Friday, 28 September 2012


Stories of young love have cast their spell on many different cultures for millennia, through ancient legends, popular music and movies.

However, it seems that pressures exerted on real life couples can be rather more telling than for their fictional counterparts.

The experience of my colleague, Claire Reid, in dealing with such cases has this week not only featured on the pages of the Daily Telegraph but the Huffington Post too.
It's important to know that, if you find yourself in the sort of circumstances which Claire has commented on, you know that you can rely on divorce advice from a specialist divorce solicitor in order to ensure the right outcome for you and your family, in particular as to the financial settlement and arrangements for children.

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

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Are ‘Play-Fairs’ fair game?

A spate of recent books and films suggests a trend towards acceptance of ‘play-fairs’: extra-marital liaisons which are viewed by all involved as nothing more than a bit of fun. What’s more, some suggest that these affairs are not only accepted but may help keep a marriage fresh and interesting rather than driving a wedge between the couple.

Play-fairs work on the basis that more than ever before, we now expect too much from marriage: love, children, financial and emotional stability, support, friendship and much much more. Some question whether one relationship can provide everything and suggest play-fairs may help take some of the pressure off a couple that could otherwise crumble under the weight of expectation.

As divorce lawyers  we know from experience that every couple is different and that what works for one won’t always work for another. What it’s important to understand though is that this type of ‘infidelity-lite’ could provide grounds for divorce if you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on what’s acceptable within your marriage. If discovered, your spouse could seek a divorce on grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and rely on adultery as evidence. In those circumstances it’s important to seek divorce advice at an early stage to understand your rights.

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, 19 September 2012

Verbal abuse and controlling behaviour labelled “domestic violence”

Nick Clegg has just announced plans for the government to widen the Home Office definition of “domestic violence” to include verbal abuse and controlling behaviour, as well as teenage victims. The change will be put in place by March 2013. It means that acts such as preventing partners from leaving the house or having access to a telephone could lead to a prosecution.

It is the practical effect of the change which is being emphasised by the government. However, charities and campaigners are concerned there is little point in changing the definition of domestic violence without the funding to support it. The government’s response is that monies have been ring-fenced for this purpose.

Provided there is funding in place, this change should see the development and implementation of new procedures, together with training for police officers in dealing with such cases, which sadly are becoming increasingly common. It should also help to raise awareness of the extent of domestic violence and enable effective prevention.

One point at which there is already known to be a greater risk of domestic violence is when a relationship breaks down. Under our current law, as well as the powers available to the police, there is a legal framework in place for you to obtain an order from the court preventing further abuse and excluding the perpetrator from your home. It can also provide a breathing space for you to recover and make decisions about your future.
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

Friday, 14 September 2012

More Scots Tying the Knot

The Scotsman has reported a 19 year increase in the number of marriages in Scotland which it claims is as a result of weddings becoming more affordable, and the increase in the number of non-religious ceremony venues that are available.

The most recent figures for England and Wales echo this trend. However a closer look at the statistics reveals an overriding decrease in the number of marriages since 1970. The simultaneous increase in the number of divorces over this period begs the question; are couples discouraged from marriage by the prospect of a costly and complicated divorce? It would be interesting to know whether the recent increase in the number of marriages is linked to the possibility of greater financial certainty upon divorce, given the current legal status of pre-nups.

Even in the absence of a pre-nup, costly and complicated divorces need not be the norm. Family mediation, collaborative law and arbitration are all alternatives to the traditional court route that can often be less costly, and more efficient.

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, 3 September 2012

Strike it (Un)lucky

It has been reported today that a husband spent his game show winnings so that his estranged wife would not receive a penny. According to the Daily Mail, Mr Brown used the winnings to pay debts, fund his divorce and provide for his children.

Within the financial proceedings, Mrs Brown has allegedly applied for an injunction to freeze Mr Brown’s assets to prevent him spending the remainder of the money. The court has ordered Mr Brown to provide a complete breakdown as to how the money has been spent. Whilst some may have sympathy with Mr Brown’s actions, couples do sometimes come unstuck with such an approach.

The court in deciding financial matters on divorce will have regard to the resources of the husband and wife. Game show winnings would therefore fall into this category. Most cases are decided by the couple’s needs. If the game show winnings would have enabled the couple to meet their future financial requirements, the spouse spending the money could be criticised for doing so and the other spouse may receive more of the remaining assets as a result.

In such circumstances it is important to seek specialist advice to avoid running into difficulties. At Pannone we have a team of specialist family lawyers who are very experienced at dealing with such matters.

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