The mother sought leave to appeal.
Permission to appeal refused. The judge had not transferred residence to punish the mother, which would have been impermissible, but in the best interests of the child. The judge was entitled to decide this.
2) The link http://www.familylaw.co.uk/articles/2010ECHR1625 stated the case of:
ABDUCTION: Raban v Romania (Application No 25437/08)
30 November 2010
(European Court of Human Rights; 26 October 2010)
An Israeli/Dutch father and Romanian a mother had two children in Israel. The father agreed that the mother would take the children to Romania for six months. The mother informed the father after a month that they would not be returning. The father issued Hague proceedings. At first instance the Romanian Court ordered summary return. This was overturned on appeal on the basis in part that the Court found that there was a parental agreement that the children would come to Romania until father's financial position improved, and in part that the children would be at grave risk of harm if returned. The father issued human rights proceedings on behalf of himself and the two children, alleging breaches of Article 8.
The Court restated the principles set out in Neulinger. The Romanian Appeal Court had found as fact that the father had consented to the removal until his financial situation had improved. It also made findings of potential of grave harm if the children were returned combined with the well-being of their in Romania. The child's best interests should be paramount. There was no clear evidence of arbitrariness.