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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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%...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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. ...

As time moves on …

In the early 1990s, which heralded in the modern approach to family law in Ireland, it was commonplace for a wife to be allowed to remain in the family home, particularly while the children were young and for the property then to be sold at some point in the future. ...

Summer Recess

After a long hard winter weather wise and economically, Summer, especially on sunny days, is a welcome respite.  However, Summer brings its own strains.  For us lawyers there is the frantic rush of June and July to finalise as many cases as possible before the summer...

Difficult Decision..

When a marriage or relationship is in trouble, I don’t think that having more money will do any more for that couple, than simply paper the cracks.  If lack of money was the main reason for a relationship breakdown , then we would not get wealthier people separating. ...