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The Government has laid an order in Parliament to bring the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) back under direct Ministerial control.

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said:

“The Government is clear about how important strong family relationships are for children. All children have the right to financial support from both parents, which is why we are reforming the child maintenance service to put children at its heart.

“Bringing the system under direct control of Ministers will help that process."

This matter will be debated in both Houses of Parliament, and assuming it receives Parliamentary approval, CMEC will be abolished, and its current operational units will become a business unit of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the change is proposed to be made on 31st July 2012.


A report from the think-tank, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has warned that government plans to cut child benefit for higher rate taxpayers could have negative consequences for family stability.

According to the report, couples will be deterred from marrying or cohabiting and there will be a greater risk of fraud in the benefits system. Single mothers will be particularly hard hit because they will be worse off if they marry or move in with a high-earning man.

Because of their visibility, married couples with one higher rate taxpayer will not be able to avoid losing their child benefit. Those who live together but are not married face a difficult decision. Either they will have voluntarily to inform the tax authorities of their personal arrangements or elect to commit fraud by denying the status of their relationship and continue claiming the benefit.

The CSJ says: "As there is far less clarity about when cohabitation begins, this measure discourages putting relationships on a more formal footing.

"Lone parents (often mothers) will be penalised for forming a co-residential relationship with a higher rate taxpayer, who will often be their children's father, despite the evidence about the beneficial outcomes, including greater stability for children who grow up in two-parent families."


Tackling the problem of domestic violence

Posted by on in Family Law

The Scottish Government has recently announced the opening of a dedicated domestic abuse court in Edinburgh to provide further support for victims of domestic abuse and bring offenders to court quickly.

Welcoming the move, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“Domestic abuse is completely unacceptable and this government is committed, both financially and morally, to bringing an end to this disgraceful behaviour.

“This dedicated court in Edinburgh is a welcome step forward underlining that domestic violence will not be tolerated and the perpetrators will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

“I support tough penalties for any perpetrators of domestic abuse and last year we introduced a new offence of 'engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour’ to give greater protection to victims. We also introduced a ground breaking phone helpline for male victims of domestic abuse.

“Punishment is one element of a much broader response to tackling domestic abuse and supporting victims. I was particularly pleased to hear today how the judiciary, local authorities, local criminal justice organisations and support services plan to work together to support victims not only at court, but prior to and after their case. 

“We have dedicated £55 million towards preventing violence against women during 2008-12 and continue to work with our partners to bring about an end to this intolerable crime. We know the effects of domestic abuse can be devastating, including on children and young people, and we are determined to tackle it, wherever and whenever it occurs.”


A resounding 92% of the America’s top divorce attorneys say that they have seen an increase in the number of cases using evidence taken from iPhones, Droids, and other smart phones during the past three years, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).

In addition, 94% of the respondents have cited an overall rise in the use of text messages as evidence during the same time period.

“As smart phones and text messaging become main sources of communication during the course of each day, there will inevitably be more and more evidence that an estranged spouse can collect,” said Ken Altshuler, president of the AAML. “Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone’s thoughts, actions and intentions.”

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