Monday, 25 June 2012

Government Hopes That Technology Will Help Those Divorcing

It has been reported in the press that the Government is planning to create a "divorce app" to help people who are going through the separation process. It is stated that the app will provide information about how to divorce amicably, how to sort out child support payments with your ex and how not to argue in front of the children. There will also be help for those who are having second thoughts about separating.

Anything that will help those going through the divorce process, which many find painful and stressful, should be welcomed. Those that have young children often find it easier to sort out arrangements for their children if their relationship with their ex is reasonably civilised. Although an app cannot solve relationship problems, highlighting the common issues that separated couples encounter, offering practical advice and alternatives to the court process could help some of the thousands of people who divorce each year.

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

Monday, 18 June 2012

Lack of Pre-nup Could Cost Klass Dear

The Daily Mail have reported that Myleene Klass is ready to fight her husband, Graham Quinn, in order to keep her £12million fortune now that they are facing divorce. Their relationship reads like a Hollywood movie: they met twelve years ago whilst she toured as a member of Hear'Say, and he was her bodyguard. Sadly their tale lacks the "happily ever after" ending. The Daily Mail claims that 6 months after their wedding, Mr Quinn left the family home and moved into his recently purchased flat, leaving Myleene and their two daughters.

As one of a new breed of breadwinning wives, it may be expected that Myleene's divorce settlement would include maintenance for her former husband, as well as a large proportion of the capital.  However, their relationship is not a true reversal of the traditional husband and wife roles. Myleene has also been left to look after their children on a daily basis: an argument often used by housewives for needing more of the marital assets than their breadwinning husbands.

Myleene may have benefitted from taking divorce advice before getting married as it may have been in her interest to have entered into a pre-nuptial agreement with Quinn. The family courts now must uphold such agreements unless there is very good reason not to and they provide clear evidence as to what the couple had intended to occur on divorce.

Pre-nuptial agreements can mean that on divorce there is no need to compound the existing hearbreak with the financial and emotional cost of fighting a court battle to sort out the family finances.  Consulting a divorce solicitor before you get married is at the least pragmatic, if not very romantic!

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

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The continuing uncertainty for cohabitees

It has been reported today that multi millionaire artist Damien Hirst has, sadly, separated from his long term partner and mother of his three children Maia Norman.
Whether the couple have ever entered into any form of cohabitation agreement to provide for such a situation is unknown.
There is no doubt that the law already ensures that a rich father must pay child maintenance which is sufficiently generous to allow the children and their mother to enjoy the same sort of standard of living as they have been used to and to provide them with a suitable home whilst the children are in education.
However Ms Norman's situation shines a spotlight on the uncertain state of the law for cohabitees when it comes to sharing property and assets and the sharp contrast with that of a divorcee looking for a financial settlement at the end of a long marriage.
There has been much discussion about a change in the law to provide clear rights for cohabitees but as yet little progress has been made. In the meantime cohabiting couples are left to protect themselves as best they can by taking advice from a Family Lawyer and entering into agreements about their property should the worst happen.

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

Monday, 11 June 2012

Does cohabitation before marriage make you more likely to divorce?

In all divorce cases, an issue to establish at the outset is the length of the relationship. This can impact upon the amount of the financial settlement. If a couple initially cohabit and then move seamlessly into marriage, the total length of the relationship is considered by the court.

Cohabitation has become the norm. According to the Daily Mail, since 2001, the number of cohabiting couples in Britain has risen dramatically from 2.1 million to 2.9million — and around 80 per cent of us cohabit before marriage.

There are many reasons why couples are more likely to live together first and the majority are not romantic. Many cannot afford to purchase a property on their own and therefore look to join funds. Others wish to test their relationship by living together first. It is suggested that women are more likely to want to cohabit to feel more secure whereas men are more likely to cohabit to put off commitment. Ultimately, many couples then decide to marry.

There may therefore already be cracks in the relationship and the couple mistakenly believes that marriage will resolve those issues. In reality, the relationship has failed and the couple has simply papered over the cracks.

Read more advice on our family law blog or follow us on twitter @Divorce_experts

Friday, 8 June 2012

Criminalisation of Forced Marriage

The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have just announced that forcing someone to marry is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales.
At present, the civil courts can make forced marriage orders to protect individuals from being forced into marriage or from any attempt to force them into marriage and provide protection to a victim of a forced marriage. This is usually done with the assistance of a specialist family law solicitor as detailed in our blog of 6/7/10. However, by criminalising forced marriage, it formally recognises that to force someone to marry without their consent is against the law and the perpetrator of such will be punished. It is hoped that this will also provide further support and protection to the victim and ultimately prevent forced marriages from happening in the future.
There has been much press coverage over recent months about "honour killings" which brings this issue to the forefront. There is a clear need for recognition that a forced marriage is an abuse of human rights which cannot be justified on cultural grounds. In our multi cultural society it is imperative that we do not shy away from what is clearly wrong and a greater understanding is needed.
Until such time as the as the offence is introduced, specialist family solicitors can advise on the current protective provisions that can be obtained from designated courts across the country, including Manchester.
For more advice on family matters follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The problems with technology

The difficulties posed by technology for families dealing with separation have been a topic of some interest to media both at home and abroad over the last few days.

It followed an interview with Family department partner Louise Halford by the Sunday Times.

The story was picked up by print and online media elsewhere in Europe and also in Australia.

Louise herself penned a 'blog exploring the theme further for the Huffington Post.
If you find yourself in a similar position or want expert confidential advice on separation or divorce and what it means for you or your children, get in touch.

To arrange a discussion with a family law solicitor click here or call us on 0800 840 4929. We are available to take your call.

You can also get more general advice via the Pannone family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

The Farmer wants a pre-nup

Buoyed by the continuing rise in the price of land, the Financial Times has recently reported a rise in pre- and post-nuptial agreements entered into by farmers.

As much of a farmer’s wealth is usually tied up in the land they work, many are trying to protect this asset, as well as the income which they generate from it, by asking their future spouse to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, or a similar agreement once they have married (a post-nuptial agreement).

Whilst such agreements entered into between a couple are not legally binding in England and Wales, recent case law has increased their prominence and the weight which a judge will attach to them should a couple divorce. The court will hold the parties to the terms agreed unless: the agreement was not entered into freely by each party; they did not have a full appreciation of the implications of the agreement at the time of signing it; or it would be unfair to hold either of them to the agreement.

While courts are keen to avoid selling family farming businesses to make divorce payouts, there are no guarantees that even inherited land will be treated differently from other property and excluded from the total value of assets to be divided when the courts come to a financial settlement. The significant rise in the price of commercial farmland in some parts of the UK has prompted fears amongst farmers that it could form a greater percentage of the money being fought over on divorce. Farmers are therefore keen to do what they can to try and protect this land should their marriage break down.

Farming divorces can be more complicated to resolve than urban separations because most of a couple’s assets may not be in cash but tied up in a working farming business. As a result, a well thought out and carefully structured pre-nuptial agreement can got a considerable way towards protecting a farmer and removing the uncertainty which might otherwise exist.

Our family solicitors have considerable experience in drafting pre-nuptial agreements and advising on the terms of such documents.

For more advice on pre-nuptial agreements or any other family law issue, follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.