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divorcing parents

Couples Should be Encouraged to Divorce Amicably

Political Parties Urged to Commit to No Fault Divorces

Politicians across all parties are being lobbied to embrace no-fault divorces in their manifestos for the forthcoming General Election.

Research conducted by family law body Resolution has found that the vast majority of family law practitioners believe the time has come to modernise divorce law. The findings echo those of a YouGov poll conducted earlier in the year, in which more than two thirds of people feel that no-fault divorce should be available to all.

With more than 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce, the sentiment will certainly find agreement with anyone looking to find a family law firm in London, who will already be going through one of the most difficult experiences imaginable. The current need to play the “blame game” on top of everything else is seen by most as an unnecessary requirement that simply adds to the stress and worries for all concerned.

The current rules

Unless couples have been apart for more than two years, it is necessary to cite adultery or unreasonable behaviour, such as physical or verbal abuse, drug-taking or refusing to contribute financially to the household, as a reason for divorce.

Yet all this really achieves is a blame culture that exacerbates conflict between the parties and makes it less likely for them to part amicably and reach a mutual understanding regarding important aspects such as finances and childcare.

The no-blame divorce

The concept of a no-blame divorce is not a new one, and is enshrined in the family law of many countries, including The Netherlands, Spain, Australia and certain states in the USA.

It makes sense, as there is overwhelming research evidence that the majority of divorces do not come about as a result of adultery or “unreasonable behaviour,” as defined in the current statutes. This leaves the divorcing parties with the choice of either waiting till they have been apart for two years so that they can cite “desertion” or coming up with a reason along the lines of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, purely for the purposes of getting the divorce application in.

Whichever way you look at it, the system is clearly not fit for purpose as it currently stands.

Separation rules

Some argue that the “two year separation” rule has sound logic behind it, as a reverse application of the “marry in haste, repent at leisure” proverb. However, even they generally advocate a change to the current rules.

Resolution’s proposal is to provide the option for a no-fault divorce if either party gives formal notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and remains of the same view six months later.

Reducing the two year timeframe in this way could certainly be a solution that works better for everyone.

A “half way house” would be to follow the model adopted in Scotland, where couples can mutually agree to divorce after 12 month of separation. The effect of this has been that family lawyers now actively encourage parties to wait for the specified period instead of citing unreasonable behaviour or adultery, resulting in a more amicable divorce process for all concerned.

What route the political parties will take is yet to be seen, but there can be little doubt that divorce law is long overdue an overhaul. Now is the perfect time to get it to the top of the political agenda.

How To Create A Winning Legal Team

team building gps huntBoost Efficiency In Your Law Firm By Encouraging Team Collaboration

Do you need to boost your bottom line? Your organisation is nothing without the dedication of your employees, so invest in them by booking a team building day.

Most companies experience employees who need a bit of a boost at one time or another. Even those who are performing well could find room for improvement. When a workforce is happy in the office, morale and engagement are both high which has a knock-on effect in terms of productivity. A 2015 study conducted by Gallup shows a strong link between engaged leaders and the productivity rates of their employees. Concerningly, 1 in 2 out of the 7,272 adults surveyed had left a job at some point in their career in order to get away from a manager. Less than a third felt engaged in their jobs in any given year.

Boost Your Legal Team

These are disheartening statistics for any employer to read – but there is an increasingly popular solution that can transform the outlook of a team – from the managerial level downwards. Team building activities are gaining in popularity due to their ability to create trust, increase communication and enhance collaboration between team members. Ultimately, if you can get your team to work together more successfully and trust in their leadership, then morale will be high, your employees will feel motivated and that can only have a positive impact on your company bottom line.

But with such a range of team building events, how do you choose the right activity for your organisation?

Team Building Ideas

There are a multitude of corporate events to suit every type of company. First you should choose whether you’re interested in indoor or outdoor exercises. Indoor activities might involve anything from a Crystal Maze challenge or a cocktail masterclass to pub games or a choc box challenge. If you fancy getting your team outdoors, then you might be interested in a GPS treasure hunt adventure, sports day activities, iPad filming or a soap box derby. A reputable teambuilding management company will be able to advise you based on your location and the size of your organisation.

Avoid Overtly Corporate Goals

The best way to encourage your employees to open up and step outside of their comfort zones, is to have fun. By doing so, they will be able to apply themselves to new challenges and you may be surprised by the skills that they unknowingly demonstrate as part of the activity. Who knew that Sheila in Accounts was going to be such an excellent navigator during that treasure hunt? Or that Bob from HR was so quick to answer questions under pressure during a time trial? However, you won’t be able to gain as much from your employees if there is an overtly corporate tone to the structure of your event. If you’ve got them out of the office to have fun, then allow your staff to do just that. Avoid the obvious leadership tasks which they’ll be able to sniff out in seconds and instead use the day to let your staff work naturally towards a common goal.

Keep It Going

After the high of a successful team bonding day, there can be that disappointing anti-climax when you return to work the next day. In order to reap the benefits of your away day, make it a regular thing. Schedule frequent after work drinks or social events within the office premises to ensure that you get as many employees as possible to join in. You might organise a monthly bowling night, or cinema trip. The key is to keep it frequent, interesting and pick events that your employees will engage with. By doing so, you’ll create a team that loves to work both with you and for you.

Elderly couple forced to live apart

Elderly Couples Forced To Live Separately

Senior judge condemns practice of separating elderly couples

Thousands of older couples are being separated in order to have their care needs met – a situation a senior British judge has branded as ‘absolutely shocking’.

Recent reports have found that many elderly couples who require additional care and support are being separated against their wishes – a practice condemned as ‘inhumane’ by High Court judge, Sir James Munby.

According to Sir James, couples who have been together for decades are often refused shared accommodation and instead are split up into different care homes, or face a situation where one partner is housed in residential care, while the other remains at home alone.

This separation can have a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of the couples involved, causing trauma and exacerbating feelings of loneliness (already a common problem in Britain’s elderly population), as well as having a knock-on effect on people’s physical health.

In a speech to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Sir James said,

“We do know that people die of a broken heart. I have read of cases where one person died and then the other dies a couple of days later. How long do people last if they are uprooted? A very short time.”

He also branded the practice of separating couples as “a profound indictment of our society”, and suggested that forcing frail and elderly people to leave their homes and their partner is not always the best course of action as it can have a substantial negative impact their happiness.

In light of this, Sir James believes that alternative options should be explored and has urged social workers to do all they can to enable couples to remain together in later life.

Live in care

In order to avoid separation and being forced to leave their homes, many older couples are turning to live in care as a potential solution. A live in carer is an around-the-clock carer who lives in the client’s home and provides a package of personal care and household management services based on a personalised care plan.

By hiring a live in carer, couples are able to stay together in their own home whilst receiving a level of care and support that is tailored to their individual needs. Furthermore, hiring a carer to look after a couple can bring significant savings when compared to the costs of two separate residential care places.

Additional benefits

As well as helping couples to stay together, live in care also offers a number of other benefits. By the very nature of the role, a live in carer is on hand 24/7 to offer one-to-one care and support. This, unsurprisingly, has a positive impact on health and safety, with clients suffering a third fewer falls than those in residential care. Live in care also enables older people to hold on to their much valued independence and continue with their daily routine. Clients also benefit from remaining in familiar surroundings, something that’s particularly beneficial for people suffering from dementia.

If you and your partner are looking for an alternative care solution, your local authority or social services should be able to offer help finding a live in carer, enabling you to remain safe, independent and, most importantly, together in your own home.