the criminal act of removing a child from a jurisdiction without authority.
the legal process by which the legal status of the birth parents ends and someone else becomes the legal parent in their place.
means “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, and is the term for the collection of processes that don’t use the court (eg. mediation, collaborative etc); now more usually referred to as “DR” for dispute resolution.
a term with a specific connotation of a parent who is seeking, without objective justification, to exclude the other parent from the life of a child.
the name for court proceedings about money issues connected with (“ancillary to”) divorce proceedings – now usually “Financial Remedy” is used.
a person who starts legal proceedings or makes an application.
a procedure where the parties appoint their own “private” judge and agree to be bound by the outcome. The process is faster and cheaper than the court and preserves confidentiality.
Article  
these are usually references the Human Rights Act, which include at article 6 the right to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal. Article 8 enshrines your right to respect for your private and family life, your home and correspondence.
Barristers (also referred to as counsel) are the specialist lawyer-advocates, generally selected by us to provide input for hearings but used in many other ways too.
another of the array of words that is used loosely in a number of different ways concerning charging, eg “I bill at £x per hour”, “my bills total £y” or more technically “this is an interim bill” (the right is reserved to re-charge the work at a different rate should circumstances dictate); “this is a final bill” (it may not be the last bill but the amounts for that period will not be altered later). FLiP’s bills are all “final bills”.
BR19 & BR20
the forms we will need to submit to the Pensions Service early on, the former to clarify your basic state pensions record and the latter to identify the extent of any second state pension that may exist… thus paving the way to negotiations to divide these entitlements appropriately in the context of the other arrangements being made.
some of the core forms when an application is made for s8 Children Act 1989 orders to regularise parenting arrangements for a child.
the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, a public body to promote the welfare of children.
generally an offer made in “schedule 1” proceedings which is hidden from the court but which may weigh-in after the court has given its judgment. The party given a Calderbank offer who fails to do better than the offer at the eventual hearing will pay the offeror’s costs.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
CETV (or Cash Equivalent Transfer Value)
one of the valuations given to a pension fund (roughly, if the fund were transferred to another pension provider at the given date, the figure that the new pension provider would receive). It is a figure that the courts and family lawyers will need to implement (if not negotiate) the division of pensions.
Capital Gains Tax is a tax that is charged when an asset is disposed of and which is linked to the amount of increase in value of the asset during ownership.
Child arrangements order
means an order regulating arrangements relating to a) with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact and b) when a child is to live, spend time or have contact with any person we are now forced to use the terms “a spending time with” or “a living with” order in place of the previous “contact” and “residence” order.
the document required to be lodged at court prior to the First Appointment, setting out the main events of the marriage and divorce and subsequent proceedings to enable the court to identify the relevant history.
the situation where the court has terminated all orders that could be made between parties (apart from any ongoing orders for the support of children). The “clean break order” is the order made by the court achieving this.
The Child Maintenance Service, purveyors (in replacement for the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission) of calculations carried out under the Child Support Act 1991 to determine the level of general maintenance paid by a “non-resident parent” to a “parent with care” for their “qualifying child”.
a professional, usually with psychotherapeutic training, who supports an individual or a family through a transition, including separation.
A “Duxbury” lump sum
the fund paid by one spouse to the other, calculated by reference to a range of financial and actuarial assumptions, to provide a stream of income to replace maintenance payments for the rest of their life. For example, a husband might pay a sum of £100,000 to his wife aged 60 to provide her with an income of about £10,000 a year (including her pension) for the rest of her life.
the historic term for a form of divorce order: Decree Absolute (now the Final Order, ending the marriage) or Decree Nisi (now the Conditional Order, the unavoidable step before Final Order where the parties know that the marriage will be ended when an application is made as required).
the process by which the court decides what sum you should pay towards the costs of your opponent (see Taxation, which was the old name for this).
refers to barristers willing to receive instructions from a litigant directly and without the involvement of a solicitor.
orders made by a court at an interlocutory stage directing parties to take the steps required to get a case ready for determination.
the process of providing information or the information that is provided.
refers to the documents produced to back up and confirm the disclosure.
your domicile Is determined by the domicile of your parents at your birth (domicile of origin) or by your later choice (domicile of choice). It Is a factual question and jurisdiction can be based on the answer.
