Monday, 30 January 2012

I do, I do, I do?

A recent survey has revealed that 47% of divorced men would consider marrying again but only 20% of divorced women want to walk down the aisle for a second time.  The results also show that divorced men are more eager in their efforts to find the future Mrs Right, with many using online dating sites and almost half considering employing a professional pick-up artist to help them in their quest for true love.

Saying “I do” is never easy, particularly if you have been through a difficult divorce or separation.  What’s more, there is no one-size-fits all advice on how best to move on with your life after divorce.  Some people revel in their new found single status while others can find the adjustment a difficult one. 

One thing that can however help anyone who finds themselves facing a divorce or separation is getting legal advice. Consulting a family law solicitor at an early stage can help make the process more understandable and leave you in a better position, financially and emotionally, to move on.  Early intervention and advice on issues such as a possible divorce settlement and the different grounds for divorce can make the process easier and quicker.  A good divorce solicitor can also spot if you may need help from other sources and put you in touch with the right people.

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

Friday, 27 January 2012

Honesty Is The Best Policy

An unusual case has recently been heard by the Court of Appeal. In this case the husband failed to disclose his true financial position before a financial settlement was agreed with his wife.

Mr Hutchings and Mrs Hutchings-Whelan had been married for 20 years prior to their divorce and they agreed a financial settlement in 2004. The wife was to receive a lump sum of £176,000 in return for transferring her interest in the matrimonial home to her husband.

The wife subsequently became aware that her former husband was very “flush with money”. It transpired that a property he had owned at the time the financial settlement was agreed, but which he had not disclosed, had been sold for £1.3 million.

The wife applied to court to increase her lump sum on the basis of her former husband’s failure to give full financial disclosure. In 2010 she succeeded in having her lump sum increased by a further £384,000. The husband appealed against this decision, but his appeal failed.

Disclosure is a vital part of the financial process during divorce. This case should be a reminder to both husbands and wives to cooperate and give full financial disclosure, as the consequences of not doing so can clearly be significant. You should ensure that your financial position is disclosed appropriately when you divorce and that you obtain proper advice about disclosure from a family law solicitor.

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

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Perils of ‘having it all’

The Daily Mail reported today on the strain that being a ‘bread winning mum’ can put on a marriage.

Lawyers who provide divorce advice know only too well that one partner’s failure to achieve an acceptable work/life balance is, sadly, often cited by the other in divorce proceedings as having contributed to the marriage breakdown. Traditionally this has been a complaint of the wife and mother but the increasing number of high earning wives and stay at home dads may be turning this on its head.

When it comes to disentangling a couple’s finances post divorce the court will recognise both parties’ contributions to the family, be they financial or as a home maker, when deciding on a divorce settlement. This will be the case regardless of how the couple have chosen to divide their roles in the marriage and these days it is not only high profile female celebrities who could be expected to make financial provision for the family after a divorce.

Family Law Solicitors can advise on divorce settlements and the grounds for divorce. For more advice on these issues follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Pick your battles

It has been reported that a couple in India who were together for less than a day, spent 30 years battling over their divorce.

This case is exceptional. For most people the process is very straightforward and the entire divorce process can take approximately four to six months from start to finish. However, some divorces take nearer to 12 -18 months as this is the time that it often takes to resolve the financial aspects of your divorce.

One of the main benefits of seeking divorce advice from a specialist Family solicitor early on is that it can help to avoid prolonged arguments with your spouse over minor issues and focus your minds on those issues which are more relevant to achieving a fair divorce settlement.

In the majority of the cases we handle, agreements are reached without the need for protracted and costly litigation. We specialise in identifying which battles are worth the fight and which to disregard.

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

Monday, 16 January 2012

Making Money Out of Other People's Misery!

The daily Mail has reported that investors are gambling on bitter divorce battles between women and their rich husbands in return for a "share of the spoils". They go on to report that venture capitalists, hedge funds and high end lenders are putting up money for women who want to fight their husbands in court, in return for the investors taking a share of their divorce settlement.

Sometimes court is the only way to achieve a fair divorce settlement. However, you should always consider the alternatives to court, such as mediation or collaborative law. These options are often cheaper than court and can be less emotionally draining.

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

Friday, 13 January 2012

Are both parents treated equally on divorce ?

The Telegraph recently reported that upon divorce "under the present system family courts tend to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of cases". 
At the present time, when the court is asked to decide where a child or children should live there are many factors that the court  has to take into account but ultimately the child's welfare is paramount and the decision made must be in the child's best interests. There is no presumption in favour of the mother.
There is currently a review of the family justice system and there are proposals that the law could be changed so that there is a presumption of shared parenting. For many, such a change would be welcomed.
It is really important to get specialist advice before embarking upon court proceedings in relation to the arrangements for your children.  You should also consider alternatives to court such as mediation.
For more advice on legal issues relating to children or divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts". 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Family law mediation

Much has been made recently of the government's plans to force separating couples to attend mediation rather than embark on the traditional court route. The media has mistakenly reported on what it calls "compulsory mediation" following changes to family and divorce law last year.

In fact, whilst there is a renewed emphasis on helping separating couples reach agreement on issues such as divorce, financial settlements and disputes involving children, it is not compulsory.

Mediation has long been an alternative to court. However, there will be many occasions when it is not appropriate, such as where there are cases involving domestic violence, child abduction and forced marriage.

Resolution - the organisation which represents over 6000 specialist family solicitors by encouraging members to act in a conciliatory and non-confrontational way - reports that mediation could be inappropriate in as many as two in every five cases, whilst at the same time supporting the government's decision to see fewer cases end up in the court system.

In my experience, whilst the courts are keen to encourage separating couples to use mediation to help resolve disputes, those who have not embarked on the process are neither criticised nor refused access to the traditional justice system.

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

Friday, 6 January 2012

Beware the watchful eye of Facebook

A recent survey revealed that in 2011 one third of divorce petitions included the word Facebook. The most common reasons for it to be cited in the grounds for divorce were inappropriate messages to others, unpleasant posts about each other and reports of unwise behaviour.

The review of 5000 petitions for divorce also included mention of Twitter in 20 of those.

Nothing new in the behaviour but facebook, twitter and other social media can provide evidence for suspicious spouses and their divorce solicitors.

They can also be a rich source of information about someone's financial circumstances - very useful for your divorce solicitor when negotiating a financial divorce settlement.

Our divorce advice - avoid using social media during the divorce process.

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

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New year - Brand new divorce

It is reported from America that, following his split from Katy Perry, actor and comedian Russell Brand stands to gain $20 million in the divorce settlement.  The reason, apparently, is that the couple did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement. 
Brand and Perry married in California.  Under the law of that state, each is entitled to an equal share of the wealth, unless there is an agreement in place.  This highlights, once again, the subject of the pre-nup and its use or validity.
In England and Wales, it remains the case that pre-nuptial agreements, governing what should happen to a married couples assets should they divorce, are not binding.  Recent high profile cases have highlighted that they are a persuasive factor, but not necessarily the final answer.  A court will still have the final say in determining whether, in fact, the settlement that the pre-nup creates ins fair in all the circumstances.
This does not mean to say that pre-nups are worthless.  However, anyone wishing to go ahead with such an agreement must take advice from a family law solicitor, as must their intended life-partner, well before the day of the marriage.  Even then, it will be necessary to keep the agreements under review during the marriage to ensure that their consequences are seen as fair.
For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts