divorce

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,(…)

CHANGES IN FAMILY LAW – A NEW DEDICATED FAMILY COURT

The Crime and Courts Act 2013 introduced the concept of a single Family Court, which will deal only with family matters.  This, it is anticipated, will be operational from April 2014.  The Family Court will deal with all family cases with the exception of two areas of law: those involving the jurisdiction of the High(…)

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(…)

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(…)

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE LAW?

My feeling is that most people want and assume the law to be on their side, to create fairness, to right wrongs, to put things in order. But when a person comes to me to seek fairness, it tends to be interpreted from their perspective.  In a matrimonial dispute, the Court does indeed want to(…)

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(…)

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

I think there is huge confusion with the term mediation, what does it mean, how much does it involve giving legal advice or information or does it just mean listening to two people arguing?  How does collaboration fit with mediation – what is the difference? I think as lawyers we have really failed to get(…)

THE ETIQUETTE OF DIVORCE

It seems to me that there should be a guide on how to behave during a divorce, whether you are the couples themselves or their friends and families.  Everyone knows people who are separating or going through a divorce and it is usually a painful process for all concerned.  Although it is a common occurrence(…)

NEW RULES FOR FAMILIES?

The Family Justice Review (“FJR”) was the long awaited report into the running of the family courts.  It came out at the end of November and in February the Government proposed changes to contact arrangements and this caught the headlines.  It is perhaps unfortunate that some of the other less provocative, but very sensible, proposals(…)

WHAT ARE FATHERS’ RIGHTS?

The Family Justice Review (“FJR”) came out at the end of last year, but due to its length it has taken some time for it to be digested and in February the Government proposed new laws to enshrine some of its principles.  This caused some press activity because the recommendation or suggestion that children should(…)

CHILDREN OFF TO UNIVERSITY? IS IT TIME FOR A DIVORCE?

It appears to be an ever increasing trend that people are divorcing later in life.  Many first time divorcees are now over the age of sixty.  When children leave for university or leave home for other reasons is often a trigger for people to re-evaluate their situation.  It is not uncommon for people then to(…)

LEGAL ISSUES FOR THE OVER SIXTIES

You might imagine that the main concern for the over sixties is either making a Will, if they don’t already have one, considering changes to an existing Will, or thinking about a Lasting Power of Attorney.  Incapacity can be caused for a variety of reasons – Dementia or Alzheimer’s are the obvious causes, but even(…)

LAW COMMISSION ANOUNCES REVIEW OF FINANCIAL PROVISION ON DIVORCE

The Law Commission is about to examine how assets acquired by either party to the marriage prior to that marriage or civil partnership are to be treated, or assets received by gift or inheritance.  To what extent should they be automatically shared. When parties separate the major asset is generally the matrimonial home.  Both parties(…)

MORE CONTACT FOR DADS?

There has been a lot of media response recently to the Family Justice Review looking into the issue of shared parenting and the government’s response to that.  The Family Justice Review chaired by David Norgrove actually stated that they did not feel legislation would be helpful because of their analysis of similar legislation introduced in(…)

SEPARATING AND PERHAPS IT’S ALL GETTING OUT OF CONTROL?

Generally speaking when parties separate one person will have realised that the relationship has broken down a long time before the other.  They will have been thinking about what to do next; maybe they have met somebody else or just decided that the relationship is not going anywhere and they would rather move on to(…)

POST HOLIDAY BLUES? FACEBOOK AND DIVORCE

There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the effects of the Christmas holidays on families and the resulting surge in divorce figures.  Is this really true?  Are lawyers inundated with new divorce cases in January?  Well, most of my colleagues would agree with me that it is actually a bit(…)

COLLABORATIVE LAW IN ACTION

What does a typical case look like? Let us take a fairly typical example of a couple in business together – the husband is a builder or plumber and his wife is employed by the business doing the books or answering the telephone, in a part time support role as they have young children who(…)

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT OUR OFFICES?

