As a family law solicitor, it never ceases to amaze me how wasteful the court system is, in more ways than one. Anyone who has attended a hearing at court as part of their family proceedings, will have an idea of just how much paper is generated for those few hours at court. In reality, you have probably seen only a fraction of the paperwork actually generated and it may shock you to learn that following the hearing, the majority of the paper will simply be destroyed by the court. For any subsequent hearings, the paperwork has to be produced all over again.
After the dismal marking of Divorce Week last month, it is wonderful to be celebrating commitment with Marriage Week in February. Fittingly finishing its seven-day run on Valentine’s Day, it is a chance for every happy couple to shout about how great it is being married – and maybe for those not in the best place to approach sorting out their differences with renewed vigour.
Social media is an established part of our world now and with live tweeting from Courts, the possibility of service of legal documents via Facebook message and pages and pages of screenshots being submitted in evidence, it is having a profound influence on family law legal proceedings.
The recent case of Joy v Joy – Morancho and others reminds us once again that a full, frank and honest disclosure of your financial circumstances must be provided to one another and to the court before financial claims can be either negotiated upon or decided by the court. In this case the court took a hard line against the husband when it became apparent that he had lied to the court about the true extent of his assets and had set out with the deliberate intention of concealing the truth of his situation. The judge in the case, Sir Peter Singer, ordered that the husband should pay the wife’s costs for proceedings since 1st May 2013 amounting to approximately £334,000 to be paid within fourteen days stating that such an order was no less than the conduct deserved.
For the regular readers of our blog, you may recall I questioned in January (Family relationships in The Archers) whether the relationship between Rob and Helen in Radio 4’s The Archers was showing the hallmarks of domestic abuse, and specifically, of coercive control.