Monday, 29 October 2012

Honeymoon over for Pop Idol Gareth Gates

Gareth Gates has revealed that he has split from his wife, ending their three year marriage. The singer and his wife, Suzanne, have been together for 10 years, with a young daughter, Missy.

Gareth, aged 28, has recently been accused of having an affair with his Legally Blonde co-star, Faye Brooks. However, Gates insists that the reason for the breakdown of their marriage is that he and Suzanne have “grown apart”.

At the end of September, I was quoted in The Daily Telegraph and The Huffington Post, reporting the increased number of cases which I have seen recently, involving couples in their twenties and thirties who had been involved in long-standing relationships, often since school, only for their marriages to come to an end.
There appear to be a number of reasons for an increase in the rate of divorce amongst such couples. Many suggest that like Gareth, they have grown apart. For others, they no longer feel the same way about their long-term partners once they have children. Another frequent cause of break-ups is infidelity on the part of husbands who have never had relationships with anyone other than their wives.

The frequency of divorce involving young celebrities means many other couples no longer feel stigmatised by the prospect of marriage break-up.
Getting divorced at any age can be a stressful experience. However, younger couples often find it easier to reach agreement with their spouse about finances or children  than couples in their forties and fifties.

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
Claire Reid, Senior Associate

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Marriage, Mansions and Mayhem

Today’s Telegraph  features a story about Maha Shagroon, an extremely wealthy divorcee’s claims that her former husband has failed to maintain her to the standard to which she had become accustomed. Her complaints appear to centre on his failure to pay the salaries of the household staff based at their £5m Regents Park home, and his failure to maintain their fleet of cars.

Whilst such tales of the super wealthy bear little resemblance to the lives of most of us mere mortals, an important part of the couple’s dispute could impact on many. In happier times the couple went through an Islamic marriage ceremony presided over by an imam in London. According to the article they were divorced in 2002 by the husband pronouncing Talaq (the Islamic divorce). The Husband is now arguing that their marriage is invalid as he had already had an Islamic marriage abroad, and as a result their divorce is invalid, and therefore the court has no authority to make a decision about their finances.

This is a fairly technical area of law, but it is becoming more common for couples to marry abroad, and also to go through different types of marriage ceremony. If such ceremonies do not comply with the necessary legal formalities that marriage may well be void or invalid. As a result there can be no divorce, and no divorce means no divorce settlement!

An overseas divorce can be a complicating factor, although it is still possible to make a claim for financial relief from your ex-spouse in England even if you already have a divorce and/or a financial order from another country.

If any of the issues above affect you or you are concerned about the effects of an international marriage or divorce it is recommended that you obtain advice from a specialist solicitor. 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

Katy Stirling, Solicitor

Friday, 19 October 2012

True value in Divorce

Recent press reports from home and abroad have highlighted the importance of having the right figures in the ‘pot’ to be divided when a couple divorce .
Recently the press reported that a Morecombe man was jailed for perjury after deliberately faking evidence in his divorce case. He had told the court that he had spent very large sums on building work when in fact it had been used to buy a property abroad. His intention being to reduce his wife’s financial settlement .
In the USA this week millionaire businessman Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is reported to have just sold the Dodgers for $2.15 billion. His divorce settlement in 2010 was negotiated on the basis that the team was worth $300 million. Not surprisingly his former wife has made an application to reopen the settlement.

The divorce court in England puts both parties under a clear duty to provide a full and honest picture of their finances before deciding on a financial settlement.
Deliberate dishonesty of the kind proven in the first case would, as you would expect, allow the court to revisit the settlement . If a similar case to the Dodgers sale were to arise in England however, the outcome might not be as obvious.

Dramatic rises and falls in the value of assets soon after divorce settlements do not necessarily lead to the case being reopened. The court may decide this was due to ‘the natural process of price fluctuation’, in other words to market forces. Whatever the approach of the courts in the USA Mrs McCourt clearly thinks that the application is worth the risk!

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

Monday, 8 October 2012

Do Breadwinning Wives Lose Out on Divorce?

Increasing numbers of women are earning more than their spouses. Some of these women also deal with the majority of the domestic chores and childcare arrangements, despite the fact that their jobs can be more demanding that their husbands'.

Fiona Wood comments upon what impact the contributions made by these women have on their financial settlements, if they divorce, in an article in the Telegraph today.

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, 3 October 2012

The Art of Relationships

Real-life relationships can often be uplifting, intense and sometimes traumatic but, it seems, seldom as dramatic as those portrayed in films, books and even music.

However, in a thought-provoking article for the Huffington Post Phillip Rhodes, a Senior Associate from our team of specialist family solicitors, muses on whether art merely imitates life or, in fact, there might be grounds for believing that it is the other way around.

In the event of encountering the sort of unfortunate relationship drama, such as divorce, which provide inspiration for screenwriters, novelists and singers alike, it's important to know that you can rely on divorce advice from a specialist divorce solicitor.

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

The cost of becoming a parent

The Mail Online has today reported that Dominique Desseigne, chief of the Lucien Barriere casino and hotel group has been named the father of the child born in 2009 to former French justice minister, Rachida Dati. The disclosure appears to be gaining international interest because the identity of the father has not previously been in the public domain.

The parties in this case are resident in France but what would happen if a similar situation arose in England and Wales? Do unmarried couples with children who later separate have any financial obligations to one another or their children?

Child maintenance is almost always payable to the parent with whom the children live. In England and Wales that parent may also be able to apply to the court for additional financial provision for example the provision of a home. In some cases the court may also order a lump sum to be paid to meet capital requirements of the child. Whether or not such an application would succeed will very much depend upon the facts of the case and it is always important to obtain specialist family law advice.

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