It is my first day back in the office following the Christmas festivities and I am feeling refreshed and ready for the New Year. The Law never sleeps, or so I am sure I heard someone say once, and it is definitely true. As a family lawyer you have to understand that people’s lives don’t just stop over the holiday period and in fact for some, sadly, things can turn from bad to worse. Businesses may close down and the roads may be deserted, but when your clients are individuals and the cases involve their personal lives you will remain somewhat busy throughout the festive period.
I came back to a desk that was clear; however a long To Do List sat on top of my computer. The first task on the list is compiling a Brief to Counsel on a rather interesting international family law case, followed by a large amount of research for a section 25 statement on a case that is less than straightforward and then copy editing the typed version of a court order in readiness to lodge it with the court.
I, therefore, thought an interesting topic for today’s blog may be s.25 statements. S.25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 details the matters to which the Court is to have regard in deciding how to exercise its powers when dealing with ancillary relief applications. S.25 (2) contains a checklist of these matters including:
(a) the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
(b) the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(c) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
(d) the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
(f) the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
(g) the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
(h) in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit F4. . . which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
A S.25 statement is a narrative statement that sets out the party’s case, including all the past, present and future circumstances of the case in reference to the s.25 factors (above). Once the s.25 statement has been drafted it is then put before the court in advance of the hearing.
S.25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/18/section/25. With the statement drafted and the million and one other jobs I had to do today complete I close down my computer for the last time in 2013. I do hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I will be back and blogging on the 6th of January, but for now I am off to celebrate New Year with my family. In the meantime do tune in for blog articles from both Charlotte and Becca in my absence.
Photo by Sean MacEntee via Flickr under a Creative Commons license