This will be a later hearing in the court process addressing decisions relating to your children. More of the evidence will be "in" and there will be a concerted effort to reach agreement. (See also FHDRA).
a postal system operating between most solicitors, barristers, banks, mortgage lenders etc; next-day delivery is pretty much guaranteed and losses are rare.
stands for Early Neutral Evaluation which generally involves a neutral person facilitating agreement or at least encouraging progress towards an agreement by giving indications as to the likely outcome if the case went to court.
in litigation concerning children, the court will often fix a hearing just to address the allegations, in particular around safety - the overall decisions to be made are then made in the light of those fixed points.
Family Procedure Rules 2010
the code setting out the steps & stages and the court rules for dealing with the applications made to it in connection with separation and divorce and its consequences.
FDR/financial dispute resolution hearing
the second court hearing in the court’s process for determining financial applications, at which the judge endeavours to help the parties broker a settlement of the financial claims. This hearing takes place on a without prejudice basis.
the sum charged by counsel or by the solicitor or other professional – or indeed by the court (as in “court fees”) or the Land Registry.
stands for First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, which is the first time parties will attend court after issuing an application as regards their children. It is the intake hearing that addresses safeguarding, sees the settlement of the case if possible and otherwise plans the future management of the process. (See also DRA).
whether in children or finance matters, this will be the end point to the court journey when (unless agreements are reached at the door of the court) the judge will hear evidence and exercise their discretion to apply the legal principles and impose their decision on the applications that have been made.
also “financial planner” “IFA” “Independent Financial Advisor” “Financial Planner” – will assist your understanding of the resources you have and help you to plan for the future. Some will also help you in your negotiations.
the range of orders that a court can make to redistribute assets and provide for lump sum and maintenance payments.
the first stage in the court’s process for determining financial applications, at which the judge identifies the issues and timetables the production of information that will be required to enable the case to move forward.
a diverse board of children and young people who have experienced the family justice system and who provide insight on the perspectives of young people.
the form that starts financial remedy proceedings.
the bulky standard form document which is completed in financial cases to confirm the resources and needs of the person completing it.
an early part-judicial, part-administrative step when preliminary routing of a case is determined by a court officer exercising quasi-judicial powers.
a type of maintenance order between spouses that encompasses the payer’s obligation to pay child maintenance (so it is one global sum set out as a spousal periodical payments award).
Guardian or Special Guardian
the former is likely to be appointed when both of a child’s parents have died. They will have parental responsibility for the child and are likely to care for the child. The appointment may be made by the parents in their Wills or by the court. A special guardian is appointed usually to care for a child until the child is 18 because a) they cannot live with their birth parents; and b) adoption is not the right answer for them.
domicile is one of the key tests that courts use to decide whether they have jurisdiction to decide a case. It is of importance in deciding whether a court or other body like the CMS has jurisdiction to decide legal disputes that might arise.
the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority – this also might refer to the various statutes that lay out the specific rules as regard legal parentage.
generally used as a term for “hybrid mediation” – a process that is likely to see the family mediator involving the legal teams advising each of the parties to a greater degree and shuttling between the two teams.
refers to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which gives spouses, former spouses and children (as well as others) the right to claim capital or monthly sums from the estate of a person who has died. (The Act also gave the courts the power to terminate the right to make those claims in the future when hearing the financial claims at the time of divorce).
Independent Domestic Violence Advocate/ Adviser.
The Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.
Inheritance Tax which may be charged on the value of a person’s estate (generally) at death.
an order that one party should cover all losses claims and incidental costs that flow from a particular aspect.
