A public and bitter divorce battle, there is another way – Part two

In the second instalment of “A public and bitter divorce battle, there is another way” by Senior Partner, Julian Hawkhead he looks at how arbitration is another useful tool to resolving financial issues in divorce away from the public eye.

Another route to resolving financial issues is arbitration. Arbitration, in short, is a privately funded process where your nominated independent arbitrator decides the outcome of your case by making a binding award which through the rules of arbitration is turned into a Court order.

Like private FDRs, you can choose your arbitrator or if you cannot agree who it should be, an independent body can select the arbitrator for you. The hearing will be conducted away from the Court in private offices. It is entirely confidential, and you are not constrained by the delays of the Court system or the constraints of time. It is, however, a voluntary process. Both parties must agree to enter it.

Arbitration, at times, does arouse suspicion of bias particularly concerning the politics and tactical thought processes of the relationship between the lawyer and the arbitrator chosen. This is less of a feature of private FDRs, where the views are in any event, not binding. However, as an arbitration award is a final binding decision, the fear of bias can loom larger.

The attraction for some litigants is that the “lottery of litigation” creates a level playing field and you both share in the good or bad experiences. It does, however, reflect a naive attitude towards the private FDR and arbitration processes and shows little faith in the professionalism of highly experienced lawyers. An arbitrator who showed bias would soon lose any credibility. Judges are just as capable of misunderstanding issues, having natural human biases for different circumstances or types of behaviour.

Of course, private FDR hearings and arbitration both attract additional fees. However, if you trade that cost against the saving of time (which inevitably leads to more costs), the quality of experience and decision making, then surely it is a price worth paying?

We are dedicated to finding solutions for our clients and advise on all the options available to our clients to resolve their issues in the quickest, most cost-effective and least acrimonious way.  Read our section on out-of-court settlement options here.

With over 50 members of Resolution in our team and a high number of specialist accredited lawyers, we can help you find the best way to achieve your goals.

For advice on arbitration and other out of court settlements you can contact me here or our Client Care Team below.

You can read part one of this article here. 

The post A public and bitter divorce battle, there is another way – Part two appeared first on Stowe Family Law.

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Author: Julian Hawkhead

Is constant tinkering harming the family justice system?

In another life I monitor and report family justice news, from a whole variety of sources. I have been doing so for more than ten years now. During that time I have seen many changes in the system (as I briefly outlined in this recent post), and many more calls for change.

In fact, sometimes it seems as if hardly a day passes by without the announcement or call for some new inquiry, review, initiative, or campaign for change, whether it be from government, MPs, the President of the Family Division, or some other interested party. In just the last couple of weeks, for example, we have had MPs calling for an inquiry into the ‘secret family courts’, the Ministry of Justice announcing a review into how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse, an announcement by the President of a ‘Transparency Review’, and the parent support Community Interest Company OnlyMums & OnlyDads launching a campaign to speed up the court process for dealing with child arrangements applications.

Now I don’t for one moment say that the system is perfect so can’t be improved, and I accept that most of the calls for change are perfectly well-meaning, but are they actually creating a problem? What is the effect upon the system of constant change, and constant calls for yet more change? As I think I’ve said here previously, we seem nowadays to be in a culture of ‘change for change’s sake’, as if any change must be for the better. That of course is not the case. But even if it were, we must still consider the effect of change itself upon the system, and those who work within it.

Think, for example, of the practical effect upon judges, magistrates, court staff, Cafcass officers, social workers and lawyers. They are constantly having to re-train in new procedures and working practices. Now, some of that of course goes with the job: they all have to keep up to date with new law and procedure, and always have had to. However, the rate of change these days is far greater than ever before. And we are not necessarily talking about small changes. Many of the changes are fundamental to the way that people work, for example centralising courts, transferring to online systems, and major overhauls of law and procedure. Just ‘keeping up’ is becoming a full-time job in itself.

And change seems to almost inevitably mean higher workload, adding to pressures on those working within the system, and discouraging others from doing the job. We have witnessed something similar in the education system, which has been subject to constant tinkering for many years, and now both struggles to attract new teachers and has a very high turnover, with many teachers leaving the profession early. I think we may already be finding it more difficult to attract the people we want, and the numbers we want, into the family justice system.

Another reason for the work being unattractive is that those calling for change are, either directly or indirectly, saying that things are wrong within the system, and that those working within it are not doing a good job. Constantly effectively being told that you are doing a bad job, when for the most part you are actually doing a very good job, must have an effect upon moral.

And my final point is a more general one. Constant change and calls for change lead to ineffectiveness and uncertainty.

Surely, any changes need to be given a chance to ‘bed in’ and work? The people affected by them, both those who work in the system and those who use it, should be able to become familiar with them. This process could actually take many years, decades even. Only then is the system working at ‘peak efficiency’. And yet change takes place on a much shorter timescale. We have seen this particularly in the field of children law, with significant changes to law and procedure occurring on a regular basis, and calls for change happening constantly.

I think many people view the family justice system as something that can always be improved, that can always be hewn into something better. On a broad scale, I would agree. But that does not necessarily mean that change should be happening all the time.

