3 Things to Consider in Secret Before Getting A Divorce

We have all seen how divorce plays out on TV and in the movies but when you are facing the prospect yourself the process becomes all to real. In an age when things tend to happen fast it is worth considering how you can best prepare yourself.  

What will life be like after divorce?  

If you are considering divorce then you have probably come to the point of no return. However, it may be worth visualising what life will be like when you no longer have a husband or wife. Are you ready to move on with life after divorce and are any preparations in place for example?  

Consider finances  

If you have been dependent on a spouse financially then divorce can mean a significant drop in living standards. The final divorce settlement may help particularly if there are children involved, but if you are anxious about how you will cope, then it is better to start considering the financial implications of the divorce beforehand.  

Consider keeping a diary or notes  

It’s easy to forget important information during the course of a divorce. Making notes of what is happening beforehand can help towards preparation when it comes to settlements and other arrangements following divorce.

How Divorce Can Impact on Your Business

As any entrepreneur knows, it can take years of hard work to build business just as it takes work to keep a marriage on track. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of business owners seeing their marriage and business derailed during and after a divorce if they fail to plan in advance and take legal advice.  

42% of marriages are said to end in divorce and a good proportion of those cases are likely to involve business owners. Working long hours and being away from home for long periods can all lead to problems with marriage but its what might happen in a potential divorce which should be of equal concern.  

A business like anything else owned by either partner in a divorce may be considered a valuable part of a divorce settlement if either partner is the sole owner. There may even be occasions where an ex husband or wife could walk away with half the business.  

To prevent this happening, it is worth taking legal advice at the earliest opportunity. A business even if a former partner put no work into it can’t always be treated as a separate legal entity.  A solicitor can advise you on the steps to take to protect your business and its assets during the divorce.

Divorce – Are Your Prepared for The Unexpected

Agreements are not always binding particularly if there hasn’t been full disclosure relating to certain aspects of agreements whether they are prenuptial or part of a divorce settlement. Having an agreement that is watertight is critical if you want to take steps to avoid unexpected issues cropping up.  

The job of a divorce solicitor is to a large extent concerned with negotiating the best outcome for their client. People generally don’t want to concern themselves with all the details of a divorce preferring to get proceeding over and done with as soon as possible but this can run the risk of overlooking those unexpected outcomes that can arise when things are overlooked.   

This is why preparing adequately for divorce in advance is so important because reaching a watertight agreement should always be the aim. That agreement should also be fair to both parties. Disputes can arise both during and after divorce proceedings that can result in court battles neither former partner is going to want.  

This is one of the reasons there is such a big push towards allowing no fault divorces. People don’t really want to have to go through an acrimonious divorce that requires proof of a partner’s infidelity to be revealed to strangers.

Divorce Rates on the Rise for Silver Splitters

Despite latest statistics showing an overall fall in divorce rates to levels not seen since the 70s, divorce rates have actually gone up among those who would have been little more than teenagers back then.   

Middle aged divorcees have been labelled silver splitters in the newspapers who have pointed at the latest statistics as evidence that people are more likely to seek a new life without their partners when kids have left home and some couples are forced to look more closely at their relationship. Unfortunately, the statistics show the verdict is often that there is nothing left to keep a marriage together.  

The official verdict from the ONS for the rise in divorce rates in the 50s and 60s age group is that people can look forward to living longer and getting married again in later life if they feel a marriage has run its course.  

While a new life can seem like an appealing prospect, divorcing in middle age can be more difficult than it is for young people. Finances are often interlinked with joint accounts, pensions, houses and other assets often shared between married couples. Then there is the question of wills.  

Divorces must be carefully planned, therefore, to avoid at least some of the disputes that may arise as the process gets underway.

Divorce Rates Fall to New Low

According to figures released by the ONS, heterosexual divorce rates in the UK have fallen to their lowest point since 1973.  

The last time divorce rates were as low as they are now, Britain was about to join the EEC which was later renamed the EU and Elvis Presley was still performing. Fast forward to 2018 and divorce rates are once again down significantly with 8.4 divorces per 1,000 heterosexual couples. This marked a 5.6% decrease on the previous year.  

In total there were 101,669 divorces of heterosexual couples in 2017, which was 4.9% less than the year before. So does this mean people are suddenly more likely to stick together or is this just a statistical anomaly? According to the ONS the reason there are less divorces is simply down to there being less marriages.  

People are increasingly more likely to cohabit that get married. Compare this to 1973 when cohabiting would still have been largely frowned upon and these latest figures can be put into perspective.  

It is too early to tell if there is a more positive trend towards heterosexual couples staying together rather than opting to divorce if marriages become strained. In fact, among older people, divorce rates have actually gone up.

What Is a Stay At Home Parent Entitled to In A Divorce?

Divorce is a major step for any couple to undertake and there are circumstances where a parent might be left at a significant financial disadvantage. This is particularly tru if for example you happen to be a stay at home mum with no regular income.   

