New online survey shows significant rise in popularity of Marital Property Agreements (MPAs)

With the Law Commission proposing that marital property agreements (MPAs), covering pre and post-nuptial agreements, should be legally binding only last month, it is a fitting time to publish the results of a survey that has been undertaken (by Alex Porter, who announced the statistics first in full here) which analysed the work of legal professionals involved with MPAs. This project is part of a major study led by Dr Laure Sauvé from the University of Essex, School of Law. Her project will analyse the latest report by the Law Commission using a comparative approach. She is currently exploring the differences between English and French laws.

Increase of 73% in use of Marital Property Agreements UK

The online survey has shown that the popularity of MPAs is on the rise with an increase of 73% in their use over a 20 year period. In the last year 79% of respondents completed between one and five MPAs per month.

Little Application of MPAs in Court

It also revealed that very few MPAs are applied in full once they get to court: just 5% of respondents said courts applied the details of the MPA in full; 76% said courts applied the details of MPAs in part; and 19% said courts had not applied any details of MPAs. In terms of how many cases actually end up in court 40% of participants said they did not represent any MPA cases in court per annum, and 40% said they represent between 1 and 5 per annum. The level of litigation is therefore quite low against how many MPAs are being completed.

Those completing MPAs are mostly very wealthy. Looking at levels of capital and starting with women, the majority, 37% had between £25,001 and £100k, 23% had between £100k and £250k and 10% had over £250k.  Men completing MPAs had a substantially more capital, 30% had between £100k and £250k and the majority, 53%, had over £250k.

This means that 33% of women had over £100k in capital but 83% of men had over £100k. It is no surprise that most cases that go to court are big money cases as the majority of those who want MPAs are very wealthy.

The Law Commission is recommending qualifying MPAs be put into statute and the participants of this survey mostly agreed. 69% thought that MPAs should be binging on the courts so long as there were adequate safeguards. Only 7% thought they should not be binding and 24% were undecided. However an interesting anomaly is that 55% of participants thought there would be more litigation on the basis of misrepresentation or undue influence if MPAs were binding, so for law firms it is a win win situation, especially as the price of a MPA ranges between £350 and £20,000.

Not unsurprisingly 72% said they now advertise MPAs as they have become more popular. The use of MPA will no doubt continue to rise and whether or not there is a rise in litigation will surface in due course. Either way the extra revenue will be a welcome relief for family lawyers with the recent legal aid cuts.

The full results are available at: http://internschooloflaw.wix.com/mpasurvey#

 

Image credit: Richard G via Flickr

Your Other Last Resorts – Things To Try Before Trying Divorce

Getting a divorce is an incredibly serious decision and should be treated as such. This is a last resort that will tear apart your family, destroy your dreams for the future and put an end to what’s probably the most important relationship in your life.

Of course though sometimes divorce can seem like the only resort if you are constantly arguing and if you’re making each other unhappy rather than happier, or if you just don’t feel the love that you used to for that person anymore.

Often though there are other options even though it might not feel that way – you just have to be willing to try anything. Here we will look at some of the other things to try before you give up on your relationships once and for all.

Counselling

Marriage counselling is something that can seem abhorrent to many people who maybe see it as potentially awkward, forced or embarrassing, or who perhaps lack faith in the whole concept.

Even if you don’t love the sounds of it though, you should always give counselling ago, just so that you can say you’ve tried everything. You may be surprised at just how insightful some counsellors can be, but more to the point you’ll find it sends an important message to your partner that you don’t want to give up.

You may also find that individual counselling can help. While you probably don’t see your dispute as your fault, it does take two to tango and if you aren’t happy in your relationship then this is going to come across in the way you deal with one another. Consider getting counselling then in order to deal with any issues that may be manifesting themselves in your relationships.

Time Apart

Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. If you wait until your divorce has gone through to realise this though then it’s of course going to be a little too late. Instead then, try spending some time apart from one another before you reach that point and see how much you find yourself missing your partner. At the same time, spending time on your own can help you to work through your problems and to gain perspective. Sometimes we just need some ‘space’ and some time to think, and going away for a few days can help us to come back with a new game plan, a new sense of perspective and a better idea of what you want from your relationship and from your partner.

