Dogs and new tricks

I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard the cliché uttered as a statement of fact “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. As clichés go this one drives me nuts. First of all, we are not dogs and secondly, if we went through life without being able to...

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Gary Linnekar, DIY Divorce and Mathematical Equations.

It would appear that Gary Lineker and his wife are divorcing because he does not want a family and she does. He feels that he is too old at 55 and with 4 children already whereas she is 36. You would have to wonder if they discussed this before marriage? This is...

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Sabotaged by feelings – Family Law?

Family Law, despite its prevalence in the lives of ordinary folk, is still a relatively new independent practice area or study of law, particularly, here in Ireland.  For many years, family law just came in under litigation, which makes sense when you consider we had...

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The “Equality Referendum”.

My polling card arrived yesterday for what is now universally called the “equality referendum”.  For those of you from elsewhere or living here under a rock i.e., the referendum on the rights of gay people to marry.  I know that I am almost definitely going to vote...

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Love and Marriage ?

Are Europeans dying out as Vladimir Putin suggests and is our headlong rush to oblivion demonstrated by our near consensus endorsement of same sex marriage?  Putin concludes that it is, and accordingly, with a rush of logic to the brain, justifies Russia’s homophobic...

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Real Men don’t hit Women!

In Kinghorn, Scotland, a Magistrate called George MacKay fined a husband for hitting his wife in the face a small sum telling the husband “it is a well known fact that you can strike your wife’s bottom if you wish, but you must not strike her on the face”.  When did...

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Child Care Conundrum –Theory & Practice

I am bothered greatly by the child care system in Ireland.  Most of the children taken into care are from poor and marginalised groups.  Let me say at the outset that I do not believe that the privacy of the family trumps everything and support fully the idea of...

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Adoption – a different perspective.

It is several decades since Ireland decriminalised homosexual behaviour.  It was, however, many years after that before we were prepared to take the next step forward and allow for the registration of civil partnerships.  At this stage, it would seem from recent polls...

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Family Law: Assumptions and Myths

I always thought that one of the reasons why so many of my clients ask me questions about our family law system that suggest an enormous number of people have strongly held incorrect views about what happens in family court, is because our cases are heard in camera...

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Possible outcomes in marital breakdown

When you are in the middle of an upheaval such as the ending of a relationship or marriage, you crave certainty in an uncertain world. One of the most difficult things for emotionally traumatised clients to learn from their solicitor is the uncertainty of outcomes in...

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Surrogacy

Human beings have basic emotional needs some of which are to be accepted, respected, valued, needed and useful.  All these needs can be called into question if a person or couple finds that they are unable to conceive a child for any reason.  Infertility, and the...

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She, He or It

In 1997, Dr Lydia Foy an Irish dentist, at that time unemployed, registered as male on her birth certificate, applied to the courts in Ireland represented by FLAC (Free Legal Aid Centres) for the right to alter her birth certificate to reflect her gender of choice....

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Void or Voidable – Nullity of Marriage

Sometime ago I wrote a short piece for my website on nullity of marriage.  It intrigues me that, out of all proportion to its usefulness in practice, this area tends to fascinate.  Why this should be so, I am not entirely sure.  Perhaps it is the very archaic nature...

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Shared Parenting.

As topics go, this one is highly charged!  The “Dads R Us” brigade are not for the faint hearted but then I am not faint of heart.   I have spent some weeks now looking at this area.  This arose because of a case I became involved in where the Dad was looking for 50%...

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Intimate Strangers – the Stepfamily experience.

When we think of family, we usually think of Mum, Dad and 2.5 children.  That pretty much describes your typical nuclear family and it is the model or standard by which we tend to judge all other types of families.  I always want to add “apple pie” to the Mum and Dad...

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Relocation – is it really a good idea ?

Light relief in family court is somewhat unusual.  Even by family law standards, however, child relocation cases tend to be particularly glum affairs.  While it is fair to say that in most family law cases, no one wins, there is no doubt that this is most poignantly...

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What will we tell the children?

Over the years I have noticed that a significant number of parents resist strongly any attempt to discuss the children with me or indeed with anyone else.  Any discussion is vigorously blocked.  For parents, I suspect that  one of the most upsetting things about...

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All I want for Christmas

More than any other time of the year, Christmas tends to pose the greatest challenge for separated and divorced parents.   The biggest issue is generally – where will the children spend Christmas, followed by – who has them on Christmas eve, followed by – how will we...

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Cost of living ..

An impending sense of doom lies over us here like a pall as we await the budget.  When we went into this recession, we were reasonably confident that we would be out of it by now or thought we would, now we are getting the truly uncomfortable sense that we are in this...

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Magic of Negotiation

When I was a small child aged between 6 and 12, my favourite word was “negotiation”.  I loved that word with a passion.  It was not the meaning that enthralled me, rather the sound.  I thrilled to the way you could break it down and roll it around in your mouth. ...

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