How Do You Challenge a Financial Consent Order?

How do you challenge a Financial Consent Order?

Consent Orders and other financial settlement orders made in family proceedings are designed to be final. For this reason judges are very wary of allowing any challenges against them on appeal. There is even a school of thought that Consent Orders themselves cannot be appealed against, simply by virtue of the fact that the people involved have agreed them.

I have had countless enquiries over the years as to whether a client has a good case to re-open a Consent order or final financial order. I have to say that those with a chance of success are few.

Children’s happiness and The Good Childhood Report 2012. How can we shield our children from the worst of our divorce?

Children’s happiness and The Good Childhood Report 2012. How can we shield our children from the worst of our divorce?

Today’s report by the Children’s Society: “The Good Childhood Report 2012” highlights that the most important criterion for happy children is a stable and harmonious family life. There were five other conclusions, to include the way children feel about themselves and “achieving the right balance of time between schoolwork and leisure, and spending enough time in key social relationships with friends and family.”

My last Blog on 7 January 2012 talked about government policy to introduce a legal right for divorced parents to see their children (http://t.co/Nb7Cv0FF). At the time I said that this flew in the face of a government-commissioned report, headed by David Norgrove and published only last year, which specifically recommended no change in the law on this. He cited studies from Australia where such a law has been enacted, which suggest that children who lose any control over when they see their parents, are damaged by the experience.

Equal Rights for Parents on Divorce

I read in today’s Telegraph about the Government’s plan to introduce legislation and force courts to give equal rights of contact (formerly access) to both parents. I as surprised as the Government-commissioned report by David Norgrove last year counselled against this proposal which has been pushed hard by pro-father pressure groups. Norgrove stated that this law in Australia has damaged children.

Lawyers will be concerned that such a move will mean children are forced to see the non-resident parent (usually the father), on terms that judges will have little option but to impose. The father’s criticism of the courts is that they are biased towards mothers. Ministers assert that judges adopt too formulaic an approach towards contact, every other weekend being the norm. The judiciary themselves will argue to retain their discretion to decide how much contact there should be, taking into account the child’s best interests, instead of the wishes of a parent. The Children Act 1989 does already state that it is the right of a child to have a relationship with both parents.

Forced Marriage not Illegal in the UK

Forced Marriage not Illegal in the UK

Baroness Warsi  in guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 14 December 2011 says: “Forced marriage is inhumane, unacceptable – and not illegal in the UK”. This practice has evolved mainly with South Asian countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.  When I was at school, my 17 year old best friend was taken to Pakistan midway through our A levels to wed her first cousin, to whom she had been bethrothed at birth. She did not return to school. She was a clever girl with a great future ahead of her but for cultural reasons she was not permitted to continue her education. Another friend at school in the same situation was allowed to go to university where she met a fellow muslim also studying medicine. She begged her parents to break off her engagement so that she might have a better life married to another first generation British Asian, rather than be saddled with her cousin from a village in Bangladesh. Her mother told her that she had to travel there to undergo the relevant ceremony, and, whilst there, she was imprisoned until she agreed to marry. She returned to England full of horror stories, and, desperate to undo what had taken place. Her family earnestly put plans in place so that her now husband could gain entry to the UK. This very brave teenager informed the Home Office of her plight and they agreed to reject the visa application, but warned her that her parents would appeal and she would have to give evidence against then at a hearing. She had three brothers, and officials told her that they had seen women in her circumstances turn up at the hearing covered in bruises and recanting their original statement.