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John Roberts

John Roberts

John is a partner with Austin Lafferty Ltd and has been with the firm for over 10 years. He has experience in all areas of family law, including divorce and separation, adoption and contact. John believes in amicable negotiation in all his cases. This would apply both in assisting clients in finding suitable arrangements for any children and also in cases where financial settlement is the main issue of concern. In addition, John assists in legal matters relating to the death of a family member or friend, advising on the various processes required depending on whether or not the deceased made a will. He also provides advice on all aspects of conveyancing from buying a house, remortgaging or selling a property.

Blog entries tagged in Divorce

A new study from America has found that older couples run an increased risk of divorce when the wife becomes seriously ill.


A recently published report has revealed a startling rise in the number of divorces and separations taking place in Ireland.


A recent study has looked at the impact the availability of the internet has had on marriage rates, and claims that as well as facilitating the search for products to buy such as books and games, the internet has also facilitated the search for a prospective partner.


Do I need a divorce?

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

The inevitable first request on the first consultation from a client who has separated from their spouse is,’ I want a divorce’. ‘My husband or wife has left me and I need a divorce’. My response is normally that, apart from the psychological smug satisfaction and feeling of warmth a divorce may bring, it may not be needed and indeed could be an expensive, unnecessary form of therapy . But is that really what they are asking for?


More Australians are divorcing after twenty years or more of marriage, according to new data released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).


Kenya considers cohabitation bill

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

A new bill that will recognise a cohabiting relationship that has lasted six months as a legal marriage has been approved by the Kenyan cabinet, reports NewVision. Once the bill is passed by the parliament it will become law in Kenya.


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A recent survey has found that having a successful marriage and raising children are the most important life goals for the younger generation, reports the Telegraph. This contradicts the commonly held view that younger people are more interested in material possessions and career development.


Animal weddings

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

A woman in Northamptonshire has set herself up as an 'animal registrar', offering an animal 'wedding' service to devoted pet owners, reports the Daily Mail.

The basic service costs £150 a time, but according to Ann Clark, owners have been prepared to spend to £20,000 to provide their four legged friends with extras including a photographer and chauffeur driven cars.

Dogs and cats are the most common pets Ms Clark sees, although she recently 'married' a pair of rabbits. Owners can also opt for a same-sex 'civil ceremony' for their pets, instead of the more traditional wedding service.

Not all pets adjust well to married life however, with one owner phoning up Ms Clark to inform her that a recently wedded pair had now grown apart.

'That has been our only divorce,' commented Ms Clark.

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A woman in India has applied to the family court to divorce her husband because he hadn't updated his Facebook status to show that he was married, reports the Daily Mail.


A recent survey of divorce lawyers in America has found that 56% of respondents reported seeing an increase in the number of mothers paying child support during the past three years, while 47% also noted a rise in women being responsible for alimony throughout the same time period.


Recent research from America has found that there has been a 50% increase in the number of adults aged 45-63 who are unmarried, compared to the same age group in 1980. One third of this age group are divorced or never married, and only 10% of unmarried boomers are widowed.

The research, from  Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research, raises the concern that as this group ages, society will have to rethink how it cares for its elderly.

“The economic and health vulnerabilities of single boomers are concerning because boomers are now moving into old age when failing health becomes even more common and severe,

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In the run up to Father's Day in June, the US Census Bureau has published a series of facts about the estimated 70.1 million fathers in America.

The data reveals that there were 24.7 million fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2011.

It also reveals that there were 1.7 million single fathers, and around 15% or all single parents in America were men. Around 45% of these single fathers were divorced, 31% were never married, 19% were separated, and 5% were widowed.

Custodial fathers in 2009 were due $3.5 billion in child support, but received only $1.9 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $19.5 billion of the $31.7 billion in support that was due. Around 34% of custodial fathers received all child support that was due in 2009, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 42%.

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A recent study from America has advised couples that regularly finding time to spend together on a 'date night' will bring real benefit to their relationship.  

The report found that married or cohabiting couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another.

The report, from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, also found that "couple time" is particularly valuable for couples who are less integrated into the local civic or religious fabric of their communities or for those less committed to one another.

"Taking time for your relationship – whether outside the home or inside the home – is good for your relationship health," said report co-author W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project. "This isn't rocket science, but it's an important reminder."

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New research from America has found that the wellbeing of people is heavily influenced by whether they are married or divorced.

The survey, by Gallup, found that the Americans with the highest wellbeing score (68.8) were married. People who were divorced scored much lower (59.7), whilst the group with the lowest well-being score over all were people who were separated (55.9).

The research also tracked the wellbeing of people who were single (65.0), cohabiting (63.3), or whose partner had died (63.5).