The post Is constant tinkering harming the family justice system? appeared first on Stowe Family Law.

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Author: John Bolch

Winds with Names

Sirocco Winds over the Adriatic Sea

More than just a bunch of hot air

Our article about the Chinook winds discussed an unusual meteorological phenomenon, but one thing it didn’t touch on was the peculiarity of a wind having a name in the first place. That strikes me as odd, like a temperature or a humidity level or a barometric pressure having a name. I mean, I get it: we give hurricanes and certain other storms names, and that serves a useful purpose, but just calling the movement of air in a certain way at a certain time by a proper noun seems weird.

Be that as it may, we were able to find quite a few other examples of winds that have names. Here’s a representative sampling—by no means a complete list:

  • Bora: A cold, north-eastern katabatic wind that blows along the east coast of the the Adriatic Sea (including Greece, Russia, and Turkey).
  • Brickfielder: A hot and dry summer wind in Southern Australia.
  • Cape Doctor: A dry south-easterly wind that blows over part of Western Cape Province in South Africa, so named because of its apparent effect of clearing away pollution.
  • Chinook: A warm winter wind in the western United States and Canada.
  • Fremantle Doctor: A cool summer sea breeze on the coast of Western Australia.
  • Halny: A strong, warm föhn wind storm in the Carpathian mountains of Poland and Slovakia.
  • Khamsin: A hot, sandy wind in Egypt.
  • Mistral: A cold, forceful wind that blows in southern France and into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Santa Ana: A hot, dry wind, usually in autumn, in southern California and northern Mexico.
  • Sirocco: A powerful wind that blows from the Sahara through North Africa and Southern Europe.

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Author: Joe Kissell

How Depression Can Mimic Credit Card Debt and How to Deal Effectively

I have to say that I really like my therapist, and that she gets me and how my mind works, and therapy with her has been so helpful for me. Sometimes, though, she shares an insight with me that speaks to me so well that I feel the need to share it with others. And that happened in our session today.

One of the things I struggle with a lot is feeling negatively about myself, and because of

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Author: Penniless Parenting

Healthy Survival Cooking

I find survivalism very fascinating. Its useful when you go camping or just to save money. But what about when a disaster really strikes? Here’s some tips from a reader on how to prepare healthy food when there is a disaster that affects your food prep abilities.

Image Source: www.gonescamping.com

When disaster strikes, you may not have the luxury of going on with your everyday cooking

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Author: Penniless Parenting

Solar Sails

ATK Space Systems' Solar Sail during testing at the Plumbrook Test Facility in Sandusky, OH

The next big thing in space travel

If you wanted to cross the ocean by ship, you’d probably choose an engine-driven vessel over a sail-driven vessel. The engine will get you where you’re going faster; it enables the ship to be much larger than it could be if it were driven by a sail; and it requires much less manual intervention to keep it going. Besides, you won’t be at the mercy of unpredictable winds. In oceangoing vessels, the technological progression from sails to internal-combustion engines solved a great many problems while creating only a few new ones, such as the need to obtain and store significant quantities of fuel and the pollution that results from burning that fuel. Of course, since the planet is conveniently spherical, you’re always a finite distance from the nearest port where you can fill up. If, on the other hand, you wanted to circumnavigate the globe without stopping for fuel, sails would be the way to go. The trip would take longer and the ship would be smaller, but you’d never have to worry about running out of gas.

This is the very thinking behind an ostensibly retro design for spacecraft: by ditching the fuel and engines you can enable much longer journeys, albeit with some trade-offs. Outfit your ship with a giant sheet of lightweight and highly reflective material, and you’ve got a solar sail, a propulsion system that can take you to the distant reaches of the galaxy without any fuel—pushing you along with the gentle power of light from the sun.

What Goes Around

Solar sails are by no means a new idea. In fact, German astronomer Johannes Kepler floated the idea by Galileo in 1610. Kepler imagined “heavenly breezes,” though, and had no concept of the scientific principles that would actually come into play. In 1871, James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist, predicted that electromagnetic radiation (including light) should exert a small amount of pressure when an object absorbs or reflects it; Russian physicist Peter Lebedev first demonstrated the effect in a laboratory in 1900.

A little more than 20 years later, another Russian physicist named Fridrikh Tsander proposed using this radiation pressure to push a spacecraft along using a large but very thin mirror. In the early 1970s, NASA funded research into solar sails, and for a while proposed that they be used to propel a probe that would rendezvous with Halley’s Comet in 1986 (though the necessary technology turned out to be unavailable at the time). Today, NASA and numerous other groups are actively developing solar sail designs, and several spacecraft powered by solar sails have already been deployed.

Light Pressure

The whole idea of light exerting pressure seems counterintuitive. I’ve personally stood in front of some very bright spotlights without so much as a wobble. And I know from my rudimentary understanding of physics that photons, the particles that make up light, have no mass. Nevertheless, under the right circumstances, light can indeed provide a push. The math, frankly, is beyond me, but according to scientists who seem to know what they’re talking about and can back it up with impressive-looking equations, photons do indeed exert a gentle pressure on objects they hit—and the pressure is roughly twice as great if the object reflects the light than if it absorbs the light, so solar sails would effectively be giant mirrors. But the key word here is gentle. I’ve read various analogies for the strength of the sun’s push, but one I particularly liked, on a NASA webpage, said that if you had a mirror the size of a football field, the pressure of the sun’s light would be about the same as the weight of a first-class letter.