What is so special about our offices, situated as they are in beautiful countryside on the Warwickshire / Oxfordshire border, with amazing views over the Feldon Valley and, somewhat amazingly, a herd of Water Buffalo.  Well, for a start there is ample free parking, they are easy to find, just off the main Shipston to(…)

IS DIVORCE RECESSION RELATED?

As many of you may have heard recently the number of divorces in England and Wales has increased for the first time since 2003. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that the number of divorces in England and Wales rose by 4.9% in 2010 to 119,589 compared with 113,949 in 2009.  This(…)

MEDIATION

As many of you will know, from 6 April 2011 the Ministry of Justice proposed that before anyone made an application to the court in relevant family proceedings (and this is not divorce – relevant means an application in relation to money matters or children issues), the person making the application should contact a mediator.(…)

EMPLOYERS WILLING TO PAY EMPLOYEES’ LEGAL BILLS!

An interesting report in this week’s Family Law Week states that increasing numbers of businesses are paying some or all of the legal bills incurred by employees separating from their partners.  Companies are helping staff pay for divorce in an attempt to retain key personnel.  It seems that while recession can mean redundancies, it also(…)

WHAT’S NEW IN CHILD MAINTENANCE?

As many of you will know, the Child Support Agency is to be replaced CMEC, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission and they have now published their proposals for a new statutory child maintenance scheme which, amongst other aspects, includes plans to increase the amount of maintenance paid by parents on state benefits and others(…)

THE MOST POPULAR AGE TO GET DIVORCED?

There were several articles in the press recently about the latest divorce figures suggesting that the only reported rise in the divorce rate is amongst the 60+ age range.  This doesn’t necessarily mean of course that this is the most popular age for divorce, merely that there is a new trend, the numbers of those(…)

WHO CARES FOR THE CHILDREN?

You may have heard the recent decision that legislation is not going to be introduced that gives the perception of a presumed favour of shared parenting when a relationship breaks down.  What does this mean? Whenever parties separate and there are children then a decision has to be made as to whom the children are(…)

COLLABORATION AND MEDIATION – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

There has been a lot of publicity recently about mediation in the context of divorce, but also a lot of misunderstanding. If you are thinking about divorce proceedings you do not have to go to mediation first, it is not compulsory. In April changes were introduced by the Government to encourage couples to consider alternatives(…)

WEDDINGS – SOME LEGAL THOUGHTS

From a lawyer’s point of view marriage is not about love – it is a legal transaction.  Whatever the feelings of those involved, getting married affects your legal status.  By getting married you acquire rights to another person’s property and pension that you do not acquire simply by living together.  There is no such person(…)

HOLIDAYS AND DIVORCE

Is it possible to have a happy family holiday post-divorce?  No divorcing person needs to be told how important their children are and no divorcing parent needs to be told how stressful the process can be and how difficult in particular the summer holiday period can be.  There is the practical difficulties of arranging childcare(…)

SEPARATING AND FACEBOOK

There has been a lot of talk in the press recently about why people might reveal aspects of their personal life on Facebook to their detriment.  We have heard tales of students exploits photographed on Facebook that come back to haunt them when they apply for jobs and increasingly married couples are announcing their divorce(…)

DADS AND DIVORCE

Father’s Day is coming up and for some separated or divorced fathers that can be a day full of painful memories of lost or infrequent contact with their children.  There is a perception that the courts are somehow unfair or biased towards mothers, but this really isn’t the case anymore.  Most judges after all are(…)

ALL CHANGE AT THE FAMILY COURTS

From 6th April 2011 everything changed, or was said to have changed, in the family courts.  All the court forms were changed and the major innovation was the introduction of mediation – as though mediation something new!  Everyone contemplating a divorce or separation will have been through some form of mediation, even if they may(…)

IS A GOOD DIVORCE POSSIBLE?

When people separate they are generally going through enormous distress and anxiety, so how can it be in any way good?  There is the point that although the process can be a very painful one, for some people they end up in a better place emotionally.  The relationship, for whatever reason has not worked and(…)