Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Affairs no longer the leading reason for divorce?

Grant Thornton’s 2011 matrimonial survey sought the opinion of 101 family lawyers in England and Wales on various issues surrounding matrimonial work undertaken by family lawyers.

For the last 8 years the findings of the survey have established that the top cited reason for divorce is extra-marital affairs. However this year, for the first time, the top cited reason given by the participants was that the parties had ‘grown apart’ or ‘fallen out of love’. 27% of the responses suggested that this was the most common reason for a marriage breakdown. Extra-martial affairs came a close second at 25%.

Interestingly, in these difficult economic times only 1% of the family lawyers responding to the survey thought that business problems were the leading cause of marriage breakdown and divorce.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

‘Tough love’ vital for children of divorcing parents

Think tank ‘Demos’ has published research on the UK’s drinking habits, The Telegraph reported over the weekend, showing strong links between a child’s upbringing and his or her future relationship with alcohol.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, according to Demos children whose parents divorce are “more likely to have ‘problematic drinking behaviours’”, due either to the stress of the divorce process or impact it has on the parent/child relationship.

The research reveals that children are affected most, not by divorce itself, but by a parent becoming ‘disengaged’ from their child as a result.  Divorcing parents must remain emotionally engaged with their child, regularly demonstrating warmth and affection particularly when a child is under five, to reduce the chances of their pre-schooler drinking to excess by the time they reach 16.

However children also need discipline particularly during the emotional upheaval caused by separation, and parents must ‘set and enforce clear boundaries’.  If parents can work together and set aside their own issues, their children are far less likely to develop such social issues in their teens.

It is vital to obtain divorce advice from a specialist family law solicitor if you are concerned about co-parenting following separation. 

For more advice on divorce read our family law blog, follow us on Twitter or call Pannone on 0800 840 4929.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Recent press reports suggest that even though there has been little improvement in the financial climate, many couples who had put their divorce ‘on hold’ in the hope that things would improve are now finding that they cannot wait any longer.

For couples where resources are already stretched, achieving a divorce settlement which divides the available resources in a way that gives them the best possible standard of living, both in the medium and the longer term, is a growing challenge for divorce solicitors.

Pensions is an area where divorce advice is particularly important to make sure that the best use is made of the funds that are available and this can make a big difference to a person’s future financial security.

Static property prices are a further difficulty and in some cases where the proceeds would not stretch to provide two homes the answer may be a divorce settlement where the sale is delayed until a future date, such as when children have completed their education.

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

Friday, 19 August 2011

Formula 1 Billionaire’s daughter to marry – is she in need of Family Law Advice?

You may have read in the press recently that Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter has recently announced her engagement to businessman Jamie Stunt.

It is reported that Bernie Ecclestone is keen to protect his billions by ensuring his daughter signs an “ironclad” prenuptial agreement. This begs the question - can pre-nuptial agreements protect inherited assets? 

A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal agreement entered into prior to a marriage or civil partnership which sets out who owns what at the time of marriage and also how the couple envisage that those assets should be divided in the event of divorce or separation. At present, divorce law is clear that pre-nuptial agreements are not “ironclad” in England and Wales.

If you would like to discuss a pre-nuptial agreement with one of our divorce law solicitors, please contact us on click here or call us on 0800 840 4929. We are available to take your call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Divorce Can Impact Children of All Ages - Even Rafael Nadal

Tennis enthusiasts will be aware of the problems that Rafael Nadal has had with his knees. This was the reason he gave for pulling out of Wimbledon in 2009. However, Rafael Nadal has indicated in a book about his life that this was not the only reason for his dip in performance. Sadly his parents' divorce had a negative impact upon him.  In his book he states that he "was depressed, lacking in enthusiam" as a result of the divorce.

Separating parents often worry about the impact that their divorce will have upon their young children. Less parents worry about the impact that it will have upon their adult children. Divorce is often a difficult time for all involved. Dealing with matters as amicably as is possible will often soften the impact of divorce upon a couple's children.