Talking Frankly

On other occasions though, this is something you’ll need to talk through together. If there are things each of you are unhappy with, then simply raising your concerns with one another can make you more likely to come to a conclusion. Try listing the things you are unhappy with for instance, and explaining why you feel the way you do. Too many of us avoid honest, frank discussion because we don’t want it to turn into an argument, and ironically this will often mean that when those issues finally do come to the surface, they end up being much more intense and degenerating into a full blown argument where both parties lose their cool.

If you try to ‘re-draw’ the terms of your relationship, you can change things that you’re both unhappy with, or just introduce new rules and ideas to try and make things easier. Perhaps for the sake of your children, agreeing to maintain a friendly relationship but sleep in different rooms could be a workable solution and this could eventually lead to a rekindling.

The Other Issues

Sometimes a marriage or a relationship can be doomed by circumstances outside of your control. For instance, if you are both very stressed by your careers, your living arrangements, or illnesses in the family, then this might mean that you end up arguing and feeling very tense when actually you could have been perfectly happy together.

If you suspect this might be the case, then see if changing your circumstances can help to make your relationship easier again. Perhaps you could move somewhere new, or maybe you could address your careers. This is of course a lengthy process though, so to find out more quickly if this is indeed the cause of your problems, try taking time off to go on holiday together and see if you can re-find your rhythm.

Featured images:
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Beatrice Mackenzie is a regular blogger. She gives relationship tips and advice on her blog. She says choosing a divorce law firm can be a overwhelming task but with little patience and guidance anything is possible.

“FRAPED!” – Is it a grounds for divorce?

“Fraped”. Adj. the act of posting on someone else’s ‘Facebook’ page, often as a result of leaving your profile open or poor password protection

It’s been going on for ever. Childhood sweethearts reunited after many years apart rekindle an old relationship and cause pain and upset to their current partners, possibly leading to a separation or divorce. In the late 1990’s this issue became more prevalent in divorce cases with the advent of early social networking sites such as “Friends Reunited”. Dwarfed now by Twitter and Facebook, the involvement of social networking has been cited increasingly in divorce cases. Some recent surveys in US and UK show that Facebook is now referred to in some way in between a quarter and a third of cases.

Keep it private

It isn’t always old flames that cause problems on Facebook. Flirting with new friends and strangers on your laptop or handheld can cause ructions in relationships especially if your activity is not as private as you thought it might be. Failing to log out of your profile leaves it open for snooping and for others to post on your behalf. Known as “fraping”, this activity can be innocent and fun or dangerous and offensive.  Many examples of exposing the misdemeanours of others exist online. These are normally easy to spot but beware the imposter who can easily post on your behalf.

The exposure of a partners fling or unreasonable behaviour – proper grounds for divorce – are increasingly taking place online. This practice is also rife on twitter where revelations involving celebrities activities have been the subject of debate for some time.

But my password is safe, isn’t it?

Taking good care of protecting your profile is one thing. But how safe is the information that you store? A judge in America recently ordered that a divorcing couple hand over their facebook passwords to each other’s lawyers as it was believed that the profiles contained information that was essential to the case. The injunction included an obligation on the spouses not to post on their former partners page. Despite contravening facebook’s own privacy policy, this sets an interesting precedent adding a whole new dimension to evidence gathering in divorce cases.

Don’t want to get caught. Don’t do it!

Controlling the flow of information is almost impossible in the instant messaging, micro blogging, always connected world that we now inhabit. The only way to stop your facebook page from being used against you in a divorce court is not to do it in the first place. If you don’t want to get caught with your trousers down don’t post it on your facebook page.

If you’re going to share any information on your facebook page, please do share this!

Solve Your Divorce Issues by Choosing the Best Family Lawyer

Divorce and other family issues can get very frustrating and messy. Whether you are going through an uncontested or contested divorce, some matters will arise that will need an expert to resolve them. Some couples may consider representing themselves during the divorce proceedings, but the presence and services of a family lawyer can significantly reduce the stress and problems that might occur during the procedure.

