Month: January 2013

Wish List of Young People in Court

The Family Justice System Young People’s Board was set up by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in 2006 order to assist in ensuring that the family justice system remains focused on the children that are at the heart of the cases being dealt with by the Court. It is made up of 32 young people and children who have had experience of the family justice system or who are interested in the rights of children and the family courts.

The Board has released a list of its top 5 wishes for 2013:

  1. Cases don’t drag on and are always focused on our needs.
  2. There is more support when we just need to speak to someone.
  3. We find a way for the court to keep us informed about our cases such as when big decisions are going to be made about our lives.
  4. Help is available when things get tough and everyone’s arguments stress us out.
  5. We have a way to tell the people involved in our case about the good and bad bits and know they’d listen.

The Chief Executive of Cafcass, Anthony Douglas, has responded to this list by saying: “I agree with the Board on these big issues and I hope that we are able to address them over the next year. We will continue to work to bring case duration times down”.

Did You Know?

  • The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2011 was 117,558, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010, when there were 119,589 divorces.
  • In 2011, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married people compared with 12.9 in 2001.
  • The number of divorces in 2011 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.
  • Hastings is the area with the highest divorce/separation rate in England and Wales – one person in six (16.5%) is divorced or separated.
  • There are now more than four million divorcees and more than a million people who are separated from their spouse.

Sources: Office of National Statistics, 2011 Census England and Wales

Child Benefit Changes

From Monday 7th January 2013 child benefit will be means tested. Households in which one parent earns more than £50,000 will no longer be eligible for the full benefit and will lose 1% of payments for every £100 earned above £50,000.Those households where one parent earns more than £60,000 will not be eligible for any payment at all. People who are no longer entitled to the benefit will either have to opt to stop receiving the money or repay it by way of a higher tax using the self-assessment regime.

However, according to the Guardian only 800,000 of these families have received letters from HMRC outlining this information meaning that at least 300,000 may be unaware of the changes to the system.

HMRC has reported that approximately 1.1 million families will be affected by these changes, with 70% of those families losing all of their child benefit. It is thought that the average household will lose £1,300 a year.