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Rise in Charities Named in Wills

Recent analysis from the organisation, Remember a Charity, and the law firm, Smee & Ford, has revealed that more and more people are deciding to name a charity in their will.

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Senior Judge Says Online Divorce Will be Available by 2017

One of the UK’s most senior family law judges has said that couples may be able to complete their divorces online by 2017.

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Couples Urged to Think About a Cohabitation Agreement

A woman who lived with a married man has won a court battle to inherit his half of the house they shared.

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Heterosexual Couple Fail in Civil Partnership Bid

A heterosexual couple who wanted to enter into a civil partnership have lost their case. Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39 were seeking a judicial review of the law but this was refused by the judge, Mrs Justice Andrews. The couple have been together for over five years and have an eight-month-old baby.

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Gary Lineker Granted a "Quickie" Divorce

Last week the Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker divorced his wife of 6 years, Danielle Bux. This was Lineker’s second marriage, having split from the mother of his children, Michelle Cockayne, after 20 years of marriage.

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UK Government Divorce Software Glitch

Reports emerged last week of a glitch with an online government divorce settlement form that may have affected as many as 20,000 people.

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Inheritance Tax “Too Toxic” to Save According to Thinktank

A thinktank has proposed that inheritance tax should be scrapped after finding that opposition to the levy from across the political spectrum means it is simply “too toxic” to save.

The suggestions come from the Fabian Society said that the evidence they had collected following the General Election suggested that many voters, regardless of political allegiance were equally opposed to inheritance tax. Research shows that many of those questioned believed that such a tax was unfair and instead called for the current rules to be replaced by the levying of income tax on gifts and bequests.

General secretary of the Fabian Society, Andrew Harrop said that the results of an across the board opposition to inheritance tax were surprising. He said: “The public see the value of the tax system, and they want it to be fairer, simpler and more progressive.

“But some taxes are now beyond the pale, even for people who are supportive of progressive measures. Inheritance tax is seen as unfair and insensitive even by left-leaning voters, and has become too toxic to save.”

Harrop also added that he believed that levying income tax on those receiving inheritances would be a good alternative to inheritance tax. Currently under Government reforms pensions can be inherited but those benefiting have to pay income tax.

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Use of Family Mediation can Prevent Holiday Disputes

A family charity has urged separated parents to use mediation to sort arrangements for childcare before the holiday period to reduce the chance of conflict over Christmas.

The National Family Mediation (NFM) charity have called on separated parents to work out a simple parenting plan before the holiday season to avoid disputes on child care over Christmas.

The charity, which helps families reach post-separation agreements on parenting, property and finance, has warned of the stress that Christmas can with the holiday season often highlighting issues with court-approved settlements and living arrangements. According to the organisation, arrangements that work throughout the year can be exposed and prove to be ineffective over Christmas.

The charity stated that family mediation could be an effective way to manage the holiday season for separated couples and that a simple family plan could provide clarification in advance for both parents, thus reducing the risk of conflict and distress over Christmas and New Year.

Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation said: “Living arrangements that work well all year can be exposed as inadequate. And there can be turmoil for pick-ups and drop-offs when children need to visit relatives they haven’t seen for the past year.”

“A positive parenting plan, agreed by both parents, is easier to achieve than many people think.

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Rise in Elderly Divorces Across UK

A study has revealed that there has been a substantial increase in the number of people obtaining a divorce after the age of 60 than ever before.

The rise of the number of people obtaining a divorce later on in life certainly does not appear to be a new trend with the number of people getting divorced after 60 rising since the early 1990s. The continued rise in those aged 60 plus obtaining a divorce comes despite the decline in the number of divorces seen in the rest of the UK age demographics.

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Prenups Driven by Property Boom According to Study

Research carried out by a law firm have found that more and more parents want a prenuptial agreement for their children after helping them buy a property.

According to experts, more children are relying on their parents to help them get on the property ladder that in turn has led to parents wishing to protect their children and their assets in the form of a prenuptial agreement.

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Over 15,000 Same-Sex Marriages Since Law Change

More than 15,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in England and Wales since the law was changed according to official figures.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics revealed that a total of 15,098 couples had legally married since 2014. Of the 15,098 couple that had married, 7,366 were marriages while 7,732 accounted for conversions from civil partnerships. 55% of the marriages were between two females with 45% being between male couples.

The number of partners wishing to obtain a civil partnership fell by 70% between 2013 and 2014. Same-sex marriage in England became legal at the end of March in 2014.

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The Best Ways to Protect Your Will

A landmark case this year saw Heather Ilott awarded a third of her mother’s inheritance despite being excluded from her will. Challenging an inheritance or a will has become exceptionally common in recent years with the number of challenges reaching the High Court rising by 80% in the last year.

