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solicitor hamilton - The Austin Lafferty Solicitors & Estate Agents Blog

The Austin Lafferty Solicitors & Estate Agents Blog

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A senior Conservative Peer has announced his intention to challenge the Government's plans to charge single parents to use the future Child Support Agency.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who as Margaret Thatcher’s Lord Chancellor introduced the Child Support Act 1991, has tabled an amendment that would exempt from the charges those parents who have no alternative but to use the statutory maintenance service, because private arrangements are not possible or appropriate. The amendment is due to go to a vote on Wednesday 25th January.

The amendment would prevent the Government imposing the following charges on parents who turn to the statutory maintenance service because, without its help, their children would not receive fair and regular child maintenance:

• An up-front application charge levied on the applicant (overwhelmingly ‘parents with care’, around 97% of whom are mothers) in order to use the future new Agency. The Government is discussing a charge of 100 or £50 for an applicant on benefits.

• A ‘collection charge’ taken by the Agency from each maintenance payment it collects, in the range of 7-12% of the payment, before the money is passed on for the child/children.

There is a further ‘collection surcharge’ which the Government proposes to levy on the ‘non-resident parent’, additional to actual maintenance due, in the range 15-20% of the maintenance liability, where the Agency has to step in to collect the maintenance to ensure it gets paid. This would not be affected by the amendment.

Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said:

“We are very grateful to Lord Mackay for taking up this vital issue in the Lords, and the indications of support he has received so far show the high level of cross-party concern at the government’s proposals.

“We fully support efforts to help separated parents work together to deal with the financial, emotional and practical consequences of separation. But the government needs to realise that in very many cases that isn’t possible, and if charges are introduced then it will be children who lose out.

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World's oldest divorcing couple?

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

A couple from Italy who are to divorce at the ages of 99 and 96 look set to become the world's oldest divorcees, a record previously held by a British couple who were both aged 98 when they divorced, reports the Telegraph.

The marriage of the Italian couple had not been without its problems, but the final blow came when the 99-year-old man found old letters indicating that his wife had had an affair during the 1940s. Despite the amount of time that had passed, he immediately requested a divorce, bringing an end to 77 years of marriage.


Barnardo’s Scotland is issuing a desperate plea for people to put themselves forward as potential foster carers – particularly for older children.

While there is considerable focus on placing babies and younger children, the charity highlights the needs of older children. There needs to be a range of placements so that the system works for all children and young people.

Barnardo’s Scotland acting director, SallyAnn Kelly, said:

“All children and young people deserve and need a loving home in order to thrive. We urgently need more people to consider becoming foster parents to children over the age of ten.

We know from our experience that older children in care can need extra support. They need carers who can help them overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties, and provide much needed stability.

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Recent research from America has found that around two thirds of cohabiting couples were put off marriage because of concerns about dealing with the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of a possible divorce.


More support for child witnesses

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

A recent study into family formation by researchers at Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research’s (NCFMR) has found that the majority (61%) of young adults have formed a family by age 25.


The Registrar General for Scotland has published provisional figures for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships registered during the third quarter of 2011.


Increasingly diverse family structures

Posted by on in Family Law and Divorce

Research from the Centre for the Modern Family, a new think tank launched by Scottish Widows to improve the understanding of the challenges facing modern British families, has revealed that just 16% of people define themselves as part of a ‘traditional’ family of two married parents living together with two or more children. Instead, the findings indicate family structures are becoming increasingly diverse. A quarter of all couples are childless, and one in five lives alone.

Some of the most striking research findings centre on people’s attitudes to what constitutes a “proper family

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