Wednesday, 1 May 2013

International family law cases on the up

The BBC have today reported upon the rise in global family disputes including child abduction, relocation, inter-country adoption and forced marriages. The increase in cases which have an international element seems to have been caused by the ever increasing number of families who have connections outside the UK.

Cases whereby one parent wishes to leave the UK and settle in a foreign country with children following a divorce/failed relationship are not uncommon. Often, the situation arises because one parent wishes to return to their home country to be with family. However, the Child Abduction Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence for a parent to take a child out of the UK without the appropriate consent. It is therefore always important to obtain specialist legal advice before taking such steps. In certain cases, it may be necessary to seek the leave of the UK court before relocating.

At Pannone we have a team of solicitors who specialise in ­child abduction­ cases and those involving international family law issues. If you have any concerns with regard to these issues you should not hesitate to contact them to discuss matters further.
Where a child has already been taken outside of the UK an urgent application to the courts in the country to which the child has been taken will be required. The way in which this is done, and the law which applies, varies between countries. This is a complex area of law and specialist advice will needed.

For more divorce advice and discussion please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Eco millionaire faces claim for maintenance 20 years after his divorce

The unfortunate plight of multi-millionaire Dale Vince has recently demonstrated the importance of entering into a Consent Order to deal with financial aspects of a divorce.

Mr Vince and his wife divorced in 1992. They did not enter into a Consent Order in relation to their financial settlement because at the time the assets between them did not seemingly have much value. Mrs Vinci did not claim maintenance from Mr Vinci because he simply did not have the money to pay.

After the divorce Mr Vinci started his own business from the back of his trailer. This company grew significantly during the decades after his divorce and became the green energy giant Ecotricity Limited. During the period 2011/2012, the company had a turnover of £44 million and Mr Vinci enjoys a commensurate lifestyle in a house worth £3million.

Now, over 20 years after obtaining his divorce, Mr Vince has found himself in an expensive High Court battle fighting his ex-wife after she made a claim against him for financial support. Despite the fact that parties obtained their divorce in 1992, the Court refused to strike out Mrs Vince’s financial claim and Mr Vince has even been ordered by the Court to pay his ex-wife’s legal fees of £125,000. The case continues.

This recent Court battle has highlighted the importance of entering into a clean break Consent Order to extinguish all future financial claims one spouse may have against the other. Such an order allows there to be full finality to a divorce and without it, as this particular case demonstrates, the door is always left open for a financial claim to be made even after decree absolute for divorce has been obtained.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_expert

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Defamation and Divorce - Two Unhappy Bedfellows

The sad tale of proceedings for defamation at the High Court between Lady Nora Colthurst and her ex-husband’s girlfriend’s daughter is worth commenting on from a divorce perspective. Lady Colthurst and her ex-husband had been married for 22 years but the marriage ended after he started an affair with his current girlfriend.

The comments that were the subject of the recent proceedings were posted in a blog back in 2005. They only came to Lady Colthurst’s attention in 2011. The blog was eventually removed in March 2012. It is reported that Lady Colthurst has accepted undisclosed libel damages and a public apology for the 'distressing' allegations posted online.

It is so tempting for parents when they are divorcing to involve their new partners and sometimes their new partner’s children in their upset. As this case demonstrates, where children or young adults who are used to using social media get involved, it can go too far. No doubt the young lady in this case thought she was helping her mother and her mother’s boyfriend by posting defamatory comments on line, but, as this young lady has discovered, doing so has consequences.

The breakdown of a marriage is a stressful and emotional time and it is important to ask for help if you need it. However, it is important for all divorcing couples to counsel friends and family not to get involved in a way that could aggravate a tense situation.

For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Hidden Assets in Young divorce may now be revealed...

It now seems that jailed British property developer Scot Young and an associate Russian businessman constructed a secret network of offshore companies to hide his fortune during his multi-million pound divorce battle with his now ex-wife Michelle Young.

Mrs Young is claiming a share of her husband’s £400 million fortune which Mr Young claims disappeared within 3 months and turned into debts of £28 million. Mr Young however was jailed in January 2013 for contempt of court as he failed to verify his alleged financial loses during the financial settlement proceedings.

According to reports Mr Young found varies ways of deceiving his wife and the divorce solicitors as to what his fortunes actually were. One such plan reportedly commenced as Mr Young’s marriage started to deteriorate in 2005 by Mr Young joining forces with a Russian associate to invest in a deal to redevelop a former paint-factory site worth approximately £65million based in Moscow into shops and offices. Mr Young then received half the shares in an offshore Cyprus company from his associate, which controlled the planned property speculation. The deal between the two men involved 12 companies and trusts in Cyprus, Russia, the British Virgin Islands and Lichtenstein. Mr Young then claimed that the Moscow development fell through and that he received no shares.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Thursday, 21 March 2013

False claims of domestic violence rare according to study

For the first time, the Crown Prosecution Service has looked into so called false allegations of domestic violence and rape which have been published by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The report which looks at a 17 month period, shows that false allegations of rape and domestic violence are perhaps more rare than previously thought although reported cases remain serious.

The Family Law Act 1996 provides protection for victims of domestic violence. In certain circumstances it is possible to apply to the court for an injunction such as a non-molestation orders which if successful forbids the use of violence. Breach of a non-molestation order is also a criminal offence. It may also be possible to obtain what is known as an occupation order in certain circumstances which if successful would allow the applicant to occupy the home to the exclusion of the other party. It is however always important to obtain specialist legal advice before embarking upon such a course of action.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog  or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Pitfalls of Unmarried Couples

Cohabitation has become increasingly more common in the UK over recent years. Many people who have lived with their partners for a period of years are mistaken into thinking that if their relationship does come to an end that the same principles used by couples obtaining a divorce  will apply to them. This however is not the case and many unmarried couples, especially women, find themselves in dire financial circumstances following the breakdown of their relationship after learning there is no such thing as a common-law marriage.

Over the weekend the Daily Mail on Sunday alerted unmarried couples to the financial pitfalls following the breakdown of their relationship and we as leading family law solicitors  shared our experiences having seen an influx of work from separating unmarried couples.

The gap in the treatment of unmarried couples compared to their married counterparts is a key reform issue facing the UK over the next few years, but until a change is made by the Law Commission, make sure you do not fall into the common pitfalls of unmarried couples and seek legal advice.

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice  please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Injunction against Charlie Booker lifted following calls for greater transparency in the Family Court

Injunction against Charlie Booker lifted following calls for greater transparency in the Family Court

The Sunday Telegraph has reported that an injunction imposed on journalist Charlie Booker prohibiting him from reporting a Family case concerning the future care of children, has been lifted. It is understood that the injunction barred Mr Booker from making any mention the dispute.

Charlie Booker claimed that the case was clearly in the public interests and the High Court agreed. We can only assume therefore that the separated parents in question were well known.

The Telegraph reports that in his ruling, Mr Justice Mostyn said he was lifting the injunction “because the emphasis should be on transparency” in the courts. He added: “Mr Booker is perfectly entitled to be as rude as he wants about anybody he wants. That is what freedom of speech is about.”

In April 2009, the Government made changes to allow the media to attend Family court cases. However, the court can exclude the media where it is thought necessary in the interests of any child concerned in the proceedings. As a consequence, judges often exclude the press from cases involving custody or residence disputes.

The power to exclude the press from the Family court has been heavily criticised by the press and viewed as an attack on freedom speech. Senior judges are sensitive to this criticism and agree that there should be more transparency. However, the crux of the issue will be whether cases involving decisions about the future of which parent a child should live with can ever be in the “public interest”.

For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts