Declaration of Parentage

If you are in a situation where you want to get a declaration of parentage because your name is not on your child’s birth certificate, or perhaps you are a child who wants to get a declaration after the death of a parent, you may need to engage the services of a solicitor.

You can of course make the application yourself by approaching the Circuit Court Office or District Court Office. You will be given the appropriate forms, but you will not be assisted to fill them in. This is the point at which you will probably require a solicitor.

Paternity is assumed by law if the parents of the child married. However if they are not, the fathers name must be on the birth certificate for children to get maintenance or inheritance.

A court can order paternity tests and decide who is to pay for the testing as it is not available on the NHS. It may be that the mother is liable for the costs, or the costs are split between both parents.

If you require assistance with any paternity issue, whether you are a mother, father or you are seeking a declaration of parentage as a child, you can contact our team on 0845 548 1007.

England World Cup Matches Increase Domestic Violence

Lancaster University has published a shocking piece of research that suggests that levels of domestic violence in England increase, particularly if England lose. Figures were gathered from Lancashire Constabulary from times of World Cup Matches in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Incidents reportedly rose by 38% in Lancashire when England lost and 26% when England won. Or drew. This was in comparison to days when England did not play.

The trend was also seen to rise on the day after an England game, with an average of 70.5 cases reported.

Many explanations for this have been suggested such as the rise in alcohol consumption, increased masculinity and rivalry. A social Services representative stated;

“The tournament goes on for a whole month – this creates all sort of problems, often aggravated by alcohol, on the smallest of issues such as what programme the TV is tuned into.”

Married Couples Tax Allowance

The announcement of a married couples tax allowance by the Prime Minister last month has been billed as a ‘shocking waste of money’. The tax will apply to married couples who both pay basic tax, one of whom is earning less than the personal allowance amount. It is estimated that 4 million couples could potentially benefit from 2015.

The Prime Minister tweeted;

The £1,000 marriage tax allowance will apply to straight and gay couples, as well as civil partners. Love is love, commitment is commitment.

Gingerbread Chief Executive, Fiona Weir has said;

Introducing a marriage tax break is a shocking waste of money. Child poverty in the UK is set to rise by a further one million by 2020. The £600 million a year that will go to just one in three married couples could – and should – be spent instead on helping families of all shapes and sizes to make ends meet.

”A quarter of all families are headed by single parents and one in six by cohabitating couples – but this tax break won’t help them, or married couples where both parents earn enough to pay tax. Modern families come in all shapes and sizes and the government should support them all, not just a select group.

Civil Partnership Dissolutions on the rise

The Office for National Statistics have released figures showing that 794 civil partnership dissolutions were granted in England and Wales during 2012. This is an increase of 20% since 2011. In total 7,037 civil partnerships were registered in the same year, with the average age of men at 40 years and the average age of women at 7.6 years.

It is expected that the general trend will start to reflect the general trends for divorce and marriages in the years to come.

Figures also showed that women are more likely to dissolve a civil partnership than men, which mirrors general divorce trends, with more women than men filing for divorce in England and Wales.

British Social Attitudes

3000 individuals were surveyed to compile the 28th British Social Attitudes Report released in July. The report summarises modern attitudes towards marriage and relationships.

Perhaps the most interesting findings were that;

  • Attitudes towards adultery have changed with 63 % of people disapproving compared to 58% in 1984.
  • 55% of people used to believe that couples should be married before having children. That is now just 36% in comparison.
  • An overwhelming majority of people agree that it is ok for people to live together before getting married, or without any intention of getting married.

The survey is carried out annually and people are selected using a random ‘probability sampling’ technique, ensuring that a good representation of the British public is chosen.

Lib Dems vote for rights of Cohabitants

The annual Liberal Democrat conference saw a motion passed which calls for “the implementation without delay of proposals giving cohabiting couples fair and reasonable redress upon relationship breakdown and upon intestacy, based upon the proposals made in the Law Commission’s 2007 and 2011 reports”

Current laws relating to the disputes of cohabiting couples when a relationship breaks down are unclear and complicated. This becomes particularly complex when there are children involved.

A review of the laws relating to cohabitants would hopefully see rights similar to that of married couples and provide much fairer guidelines for families upon separation.

Silver Divorces

The percentage of people over the age of 60 seeking divorces has risen steadily since the 90’s according to the latest divorce statistics.

This is in stark contrast to the number of people overall who are filing for divorce, which has fallen year after year. One possible reason for this is the number of over 60’s now in our society. Other possible reasons are the ease with which people can get divorced compared with that in the 70’s and 80’s, with divorces rising sharply when the Divorce Reform Act came into effect in 1971.

In 2011, 9,500 men aged 60 or over divorced, a 71% increase in comparison to 1991. The level in men’s divorces over 60 is higher than that of women, as men tend to be the older party in relationships. Also because the life expectancy of men in England and Wales has risen, and divorce is much less of a taboo that it used to be.

Another interesting explanation could be due to the number of women in the jobs market compared to the 70’s. The employment rate of women rose by 13% from 1971 to 2012, meaning that women are now much more financially independent and capable of supporting themselves outside of marriage.

Child Maintenance for University Fees?

More and more parents are seeking advice as to whether they can claim for child support to help get their children into higher education. Tuition fees have risen dramatically over the last few years, and single parents in particular are finding it difficult to access the funds required to send their children to university.

It is a common misconception that parents are not able to apply for child support payments beyond secondary education. But this is not always the case. As long as your child stays in full time education, you may be entitled to claim maintenance for an extended period.

You would have to apply to the courts to get the terms of a child maintenance agreement changed, and this may incur costs which may be off-putting, but it is possible to  at least ask for this extra support. The courts will listen to any case that has a strong argument for financial support beyond the original agreement, regardless of the availability of student loans.

Marriage and Children???

A recent report has shown that a rising number of your people are much less concerned about getting married before they have children than they used to be. A staggering 54% of those questioned said that they planned to start a family before getting married.

The research carried out by Santander Insurance also found that only 45% of them thought that they would own their own home before entering into parenthood, with even less expecting to have a secure career.

The reasons for such attitudes have been put down to the rise in the cost of living. Young people simply do not have the funds to get married, or to save a deposit for a house, but seem determined not to let that put their lives on hold. Contributing to a pension, or putting money into savings is also a rarity for young people in the current financial climate.

Richard Al-Dabbagh, of Santander Insurance, said: “Parents are increasingly prioritising having a child over other aspects of life such as home ownership and marriage.

“The financial commitments involved with all of these things are significant and against a backdrop of squeezed incomes it’s simply not possible for every family to tick every box. “However, having some form of financial contingency is vital.”


Happy Birthday to us!

We were delighted to have featured in the Manchester Evening News in July, highlighting our first birthday and our plans for the year ahead. We are looking to break the £1m barrier in 2014, so we have big plans coming!

Our two ambitious partners, Sharon Lund and Kirsten Bennet set up Lund Bennet in 2012, and specialise in Family Law. In particular, their team have expertise in divorce law, pre-nuptial agreements, child maintenance disputes and financial settlements.

Based in Altrincham, the practice wants to become the leading name in Family Law across Greater Manchester and Cheshire. Sharon Lund said;

There are huge changes to the funding of family law cases and because we’re nimble and agile enough to respond we’re in a good position. We’ve got some exciting initiatives planned and we’re looking to deliver family law services in a way that they haven’t been delivered before

So Happy Birthday to us, and here’s to a prosperous year ahead!