Family lawyers can not only represent you in the court but also provide legal assistance and advice to both parties in order to settle divorce issues. Simply put, the services of a family lawyer can help ensure that all decisions pertaining to the divorce are made properly and with the acceptance of both parties.  Here are some ways in which family lawyers help:

Providing legal advice on annulments and divorce

A family lawyer can offer legal advice and explanations of the circumstances under which a couple may seek divorce after a separation. Some states have laws that require for the filing of annulment under certain situations and within a certain period of time after the marriage, and a family lawyer’s advice and services are needed to understand and follow these laws.

Making all the courthouse presentations and filings

There are various laws at federal, state, and municipal levels regarding divorce proceedings and filings, and a family lawyer can ensure that the necessary pleadings and documents are filed properly. They can also represent you in court and put in favorable light through beneficial evidence and testimony, as well as prevent your spouse from presenting irrelevant, false, or misleading information.

Assistance during property division proceedings

It helps to maintain separate debts and accounts as some amount of protection during a divorce, but it is not enough. There are several federal and state laws that define marital property and the separation of this property, and your family lawyer can not only explain these laws but also tell you how it applies to your particular situation.

Helping through child custody and visitation proceedings

Child custody and visitation issues are determined by the various laws and procedures in various states, and family lawyers can explain the procedure in your state, what the laws are, and what your parenting rights are after entering a court order.

Guiding you through child support issues

Once again, the rules and procedures for determining the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent can vary with each state. Your family lawyer can advise about the procedure in your state and the calculations used to determine child support obligations. He or she can also explain the additions and deductions that can be expected to your child support obligation.

About the author: Guest post from a family law blogger – find services of a family lawyer here

Some things you didn’t know about your finances during a divorce

Guest family law blog post regarding finances and divorce.

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time emotionally never mind debating who is going to get the house, the car and even the cat. One of the most argued elements of a divorce will always be the finances regardless of how much or how little that couple had. Here are some things you might not have known when it comes to divorce proceedings and your finances.

First steps and temporary agreements                                                                                                                      

Self-divorce, divorce legal adviceNormally before any divorce proceedings take place there will be a separation period for both partners. During this time it can be difficult to support yourself, especially if your partner was the one bringing home the majority of the household earnings. You can apply to the court for interim maintenance or maintenance pending suit if you were married or in a civil partnership. This can be quite costly and the legal costs may be more than you are awarded so it is always worth talking to a legal advisor before making a decision on this. It may be that your partner is willing to make some kind of arrangement for maintenance payments before divorce proceedings go through.

Financial settlements

One of the most cost effective way to agree on a financial settlement is to do it between you and your partner, as opposed to involving mediators, lawyers or even going to court. If this can be done then you will find the break up to be a lot easier and also save you plenty of money on legal aid. If you make an agreement between the two of you then it is not necessarily legally binding. There are some ways to ensure that your financial settlement is more formal and would therefore stand up in court. Make sure that you write down the agreements that you have made together and take this to a solicitor for their advice. The solicitor can then send this agreement to a county court judge who will make a decision based on how fair they feel it is. As long as the outcome is ‘fair’ to both of you and you both have had independent legal advice then it is much more likely to be accepted.                                                                                                           

Lump sums                                                                                                           

In most divorce casMoney and divorcees there will be a maintenance payment and perhaps a lump sum of money from one partner to another. This could be to share the assets more fairly between partners, to enable one partner to purchase a house to live in or a lump sum to replace ongoing maintenance payments. A capital lump sum will tend to be paid in one go and can enable a ‘clean break’ so that partners no longer have to communicate. The best thing to do with a lump sum settlement is talk to an accountant who will be able to advise you further on investing the money wisely.

Hopefully this article will have touched upon some points that may have been unclear when you first start divorce proceedings. Remember to ask for legal help when needed and also seek the advice of an accountant if large sums of money are involved.

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Some things you didn’t know about your finances during a divorce

 

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time emotionally never mind debating who is going to get the house, the car and even the cat. One of the most argued elements of a divorce will always be the finances regardless of how much or how little that couple had. Here are some things you might not have known when it comes to divorce proceedings and your finances.

First steps and temporary agreements

Normally before any divorce proceedings take place there will be a separation period for both partners. During this time it can be difficult to support yourself, especially if your partner was the one bringing home the majority of the household earnings. You can apply to the court for interim maintenance or maintenance pending suit if you were married or in a civil partnership. This can be quite costly and the legal costs may be more than you are awarded so it is always worth talking to a legal advisor before making a decision on this. It may be that your partner is willing to make some kind of arrangement for maintenance payments before divorce proceedings go through.

Financial settlements

 

One of the most cost effective way to agree on a financial settlement is to do it between you and your partner, as opposed to involving mediators, lawyers or even going to court. If this can be done then you will find the break up to be a lot easier and also save you plenty of money on legal aid. If you make an agreement between the two of you then it is not necessarily legally binding. There are some ways to ensure that your financial settlement is more formal and would therefore stand up in court. Make sure that you write down the agreements that you have made together and take this to a solicitor for their advice. The solicitor can then send this agreement to a county court judge who will make a decision based on how fair they feel it is. As long as the outcome is ‘fair’ to both of you and you both have had independent legal advice then it is much more likely to be accepted.

                                                                                                           

Lump sums

                                                                                      

In most divorce cases there will be a maintenance payment and perhaps a lump sum of money from one partner to another. This could be to share the assets more fairly between partners, to enable one partner to purchase a house to live in or a lump sum to replace ongoing maintenance payments. A capital lump sum will tend to be paid in one go and can enable a ‘clean break’ so that partners no longer have to communicate. The best thing to do with a lump sum settlement is talk to an accountant who will be able to advise you further on investing the money wisely.

Hopefully this article will have touched upon some points that may have been unclear when you first start divorce proceedings. Remember to ask for legal help when needed and also seek the advice of an accountant if large sums of money are involved.

When is the right time to make a will?

Guest post regarding the best time to make a will.

Although it might seem morbid to think about details surrounding your own death, it is an important part of life to plan for dependents and loved ones who you would leave behind.

It can give you great peace of mind to know that family members will be looked after if the worst happens and this is why many people take out life insurance plans and other financial arrangements.

However, the most important thing that needs to be in place is something that many people neglect or feel is unnecessary.

Making a will is actually straightforward and something that everybody should have in place. If you die without a will it can complicate matters or delay proceedings at a time when loved ones are going through a period of extreme stress.

When is the right time to make a will?

The answer to that is quite simple – if you don’t already have one, now is the time to make a will.

Providing clear instructions as to what happens to your estate is essential in order to provide a smooth handover to those you leave behind, and in some cases to ensure that people who you do not wish to benefit are not able to take advantage of the situation.

Probate law

The area of law concerning what happens to someone’s belongings and assets after their demise is called probate. If the deceased person does not leave a will or there are assets that are not covered by the will, this means they are legally intestate.

Executor or Administrator

When a will exists it appoints an executor who can then validly dispose of the property and the estate then goes to probate. If no will is left or any existing one is deemed invalid, administrators are appointed instead.

Both perform similar roles but if there are no instructions to follow in a valid will the administrators are obliged to distribute the estate according to the rules laid down by statute.

Absence of Heirs and Next of Kin

In rare cases of intestacy where there is no heir or next of kin in the UK, the Crown has the right to property and land.

Under the rules for distribution of estates without a will where a child under 18 would be the sole beneficiary, the Court or District Probate Registry normally appoints a minimum of two administrators.

The above is a very simple explanation of the basics surrounding wills when it comes to UK law. Anyone thinking of making a will should take advice from Co-Op Wills Services who will be able to explain how the law affects their own individual set of circumstances.

A Reputable Divorce Barrister Can Ease the Trauma of Separation

Guest blog post from a lawyer regarding the advantages of divorce barristers.

Divorce is a reality that many couples experiencing trouble in a marriage are staring at.

While it is always better, both emotionally and financially, to look at other means of resolving marital disputes, divorce remains a final solution that requires the services of a reputable divorce barrister.

Finding the Best Divorce Barrister

Divorce has become so common in the modern world that there are legal practitioners who are specialists in this form of judicial requirements. A reputable divorce barrister can even act as a mediator and help couples to arrive at solutions that need not have the finality of a divorce. Such barristers can also help to provide support from the emotional trauma that divorce can subject couples to.

It is always easy to go through the yellow pages or search over the Internet to find a good divorce barrister. However, it makes more sense to ask among friends and acquaintances that have gone through these actions as their personal experience will be something that can be easily related to. Legal advisors can also be a source of finding the best divorce barrister who can take a couple through the proceedings.

The experience of the chosen barrister can go a long way to easing the problems that come with divorce. Quite often, property, businesses and children can become the messy part of a divorce which needs extreme patience and time to sort out – and this is where an experienced lawyer will be of enormous help and will be able to steer you through the pitfalls and quagmire of divorce.

The divorce barrister you choose must be trained to practice so ensure that he or she has the right qualifications, certifications and licenses.

Ensuring You Get the Best from a Reputable Divorce Barrister

It is quite often necessary for both parties in a divorce suit to appoint their own lawyers or barristers. It is necessary to ensure that the chosen legal help has only your interest at heart and is in no way connected or known to the opposing parties. Discuss all aspects of the case with the barrister, especially those dealing with property division and child custody.

It is necessary that the attorney who has taken up your case is completely aware of all the facts of the case. This will enable the barrister to draw up ways to fight the case and also be sure that he or she is fully aware of the likely defence of the opposing counsel.

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Keith Cronin is a lawyer with a passion for sharing his knowledge. Keith has contributed this guest article on behalf of Stobart Barristers.

Ruling Ignoring the Safety of the Family?

Guest post from family law solicitors. 

The Government is planning on protecting the rights of divorced parents to see their children, which is putting victims of domestic violence in danger; not to mention, their children too. With shared parenting as a priority, the welfare of domestic violence victims is routinely ignored. The failings of the family court system are such that vulnerable men and women are frequently placed in unsafe environments where they’re open to intimidation from their violent ex-partners.

52% of women who’ve suffered from an abusive relationship are subject to cross-examination from their violent exes, who have chosen to represent themselves in court. Obviously this can be an emotionally traumatic experience for many people women and men who’ve previously been bullied and intimidated by their ex-partner.

Extortionate Costs

In fact, it can be equally as distressing to be the cross-examiner of previous abusive partners, and with the heady costs of hiring a lawyer hanging over their heads, can victims of domestic violence afford legal fees, especially if they’re struggling to raise a child? With coalition plans to reduce the amount of court benefits low-earners receive, this could mean many abuse victims are forced to represent themselves in court, with absolutely no legal training.

Severe Lack of Protection

There have been cases of abuse victims being intimidated with prolonged staring in the waiting room, as well as being forced to attend mediation sessions with ex-partners that are under restraining orders. When there are protective measures in place, why are they being ignored in a court of family law?

Many domestic violence victims complain of their concerns being sidelined and ignored by the court, dismissed as inconsequential when it comes to shared parenting, even though the children are the best weapons an abuser has to ensure access to his or her previous victims. Also, a violent or abusive person is not an ideal candidate for mother or father of the year, and it seems likely that the child’s welfare would also be in jeopardy.

Fathers’ Rights Groups

Yet Fathers’ Rights Groups have been protesting against the hostility towards protected shared parenting, calling it ‘scaremongering’ and insisting that false accusations keep fathers away from their children. Unless the accusations have been proven by court, there should be no reason to listen to abuse charges.

With 93% of residencies awarded to mothers, Fathers’ Rights Groups need all the help they can get. However, fathers stand to gain by abuse protection in the family court too, as more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male. If you can, please do contact a divorce solicitor in Liverpool, as they could make or break your case.

There have been cases where parents on the sex offender’s list have been allowed to enter a family court of law to argue their case for the custody of children. In this situation a husband had raped and duct taped a 14 year old girl and had been charged with an assault against his ex-partner. For years, he stalked his partner, before taking her to court, and it took a social services independent report to eventually deem the man as ‘dangerous to children!’ He is still free to reapply to the courts for child custody.

Produced by Denver working with Hughes Carlisle divorce solicitors who specialise in a range of other legal disciplines, providing an opinion on current topics which are affecting families throughout the country.

Is Alimony Still a Reasonable Concept?

Guest post from US family law bloggers.

Despite the salary inequalities that still persist between men and women, many modern-day wives are working alongside their husbands. Some women even earn more. You might wonder why we still have alimony, where the ex-husband pays a monthly sum to the ex-wife. Some people argue that alimony should be a thing of the past, while others feel that it’s still an valid law.