The report does not suggest a definitive explanation for these results, but suggests that people who have a higher well-being score generally may be more likely to choose marriage than those with a lower well-being score. It also suggests that marriage can bring financial and other economic benefits for couples, whereas ending a marriage usually has negative economic consequences for people, which would affect their wellbeing score.

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A recent study in Canada has found that people may be subconsciously influenced by how long they think they will live when making major life decisions such as marriage, divorce, abortion, having a child and attending university.

It is impossible to know how long someone is going to live, but there are many life expectancy cues not consciously processed, affecting how many more years people expect to live. These can include a person's state of health, a family's medical history or whether they have a high risk job.

The study, by researchers at Queens's University, found that the longer someone expects to live, the more time they will invest in education. If life expectancy is short, someone may decide to get married and have children sooner, or stick with the partner they are currently with rather than seek a divorce.

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The Registrar General has published preliminary births, deaths and other vital events figures for 2011.

The number of deaths in Scotland fell to 53,661 in 2011, the lowest number since records began in 1855. This was 306 (0.6%) fewer than in 2010, and 195 (0.4%) below the previous lowest number (which was 53,856 in 2009).

The number of births registered in 2011 was 58,592 – 199 (0.3%) fewer than in 2010. The figures also show that 51% of births were to unmarried parents, the highest percentage recorded. There were 29,135 marriages in 2011 – 655 (2.3%) more than in 2010 and the highest figure since 2007.

Commenting on the provisional totals of vital events registered during 2011, Registrar General for Scotland George MacKenzie said:

“The preliminary number of divorces reported to us has again fallen slightly, this time to 9,814, though the final figure may be a little higher once we get all the late returns. The decline is not unexpected. We have seen a drop in the number of divorces each year since a peak in 2006 when the Family Law (Scotland) Act reduced separation periods.

“There were increases in the numbers of stillbirths, infant deaths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships formed and civil partnerships dissolved.

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March is the new Divorce Month

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

For many years, January was widely considered "Divorce Month" by divorce attorneys who experienced a dramatic upturn in business immediately following the holiday season.

However, according to a new analysis of divorce filings and searches for divorce-related information on the Internet, March is the true "Divorce Month" in America.

According to American company FindLaw, searches for "divorce" and related phrases such as "family law" and "child custody" jumped 50% from just over 10,000 in December 2010, to nearly 16,000 in January 2011, and continued to surge through March.

Along these same lines, analysis of divorce filings across the U.S. between 2008 and 2011 revealed that divorces spike in January, continue to rise and peak in late March.

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A recent survey has found that more and more single women would rather date an older divorced man than a man younger than then.

The study, by, has found that these women, nicknamed 'Pumas' because of their interest in Previously Married and Attractive men, see a number of advantages in divorced men.

Around 12% of women in the survey say that men who have been married before have better experience at relationships, and 8% feel they are more sensitive to a woman's needs. Around 7% of women questioned liked the fact that divorced men have demonstrated an ability to make a serious commitment.

More than a third (36%) don't care if a man is divorced as long as he is interesting, and a fifth (18%) aren't interested in his relationship history as long as he's attractive.

A quarter of women also admit they're not put-off by children from another relationship (24%).


Hits: 17483 Continue reading

UK is a nation of supportive partners

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

Partners provide a vital source of positive emotional support for the vast majority of people in the UK. Nine out of ten people who were married or cohabiting talk to their partner about their worries, according to data from Understanding Society, the world’s largest longitudinal household study of 40,000 UK households. Around 94% of those surveyed rely on their partner for support when a problem crops up.

As part of the Understanding Society study of 40,000 UK households, researchers asked people how much personal and emotional support they felt they received from not only their spouse/partner, but also other family members and friends. Respondents were also asked to rate negative support from their partner, other family members and friends including how much they felt criticised and let down by those people.

“Spouses or partners were largely described as providing positive support,

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Over £6.5 million of Lottery money is to be spent on supporting families living with domestic abuse across Scotland.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery Good Cause distributors, has announced a package of funding worth £6,494,961 to 18 projects across Scotland. This funding means there will be greater access to proven support services for women and families who have lived through domestic abuse.

There are currently 50,000 recorded incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland each year and Scottish Women’s Aid believes that one in five women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

Heather Coady, Children’s Policy Manager at Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) said: “Scottish Women’s Aid welcomes the news that the Big Lottery Fund has funded domestic abuse projects across Scotland to the tune of £6.5 million. This is a significant injection of cash towards an area of work that supports vulnerable women, children and young people living with the trauma of domestic abuse and recognition that this is an area desperately in need of funding.

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