Last year 178 cases went to the High Court, matching a high seen in 2007, with property prices cited as one of the main reasons for challenges to wills. However, there are other factors that are responsible for challenging wills, such as family feuds or fallouts. Despite the increase in the number of challenges, there are many steps you can take to try and limit a challenge to your will.

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Brendan Rodgers in Court to Finalise Divorce

Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers has been in court in an attempt to finalise his multi-million-pound divorce from his wife of thirteen years.

It has been revealed that one of the stumbling blocks for the divorce is the 102 properties that the couple own, with the buy-to-let empire set to be valued as part of the financial settlement. According to some legal sources, Mrs Rodgers who has two children with the current Anfield boss is seeking half of her husband's wealth. Rodgers, who is set to remain as the Liverpool boss until 2018, earns at least £5 million per year prior to bonuses, and will earn at least £20 million by the time his contract expires.

Using this capital the manager has also built a massive rental property empire with his business partner Judith O’Hagan. For an accurate settlement to be found, the court is valuing the houses and assessing how much his soon to be ex-wife could be entitled to.

Mrs Rodgers went before a family court in London asking for a ruling on the amount of maintenance she should receive from her ex-husband. Her lawyer said: “Susan is saddened that after a relationship spanning 24 years she had to go to court to secure sufficient maintenance from her husband.”

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Adopted Girl Wins Landmark Case

An adopted 14-year-old girl has won a landmark case to return to her biological family in what is being dubbed a “highly exceptional” ruling.

As a result of the ruling the adoptive order that was set up ten years ago has since been revoked and the teenager has also been able to change her surname to that of her birth mother.

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Campaign to Update UK Adultery Laws

A woman is campaigning to update the adultery laws and the grounds for divorce in the UK after she was unable to divorce her husband citing adultery.

The woman, who spoke to a BBC Radio Four show stated that when she contacted her lawyer to begin divorce proceedings on grounds of adultery against her husband who had been having an affair, she was unable to as he had only had an affair with members of the same sex. Under UK law adultery can only occur with a member of the opposite sex and must involve vaginal intercourse. Therefore, she was unable to divorce her husband on said grounds.

Following the breakdown of her marriage of over 20 years, the woman was forced to cite unreasonable behaviour as the reason for the divorce.

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Woman Omitted From Mother’s Will wins £164,000

A woman who was left out of her mother’s will has been awarded £164,000 after she took the case to the Court of Appeal in what many are deeming a landmark case.

Heather Ilott took legal action after she was left out of her mother’s will who left her £486,000 estate to a number of animal charities rather than her only daughter. Melita Jackson who died in 2004 had little connection to these charities but did not leave a penny to her only daughter after they had fallen out when Mrs Ilott had eloped at the age of 17.

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Support System for Care Leavers Not Working

The National Audit Office have stated that the system for supporting young people when they leave care is not working effectively.

Despite a system and a legal framework being in place and an inspection unit, the number of care leavers obtaining employment, education and training has fallen significantly since 2007. According to the National Audit Office report, states that in 2013-14, over 10,000 young people aged over 16 left care, a significant increase of almost 50% since 2003-04. Furthermore, the report found that 33% of those aged 16 or over who left care did so before they turned 18.

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Celebrity Couple Announce Divorce

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have announced their divorce in a joint statement the day after their tenth wedding anniversary.

The Hollywood A-listers who married in 2005 have three children and according to many media outlets are worth over $150 million. However, according to numerous sources, although Affleck will live on the same property as his former wife to take care of the children, the couple have no prenuptial agreement in place.

Reports indicate that the couple will liaise with business managers and use a mediator when negotiating the terms of their divorce. The negotiation could be drawn out due to the high number of properties owned by the couple, the success of both individuals and other factors such as syndication income. Despite the potential negotiation, the couple will share custody of their children.

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New Divorce Centres Aim to Finalise Divorce in 48 Hours

According to The Times, divorce centres will open in England and Wales that will aim to make getting a divorce as easy as obtaining a TV licence.

The move will effectively allow couples to get an “over the counter” divorce with the 120,000 seen in the UK being taken out of the UK court system and away from the public eye. The centres will aim to conclude a divorce in 48 hours and handle the vast majority of UK cases with the vast amount of paperwork being dealt with by administrators rather than judges.

Under the current divorce system in England and Wales, uncontested divorces cost around £400 and last on average 33 weeks.

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UK Supreme Court To Rule Over Fraud In Divorces

An appeal has been launched by two women who stated that they were tricked into accepting sub-par divorce settlements due to their former husbands lying about their wealth.

Varsha Gohil and Alison Sharland are both seeking to reopen their case as they felt that they were duped into taking a settlement offer after their former husbands misled them and the court. This week the cases have been reexamined by the Supreme Court with a judgement expected in the next year.

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