Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nowhere to Hide in Divorce

A recent article in The Telegraph reported on a divorce case in which the perceived dishonesty of the Husband during the court proceedings has resulted in the divorce settlement being re-opened by the courts.
During the divorce process both spouses are required by the court to provide full and frank financial disclosure to each other – this is the first stage of the process. If provided it means that the court, and both spouses, should clearly be able to see what assets there are available to be distributed. This is essential as without this knowledge it is impossible to reach a decision as to what would be a fair settlement.

As in the case reported, a discovery after a financial settlement has been made that all was not as it was portrayed can mean that the court will allow further investigation into those finances. If assets have been “hidden” this can mean that the original settlement will be overruled.

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, 23 November 2012

Divorce Location, Location, Location

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson made a plea for billionaires' wives to sue for divorce in London.

It is reported that the Mayor said "I have no shame in saying to the injured spouses of the world's billionaires if you want to take him to the cleaners... take him to the cleaners in London."

Mr Johnson’s comments seem to flow from a desire to generate business for the city but they do reinforce the widely held belief that England is one of the most generous jurisdictions in the world for a financially weaker spouse. In particular, some judges in London are thought to grant more generous maintenance awards to spouses than judges in the North of England. This is a topic which my colleague, Fiona Wood explores in more detail in her recent blog in the Huffington Post.

The resolution of financial matters on divorce in this jurisdiction is a matter of discretion and fairness. Unlike other jurisdictions around the world, the court does not apply a mathematical formula but instead must consider a checklist of factors which is applied to each case individually. The ultimate aim of the court is to achieve “fairness” and it may therefore take some circumstances into account that other jurisdictions would ignore.

When considering divorce, the choice of jurisdiction and the choice of court within that jurisdiction can have a fundamental effect on the overall settlement achieved. This is one of the reasons why seeking early advice from a specialist Family solicitor is so important.

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

Naomi McGloin

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


It seems that London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, is never far from the headlines.

He has even been quoted inviting the unhappy spouses of foreign billionaires to have the cases concerning their divorce settlements heard in London.

Even though it may have been tongue-in-cheek, his remarks underlined that city’s status as the world’s divorce capital as well as the increasingly international and sometimes complex nature of modern relationships.

It’s a topic which my colleague Fiona Wood has written about in an article for the Huffington Post
Regardless of wealth or nationality, divorce is a delicate process for everyone and it is reassuring to be able to count on divorce advice from specialist solicitors who can help you and your family.

To arrange a discussion with one of the Pannone family lawyers, click here .
For more advice and insight, you can also read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Cohabitation versus marriage

The Telegraph has recently reported that a quarter of young people regard buying a property as a bigger commitment than getting married.

Perhaps high house prices and a much tighter lending criteria are factors which make buying your first home together more important than tying the knot.

However, a common misconception is that when you live with someone you become their “common law” husband or wife which is a myth. Upon relationship breakdown unmarried cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples upon divorce and in fact many cohabitees are left in a very vulnerable financial position after a relationship ends. For example, a cohabitee who does not co-own the property may have no legal rights at all. If there are children of the relationship then there are some remedies available if after relationship breakdown the party is unable to rehouse with the children.

Moving in with someone or buying a property with someone can have serious legal implications and it is always important to obtain legal advice. For example, it is possible to have a cohabitation agreement drawn up.

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, 6 November 2012


You may recall that, last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provided fresh ammunition for those calling for a clarification of the legal status of unmarried couples who live together, particularly those with children.

The ONS published data revealing that the number of men and women in the UK choosing to cohabit rather than marry had almost doubled in the last 16 years while the number of married couples was down nearly half a million in the same period.

My colleague, Beverley Darwent, provided comment on the matter for both the Daily Telegraph  and the Daily Mail.
It is a topic which another colleague, Claire Reid, has remarked upon in an article for the Huffington Post.
Whether cohabitating or married, it is important to be able to rely on family lawyers who can provide the right advice for you and those closest to you.

To arrange a discussion with one of the Pannone family lawyers, click here or call us on 0800 840 4929. .

For more advice and insight, you can also read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Vicki McLynn, Partner

Monday, 5 November 2012


Increased ownership of foreign property by Britons in the last few decades has brought with it the benefits of different cultures for families, provided investment opportunities and not a little bit of welcome sunshine.

However, the turbulence caused by marriage break-ups and the global recession has given a stark reminder of the potential downsides too.

As my colleagues Fiona Wood and Louise Halford have remarked in an article in today's Daily Telegraph  many former spouses who took homes in Continental Europe as part of their divorce financial settlements have seen their properties experience a dramatic drop in value.

