What happens when cohabiting couples separate?

May 20, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

There are over three million unmarried couples in the UK and ‘cohabitation’ is the current largest growing family type, but people in ‘common law’ marriages remain unprotected by the rights married couples are automatically entitled to when it comes to separation. There is no such thing as a ‘common law’ marriage – unmarried couples who live together are cohabitants – and there are very few recourses in place to protect them should they decide to part ways unless they have set up the proper legal documentation during their relationship, such as a cohabitation agreement. When a married couple decides to get divorced, their assets and liabilities will be considered by the court and divided ...

Don’t play the ‘blame game’ – a call for no fault divorce in the UK

May 10, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

A recent report by the Nuffield foundation reinforces the argument that UK family law is in need of a ‘no-fault’ option for divorce, and that the current imperative to assign blame only leads to animosity during court battles between separating couples. The study, led by Professor Liz Trinder at Exeter University, looked at 500 divorce cases and discovered that many “defended cases are triggered by the law itself” which requires couples to provide grounds for divorce that assign blame to one or other party. Three of the five grounds for divorce include allegations of fault, either due to adultery, behaviour, or desertion. Disputes of this kind inevitably become centred around ...

Protect Your Relationship With A Pre-nup

May 03, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Pre-nuptial agreements are often seen as a cynical and unromantic approach to getting married, but since it’s considered sensible to insure and protect every other aspect of our lives – from writing a will to insuring a car – why should a relationship be any different? And it’s not just the super-wealthy or celebrities who need a pre-nup – over half of UK marriages end in divorce – and while pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically technically binding in divorce proceedings, they can be extremely helpful in minimising antagonism and protracted financial negotiations in the event of separation. There are clear steps laid out by the Court and the Law Commisssion when it comes ...

Divorce & Separation: Dividing Assets

April 25, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Dividing up assets during divorce can be a sticking point for even the most amicable of couples. It can be difficult to come to an agreement over financial settlements, particularly if there are complicated issues such as multiple properties, businesses, or personal investments, but a few basic ground rules apply to the division of assets: As a general rule, the value of all assets will be placed into a joint ‘pot’ which will then be divided between the couple according to the needs of each party. Assets may include property, vehicles, savings, the contents of bank accounts and investments as well as personal items. Spouses are required to declare ...

How to add value to your home before selling

April 18, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Research conducted by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA) suggests that homeowners have the potential to boost the value of their property by almost £50,000 by making a few choice structural and aesthetic improvements before they sell. By making comparatively small investments to improve various areas of your home – notably the garden, bathroom, kitchen, and living areas – you could add between £9,000 and £48,000 to the asking price! So, if you’re thinking of selling up this year, it might be worth seeing if any of the following improvements are feasible for your budget and layout, and maximise the value of your home… Add up ...

Coercive Control

April 11, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Coercive control is increasingly being recognised as a very damaging form of relationship abuse with lasting psychological effects which can continue long after a divorce is finalised. In 2015 the Serious Crimes Act acknowledged coercive behavior in intimate and familial relationships, meaning it could be taken into account during divorce proceedings, but there is still a way to go until this type of abuse is properly factored into financial settlements and children’s cases. The issue of coercive control has been revisited recently in the case of Sally Challen, who was found guilty of killing her husband in 2010 and has since been granted permission to appeal her 22-year sentence. Challen’s legal team intends to submit new evidence that demonstrates she was ...

First Time Buyers & Stamp Duty

April 01, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

If you’re a first time buyer you’re immediately at an advantage when it comes to negotiating the housing market. Not only are you free from relying on a chain but you’re also able to dodge stamp duty charges to a certain extent. As of November 2017, a permanent change was applied to stamp duty for first time buyers, raising the threshold to £300,000 (and up to £500,000 in more expensive areas such as London), saving you an extra 2-12% in fees! First time buyers are required to declare that they have never owned property in the UK or elsewhere to qualify for the relief, and if property is being ...

Choosing the right solicitor for you

March 30, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

One size does not fit all when it comes to working with a family lawyer. Whether you’re writing a will, need help with property and conveyancing, or are heading into a divorce, finding the right solicitor is vital to ensure you feel secure in your decisions and get the outcome you’re after. If you’re embarking on a potentially lengthy process, such as separation, you need to know that you’re working with someone whose advice you can trust, and who will help to take the weight off your shoulders. When looking for legal help, here are a few tips to finding the right solicitor for the job: Meet face to face: Most lawyers will ...

Divorce should be about the outcome, not the battle

March 23, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

The process of divorce can be fraught with animosity but it’s important to focus on the endgame – parting ways and starting anew – rather than getting wrapped up in antagonistic pettiness, as proven recently by a wealthy UK couple who have already spent a third of their assets on their ongoing divorce battle. The estranged couple, Barbara Cooke and Michael Parker, have been fighting over joint assets worth over £6 million in a case that has been described as a ‘scandalous waste of court time’ by the judge, after spending over £2 million on lawyers’ fees. Judge Holman claims that the couple have ‘completely lost touch with reality’ over their ...

Divorce & Separation: Asking the Right Questions

March 16, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

When you decide to separate, choosing the right process for you and your family is the most important first step. Each situation will be different, and there are a number of different options to suit varying circumstances. But before you seek help from a solicitor, ask yourself a few fundamental questions about what you need and what kind of outcome you’re looking for: What are the most important issues you need to discuss? What are your priorities? Dividing up assets or sorting out living arrangements or dealing with children’s issues? Are there any provisional agreements you can make before you seek legal help to streamline the process? Which issues are non-negotiable and ...

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