In the UK, the Family Division of the High Court (Mostyn J) has dismissed a challenge by a wife to an agreement entered into prior to marriage which, among other things, defined her entitlement to maintenance in the event of a separation. The marital difficulties had begun within a fairly short time of the marriage (the agreement was only 15 months old at the time of the wife’s application). In holding the parties to the agreement, the Judge referred to Radmacher v Granatino and said that: ”given the important notice in its prominent font at the beginning of the document stating that it is intended to confirm separate property interests and to be determinative of the division of their assets, it must be obvious that the principal object of the exercise in this case (as indeed in every case where a nuptial agreement is signed) is to avoid subsequent expensive and stressful litigation; and it is for this reason, as will be seen, that the law adopts a strict policy of requiring the demonstration of something unfair before it will open the Pandora’s Box of litigation where there has been an agreement of this nature.”
The hearing of the substantive application for ancillary relief will follow later, but the judgment is significant, especially as the UK Law Commission is on the verge of delivering its report on the law relating to agreements including those in anticipation of divorce.
The bailii report of the judgment is here:
1st of February 2014 will mark the entry into force of the formal arrangement under Hague between the Republic of Korea and China, for and on behalf of Hong Kong and Macau. The formal record is here:
As many of you will know by now, Japan announced last year that it will accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction on 1 April 2014, after the instrument of accession is deposited in the Dutch Foreign Ministry this month. The next process will involve the setting up of a central authority in the Foreign Ministry to handle cases under the Convention. The report last year is here:
From God’s Own Country, under the relatively new leadership of a former seminarian, Tony Abbott, comes a scheme to encourage couples, in particular those newly married, to engage in counselling to support and strengthen relationships. The Federal Government initiative will provide a subsidy of $200 for couples and will cover couples about to marry, as well as those in same sex relationships. http://www.familylawmattersaustralia.com.au/federal-government-offers-newlyweds-200-voucher-attend-marriage-counselling
The FLA is pleased to announce that the Honourable Mr. Justice Hartmann NPJ of the Court of Final Appeal, has accepted an invitation to speak and share a little of his vast experience of family law. An event not to be missed.
The Flyer: FLA – Flyer(final)(10 02 2014)(Hartmann)
An interesting development from England, where the UK Supreme Court has ruled in LC (Children), that when determining the question of a child’s habitual residence in cases of wrongful removal and request for summary return, the state of mind of the child, at least in the case of a mature adolescent, may be relevant to the inquiry. The Court also held that the first instance court had been wrong in declining to make the child a party to the proceedings. Lady Hale (with whom Lord Sumption agreed) went further than the majority of the Court and said that consideration of the state of mind of children in such cases should not be confined to those who have reached adolescence. She determined that the consideration should extend to the state of mind of the three older children in the case – aged 13, 11 and 9. The full judgment can be accessed here: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2014/1.html.
From the UK – a sobering report on the results of a survey of divorcing parents and their children on how the divorce had affected the children, suggesting that the parents underestimated the extent that their children had been affected by the process.
The Daily Telegraph report of the survey is here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/10541451/Warring-parents-in-denial-about-effects-of-divorce-on-children.html