As we move towards the New Year this is my opportunity once again to look back at an eventful 12 months for the blog. This has been a year in which we have welcomed thousands of new readers and we have been able to explore diverse topics which make up the fascinating world of my blog which I absolutely love; the point where family law meets family life.
In January I discussed the Marriage Foundation which was set up by Sir Paul Coleridge – its aims seemingly to promote heterosexual marriage, although I questioned his accompanying catchphrase “mend it – don’t end it”. I agreed that marriage – gay and straight – should be encouraged as I feel there is more chance of a successful family when parents are married. However, a catchphrase alone cannot save a relationship.
I also delved into the murky depths of parental rights in a piece inspired by a question that Holly Willoughby of ITV’s This Morning asked me when I appeared for my legal clinic that month: “just what rights do parents have to their children?” Many parents are unaware of the answer to this seemingly simple question so I decided to put it in black and white.
Divorce, joint tenancy and how to prepare for the unexpected was another informative article that featured on the blog at the beginning of 2012. I wrote this post for joint homeowners going through family separation and pointed out potential pitfalls.
Stowe Family Law solicitor David Milburn wrote a post for the blog in February, explaining why he thought grandparents legal rights were fit for purpose. This is an emotive subject and one that has caused lively debate in the world of family law.
I also posted on our stretched courts and the increasing numbers of Litigants in Person. I said they were slowing down the family justice system and suggested the problems being faced could be remedied with the help of legal aid lawyers.
Blogger Laura Guillon added to the voices on the blog with this piece that examined religious marriages and what actually constitutes a valid marriage in English law. The post looked at a number of cases where the issue of the validity of a religious marriage has arisen.
Blogger Lindsey Randall discussed discretion and uncertainty in the division of matrimonial assets in March. The trainee solicitor broached a subject that is pertinent to all divorcing couples and of particular interest where considerable assets are involved.
On Mothers’ Day I felt it was apt to look at how parents’ legal rights can change for the better. This is a topic that resonates with a lot of readers of this blog who must try to agree to amicable parental arrangements. As the year has passed this looks more likely than ever, but we won’t know for sure until the legislation is on the Statute Books.
I also shared my ‘Family Business’ column from the Solicitors Journal, in which I suggested that arbitration was a worthy alternative to court. In this article I explained my belief that arbitration offers a workable alternative to court for couples going through a divorce. Arbitration sadly has not proved as popular as I had hoped and that is a great pity. It’s a perfect way of resolving disputes out of court, but with both sides able to submit to arbitration that is private and swift.
Check back later this week for parts two to four!