Same Sex Marriages now permitted in England and Wales

From midnight last night (12.03.14) same sex partners who married abroad can register their union of marriage in England and Wales. Furthermore from today same sex partners can register their intention to marry and the first same sex marriages can take place in England and Wales from 29 March this year.

The passage of the draft legislation proved to be highly contentious amongst religious groups in particular and there are exemptions allowing some institutions to opt out of permitting marriages to same sex partners taking place on their premises. 

New Child Arrangements Programme

Family Courts up and down the country are gearing up to deal with the proposed new changes to the law and also the procedure of private family children applications. It is envisaged that from 1st April this year (2014) Residence and Contact orders will no longer exist and instead arrangements for the care of children will be made under new Child Arrangements Orders. The intention is that this will assist parties to recognise that each parent should play an active role in their children's lives (save for circumstances where there are serious welfare concerns).

DR week draws near

As DR week draws near it is hoped that further media support and coverage will be given to the topic of family mediation. There are big changes afoot in April 2014 which will hopefully finally cement family mediation as the requisite pre-court method to assist people in the process of family breakdown to avoid formal litigation proceedings. Court proceedings are financially and emotionally costly to both parties and where children are concerned lead to polarisation as opposed to constructive parenting.