divorce separation advice

IS THE FAMILY COURT FIT FOR PURPOSE?

Many couples involved in divorce or issues related to children would say very definitely “no”.  It can seem as though the “system” is against you.  The Courts are not really designed with people in mind; they are rather run by and for lawyers.  The individuals whose lives are being decided by the Judges rarely understand(…)

THINKING ABOUT DIVORCE?

According to the media, January and February are peak times for people to consider a divorce.  Whether it is because it is a new year and they want a new start or because the weather is so miserable, people have run out of money after Christmas, there is not a lot to look forward to,(…)

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FINANCES IN DIVORCE

In order to advise properly as to terms for financial settlement within divorce, we need to see both parties’ full financial details and supporting documents.  Clients can find this an extremely frustrating and drawn-out process, particularly if the other party is not in any particular hurry or will not co-operate. In terms of getting your(…)

DO PARENTS FAIL TO SEE THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON THEIR CHILDREN?

A new report by Netmums suggests that separating parents are in denial about the effect of the divorce on their children.  Netmums, the parenting organisation, surveyed a thousand parents and a hundred children separately and concluded that parents see their divorce very differently from their children. According to the report: Almost a third of under(…)

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

This might be a strange question as everyone assumes they know what mediation is.   But when you also have collaboration, arbitration and compromise, what exactly is mediation and how does it differ from the other approaches to problem-solving? With mediation there is generally one mediator with two people who have, for whatever reason, not been(…)

LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS

I was listening to a report of a series of experiments carried out to test how good radiographers were at identifying signs of cancer.  The participants were given x-rays and told to look for the usual signs which may indicate cancerous growths.  A small cartoon picture of a gorilla was added to the x-rays.  Not(…)

WHO HAS THE CHILDREN?

When parents separate a key question is what is going to happen to the children.  Contrary to popular belief both parents not just fathers, fear that they will see less of their children.  Obviously dads worry that they may not have so much contact with their children but mums worry about that too.  The question(…)

NEW LAW FOR PARENTS

On the 25th February MPs passed the new Children and Families Bill which extends the statutory rights for parents in relation to their children’s upbringing.  This has an impact in both employment and family law.  One example is that maternity leave, available from two weeks to 12 months following birth can be used by the(…)

THE HIGH COST OF DIVORCE

There has been plenty in the press recently about the rising number of complaints about family lawyers, in particular to the legal ombudsman.  The main reason for those complaints seems to be the cost of divorce in terms of legal fees.  I am not going to defend the position of family lawyers here but I(…)

IF YOUR CHILDREN GET DIVORCED

Parents are increasingly having to get involved with their children’s divorce.  Perhaps it is one aspect of the recession that parents are needed, not just as a shoulder to cry on but to provide financial support.  This can take the form of paying the legal fees or more often lending money (perhaps that should be(…)

PAY-AS-YOU-GO FOR LEGAL SERVICES

Employing lawyers can be expensive which is why we have introduced a new way to pay.  It is actually a completely different way of using or accessing legal services.  We want to make it as easy as possible to get advice that you can afford.  Obviously the more time you spend with the lawyer the(…)

IS A PAIN-FREE DIVORCE POSSIBLE?

I think the short answer to this is possibly not, unless it is a short marriage without children, then it might be, but even then I am sure one person will be more upset than the other if they are in some way on the receiving end of news that they did not want to(…)

THE BEST LAWYER?

This blog was prompted by a telephone call I received late one Friday from someone extremely anxious about the way his separation was going.  He had hoped to keep things fairly low key and amicable between himself and his wife.  A family friend was acting as a go between in helping them to sort out(…)

WHO IS TO BLAME?

I sometimes think that blaming someone else is a national sport, as a nation we seem to be quite good at it. If there’s a problem then we blame the bankers, the politicians, those claiming benefits, those not paying taxes. It’s never our fault or our responsibility. An interesting example is education. Employers are always(…)

THE MODERN MEDEA

Medea is a Greek Tragedy written by Euripides around about the 5th Century BC. It tells the tale of a wife scorned by her husband so enraged by her predicament that she takes revenge through their children. In her desire to hurt him she kills their children. Far fetched? Well, I have just been listening(…)

CHANGING THE FAMILY – FOR THE BETTER

Everybody is aware that divorce rates are rising and there is supposedly a crisis with the nuclear family in Britain. We look back to some mythical time in the 1950s with its low divorce rates and seemingly perfect happy families, to a time that we may want to emulate. However, there were very real social(…)

WHEN IS A MATRIMONIAL ASSET NOT A MATRIMONIAL ASSET?

A typical matrimonial asset would be the family home; bought together, lived in together and when the parties separate it needs to be dealt with in a way that ensures both have somewhere to live.  The property is either sold or transferred to one or other of the parties.  This is on a relatively equal basis(…)

BACK TO SCHOOL – TIME FOR A CHANGE? DON’T FORGET THE KIDS

Divorce and Children Apart from the Olympics it’s been a pretty awful summer for many:- whether it be washed out summer fetes, no improvement in the economy (whatever that means!) or graduate unemployment, times have been difficult for some.  Thank goodness for the Olympics which gave us all something else to focus on. However back to(…)

IS DIVORCE CONTAGIOUS?

I have just come back from a few days in France, during which I read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.” The book talks about how events that were, at one point unusual become common place, styles that were uncommon suddenly become all the rage. One example he used was Hush Puppies, a shoe that went(…)

RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS – WHO WOULD DO IT?

I am sitting here in the office at 11 o’clock at night doing one or two things which I thought might take me an hour or two but has taken a lot longer and I still have a pile of bad debts to deal with! Yes the freedom that being your own boss gives you,(…)

HOLIDAY REFLECTION ON THE END OF LAWYERS

Just to cheer myself up while I was on holiday I re-read ‘The End of Lawyers?’ by Richard Susskind. It’s subtitled rethinking the nature of legal services and the gist of his argument is that we should be moving towards what he refers to as the commodification of legal services. This would make everything lawyers(…)

CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS – A NEW TYPE OF CONVENTION?

Civil partnerships recognise the validity of same sex relationships. They provide the same legal and social recognition as heterosexual couples who marry. It is a public statement, sign of commitment and a legally recognised category. As with marriage, civil partnership changes the legal relationship between couples and gives them certain rights, responsibilities and entitlements which(…)

THE DIFFICULTIES OF JOINTLY OWNED PROPERTY

The ownership of jointly owned property can be a minefield.  People can own it in all sorts of different capacities, all of which have different results if they fall out or want to sell the property. So, first of all, what happens if two people who are not married buy a property together?  You might(…)

DIVORCE AND BANKRUPTCY

We often come across people who have separated, but never quite got round to doing anything about getting divorced, or dealing with all the other aspects of their life together that may have to change because of their separation.  So for instance one party might move out of the matrimonial home leaving the other with(…)

PEOPLE DON’T FIT INTO BOXES

WHY I AM SO PASSIONATE ABOUT COLLABORATIVE LAW We all know that we are all different and yet we are always faced with situations and circumstances that try and generalise and fit us all into the same box.  In divorce the court assumes a standard separation, a standard divorce, a certain way of dealing with(…)

CHANGING FAMILIES

We perhaps all know that the traditional nuclear family – mother, father and children that they have produced together, although possibly the “norm” is by no means the only concept of “family” which society recognises. With the increasing recognition of same sex relationships, other family arrangements are made and it follows too that when these(…)