Indemnity costs / Standard costs
Good to get, horrid to pay: Indemnity costs are awarded where the court disapproves of the way that a case has been conducted. It is likely to involve making a payment to the other side of a high proportion of their total legal bills (perhaps up to 95%). If a costs order is made (an order that one contributes to the legal costs incurred by the other) this is likely to be a Standard costs order and likely to involve a payment of between, say, 65% and 85% of the actual costs incurred.
usually used to refer to the automatic increases to a periodical payments order each year to iron out the effects of inflation and referencing RPI or now more usually CPI.
Inheritance Act Claim
a court order that requires action or prohibits action.
the grossly negligent act (usually) of dying without a will (“he has died intestate”). Intestacy laws lay down the rules by which “an intestate’s” estate are divided between family members – usually in a sadly inappropriate fashion.
the process of making a court application by completing the relevant form, paying the fee and having it sealed by the court. The application is then referred to as “issued” and is ready to be “served”. (See also Statement of Issues).
the technical term that involves a third person outside the litigation being joined to it.
Joint single expert
an independent professional, appointed usually by order of the court to give expert guidance to the court about things such as property values or tax, or to give psychiatric assessments etc. (See also Part 25 expert).
see Severance of joint tenancy.
refers to having the legal power or authority [to][over] someone or a dispute. For example, the courts in England & Wales have jurisdiction to decide family law issues [broadly] for those habitually resident within that geography or who are domiciled there.
Leave to remove
refers to permission to take a child out of the jurisdiction, usually permanently, ie to live abroad (see also Relocation).
Litigant in person
also "self-representing", the Individual who advances their own case, without lawyer assistance (or such assistance being 'In the wings'). They may have help from a "McKenzie Friend", an advisor, usually without other professional qualifications who sits with them and gives recommendations and guidance.
one of the orders that may be made for one spouse to provide for the other.
A “Mesher” order
an arrangement that does its best to address a common problem where resources are limited, where on the one hand it would be good for the children to stay in the property they know, but on the other, inappropriate for the other parent to lose altogether the value of the property The court allows the financially dependent party plus the children to stay in the property; but on certain trigger events (perhaps marriage, cohabitation for a certain period, a child reaching a certain age, a particular date, or a combination of some or all of them), there is a sale; and the proceeds are then shared between the two parties (with the waiting party usually being hit by CGT).
a litigant in person may elect to have someone with them in court who is not their advocate but someone who can help them to present their case.
a process of negotiation between the couple, assisted by professionals who may also be lawyers; it runs (or should do) alongside the advice given by lawyers but offers a different way for couples to resolve themselves the issues they face.
Memorandum of understanding
the part of the mediation documentation that expresses the proposed deal.
the mediation information and assessment meeting that will usually pre-date any application to the court: the Applicant should hear about the possibility of mediation’s delivering an appropriate solution and ideally the respondent will attend too so as to see whether a successful mediation can be generated.
as in non-molestation injunction – refers to the court order prohibiting (usually) most forms of conduct that could in any way harass or pester the applicant.
stands for maintenance pending suit which is the technical way of referring to maintenance or periodical payments made between parties before the final decree of divorce has been made. These are interim payments.
where one party asks the other to pay their costs or contribute towards their costs, because of conduct in the litigation.
a feature of the high conflict personality which means the individual can be difficult to manage at the point of separation.
a tool used by the court in its pursuit of a fair outcome in financial remedy cases. Its sibling “Sharing” looks backwards to identify matrimonial property that will be divided, whilst needs looks forward to adjust that allocation and give each party a fair start towards independent living.
a child-care arrangement that sees the children staying in the home (the nest) whilst the parents take turns swapping in and out of that home to provide care.
Our Family Wizard – also OFW
an app to carry records and permit better communication and analysis, used by parents to promote co-operative parenting. See https://www.ourfamilywizard.co.uk/
this refers to all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent can have in relation to a child. Where parents are married at the time of a child’s birth, or subsequently marry, they each have parental responsibility. Each of them may act alone. Where this is not the case, the mother has parental responsibility alone until she agrees that the father should have it (a short form must be filed at court) or the court grants it to the father.
a document, often generated in mediation, that records the parties agreements as to principles and specifics for the care and upbringing of their child(ren).
