Thursday, 31 May 2012

Pussy Galore!

Earlier this week the Daily Mail reported the story of an Israeli man who divorced his wife for refusing to part with her 550 cats. When push came to shove, she chose her feline companions over her husband.

Perhaps the final straw for the husband was not being able to sleep in his own bed due to the number of cats in the house. They also prevented him from accessing the bathroom and eating meals in the kitchen.
It is hardly surprising that the court's calls for a reconciliation fell on deaf ears.
We, as family lawyers, are often faced with arguments between divorcing couples regarding their pets, but it is more usual for disputes to centre around who gets the dog, rather than whether you choose your spouse or the dog!

This is a classic example of a spouse citing the other spouse's "unreasonable behaviour" - one of the facts upon which couples can obtain an immediate divorce. Apart from this and adultery, couples must otherwise wait two years to divorce by consent and, whilst there are proposals for this to change, there are no immediate plans for law reform.

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

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Is marriage the "gold standard" ?

The Telegraph has today reported that a new survey which has been carried out by care home charity Friends of the Elderly shows that young people regard marriage and the raising of a family to be more worthwhile than a career or the acquisition of material wealth. The 'Marriage Foundation' which is an independent charity has been dedicated to championing marriage as the "gold standard for relationships".
However, the divorce rates still seem to be on the increase and therefore whilst young people may aspire to a happy and long marriage the Office of National Statistics suggest that the average length of a marriage in Britain is now 11.3 years. So divorce and trying to agree the care arrangements for children following marriage breakdown remains a fact a life for many. For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

To pre-nup or not to pre-nup

There has been speculation in the press this week as to whether the now fabulously wealthy  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg  and his new bride have entered into a pre-nuptial agreement before their marriage.  His press spokesman declined to comment.
In America this type of agreement, which sets out the terms of the financial settlement that will apply if the couple later divorce, is commonplace and is binding.
The position here is, for better or worse, rather different. A pre-nuptial agreement is not binding. The Courts still have the last word on money matters and in deciding what is fair following the end of a marriage or civil partnership . But things are changing as the Court will now accept that such agreements are strong evidence of what a couple intended should happen if they split up and they are likely to be upheld unless these is a good reason no to do so.
More couples who are already wealthy in their own right before marrying, perhaps for the second time, want to know where they will stand and how they can avoid arguments if they break up. It makes  sense for them to consult a specialist Family Lawyer for advice in good time before the wedding and it doesn't mean that romance is dead!
For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

‘Greyday loans’ on the Rise

A large number of grandparents are financially supporting their adult grandchildren according to a recent survey by According to the results of the survey almost a quarter of grandparents and nearly one third of parents are still being relied upon by adult grandchildren and children to help ease the pressure of rising living costs, high unemployment, spiralling educational costs and debt.

Although families have always supported one another financially it appears that the current economic downturn and increased financial pressures mean that the younger generation is increasingly relying on that support to meet not only the day-to-day costs of living but also to help fund bigger-ticket items such as cars and first homes. Whilst that support can be incredibly helpful, or in some cases absolutely necessary, how should so called ‘greyday loans’ from parents and grandparents be treated on divorce?

When the court looks at a potential financial settlement the starting point is to consider all the assets. This will include any items purchased using loans from family members. If however the parties ‘needs’ can be met without resorting to those assets it may be possible to exclude them from the division. This is though a potentially complex area of law and you should seek legal advice from an expert family lawyer.

Loans to assist with day-to-day expenses can be treated as a debt to be repaid in the same way that a bank loan or credit card liability would have to be taken into account. There is however no guarantee of this and much will depend on individual circumstances, including whether or not there was a formal loan agreement. In the absence of such evidence your ex-spouse may argue that the money is a ‘soft loan’ which does not need to be repaid in the same way as say a bank loan, or may even argue that the money is in fact an outright gift and will never be repaid. Again, divorce advice from a family lawyer should be sought.

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

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Marriage has never been so popular!

A recent survey by an on line casino revealed results that showed marriage is certainly not outdated and still remained a tradition that most wish to sign up to.

