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Divorce FAQs

Online-Divorce
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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1675 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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2268 Hits

International Divorce FAQs

Scales
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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1667 Hits

New family lawyer joins the team

Remyhs-Baker
The Family Law Team are delighted to welcome Remyhs Baker to the firm. Remyhs is a passionate family lawyer and is looking forward to helping our clients in all areas of family law. In this article, we find out a little bit about Remyhs.Remyhs joined the firm in early 2019 after training and qualifying at a leading London law firm. She qu...
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2532 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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1328 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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1325 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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5073 Hits

Online Divorce – The Future is Here

Online-Divorce
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has recently announced that its fully online divorce application process is being piloted across England and Wales for the first time.

The Government hopes that the online system will make the process less stressful for users during an already difficult time, as well as decreasing the amount of time some people spend on the dissolution of their marriage, allowing them to focus on getting their lives back on track.

The scheme was initially piloted last year, allowing users to apply online for a divorce. The system offered guidance in completing the application form, whilst also enabling users to print off the documents and send to the appropriate court.

HMCTS has since further extended the service to include submitting forms online so that the process is now fully digital, which enables users to send relevant documents and even allows payments to be made via their website. It is reported that, in the first week of the pilot launching, they received over 130 online applications.

The Government hopes that the system will reduce the number of applications returned due to errors and generally enabling the process to be much smoother for people at a difficult time in their lives. Since the pilot launched, there has been a 90% improvement in errors received on paper versions of the application. The process also removes the risk of the application being lost in the post, as well as the details being recorded instantly online. This pilot is part of the Government’s £1bn plans to modernise the justice system.

The pilot thus far has received positive feedback from users when compared to the current paper-based application form; the next stage of the pilot is to allow legal advisers to use the system which shall hopefully continue to streamline the divorce application process for people across England and Wales.

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1221 Hits

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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1244 Hits

Between a divorce rock and a hard place – Owens V Owens

Divorce-1
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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1506 Hits

A Short, Sharp, Shock for Married Couples

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A City trader has successfully challenged a divorce judgment awarding her ex-husband of four years £2.7m in a ruling that lawyers say ‘gives couples more to bicker about’.

Mr and Mrs Sharp were married for four years. They had no children together and both worked full-time earning approximately £100,000 per year each. Mrs Sharp, however, did receive significant bonuses amounting to over £10 million during the marriage. Throughout the course of their marriage, the couple kept their finances separate, although they did purchase property together and shared in the costs of acquiring and refurbishing those properties.

Upon Mrs Sharp finding out Mr Sharp was having an affair in 2013, she issued divorce proceedings and the financial elements of those proceedings were initially determined by the court in November 2015. The Judge decided that Mr Sharp was entitled to exactly half of the matrimonial pot, which amounted to £2.75 million. This decision was very much in line with the long-established sharing principle upon divorce. Mrs Sharp appealed that decision and argued that the equal sharing of the matrimonial assets, which were mostly built up by her, was unfair.

The Court of Appeal have recently found in Mrs Sharp’s favour and decreased the award to Mr Sharp to £2million, which is less than 50% of the matrimonial pot. This decision is a significant departure from the long-established principle of splitting the matrimonial assets down the middle upon divorce, despite the length of the marriage.

Lord Justice McFarlane, one of the three Appeal Court Judges, found that in this case there was no impediment to depart from the established principle of equal division and he concluded that in a short, dual career marriage in which the couple had kept their finances separate, it was indeed justified.

This decision creates further uncertainty in the law and conflicts with the general principle of an equal split upon divorce. This case concentrates on the fairness of the outcome in the circumstances of this couple’s situation and clearly reflects the position that the courts will not apply an automatic split down the middle in every case and that the couple’s circumstances must be considered in each and every case.

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1483 Hits

Divorce and Financial Proceedings to be ‘Unlinked’

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Following a successful pilot, financial proceedings will be ‘administratively de-linked’ from divorce proceedings on 19 June. We take a closer look at what this new development entails.

The experiment was initially piloted at a divorce centre in Southampton, and its launch is expected to save family solicitors weeks of delays in future cases. In a letter published this week, family division president Sir James Munby and HM Courts & Tribunals Service deputy chief executive Kevin Sadler said that the pilot had accomplished its purpose of introducing a more streamlined process to divorce proceedings, reducing the delays experienced by court users as files are transferred between courts by up to two weeks.

Presently, if a contested financial application is made by one or both parties, the whole proceedings are transferred to a local court. The pilot in question administratively unlinks financial proceedings from divorce so that the main divorce proceedings remain in the specialist centre, whilst staff and judiciary at the local hearing centres worked separately on the contested financial proceedings. Other matters such as consent applications remained at the divorce centres.

A separate financial remedy file is then created at the local hearing centre, holding the same case number as the divorce proceedings. Many family solicitors are hailing this new approach as more effective and speedy than before.

Family law group Resolution also welcomed the news; they stated “Any steps that reduce delay and make the administration of family proceedings more efficient must be encouraged. This is just one example of how quite simple changes can make a difference in practice”.

 

MORE INFORMATION 

For more information relating to divorce law 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.
 
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 June 2017.
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1748 Hits

London Reclaims Its Divorce Capital Crown

Divorce-1
A wife has been awarded a whopping £453 million in financial matters upon divorce; this latest case allows London to reclaim its crown as the divorce capital of the world.

The couple in the case have not been named but the full judgment can be reviewed AAZ v BBZ [2016] EWHC 3234 (Fam). They married in 1993 and had two sons. The wife was 17 years younger than the husband and was described to be a housewife and a hands-on mother during their marriage. The husband was a businessman with significant wealth. The husband sold shares for US $1.375 billion during their marriage and at the point of divorce, the wife estimated their marital wealth to be over £1 billion.

The Judge accepted that the total wealth of the family was wholly matrimonial and that it should, therefore, be shared between the husband and wife.

The husband, in this case, seems to have not done himself any favours by failing to attend at court for the various hearings. The husband did, however, rather fittingly given the wealth involved, appear at the final hearing by video-link from his yacht in the Caribbean.

London is well known for being the divorce capital of the world and women from all over the world seek to issue their divorce proceedings in London if they have sufficient links to the country to secure jurisdiction. The reason for this is that the courts in London tend to take a more sympathetic attitude toward housewives or stay at home mothers.

The law provides for a starting point, in line with the sharing principle, in long marriages of a 50/50 split of the matrimonial assets regardless of who earns the most. The court will also give consideration to the standard of living the family has enjoyed throughout the marriage when determining a financial award. This means for a stay at home wife, who has been married to a wealthy businessman for a long while, is likely to receive an award very close to 50% of the entire matrimonial wealth.

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1447 Hits

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