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

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Trading with your divorce settlement

The New Zealand Herald News has recently reported on the growing trend of 'divorce parties' amongst divorcees, wishing to rid themselves of unwanted items kept by them as part of their divorce settlement.  The paper interviewed a businesswoman whose company is specifically dedicated to organising such events.  The items can range from clothes to handbags to pieces of furniture.
As part of reaching a financial agreement on divorce, you will need to consider with your family law solicitor, how you wish to deal with personal possessions and the contents of the family home.  Once the division of your goods and chattels has been agreed and implemented, you are free to do with them as you choose.  You may actually prefer to get rid of some of this baggage of your married life, psychologically moving on.
At Pannone, our divorce lawyers are able to discuss with you the resolution of all financial aspects arising from the breakdown of your marriage, including dealing with smaller, more personal, items.   For further details about what we can do for you and the divorce advice which we can provide, please click here.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Men increasingly victims of violence by their partners

There have been numerous articles in the press in recent week involving domestic violence by women against their male partners. 

Domestic violence is something which is more commonly thought of as a 'women's' issue' but there can be no dispute that it affects a large number of men too, and the numbers of cases reported have steadily increased over the last few years. 

BBC Radio 5 recently reported that figures from the CPS indicate that the number of domestic violence convictions of women for violence against men has risen from just 1,500 in 2005, to almost 4000 this last year.

Violence in the home, whether against women, men or children, is treated seriously by the family courts and there are various measures which can be put in place to protect victims.  If you are a victim you should consult a family law solicitor urgently. It can also be grounds for divorce.

In Manchester, a new scheme of 'exclusion orders' which are served by the police is being trialled, which it is hoped will make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain urgent assistance, pending more long term measures being put in place.

The message is clear that the law is there to help any victims of domestic violence, and people should not be scared of obtaining legal advice from a specialist divorce lawyer or family law solicitor as to the various remedies available.

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

Monday, 8 August 2011

Alternative approaches to settling children disputes

When people come to see me about residence and contact disputes, I always explain to them that court proceedings should always be a matter of last resort.  It is far better that parents agree something between them, even if it is not exactly what they would want, rather than have something imposed on them by the court that neither of them may like.  It is also important that people remember they will have to continue to parent the child/children together for many years, long after the litigation has finished, and sometimes the damage done by court proceedings can make that even harder.
A problem that many separated parents face is that of communication.  When a relationship has broken down, especially in difficult circumstances, it can be hard to have civilised discussions over the children without the emotion of background issues taking over.  Whilst a court order can help in some circumstances, it does not help to improve this issue.
For that reason, parents are increasingly being encouraged to look at alternative methods of settling their dispute and ways to improve how they communicate about issues surrounding their children.  One of the main ways the courts encourage this in children law disputes is through the Parenting Information Programme (known as PIPs). 
A recent report published by the Department of Education called Building Bridges looks at this issue.  The report concludes that parents should be encouraged to look at more creative ways of approaching their differences, rather than going to court immediately.  Parents are also now required to consider attending mediation before issuing a Children Act application, unless the matter is urgent.
Certainly, obtaining legal advice from a family solicitor can be a useful first step, so that parents know where they stand, but it is important to remember that this is just one of many different options that can be used to help separated families settle issues in dispute.  Any specialist children lawyers will be able to advise clients as to the range of alternative methods available, and help them consider the most child-focused way to reach a resolution.

Marriage advice not divorce advice

Jennifer Anniston and new boyfriend Justin Theroux are in couples’ therapy, according to Grazia magazine, and have only been going out a few months.  Apparently this is to work through potential relationship issues before they become reasons for splitting up.  Whilst it seems a typically American approach which would never catch on here, evidence shows that the reverse may be true.

Given the rate at which British couples are divorcing, sometimes only a year or two into their married lives, we are tentatively embracing the ‘American’ approach and talking through our issues in a way which may reverse the decades old trend of increasing divorce numbers, according to Julia Llewellyn Smith writing in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday.

Couples who are married in a religious ceremony, particularly Irish Catholics, have long been obliged to attend pre-marital counselling.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were counselled by the Archbishop of Canterbury before their April nuptials.

According to Relate, which runs premarital courses on discussing issues such as finances and bringing up children (often major issues when a couple seeks a divorce) it is an important process which could effectively identify catastrophic marital issues before a couple makes that expensive walk down the aisle. 

The average UK couple spends hundreds of hours planning their big day.  The message seems to be that spending two or three more in couples’ therapy may prevent a new husband or wife from ever needing divorce advice. Couples may even choose to formalise their new understanding in a pre nuptial agreement.
For more advice on any of the issues raised follow our family law blog or follow us on!/Divorce_experts  

Friday, 5 August 2011

Will legal aid cuts cause the courts to grind to a halt?

The legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill was published last month. Today Jon Robbins writing in the Guardian suggests that the legal aid cuts will bring more DIY cases into court and consequently cause the legal system to grind to a halt.

The proposed cuts include the removal of legal aid in all private family law cases unless there has been established domestic violence. The consequence of this would be to prevent individuals obtaining legal aid for family law matters, including divorce proceedings and children act proceedings (such as residence and contact disputes).

Mr Robbins notes that last year there were 211,000 family law cases where initial advice and assistance was provided and a further 53,800 where individuals were provided with representation at court under the legal aid system. In future where would those 264,800 people turn?

It is widely anticipated by many family law solicitors that more individuals will choose to act as litigants in person, rather than privately paying for a family solicitor. It is argued that this will cause considerable delays in the already overburdened court system. There is also a concern that those who lack the knowledge and experience to put forward their case effectively will be detrimentally affected if they do not receive proper support and assistance.   

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

Genius must be shared in a divorce settlement

Billionaire Henry Silverman has reportedly argued that his wife should receive a reduced divorce settlement because it was his 'innate genius' alone that lead to the accumulation of his alleged $450 million fortune.
Under divorce law in England the starting point is a 50/50 division of a couple's finances. The divorce solicitors may then try to find reasons why one party should receive  a greater share. One reason is known as a 'stellar contribution' which no doubt Mr Silverman considers he made.
The family law courts are however very reluctant to treat such exceptional financial contributions as a reason to depart from an equal split of martial assets even where the wealth it generated is extraordinary. This is because our divorce law views the contributions of the breadwinner and homemaker as equal.
Unless, therefore, the genius that generated the wealth is such as to induce a 'gulp' rather than a 'gasp' it will not effect the terms of the divorce settlement.
You will find more divorce advice in our family law blog or you can follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The effect is the same...

It is reported that the Government has delayed a consultation on equality betwen marriage and civil partnerships from the summer to the autumn.  This has apparently upset many gay rights campaigners who feel that both options should immediately be available to all, regardless of sexual orientation.  Currently, marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, whilst civil partnerships are only available to same sex couples.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this approach, there is little practical difference to the advice given on divorce at the end of a marriage or when advising parties who wish to dissolve their civil partnership.  The only real difference appears in the reasons given for the end of the relationship.  Married couples can cite adultery as one of the reasons why the marriage has failed.  The same is not available to those wishing to end their civil partnership.

When considering the financial consequences, however, divorce settlements are based on the same law and principles as apply to civil partnerships.  Parties can share remedies in respect of capital, income and pension.  The court will apply the same legal principles to determine a fair settlement on a divorce or when dissolving a civil partnership.  The welfare of any children of the relationship is of paramount importance, before going on to consider a range of other factors.

For more advice on divorce or dissolving your civil partnership follow our family law blog of follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Now it's reported Linda Evangelista won't get her son out of bed for less than $46,000...

Linda Evangelista is allegedly seeking around £28,250 each month by way of child support from the father of her four year old son. It is reported this includes money for a chauffeur, security and nanny.
The claims have sparked media outrage, not least because Evangelista herself is believed to be worth around £5 million. 
Family law solicitors will advise, however, that such awards can be made as part of divorce settlements in England and between unmarried parents who separate in this country.
Child support in a divorce settlement or paid on separation reflects the wealth of the parties. Helpful if the father, as in Evanglista's case, is allegedly one of the richest men in France.
The family law courts can, if funds permit, include a carer's allowance to cover such costs as a nanny, cleaner or car.
Hopefully Francois-Henri Pinault has a good family law solicitor as these claims can indeed be substantial.
Read more advice on divorce and family law in our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Monday, 1 August 2011

You can stay at home dad...

A family law judge recently decided that a father, who has full time care of his 11 year old daughter, should move out of his home so that the girl's mother, who lives in Bulgaria, could stay there while visiting their daughter.
This meant not only the father but his new partner and their child having to find somewhere to stay during the visit.
Fortunately a higher court has overturned this decision and they can can stay in their home.
The court can make requirements in connection with a parent seeing a child after a divorce or separation if they think it in the child's interests. This might be where they should meet or who else can be present. Moving out of your home was not considered to be one.
Specialist family law solicitors will be able to provide you with more information about arrangements for children after a divorce or separation.
For more divorce advice read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.