The survey revealed that 85% of their single male members intended to marry during their lives and 61% were prepared to describe themselves as "keen" to marry.

The results of the survey also indicated that the ideal age to commit to marriage is between 30 and 34 years old. Furthermore, 92% of the men undertaking the survey confirmed that marriage is a life long commitment.

It is certainly an interesting survey as it's results suggest that marriage is a common aim for most men in society (well, those men who undertook the on line casino survey).  As a divorce lawyer, it is very refreshing to hear about results that ultimately promote the concept of marriage in how it is viewed in society. However, as marriage is hopefully a life long commitment it should not be entered into lightly and it may be wise to take advice from a specialist family law solicitor with particular regard to pre nuptial agreements before tying the knot.

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

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Battle of the Sexes Now Won By Women On Divorce - But Is It What They Want?

It is reported in the press today that the actress, Mena Suvari is divorcing her husband of less than two years and he is seeking monthly spousal maintenance payments of $17,000. Mena is reported to earn in the region of $750,000 each year.

Divorce law is not sexist. If the wife earns significantly more than the husband, the husband may be entitled to spousal maintenance from her as part of his divorce settlement. Given the significant increase in the number of "bread winning" wives, those that have high power jobs which pay significantly more than their husband's jobs, this scenario is becoming increasingly common. Women have been fighting for equality for years, but many are not happy when this equality makes them the paying party when they divorce.

These "bread winning" wives need to consider taking the advice of a family law solicitor before they marry and entering into a pre-nuptial agreement, if they want to try to protect their wealth if their marriage fails.

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

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Naked Truth About Divorce

The Telegraph today reports of Michelle Mone's heartbreak following the collapse of her marriage to husband, Michael.

Mr Mone - the father of the couple's three children - reportedly left his wife for one of her employees, although he has said that it was Ms Mone's decision to feature in an underwear shoot which led to the breakdown of the marriage.

There are, of course, only two people who know the real reasons for the marriage breakdown. How does this relate to divorce? Aside from adultery and waiting for a minimum of two years to divorce by consent, the only basis which could be used in support of a divorce petition is the other person's "unreasonable behaviour." This is entirely subjective and can range from, for example, a husband's dissatisfaction with his wife's career choices, to serious incidents of domestic violence.

It is important for separating couples to realise that in the majority of cases the basis of a divorce has no bearing on any other proceedings - whether that be arrangements for children or the financial settlement. It is purely a means to an end.

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

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Financial ties hard to break

Today's Metro features an article on an increasingly common theme - the influence of financial matters on people's decisions about relationships.

According to the article, Shelter has found that 235,000 people in London alone moved in with a partner for "mainly" financial reasons in the last 3 years, and that a further 128,000 had to remain living together after they split up because they couldn't afford to live apart.

The survey confirms our experience. Dealing with the practicalities of separating into 2 households after splitting up is often the most difficult issue a couple have to address.

Few people know their legal rights or obligations before they move in together . There are a lot of myths about what protection the law does and does not offer to people, whether married or living together, and whether or not they have children . Many people do not think of the potential implications before they start living together.

Whilst no-one likes to contemplate a relationship coming to end, it is advisable to know from the start where you stand . If the worst then happens unnecessary complications and disagreements could be avoided . A good Family Lawyer will be able to advise as to the legal and practical consequences of a separation in any given set of circumstances, which can help a couple decide how to plan and manage their financial affairs once they are living together.

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

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Trouble in the sun

Life in the sunny climes of Dubai might sound like the recipe for marital bliss but reports today suggest this might not be the case.

445 expats in Dubai ended their marriage in divorce last year - an increase of more than 28% since 2009.

Dubai has not escaped the effects of these tough economic times which can compound the challenges of relocating so far from home, family and friends and put increased stress on a marriage. Frequent visits back home by one party can also provide the opportunity for adultery which is a ground for divorce.

It is particularly important to take divorce advice early when one or both of a couple live abroad. Divorce law varies dramatically between countries and where you divorce can have a significant impact on the financial divorce settlement you receive. It may be necessary to speak to divorce solicitors in different countries to ensure you get the best outcome.

For more advice on family law visit our website, read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts