A study examined how people's relationships in the United Kingdom were affected by the economic downturn from 2009 to 2012. The report said that those people who were economically affected by the recession were considerably more likely to have experienced deterioration in their relationship quality and stability. It said that there was likely to be ongoing impact (the 'social recession'), since reduced relationship quality might only translate into increased relationship breakdown once financial conditions allowed. The report considered the policy implications.
Source: Dylan Kneale, David Marjoribanks, and Chris Sherwood, Relationships, Recession and Recovery: The role of relationships in generating social recovery, Relate
A paper examined the impact of partnership dissolution on a range of measures, drawing on data from the British Household Panel Survey. It said that the living standards of women and children declined, on average, more than men, particularly for those formerly in high-income households and for older women with non-dependent children. The paper said that mental health and life satisfaction declined around the time of separation, but they returned quickly to former levels and these factors were mostly unrelated to post-separation income. A significant minority of adults from low-income couples initially moved into households with other adults after separation. The paper considered the implications for policy and noted reasons for caution over the findings, suggesting that future research on this topic might use cross-sectional survey data.
Source: Mike Brewer and Alita Nandi, Partnership Dissolution: How does it affect income, employment and well-being?, Working Paper 2014-30, Institute for Social and Economic Research (University of Essex)
An article examined the effects of marital separation on home ownership in Britain and Germany. It said that separation was negatively associated with ownership, partly explained by lower prior investments in ownership by those who separated, but partly a direct consequence of separation. The article said that differences between the housing markets allowed ex-partners in Britain to maintain relatively high levels of ownership after a separation, while ownership rates fell dramatically in Germany.
Source: Philipp Lersch and Sergi Vidal, 'Falling out of love and down the housing ladder: a longitudinal analysis of marital separation and home ownership', European Sociological Review, Volume 30 Number 4
A think-tank report examined the social impact of family breakdown and made a range of policy recommendations, based on the principles that children fared better when living in a two parent family, and that family breakdown was preventable.
Source: Fully Committed? How a Government could reverse family breakdown, Centre for Social Justice
The European Commission began consultation on proposals to review the Brussels IIa Regulation, which was the basis for cross-border judicial co-operation in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility, in particular where separating parents resided in more than one country. The Commission also published a background report on the operation of the Regulation, which said that it worked well, but outlined areas requiring greater clarity, issues regarding enforcement, and a need for better co-operation between member states. The consultation would close on 18 July 2014 and would inform an overall assessment of the Regulation.
Source: European Commission
A new book examined the different ways in which the legal systems of England and New Zealand approached relocation cases, where one separated parent proposed to move away with their child and the other objected to the proposal. It considered the practical differences between the approaches and the pros and cons of each system, and outlined lessons that could be learnt, together with suggestions for possible reforms of relocation law.
Source: Jonathan Herring, Relocation Disputes: Law and practice in England and New Zealand, Hart Publishing
The Supreme Court ruled that an adolescent child's view was relevant in deciding habitual residence, and that it was possible for a child to have a different habitual residence from that of the parent with whom they lived.
Source: In the matter of LC (Children)/In the matter of LC (Children) (No 2), UKSC 1 (2014), United Kingdom Supreme Court
The government published its response to a consultation on proposals to change the family legal aid remuneration schemes.
Source: Supporting the Introduction of the Single Family Court Changes to the family legal aid remuneration schemes: Response to consultation, Ministry of Justice