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Divorce during a pandemic

Divorce during a pandemic
Deciding to get a divorce will most likely be one of the biggest decisions in a person's lifetime. If you have already made the difficult decision to divorce, our advice is not to hold off because of the pandemic. Firstly, unfortunately, no-one knows when we will see an end to Covid-19. Secondly, there are some considerable court backlogs in court ...
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Divorce FAQs

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Divorce is often an incredibly stressful process for couples. Ending a marriage is not something that is done lightly and can often become complicated.In this article Kiren Dhillon breaks down the process and outlines how a divorce works.How does the divorce process start?The divorce starts with the "petitioner", the party who applies for...
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628 Hits

International Divorce: A Case Study

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Jennifer Herbert outlines a recent divorce where she acted for the wife who resided in Dubai.Jennifer represented Mrs S who was working and living in Dubai. Mr S was also working and living in Dubai. They had no children but did own a joint property in England which was registered and mortgaged in their joint names. Sadly, their relationship had br...
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International Divorce FAQs

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Divorce is often a challenging time for anyone. If there are international aspects to consider, this can add to the stress. Our International Matrimonial Law specialists answer the questions they are most commonly asked about International Divorces:  1. Can I Divorce in England & Wales even if I am not currently living there?& ...
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Advantages of getting a pre-nuptial agreement

Advantages of getting a pre-nuptial agreement
It is often common that married couples buy their first home together with unequal contributions to the purchase price, own assets of value prior to meeting their spouse, or find that their wealth increases during the marriage. Depending on circumstances, such as the length of the marriage and the age of any children, such pre or post marital acqui...
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386 Hits

Costly mistakes when couples divorce

Costly mistakes when couples divorce
Divorce is never easy and is an emotional time for all concerned. Don't let your emotions cause costly mistakes.It's all too easy to become embroiled in who is right and who is wrong and lose sight of the long term position. Here are some of the costly mistakes people make when divorcing.Not considering mediation​Mediation can save you thousands of...
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509 Hits

No Fault Divorce – Finally, an end to the blame game is in sight

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The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill entered Parliament on 7 January 2020. The Bill seeks to introduce a 'no fault divorce' in England and Wales, whereby couples can get divorced without blaming the other party. Our Family Law Team look at this new law and what it means for separating couples.This...
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751 Hits

Getting married abroad, what could go wrong?

Getting married abroad, what could go wrong?
It is reported that as many as one in four couples are now getting married abroad; tempted by more reliable weather, lower cost and a combined ceremony and honeymoon. Whilst a wedding on a white sandy beach seems idyllic, it may not necessarily follow that the marriage is recognised in England. A wedding abroad can cause many pr...
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New divorce law to end the blame game

New divorce law to end the blame game
Justice Secretary David Gauke, MP yesterday announced what the Family Law world have been fighting for years to achieve – the real prospect of no-fault divorce.Demonstrating irretrievable breakdown of a marriage requires at least two years of separation or one spouse to 'blame' the other for the breakdown in the marriage. This is the only...
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1019 Hits

What Factors make my Divorce International?

What Factors make my Divorce International?
A number of factors can give rise to there being an international element to your divorce and it is important to consider these upon separation as they often provide an extra level of complication.If any of the below apply to your situation you may have an International Divorce:You or your spouse are a national of another country or have dual natio...
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573 Hits

Divorce - some common questions answered

Divorce - some common questions answered
Many people have the same questions when starting to consider a separation or divorce. Family solicitor Sarah Tsindides is based in our Upminster office and shares some answers to the questions that she has been asked recently on the divorce process.Q: Is there such a thing as a no fault divorce in England & W...
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961 Hits

The A – Z of divorce and finances

The A – Z of Divorce and finances
Alternative Dispute Resolution – no one wants to go to court to have a Judge decide on the division of their assets.There are other options to court including negotiation, arbitration, collaborative and mediationBury St Edmunds – this is our "local" divorce centre following the centralisation of the family courts.Last year Bury dealt with over 40,0...
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1079 Hits

Funding for divorce, dissolution and financial remedy cases

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​Divorce and dissolution represent periods in people's lives when they face many fundamental changes. The cost of that process is very often a factor that must be considered carefully at the outset, not least when the separation is difficult and does not involve agreement with the other spouse. There are a number of options available to a pers...
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815 Hits

7th January is Divorce Day

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For many of us, the most depressing thing about Monday 7th January is that it marks the first full week back at work after the new year. However, for some it is also the day that marks the end of their marriage. In fact, so many people pick up the phone to a divorce lawyer on this day that is now known as 'Divorce Day'.& ...
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1066 Hits

Divorcing in England and Wales after Overseas Marriage IS Possible

Divorcing in England and Wales after Overseas Marriage IS Possible
​You would be forgiven for believing that the place in which you marry has some relevance to the place in which you must divorce. The assumption that you have no choice in where to divorce and you must divorce in the country where the marriage took place is simply not true. The truth is that it does not matter where in the world you marry; if ...
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960 Hits

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer
Deciding to get divorced is a huge decision, and choosing a divorce lawyer can also be an emotional and stressful experience. Read our seven tips for finding your ideal solicitor - for both yours and your family's wellbeing.Ending a marriage or a civil partnership is going to be a difficult and emotional time. It may involve children, assets, pets ...
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3766 Hits

Should Children Really Be Seen and Not Heard?

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The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) have recently reported that more than 100,000 children were involved in court proceedings in the past year.

