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What would YOU Change, and Why?

  • rubytuesday
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8 years 7 months ago #300446 by rubytuesday
What would YOU Change, and Why? was created by rubytuesday
I was reading through some old posts last night, and found a number of discussions about what people would change within the Family Law system, and why.

I thought it was time we had another discussion thread, and given the recent Family Justice Final Review Report, and the proposed Legal Aid changes (expect a U-turn on that in the Spring),and the predicted rise in Litigants-in-Person, there are certainly plenty of issues to discuss and changes to be suggested.

To start the discussion, here are mine:

The presumption of shared parenting, and for both parents to have equal parenting rights to be enshrined in law.

The veil of secrecy that shrouds family courts (in England) to be lifted, following in the footsteps of Scottish family courts which are open.

A complete revision of the current matrimonial legislation; the Matrimonial Causes Act dates back to 1973 (and is almost as old as I am), and taking into account the societal changes that have occurred in the past 4 decades since the Act was passed. The premise of a clean break following divorce (such as underpins Scots family law) should also be considered.

Right, tin hat is on, over to you for the changes you would like to see.

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  • dukey
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8 years 7 months ago #300450 by dukey
Replied by dukey on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
This should be a huge can of worms.

More protection for the vulnerable for a start.

If a judge orders maintenance for a mans wife and children it should be enforceable and quickly if he refuses to pay, the judge have the power in law but are reluctant to use them.

Right now if a guy refuses to pay it will take 3-6 months just to get back to court, if the guy knows the ropes it can be dragged out for a year even two in some cases more, even when enforcement takes place more often than not the arrears are just added on leaving the woman back to square one, again if the guy knows how to play the system he can get the arrears reduced or scrapped all together.

The two biggest problems are the time it takes to get back to court and the reluctance by judges when it comes to actually enforcing payment.

Now another problem, a bloke is ordered to pay, the bloke refuses, it goes back to court and the judge orders attachment of earnings, great its over, wrong :(

Before the attachment is made a protected earnings level must be set even though this was considered before the maintenance was ordered, now if you read the family law rules they state an officer of the court usually a judge will set this level, that rule is very old though, courts these days use software to set the level, the software is only as good as the user though, so what can and does happen is the muppet inputting the data uses the guys stated needs which is always his entire income, no surprise there then, so the order and the protected level go to the agency that deals with the attachment, and they send it straight back as a none implementable attachment.

So you would think the judge would take a look and say oh its just a mistake, but no the judge says i made the order its not my problem, and your right back to square one.

Meanwhile the months are sailing by, the tax payer is forking out for hearings the judge and all the staff from the agencies involved, and all the while no maintenance is being payed.

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8 years 7 months ago #300454 by dukey
Replied by dukey on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
Court listers.

Each county court has a person who`s job it is to decide when to list a hearing and which judge should hear the matter.

Sounds simple doesn't it, fail as the kids say these days, some listers do not match the judge to the hearing, so a judge can be lister to hear a final hearing but that judge may be a recorder or deputy district judge and therefore probably not experienced enough to hear and rule at a final hearing, so two people can attend thinking finally this will be over today only to find the judge has withdrawn from the hearing, they get sent home to wait for another date with another judge, so your stood there jaw on the floor looking at your barrister and maybe even a solicitor thinking hang on this is costing me 3k, erm this isn't my fault can i claim my costs back from the court? not on your nelly.

Surely this should be easy to resolve.

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  • pixy
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8 years 7 months ago #300464 by pixy
Replied by pixy on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
Anything that takes the discretion out of the system - or at least reduces it. It should be reasonably clear from the outset what the outcome will be, not a matter that encourages arguments and litigation.

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  • MrsMathsisfun
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8 years 7 months ago #300526 by MrsMathsisfun
Replied by MrsMathsisfun on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
''The divorce calculator'' which sets up conflict because it makes people believe they are 'entitled' to a set percentage, when we all know it doesnt work like that!!!

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  • rubytuesday
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8 years 7 months ago #300527 by rubytuesday
Replied by rubytuesday on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
jaymdee wrote:

''The divorce calculator'' which sets up conflict because it makes people believe they are 'entitled' to a set percentage, when we all know it doesnt work like that!!!


I would agree with that Jaymdee, its really there to give *rough* outline of what someone may be looking at for an eventual outcome, its main purpose is to indicate if any SM should be paid.

Incidentally, the calculator was ahead of its time when Wiki launched almost 5 years ago and was the only one in existence.

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  • ScotBob
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8 years 7 months ago #300568 by ScotBob
Replied by ScotBob on topic Re:What would YOU Change, and Why?
To start with I totally agree with Ruby on the presumption of shared parenting and equal parenting rights by default.

Add to that a maximum of 14/28 days between solicitors communications seems a reasonable ask - it should not take 7 months for them to respond to the last communication simply saying 'We've been waiting for Legal Aid to sort/clarify things' - no excuse in these days of modern communications!!

How about an insistence that at least one session of mediation takes place? This would be to thrash out the basics of the separation agreement and would only have the mediator and the divorcing couple in attendance, unless both parties can agree about the other persons they want involved. The only negation to this where there is proof (not just accusation from one party) of physical abuse. The mediator should be able to identify and halt any attempts at emotional or mental abuse or manipulation during the proceedings.

A definition between the party remaining in the FMH , and the other party in the separation/divorce (who may still own part of the property but no longer lives there), so that once said party has moved out they cannot simply use the 'I own half' excuse to walk into the FMH without notice. While there are situations, such as the division of moveables and/or collection of personal effects, where the party may require access, it should be at the agreement of both parties, and done with (a) witness(es) for both sides present to ensure it is done fairly.

That'll do for now!!

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