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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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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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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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Gay Couple Win Custody Battle

A High Court judge has ruled that a gay couple should have custody of a baby girl rather than the surrogate mother.

The woman said they had agreed for her to be the main parent of the child, but the father, who donated sperm, said that the woman had agreed to be a surrogate for him and his partner.

It was deemed that the one-year-old should be removed from the custody of her mother and placed with her father as it was in “the best interests” of the girl.

Mr Justice Russell said: "The pregnancy was contrived with the aim of a same-sex couple having a child to form a family assisted by a friend.

"Therefore [the girl] living with [the two men] and spending time with [the woman] from time to time, fortunately, coincides with the reality of her conception and accords with [the girl's] identity and place within her family."

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Online Child Abuse Laws to End “Grey Area”

New laws are set to be passed to end a “grey area” in online child abuse in England and Wales. Under current laws it is illegal for anyone to possess explicit images of children, but not illegal to ask children to send them.

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