Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ashton Kutcher snapped with Mila Kunis - does this complicate his divorce from Demi?

Despite Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore having separated over a year ago after a six year marriage, his alleged new relationship with former co-star Mila Kunis has apparently left Demi heartbroken. The couple split in November last year after reports of the Two and a Half Men star’s cheating. Ashton and Mila’s new relationship is apparently so strong they are more or less living with each other – what effect could this have on Ashton’s as yet un-finalised divorce and financial settlement?

Living with a new partner before a divorce settlement is agreed can complicate matters in England and Wales. The fact that one spouse has moved on so quickly can cause upset and anger but what about the legal consequences?

Any actual or intended cohabitation has to be disclosed; if you keep this secret it could undermine any settlement reached. Living with someone can also have an impact on your finances. For example your outgoings are likely to be lower as you will be sharing bills and living costs with your new partner. Cohabitation is however not a black and white issue. If you need to know where you stand you should take divorce advice from an expert family lawyer.

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

Monday, 23 July 2012

Domestic Violence is still an issue

Recently, we posted a blog detailing the extra powers given to the police in Greater Manchester in situations where there is domestic violence. In light of this we note that today the Director of Public Prosecutions has announced improved conviction rates but confirms that more needs to be done to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

At Pannone, we have experience of divorces and disputes concerning children where there are allegations of domestic violence but the victim of the abuse does not report the incident to the police. According to the latest statistics only 25% of victims who suffer abuse actually report it. Explanations put forward by the victims we meet are that they are fearful of repercussions or they are concerned about what their children may think. Sometimes, the police have been contacted and have failed to act and the victim then denies the abuse.

A Domestic Violence Protection Order means that the Police can keep a violent partner away from their home and prevent them from contacting the victim for up to 28 days without the need to bring criminal charges. The intention is to give the victim some respite.

At Pannone, we have a team of family lawyers who frequently advise clients in relation to domestic abuse.

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

Friday, 20 July 2012

Cracking the Pension Pot

It has been reported today that hundreds of thousands of people often overlook their entitlement to a share of their spouse’s pension on divorce.

Since 2000, the court has had the power to order pension trustees to debit the pension pot of one spouse and credit the amount to a new fund in the other spouse’s name. These orders are usually made with the aim of sharing a couple’s total pension fund between them equally.

Problems can arise a when spouse ignores the other’s pension or fails to obtain a proper valuation of the pension fund. Overlooking pensions is common among younger couples who tend to feel that pensions are of little immediate relevance to them.

Pensions can have significant values and can act as a good source of income for the future. They should not be ignored under any circumstances and here at Pannone we always recommend that specialist pension advice is sought.

At Pannone we have a large team of family solicitors who can offer you specialist advice regarding the divorce process and the powers of the court when considering financial settlements.

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

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Expelling the Myth of the Quicky Divorce

Talking of the proposals for banking reform on the Andrew Marr show on 8 July 2012, Ed Balls commented that due to the difficulties in changing banks people in Britain stay with the same bank for longer than they stay with their spouses – appearing to suggest that divorce is a much faster and easier process. Ed Balls’ analogy may have been simply to prove a political point, but to take his words seriously, just how quickly can you obtain a divorce?

The divorce process can take as little as 4-6 months where there is some agreement between the parties, but can take up to a year. If a complex financial settlement needs to be sorted out by the courts, the divorce process can be put on hold for a number of years until that happens. By comparison, changing your bank account takes a matter of weeks. Despite the media’s oft alluded to celebrity “quicky” divorce, the process is unlikely to be quicker than changing banks.

But is the process easier? As family lawyers we have met with many different people who require a divorce under vastly different circumstances for very different reasons. It is unlikely that any of them would say that obtaining their divorce was easy in terms of reaching the decision and accepting it emotionally, and it is the emotional aspect of divorce which often makes the procedure so difficult to deal with. The associated concerns that people have in terms of their children and finances compound this and can complicate the legal process.

Whilst the divorce process is simpler today than it ever has been (due to recent reforms) it can seem daunting to those outside of the legal profession.

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

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Cruise & Holmes do a deal

The press have today reported that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have concluded a divorce financial settlement  and also settled the arrangements for their daughter, Suri. Press reports suggest that a pre-nuptial agreement will have limited the amount that Cruise has paid but that Cruise has probably made a goodwill payment to bring negotiations to a swift conclusion. Of course, the exact details of the settlement are likely to be kept secret.

Reports also suggest that Holmes will have sole "custody" of Suri but that Cruise will get "significant custodial time". In the UK if parents cannot agree upon the arrangements for a child post separation then an application to the court can be made for a residence order which decides with whom the child should live  and also a contact order which will set out what the day to day arrangements are for the child such as how much time the child spends with each parent. It is however important to obtain specialist advice before applying to court because there are alternatives to court.

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

Friday, 6 July 2012

Katie Holmes cruises to a big financial settlement?

Almost a week on from the shock announcement of Tom-Kat’s split the media furore surrounding the couple shows no signs of dying down. Speculation as to the likely financial settlement has only increased after Tom Cruise was named Hollywood’s highest paid actor in the Forbes Magazine rundown.

It’s estimated that Cruise earned a cool $75 million in the last year - more than twice as much as nearest rivals Leonardo Dicaprio and Adam Sandler. So does this mean that Katie Holmes is on track for a big divorce settlement? The answer is going to hinge on whether or not Tom-Kat entered into a pre-nup before their marriage and the terms of any agreement. Some reports suggest Katie may leave with what she brought to the marriage. Others say Katie is to receive $3 million for every year the couple were married. In addition Tom will have to pay child maintenance for their daughter Suri.

Pre-nuptial agreements have been big news over the last couple of years but in England they are not legally binding. Following a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2010 the English courts will take into account any pre-nup but the weight that will be given to the agreement will depend on a number of factors. The courts can choose to uphold all, some or none of the terms of a pre-nup. It’s a complicated area of the law and if you find yourself facing a split, or are thinking of entering into a pre-nup before your marriage, you should take divorce advice at an early stage from an expert family lawyer.

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

Monday, 2 July 2012

Claws being sharpened in TomKat Divorce

According to media reports battlelines are already being drawn by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes just days after she began divorce proceedings to bring an end to their five year marriage.

Katie has filed her papers in New York but Tom's lawyers it is alleged are going to argue that the divorce should take place in the Californian courts which is where the couple have had their main family base.

The Mission Impossible star's divorce solicitors it seems believe that the Californian family law courts are more likely to agree that he should have joint custody of Suri, the parties daughter, than those in New York. It is reported that Katie is seeking sole custody as she does not want Suri to be raised as a Scientologist, the religion to which Tom is devoted.

The place where divorce proceedings begin can have a huge impact on the outcome not only of arrangements for children but also on the financial divorce settlement.

Under English law both parents, if they have parental responsibility, are entitled to have a say in how a child is brought up, which includes their religious upbringing. This can lead to conflict and ultimately the family law courts can be asked to decide.

Hopefully for Suri's sake TomKat will be able to agree arrangements amicably. There are many alternatives to court to reach a divorce settlement. The signs, however, don't currently look good.

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