Some are now trying to revise the terms of those settlements in an effort to undo the damage caused by the economic downturn and improve their future prospects. The circumstances in which those financial settlements can be varied are extremely limited.

As they have sadly discovered, divorce is not only a difficult process but can be a complicated one too.

In such circumstances, it can be greatly reassuring to count on straightforward advice from specialist family lawyers able to guide you through the potential pitfalls in order to achieve a resolution which is right for you and your family.

One of our expert family solicitors at Pannone would be glad to discuss matters with you further.

For more advice and insight, you can also read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Vicki McLynn, Partner

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The great cohabitation conundrum

The changing nature of the modern family has been thrown into sharp focus thanks to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It has revealed that the number of men and women in the UK choosing to cohabit rather than marry has almost doubled in the last 16 years, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012.

The ONS added that the number of children living in these cohabiting households has doubled – from 900,000 to 1.8 million – over the same period.

When you add to that a drop in the number of married couples (down nearly half a million in the period covered by the ONS research) and the fact that single parents now account for some 26 per cent of all families with dependent children in the UK, it’s clear to see that the picture is very much different from that which might have been familiar, if you pardon the pun, to previous generations.

The ONS data accurately reflects my own experiences and those of my colleagues in Pannone’s Family department.

We find ourselves handling an increasing number of cohabitation disputes including those involving the children of unmarried couples.

Together with decreasing marriage numbers and the frequency with which we are dealing with couples divorcing in their late twenties and early thirties, it’s possible to conclude that fewer couples seem committed to the idea of marrying. Choosing to legally separate rather than work through marital difficulties is also no longer seen as the social stigma with which it had been regarded in years past.

The newly-documented increase in popularity of cohabitation does appear to add weight to calls for Government to introduce legislation to clarify the status of couples who choose not to marry and their rights should they break up.

As Pannone has remarked in the past, both on this blog and in the national print and broadcast media, the breakdown of cohabitating couples can be complex.

Whatever the nature of your own relationship – whether it is a cohabitation or marriage – it is important to be able to rely on straightforward advice from lawyers who can guide you through the potential complications to achieve a resolution which is right for you and your family.

To arrange a discussion with one of the Pannone family lawyers, 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.

For more advice and insight, you can also read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Claire Reid, Senior Associate


Today marks another important date for parents and lawyers who have ever found themselves embroiled in a case involving children and spanning the borders of different countries.

That is because today sees provisions included in a new and wide-ranging Hague Convention come into force in the UK.

Discussions about ‘The Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children’ (or ‘The 1996 Hague Convention’, to give the document its more familiar shorthand title) came to an end 16 years ago.

However, the Government in Westminster only finally ratified the document this year, hence an apparently belated adoption.

As its title suggests, the focus is on protecting children. Even though it may not apply to every single case, the new Convention’s various key strands mean it is likely to have impact on more matters than before.

The fundamental emphasis is on protecting children and clarifying the responsibilities of and relationships between parents and courts in an effort to make the legal resolution of any difficulties which arise “simple and rapid”.

For instance, one provision allows for an order made in one country which has signed up to the Convention and granted contact to a parent to be recognised in another signatory state, so overcoming the previous need to take out so-called ‘mirror orders’, replicating one domestic court’s ruling in another foreign jurisdiction.

The reason for the Convention’s significance is regularly brought home to myself and my colleagues. The breakdown of relationships involving children is common and can lead to disputes about which country those children are to live once their parents separate. The convention will simplify the procedure of maintaining contact with a child who is moving to another country on the separation of its parents.

Given the growing number of couples made up of individuals hailing from different countries, such disagreements can and have become even more complicated.

Whatever the circumstances, one thing is clear: removing a child from the country where it lives without express permission is a criminal offence.

If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to know that there are experts who understand the issues and anxieties involved, and who will make every effort to reunite you and your child.

Our child abduction solicitors have worked successfully on cases around the world, including Europe, Middle East, USA, Australasia and the Far East which have led to children being reunited with their parents.

Pannone is among those law firms recommended by Reunite, the leading UK charity specialising in international parental child abduction, and the association of family lawyers, Resolution.
If your child has been taken out of the UK to a country that has signed up to the Hague Convention or another international agreement, we will take legal steps to return them to you as quickly as possible.

Where no agreement is in place, through our international networks of contacts we will instruct specialist child abduction lawyers in that jurisdiction to fight your case.

We can also help locate a child that has been brought to the UK without your consent through the courts to ensure their safe return.

Swift action is paramount in child abduction cases and if you suspect your child is about to be taken out of the country - please call us immediately on 0800 840 4929 during office hours and 07947 022 312 outside office hours. Alternatively please contact Louise Halford, Child Abduction Solicitor, immediately and we will take action to prevent their removal.