Fortunately, this is the 21st century and there is no reason to remain in an unhappy marriage due to the fear of being left destitute. You will find that courts have plenty of power to ensure that where necessary your needs will be met through ongoing maintenance not just for the children but also for you personally depending on your circumstances.  

Child maintenance and spousal maintenance are the main sources of help but you can even apply for interim spousal maintenance prior to a final order if you are likely to suffer significant hardship.  Beyond that and following divorce, you could as a stay at home parent be entitled to spousal maintenance until your children have completed their secondary education and there are cases where orders can be indefinite.  

Unfortunately, you will need to make a clear case for spousal and child maintenance and awards can vary depending on your former spouse’s ability to pay, It is important therefore to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to achieve the best outcome.

Divorce – Can You Take the Money and Run?

Being married often means sharing everything you have with your spouse but when a relationship breaks down thoughts can turn to making a grab for assets and cash. If you have  a joint account then it can be tempting to access it and withdraw half or even all of the money in an account before you are forced to share half in a settlement. This can pose a problem, however, if it is seen by the court as over stepping the mark.  

On advantage of making withdrawing your half of what’s in the account before a divorce takes place is you then have the money in your possession whatever happens. This avoids any risk of not being able to get your hands on money if the account is frozen by your partner.  

Of course doing this will send a clear signal to your ex partner that you don’t trust them and it will almost certainly result in them not trusting you either.  

It is far better to come to some kind of agreement on joint finances to avoid bitter disputes further down the line. For example one partner may feel that they contributed more than half to the account and will feel aggrieved if half of the money is then taken without their consent.  

In extreme cases during a hostile divorce, accounts can be frozen preventing anyone from accessing the account or one partner may withdraw all of the money and spend it. In the latter case, it is almost inevitable that half of the money will have to be returned.

Tini Owens Case Reveals How Divorce Cases Are Not Always Open and Shut

Divorce is often thought to be a simple process and while the vast majority of cases are indeed simple and uncontested, a minority can turn into a battle to prove the necessary grounds.  

The Tini Owens case is one high profile example of just how difficult it can be to come up with sufficient grounds for divorce when the reasons are ruled as not falling into the main criteria used by judges to grant a divorce.   

The criteria on which divorce cases are judged in the UK are as follows:  

  • Adultery 
  • Unreasonable behaviour 
  • Desertion 
  • 2 years separation with consent 
  • 5 years separation (no consent required) 

As with any legal case, the grounds for divorce must be proven and while it may be straightforward to prove most of the above facts, unreasonable behaviour often relies on as many as six allegations if facts are not regarded as particularly serious such as those involving violence.  

Despite the Tini Owens case being referred to the supreme court, her case was ultimately lost on not being able to provide sufficient grounds for divorce.  

Under current laws it is simply not enough to be locked in an unhappy marriage and there are calls to make divorce easier for those trapped in this kind of situation.  

Relocating Children Abroad Without Consent

Sometimes when a relationship breaks down a partner may wish to relocate with the children to a place where they will have a strong support network or perhaps new career opportunity. This can in some cases be worked out with an agreement between a couple but in cases where the move is abroad, this can result in disputes that may end with criminal charges being brought if official permission has not been granted.  

These criminal charges are not to be taken lightly and can even end up with the parent who took the child abroad without consent facing a trial. This is because it is classed as an offence under English law to remove a child from the country without the consent of all concerned.  

This means that it is essential to obtain consent before making the decision to travel abroad with children even for a holiday.  

Even if official consent it sought, a parent who does not wish for their children to be taken abroad can submit a defence against their children being taken abroad. It is then up to the court to decide if it is in the child’s best interests and their welfare will not be impacted by their relocation abroad. 

This I why it is essential in these cases to obtain legal advice at the earliest stage to ensure that the reasons provided to the court for a child’s removal from the country will survive scrutiny.

What Can I Expect From A Public Law Outline (PLO) meeting?

PLO meetings are often held in advance of any court proceedings against parents in cases where the welfare of a child at home is a cause for concern. While a PLO meeting offers an opportunity to stop a case going to court, it should be taken seriously by parents who wish to avoid the consequences of court action being taken against them.  

A PLO meeting is requested either by the local authority or social workers who have reason to suspect that a child’s welfare is at risk. This can be for a variety of reasons and is based on the evidence obtained in each individual case.  

In such cases social workers or the local authority can apply to the courts to secure protection orders for a child if agreement is not reached with parents at the PLO meeting. In some cases, a meeting might not even take place if this puts a child’s welfare at further risk.  

Parents will be asked to bring along a solicitor to the meeting who can help negotiate an agreement and act on the parent’s behalf which prevents further action in court and provides a solution that is in the child’s best interests.  

If you receive correspondence from social workers or the local authority inviting you to attend a PLO meeting then you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. You may also be entitled to legal aid and representation at the meeting which would be free of charge.