May 27, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
A common question that often gets overlooked in the process of divorce negotiations is: “Who gets to keep the dog?” (Or any other pet, of course!)
Under UK family law, pets are considered to be included in a couple’s property and possessions, which means the ‘custody’ of any animals is not treated the same way as the process used for children. But, as anyone who has a beloved family pet knows, this kind of decision has the potential to be extremely emotional and the source of much negotiation between you and your ex.
Losing contact with a pet can be devastating, particularly when you may already be feeling vulnerable while working through ...
May 20, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
May 10, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
May 03, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
April 25, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
April 11, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
March 23, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
March 16, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
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 ...
March 09, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
The prospect of divorce can be overwhelming, but there’s plenty of help and advice to be found, and no need to go it alone.
Your first port of call should be your solicitor. Finding the right family lawyer is the key to feeling in control of your situation, and a good solicitor should offer practical support and understanding throughout the separation process.
There are a variety of different options when it comes to divorce, and not all of them involve going to court. Mediation, arbitration and collaborative family law all allow you to resolve disputes privately and effectively without taking your case before a judge.
Family law ...
February 26, 2018 | Posted by : J Morris
#1: Someone has to take the blame
There is currently no allowance for ‘no fault’ divorce in the UK, and unlike America we do not have an option for ‘irreconcilable differences’ when choosing grounds for divorce – someone must accept that they are at fault in some way. The most common grounds for divorce are unreasonable behaviour and adultery. Adultery is pretty self-explanatory but unreasonable behaviour can cover a vast range of reasons, such as financial issues, irresponsible behaviour, emotional manipulation, or simply falling out of love. If you’re unsure about which grounds to choose, speak to your solicitor to discuss your situation.
#2: Don’t stay together ‘for the sake of ...