Part 25 expert
the professional appointed to give expert evidence under the regime laid down by FPR 2010 Part 25.
reference to part 3 of the Family Procedure Rules, which contains the court's powers to promote resolution of a case away from court. When professionals refer to this they are considering whether appropriate efforts to settle have been made or the options now for adjourning the court process for such efforts to continue.
may be state-provided or provided by private institutions. Up to three different options may be available to deal with each (and usually it will be most economic to involve a pensions specialist to provide recommendations if mistakes or loss of value are to be avoided):
- Attachment (formerly “ear-marking”) will siphon a specific share of benefits to the spouse – much of which is conditional on not having remarried beforehand
- Sharing (formerly “splitting”) creates a second and separate pension fund for the spouse either with the same provider (the “internal transfer”) or with a new provider (the “external transfer”)
- Offsetting – when no specific arrangements are made in relation to a pension – it is left with the person in whose name it now is because that is appropriate in the circumstances of the other financial arrangements being made.
the spouse who presents a petition; they will generally continue to be referred to as “the Petitioner” throughout the proceedings – see also Respondent and Co-respondent and Applicant.
The emergency process that seeks to prevent abduction of a child by notification to airports of the likelihood of a removal being underway. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/parental-child-abduction-know-the-law
a document lodged by a party prior to the hearing setting out the core elements in their case for the judge to read.
Pre-nup or pre-nuptial agreement and also “post nup” or post nuptial agreement
refers to an agreement whereby fiancé(es) agree a structure of arrangements before a marriage in case they subsequently separate. This structure then becomes a starting point, and often an end point, to the arrangements upon separation. A post nup is simply the sibling of the pre-nup, agreed and signed after the marriage.
refers to the documents that are exempted from the obligation to disclose – crucially this will be communications with professionals about the case (for example, correspondence and advice letters between solicitors, barristers and you, the client are privileged from disclosure), but also documents that have been exchanged, relying upon the negotiation privilege of without prejudice.
Prohibited steps order
forbids the taking of certain steps in relation to a child, eg removing them from the UK or the care of a certain person.
often the form E disclosure will leave gaps or leave things unclear. Each party can raise questions of each other, for approval by the court at the First Appointment in financial remedy cases, and they then need to be answered within specific timeframes.
what used to make the world go round until the arrival of White v White at the House of Lords on 23 October 2000 (see below).
the proceedings and eventually (perhaps) the order that gives permission to change the residence of a child: within the jurisdiction (“internal relocation”) or abroad (“external relocation”) (previously “leave to remove”).
the certificate issued by the Law Society confirming the level of fees that it considers appropriate to be charged. It is only obtained on request from the client complaining about their solicitor’s bill (or occasionally at the instigation of the solicitor themselves). The process is not available once proceedings are issued. Here the court will carry out the determination (see “detailed assessment” and “taxation”).
used to settle the arrangements about where a child should live. After the Children and Families Act 2014 it became called a “child arrangements order”. Prior to 1991, it was termed “Custody”).
refers to the party in the proceedings who is responding to the Applicant’s proceedings, which of course gets very confusing where a husband petitions for divorce, the wife issues proceeding for financial remedies and the husband applies within those proceedings for an injunction. Wife or husband can then each be the Respondent, depending on which bit of the proceedings are being referred to. Judges usually resort to “husband” and “wife”, even when the divorce has long completed.
could solicitors have anything as simple and straight-forward as “terms of business”? Of course not. We have a “retainer” which refers to the whole range of contractual and professional obligations to our client and the terms on which our client instructs us.
Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, sets out the financial claims that can be made for the support of a child. It is a key regime for the parents of children who have not married.
Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, sets out the financial claims that can be made for the support of a child. It is a key regime for the parents of children who have not married.
a document submitted to the court which details allegations which are in dispute.
