A little bit of news, and a story to warm the hearts of all divorce lawyers

Family Law|August 23rd 2019

With the ‘silly season’ in full swing, I thought I would join in, with a story that may not be exactly serious family law news, but will nevertheless warm the hearts of all divorce lawyers.

But first, a couple of serious stories.

The latest figures for care applications and private law demand, for July 2019, have been published by Cafcass. The picture of a long-term downward trend in care cases still (just) continues, as does the long-term upward trend in private law cases. In that month the service received a total of 1,225 new care applications, six fewer than in the same month last year. New care applications received by Cafcass have decreased year-on-year in each of the last nine months. As to private law demand, Cafcass received a total of 4,369 new private law cases, 18.7 per cent (688 cases) higher than the same month last year. Private cases received by Cafcass have increased year-on-year in eleven of the last twelve months.

New data in a report published by Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, suggests that mental health services across England are failing women, by not asking about experiences of domestic abuse. The findings, which are based on results from Freedom of Information requests, show that more than a third of NHS mental health trusts that responded have no policy on ‘routine enquiry’ about domestic violence and abuse, in spite of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. Mental health services should be asking about domestic abuse in recognition of the high rates of violence and abuse experienced by people who access them. This is especially true for women, as 38 per cent of women who have a mental health problem have experienced domestic abuse. The evidence in the report points to a postcode lottery in the support mental health services are providing to survivors. One trust said they asked just three per cent of patients about domestic abuse, when guidance says they should be asking everyone. Hmm. Shouldn’t we be having joined-up thinking between services dealing with the issue of domestic abuse?

And so to that not-quite-so-serious story (with no disrespect intended to the protagonists).

All divorce lawyers like to be busy, but the divorce lawyer of American television and radio host Larry King may only need the one client. I mentioned here just last week the phenomenon of ‘repeat marriages’, where a couple marry, divorce, and marry again. Well, Mr King did that. But that was just one episode in the epic saga that is his ‘matrimonial history’. Mr King has been married eight times, to seven wives, and is now divorcing the seventh, at the age of 85. According to Wikipedia (OK, not always the most reliable source), Mr King married his first wife, his high-school sweetheart, in 1952, at the age of 19. However, their parents objected to the union, and reportedly had it annulled the following year. Undeterred, King then ‘briefly married’ his second wife, before marrying his third, a Playboy bunny, in 1961. In 1963 he divorced her, and married his fourth wife. That union also ended in divorce, and King remarried his third wife, in 1969. In 1972 he divorced his third wife for a second time (are you keeping up?), and in 1976 he married his fifth wife. That marriage was dissolved in 1983, and King married his sixth wife in 1989. They were divorced in 1992, and in 1995 King became engaged to actress Deanna Lund, but they were never married. Finally (or maybe not), in 1997, King married his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick, 26 years his junior. On their tenth anniversary Southwick joked that she was “the only [wife] to have lasted into the two digits”. The joking was suspended in 2010 when the couple filed for divorce, but they were subsequently reconciled. They did not live happily ever after, however, as King has reportedly just filed for divorce again. I have this vision of his divorce lawyer’s office, with just one (large) filing cabinet, labelled under the letter ‘K’…

Do enjoy your weekend and summer bank holiday.

John Bolch often wonders how he ever became a family lawyer. He no longer practises, but has instead earned a reputation as one of the UK's best-known family law bloggers.

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