When people, usually parents, involve the courts in relation to their children, Cafcass are automatically involved. Initially, their role is akin to triaging cases to identify those where the children are potentially at risk and in which they need to become more involved. Cafacss are also involved in cases initiated by the Local Authority where their concerns for a child’s safety trigger legal action independently of the parents.

Children do not appear in court in cases that relate to them. Children younger than 12 can have their ‘apparent’ wishes and feelings taken into consideration, as reported to the court by Cafcass. Very often it is reported that children display a clear sense of loyalty to both parents and feel torn.  After that age, they are considered (potentially) mature enough to able to express their views clearly enough for the court to place more weight on them but again this is always through the reports of the Cafcass officer.  Conveying a child’s wishes and feelings, in such a highly sensitive court process, is as difficult as it sounds.

It is widely considered by many judges and lawyers that hearing from children directly in cases would provide them with the voice that some crave, unfiltered by other professionals. Many children feel excluded from cases that will affect their lives fundamentally. Some argue that this exclusion may be seen as a breach of their human rights.

Since 2010 a working group of senior judges had investigated how it might be possible for children to be heard in court cases. Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes, who was then Justice Minister, promised to change government policy. But earlier this year the Ministry of Justice admitted that the plan had been shelved.

In a recent interview with the BBC’s Today programme on Radio 4, Lord Justice Jackson discussed allowing some children to meet the judge. He was clear that it would not be suitable for all children. Indeed, all cases involving children have focused always on the child, and if meeting the judge would be harmful, it should not happen:

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1279 Hits

Is Your Child at Risk of Domestic Violence?

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The Family Court has issued new guidelines for dealing with cases issued under the Children Act 1989 concerning a child where there is an allegation of domestic harm and/or violence.

The phrase ‘domestic abuse’ is very widely defined and is not limited to physical abuse.  It can include psychological, social, financial or emotional abuse and includes forced marriages or abandonment, coercive and/or controlling behaviour and ill treatment.

The Court will consider any form of domestic abuse as being potentially harmful to the child and/or where it puts a child at the risk of harm.  This can include not only domestic violence directed at the child, but circumstances where the child witnesses one or both of their parents being violent or abusive to the other. 

Children may also suffer direct physical or psychological and/or emotional harm living with parents who have a history of domestic abuse.

The Family Court will seek  to identify any such issues at the outset of proceedings and ensure that any application made under the Children Act 1989 by a parent is conducted in such a manner as to ensure that a child is safe from exposure to such abuse.

The Court will typically not make any order before an initial ‘Welfare Report’ has been carried out. This is usually done by the reporter speaking to both parents and checking for any criminal record or past involvement of Social Services.

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Prenups – a Matter of the Head or ‘Hart’?

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The number of couples considering a prenuptial agreement is expected to rise after the Court of Appeal dismissed a woman’s request for her and her ex-husband's assets to be split equally.

In the case of Hart v Hart, His Honour Judge Wildblood QC awarded Karen Hart just £3.5m out of the total assets amounting to just under £9.4m in a financial remedy order made in June 2015. This unusual ruling wasn’t as a result of a ‘short, sharp’ marriage as documented previously, as the couple’s marriage spanned 23 years.

Karen Hart’s solicitor said the settlement 'should have been based on an equal sharing of the assets they created between them during this time', and the recent ruling 'leaves the law in a state of flux. It allows a trial judge to find that even where it is not properly evidenced, the financial contribution of one spouse outweighs the family and domestic contribution of the other. This can lead to a result that is unfair and discriminatory, as it has done in this case. More such results are likely to follow, with the potential to set the law back more than 20 years'.

Regardless of whether this latest ruling will indeed set a precedent for financial remedy cases moving forward, it will no doubt make couples who are looking to wed in the near future think about their financial assets, and how best to allocate them should the worst occur by drafting up a prenuptial agreement.

 

MORE INFORMATION 

For more information relating to divorce law, prenuptial agreements and how Pinney Talfourd can help, please contact our Family Law department - call on 01708 229444 or email us using the form to the right to arrange a free initial consultation.
 
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Between a divorce rock and a hard place – Owens V Owens

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The impending divorce of Mrs Tini Owens and her husband Mr Hugh Owens is in the limelight once again following an appeal to the Supreme Court.
 
Since her initial case for divorce was dismissed by senior judges, Mrs Owens has been given permission to appeal her case to the Supreme Court, the highest appeal court in our jurisdiction. The decision they make should now be able to put an end to the much debated contentious divorce proceedings within the UK.

Mrs Owens originally petitioned for divorce against her husband of 37 years on the basis of his unreasonable behaviour. Under the law in England and Wales, a petition on this basis is one of only two ways separating couples can commence divorce proceedings immediately. Mr Owens defended the proceedings which in itself is somewhat unusual.

Multiple court hearings have since followed and the court have found, to date, that the examples of unreasonable behaviour Mrs Owens included within her divorce petition are not enough to satisfy the threshold, trapping her in what she calls “a loveless marriage”. The Court of Appeal found that "Parliament has decreed that it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage, though some people may say it should be."

There is current debate surrounding whether there should be legislation to allow separating couples to divorce immediately on a ‘no fault basis’. The idea is that this would enable couples to engage in the divorce process on a more amicable, less confrontational basis and would hopefully avoid the type of litigation Mr & Mrs Owens have had to endure.

The case demonstrates that it is vital to seek legal advice at the outset of separation to ensure that unnecessary, costly and stressful litigation can be avoided. 

 

MORE INFORMATION 

For more information relating to divorce law, finances and how Pinney Talfourd can help, please contact our Family Law department - call on 01708 229444 or email us using the form to the right to arrange a free initial consultation.
 
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2017.
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1083 Hits

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