An important point that can’t be overlooked when discussing the relevancy of alimony in today’s culture is that it is not necessarily the responsibility of the husband. Alimony is a court-ordered duty of the top earner in the marriage. The difference in the earnings of the two spouses has to be significant for alimony to be decreed. However, both historically and traditionally, the male has been the one to pay the alimony bills. Judges have consistently awarded alimony to the female, even in cases where both ex-spouses had jobs during the marriage.

Today, many family court justices are working on adapting the law so that alimony isn’t set up as an unfair burden on men, but as a fair distribution of martial property.

How did alimony come to be? In the past, women were not allowed to own property. Thus, in a marriage, all the land and property were owned solely by the husband and never the wife. And in cases of divorce, the ex-husband would keep everything and the ex-wife would be left with nothing. Alimony was established as a way for the ex-wife to be able to survive after divorce.

Obviously, the circumstances have changed today. Martial property is usually divided equally between two parties in a divorce and if there are children, the home is often given to the ex-wife on the grounds that it would be less traumatic for the kids. The more you look at it, the more it seems like alimony should become obsolete.

On the other hand, you could argue that women are still at a disadvantage after a divorce. Even today, many wives choose to leave the workforce in order to stay home and raise children. Some of them move across the country when their husband gets a new job and leave their career behind. After years and years of contributing to the marriage through raising kids, taking care of the home, and managing the finances, should these women be left with no career prospects and no monthly income when divorce happens? Alimony helps level the playing field and allows these women to continue living on as they have before.

What about husbands who took on the stay-at-home role? They probably would benefit from alimony payments from their ex-wives as much as a woman would.

An important issue to consider is whether the ex-husband should be legally required to pay alimony for the rest of his life. Should the sentence of alimony be reduced to a certain amount of years instead, with the purpose of providing support to the women until she is able to enter the workforce and earn enough money to maintain her lifestyle?

Alimony will become a much more acceptable and fair concept if it truly becomes an equal opportunity responsibility.

About the author

This piece was written by Trevor Patterson, a freelance writer and blogger based in the greater metro area of Las Vegas, Nevada. Patterson focuses on law, politics, economics and real estate. Legal needs come in various forms; for those with needs in the area of Pedestrian Accidents be sure to consult a professional with sufficient expertise in this subfield.

Treat kinship carers like foster carers, says survey

Guest post from family lawyers based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Almost three-quarters of adults agree that kinship carers – grandparents and other family members who are bringing up a child because their parents cannot look after them – should receive similar support to foster carers, says a new nationwide poll.

Boost for kinship carers

The YouGov survey has been welcomed by charities Grandparents Plus, the Family and Parenting Institute and Family Lives, as a massive boost for the estimated 200,000 kinship carers in the UK.

It reveals that:

  • 76% of those surveyed agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive practical help from the local authority;
  • 67% agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive a financial allowance;
  • 78% agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive a financial allowance if they are on a low income; and
  • 60% agree or agree strongly that kinship carers should be entitled to a period of paid leave from work.

Wider family networks

The charities commissioned the poll in the wake of new welfare reform proposals, which they fear could impact on families who have taken on additional caring responsibilities.

“The poll findings demonstrate clear public support for a diversity of family forms in the UK and the importance of drawing on wider family networks in times of strain. Even in austere times, there is public support for valuing the enormous contribution that kinship carers make in bringing up vulnerable children,” said Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute.

Flexible working

The positive poll ratings have been followed by more good news for kinship carers, in the form of the announcement earlier this month that the Government will extend the right to request flexible working to all.

A report by Grandparents Plus last year found that 47% of kinship carers give up work when they take on the care of a child. Forty-one percent are then dependent on welfare benefits, while 60,000 have dropped out of the labour market entirely.

Flexible leave entitlements

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, welcomed the move.

“This is something that we have been calling for for some time,” she said. “Grandparents who are trying to juggle work and caring for their grandchildren are one of the key groups who will benefit.  One in four working mums rely on them for childcare.”

“The next step is to make it possible for parents to transfer unused periods of parental leave to grandparents, if that’s what families want to do,” she argued. “And to create leave entitlements for those grandparents and other family members who step into the parenting role, keeping children out of care.”

Contact Family Law Solicitors

For specialist advice, contact FLE, family lawyers based in Edinburgh, Scotland.