In space, a small amount of pressure goes much further, because other factors such as gravity, air friction, and wind don’t get in the way. Even so, if a solar sail is going to push a spacecraft of any significant mass, it must be enormous. And therein lies a problem: with greater size comes greater mass—not so much from the sail itself but from the support structure that’s needed to keep it rigid and connect it to craft’s payload. The greater the mass to be pushed, the greater the size of the sail that’s needed, and so on. Thus, in solar sail design, thinner and lighter materials are almost always better. Sail thickness is measured in micrometres (µm)—millionths of a meter—with some being as thin as 2 µm. (By comparison, the average human hair is about 80 µm thick.) This brings up a second problem: fragility. You’ve got to fold or roll up a huge sheet of material that’s a zillionth of an inch thick, get it into space, and then unfurl it perfectly—without ripping or mutilating it, and without creating a support structure so massive that it’ll cancel out the sail’s low mass. One promising material is a type of porous carbon fiber that’s much thicker than the polymer films most researchers have used, and yet lighter in weight because of its unusual structure; it’s also highly rigid, durable, and heat-resistant.

Still More Uses for the Force

Proposed solar sail designs have used a wide variety of shapes, from simple squares to disks to pinwheels. As with wind sails, you can change the angle of a solar sail in order to steer the craft; designs that incorporate numerous smaller sails provide greater directional control. But one thing you will not see is a solar sail shaped like a parachute—since light travels in straight lines, that would make for a highly inefficient design. Interestingly, that’s exactly the shape of a certain fictional solar sail—the one used by Count Dooku’s spaceship in Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones.

Besides having an inappropriately shaped sail, that ship somehow managed to zip across the galaxy at a startling speed as soon as the sail unfurled. Real solar sails, because they generate so little force, accelerate quite slowly. On the other hand—and this is what makes them an intriguing option for long-term missions—the velocity continues to increase over time, there being no friction to counteract it. The result is that over a period of months or years, a craft powered by a solar sail could reach speeds far in excess of any rocket-powered design. However, as the craft gets farther and farther away from the sun, the radiation pressure also decreases, so it’s not as though the rate of acceleration can continue to increase indefinitely. Even so, a vehicle with a very lightweight solar sail could reach the orbit of Pluto in about 7 years. (The Pioneer 10 probe, launched in 1972, took 11 years to reach that point.)

Sail On

After many years of ground-based and suborbital testing, as well as a few noteworthy failures, an interplanetary solar sail spacecraft (Japan’s IKAROS probe) was first successfully deployed in 2010. NASA launched the NanoSail-D2 later in 2010. And The Planetary Society launched and successfully tested a small solar sail-powered spacecraft called LightSail 1 in 2015; LightSail 2 is scheduled to launch in June, 2019. Numerous other solar sail projects are in various stages of planning.

Among the future missions envisioned for spacecraft propelled by solar sails are probes sent to explore the inner planets, monitoring stations near the sun, and deep-space exploration. Some proposals even use a giant laser here on Earth, instead of the sun, to push the craft along. Manned missions, however, are a much more distant possibility; a spaceship big enough to hold passengers would require an unfathomably gargantuan sail, and the slow acceleration would be rather inconvenient considering human lifespans. But if we ever encounter a ship sent a long time ago from a galaxy far, far away, it may very well have been carried along by a solar sail.

Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on June 19, 2006.

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Author: Joe Kissell

Take Control of Your Digital Legacy

Take Control of Your Digital Legacy cover

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? You can make a will to handle your physical possessions, but what about your digital life—photos, videos, email, documents, and the like? What about all your passwords, social media accounts, backups, and every other aspect of your digital life? Over the years, I got so many questions about this sort of thing that I decided to write a book about it—Take Control of Your Digital Legacy—and it has turned out to be one of my post popular titles.

If you’re not at the stage of life where you can think about this for yourself, consider that you may have to do so for your parents or other relatives. It’s not all about posterity either, since following my advice will also help loved ones access your key accounts and important info if you’re incapacitated, which can happen at any time—or even if you just decide to go on a long vacation.

This book, like all Take Control titles, comes as an ebook, and you can download any combination of formats—PDF, EPUB, and/or Kindle’s Mobipocket format—so you can read it on pretty much any computer, smartphone, tablet, or ebook reader. The cover price is $15, but as an Interesting Thing of the Day reader, you can buy it for 30% off, or just $10.50.

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Author: Joe Kissell

Look Who We Found!!!


Look who we found!!!!

We were so worried about our dog and the kids were petrified that she’d be hit by a car or something…

An hour ago we got a call from a girl who isn’t a dog person but thought they found her. She sent us this picture of her and I wanted to be doubly sure it was her because we had a few false alarms (never knew there were so many dogs that looked like her) but wasn’t

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Author: Penniless Parenting