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3 Steps Needed to Reduce Family Court Delays

Couples who are separating or divorcing can face long family court delays – up to one year in some areas. That’s according to statistics from the Court Service. Families in Wexford, Tullamore and Dundalk have faced delays of 24 to 52 weeks for a hearing (read more here). But these families also face further delays before they can even apply to court.  Couples are legally required to wait one year …Read More

Children’s Media Law Seminar 2016

I’m looking forward to attending and addressing the Children’s Media Law Seminar 2016, which takes place on 26 Oct 2016, at Chartered Accountants House in Dublin. It’s a half-day CPD event, which  will discuss various aspects of the law relating to the protection of children with regard to publication in the media Key topics to be debated at the seminar will include: Review of the “In Camera” rule in Family Law …Read More

Critical changes needed in our family law system

I’ve spent my life as a parent and a solicitor working to support and empower Children, Families and Communities, and promoting the principle of Social Justice. Having worked for over 20 years in Family and Child Law, I see first-hand on a daily basis, the critical changes which we need to make in our Family Law system. Some of the key changes I will advocate for if elected to Seanad …Read More

Children’s rights to have their voices heard in Court

Despite some recent changes, there are still issues surrounding children’s rights to have their say in family law courts. I recently spoke with a 14 year old girl who was the subject of family law proceedings before the District Court. The application concerned parentage and access. Mary – not her real name – was adamant that she wanted her views to be heard by the Judge, and when I spoke …Read More

“Celine’s Law” and Prevention of Benefit from Homicide

The recommendations for changes in this area, were brought about primarily as a response to the court case of Cawley v Lillis in 2011, when the family of Celine Cawley sought to prevent her husband who was convicted in respect of her wrongful death, from inheriting the share Celine held in their family home. The courts, due to current Succession law, could not prevent him from doing so. Under current …Read More

There can NEVER be too much scrutiny in childcare cases

Gordon Jeyes, the head of Tusla (Child and Family Agency) has been in the media recently, expressing concern about how courts handle childcare cases, and the level of scrutiny involved.  I agree with him to this extent only: that in terms of child care cases (applications to have children removed from their homes into the care of the CFA), there is a need for more cohesive policies of practice across …Read More

Landmark judgement in civil abuse case creates new law

The High Court has declared a new civil law in long-term abuse cases.  In a ruling issued this morning (21st May), Mr Justice Michael White has recognised that the long-term control and manipulation that an abuser exerts over a victim which facilitates abuse is in itself a civil offence. Cormac Walsh, from Arklow, who took the case said that recognising the concept of a ‘continuum of oppression’ helps create a …Read More

Dividing assets on divorce: does Equitable Mean Equal?

In deciding separation/relationship breakdown issues, there is an obligation upon every court to ensure that there is an “equitable division” of all assets between the parties. Unfortunately people can interpret this as meaning “equal division,” and this is not always the case….. Equitable does not mean equal. It is reasonable to assume that if you are a couple who are both independent and capable of earning in your own right, …Read More