Search and seize
an order granted by the court authorising (usually) a neutral solicitor to enter premises to look for, identify and take information relevant to a particular issue. These orders are hard to get (available only in particularly difficult situations), expensive to implement and have profound impacts on goodwill in the process: probably never to be used by the faint-hearted nor in marginal circumstances.
Section 25 factors
refers to s25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which lays down the factors the court should consider before exercising its powers to divide the finances and make maintenance orders.
Section 7 report
a report given to help the court hear about the child’s wishes and feelings relevant to the issue that it is seeking to determine. The work and report is then carried out by an appropriate expert who may appear as a witness later in the case.
Section 8 order
refers to s8 of the Children Act 1989 which created “the residence order”, “the contact order” (now “child arrangement orders”) “the specific issue order” and “the prohibited steps order”.
Section 8(5) order
refers to s8(5) of the Child Support Act, which gave the court power to make orders for maintenance for children where their parents are agreed about the level and wish to exclude the CMS.
the process of delivering formally a court document to those who must be notified of it. Generally documents are “served” by post or “DX”. The court now serves divorce applications by email, confirmed by post. Some other procedures have special requirements dictating that the documents are delivered personally.
Severance of joint tenancy
where two or more people own property, they will often hold it as joint tenants (if one dies their share goes automatically to the other) or as tenants in common (their share in the property is dealt with according to their will or the rules of intestacy if there is no will). Severing the joint tenancy converts the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common. It is a step that needs to be considered on consulting a solicitor.
the court has the power to correct genuine errors, accidental slips or omissions in its order.
Tax year of separation
the period running from the point at which spouses separate through to the 5th of April afterwards, during which transfers between spouses do not count as a disposal (thus permitting assets being passed between the parties without triggering a charge to CGT, in effect permitting the latent liability to be postponed until a later final disposal).
this has nothing at all to do with tax, but was the process by which the court assessed the level of costs that should be paid. (It is now called “detailed assessment” but the old word may still be used).
Tenancy in Common
see Severance of joint tenancy.
The Statutory Charge
refers to the right of the Legal Services Commission to recover, with some exceptions, the costs incurred under a legal aid certificate from what has been in issue in the proceedings. Where neither side has had legal aid, the statutory charge plays no part.
Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. A claim under this Act arises where two individuals have lived together in a property and dispute an aspect of their cohabitation. The dispute could be regarding who actually owns the property.
a legal arrangement for managing, controlling and protecting assets. The asset(s) are held and managed by trustees for the benefit of a beneficiary.
the courts will routinely use the self-evident truths contained in the UNCRC, (see https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/ ) as a reference point in judgments and decisions although it is not legally binding upon them.
a promise that should be treated as a solemn assurance to the court. The person giving it may be sent to prison or fined if breached (though such draconian steps are reserved for flagrant situations).
this could refer to:
- the process of altering a court order (usually for spousal maintenance but also child maintenance and occasionally a lump sum by instalments order) because of changed circumstances; or
- a modification to child support provision under the CMS because of the presence of a particular feature (for example other income/ diversion/ notional income from assets); or
wherever a court makes a decision about the upbringing of a child, the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration, and a checklist of circumstances MUST be considered, including
- The child’s wishes and feelings in the light of their age and understanding;
- The child’s needs;
- The effects of change;
- The child’s age, sex, background;
- The harm that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
- The relevant adults’ capacity to care for the child; and
White v White
the ground-breaking case that required family law professionals to look at dividing things equally in two, or think about why this was inappropriate.
the document without which so many of us crazily choose to die; an item which should be an early agenda item with your solicitor.
Without Prejudice offer
is one that “may not prejudice the court” and so it is prevented from ever being shown to the court. It is an attempt to find a settlement and save costs and so cannot be shown to the judge, save that the judge hosting the FDR, the court’s settlement meeting, certainly will see them and will base their interventions upon how to close the gap between the parties’ positions. Meetings can also take place on a without prejudice basis when what Is said, shared and done Is generally protected from being produced in the ongoing litigation.