Who Gets The Pet After A Divorce?

Much is written and about child custody battles following a divorce but very little is known or understood about who gets custody of pets. So whether it’s your prize Pomeranian or a common tabby cat, what is the likely outcome in your case?

For many couples the most important consideration following a divorce is who gets the dog. This is understandable when people usually devote a lot of love and care to their four-legged friends – an investment they are not prepared to give up so easily.

So it often comes as a surprise that pets are treated the same way as an inanimate object such as a car. Battle lines are often drawn when there is a dispute over who should gain possession and the outcome is then decided in court.

Cases can be complicated when it comes to deciding which party deserves to gain custody of a pet. Merely purchasing the pet might not be enough to give that person custody if a spouse is the one who spent most time caring for it.

While cases are not going to be judged anything like as strictly as in child custody cases, the welfare of an animal will be taken into account.

With co-habiting couples, a case may be decided on the basis of ownership alone, so it’s important to keep hold of receipts that prove who owns the animal.

Categories: Divorce Law, Family Law, Lund Bennett, Who Gets The Pet After A Divorce?

Pension And Tax Tips For Divorcees

Getting a divorce might seem simple and straightforward when you see it in a TV drama, but the reality is often far different. Financial implications are one of the biggest headaches when it comes to divorce and as the government constantly change the rules on pensions and taxation, those headaches can quickly get a lot worse.

If you need advice and guidance on dealing with your own financial issues in the event of a divorce you can always contact us. In the meantime, here are our top tips on asset sharing following a divorce.

Calculate the value of assets

Calculating a value of your net assets and that of your partner is a good place to start. Coming up with a realistic value of those assets will mean there is a better chance of assets being divided fairly between divorcing couples.

Watch out for potential tax implications

It is important to find out how a divorce settlement might impact on tax affairs. Getting a divorce and a settlement may result in having to file a tax return either in the UK or overseas if the latter applies.

Get expert advice on Pension and life insurance policies

Pension documents are complicated enough when everything is running smoothly. A divorce can mean a lot of paperwork to read through which can be very difficult to understand. Tax investment advice should be sought in good time to see how these might be affected.

Categories: divorce, Divorce Law, Lund Bennett, Pension And Tax Tips

Court of Appeal sets aside remedy orders in divorce case after ‘procedurally unfair’ mistakes

In the case of Iqbal v Iqbal, following the final hearing in March 2015, His Honour Judge Brasse had ordered the husband to pay his former wife a lump sum of £3.22m within five weeks arrears of periodical payments of £530,000 and future periodical payments of £10,000 per month in advance by standing order.

Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, said that the key issues at the interim and final hearings were whether the husband was able to make payments. The husband sought to challenge the outcome of the final hearing on the basis of the extent of direct evidence available and the inferences drawn. The husband’s attendance was excused at an interim hearing in 2010 however the wife attended at this hearing and made submissions based on evidence which did not contain a statement of truth and made submissions about the husband about which he had no advance notice. Ryder said as a consequence of this the final hearing was ‘procedurally unfair’ and the order made following it should be set aside.

Ryder said that:

‘No real attempt at active case management by reference to the Family Procedure Rules and Practice Directions was attempted’
He then went on to say:

‘It is hardly surprising, therefore, that good practice was not a feature of the management of this case’.

Ryder said that the judge in the final hearing made no reference to the husband’s documents during the hearing and the wife filed her statement only eight days before the final hearing and failed to serve the statement on the husband ahead of the final hearing.

Ryder was surprised that there was an absence of any analysis of the parties’ needs and the husband’s ability to make payments in the initial judgment, especially given the importance of ascertaining the wife’s needs in the context of pre-marital assets.

All financial remedy orders made were set aside by the Court of Appeal and Ryder has also directed that the application for an order be re-heard by a specialist family judge at the Central Family Court.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact one of our specialist family lawyers on 0161 927 3118.

Categories: divorce, Divorce Law, Divorce rate, divorce settlements, Family Law, Lund Bennett

Court of Appeal sets aside remedy orders in divorce case after ‘procedurally unfair’ mistakes

In the case of Iqbal v Iqbal, following the final hearing in March 2015, His Honour Judge Brasse had ordered the husband to pay his former wife a lump sum of £3.22m within five weeks arrears of periodical payments of £530,000 and future periodical payments of £10,000 per month in advance by standing order.

Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, said that the key issues at the interim and final hearings were whether the husband was able to make payments. The husband sought to challenge the outcome of the final hearing on the basis of the extent of direct evidence available and the inferences drawn. The husband’s attendance was excused at an interim hearing in 2010 however the wife attended at this hearing and made submissions based on evidence which did not contain a statement of truth and made submissions about the husband about which he had no advance notice. Ryder said as a consequence of this the final hearing was ‘procedurally unfair’ and the order made following it should be set aside.

Ryder said that:

‘No real attempt at active case management by reference to the Family Procedure Rules and Practice Directions was attempted’
He then went on to say:

‘It is hardly surprising, therefore, that good practice was not a feature of the management of this case’.

Ryder said that the judge in the final hearing made no reference to the husband’s documents during the hearing and the wife filed her statement only eight days before the final hearing and failed to serve the statement on the husband ahead of the final hearing. Ryder was surprised that there was an absence of any analysis of the parties’ needs and the husband’s ability to make payments in the initial judgment, especially given the importance of ascertaining the wife’s needs in the context of pre-marital assets.

All financial remedy orders made were set aside by the Court of Appeal and Ryder has also directed that the application for an order be re-heard by a specialist family judge at the Central Family Court.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact one of our specialist family lawyers on 0161 927 3118.

Categories: Court of Appeal, Divorce Law, Family Law, Lund Bennett

Changes to existing matrimonial law being considered by the House of Lords

The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords last week. The Bill is a Private Members Bill introduced by Baroness Deech (Crossbench) and proposes to replace section 25 (2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Setting out the proposals to the Bill, Baroness Deech explained:

‘The purpose of this Bill is to reform the law relating to the splitting of assets on divorce.  The current law is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 25, which has not been thoroughly debated by Parliament for 40 years despite radical changes in society and families, and which has been the subject of calls for reform from the Law Commission, Resolution and the Centre for Social Justice. Reform is urgent because the law is uncertain. It is largely judge-made law, which bears little resemblance to the statute. Judicial discretion has led to unpredictability and conflicting decisions, which make it hard for parties to negotiate and lead to disproportionate costs. Legal aid has been removed and parties of modest means are left unrepresented with little guidance as to the right outcome. The Bill would implement provisions very similar to those of Scottish law, and the laws of most European and North American states. It would introduce as a fair starting point the equal division of all the property and pensions acquired by the couple after marriage; provision for short term maintenance; flexibility to allow the home to be retained for the carer and children; and binding prenuptial agreements. This is intended to facilitate mediation, reduce litigation and costs, and recognise equal partnership in marriage.’

The Bill is a long way off becoming law and may not even make it onto the statute books at all.

If you need to speak to a specialist family lawyer call us on 0161 927 3118.

Categories: Family Law, Lund Bennett, Marriage, Matrimonial Law, Matrimonial Property Rules

Tax Free Childcare – What’s it all about??

Plans for ‘tax free childcare’ were initially proposed back in the 2013 budget and are set to be implemented in 2017. According to the gov.uk website the scheme will be available to around 2 million households to help with the cost of childcare.

Parents will need to open an online account with can be done through the government website and can pay into the account to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. For every 80 pence paid in, the government will top up an extra 20 pence up to a total of £10,000 which is equivalent to £2,000 per child per year (£4,000 for disabled children). The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12 and 17 for disabled children.

To qualify a parent must earn more than £115 per week but not more than £100,000 per year. Self-employed parents now also qualify (unlike the previous scheme which was only available for employed parents).

The scheme will be rolled out gradually with all eligible parents being able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

Categories: Child Benefits, Child Law, Family Law, Lund Bennett, Tax Free Childcare

Why you must finalise financial matters upon divorce

There have been two recent highly reported cases which have sent out a stark reminder to couples why it is crucial to finalise financial matters upon divorce.

The wife of the Lambretta millionaire was last year awarded £2.7 million 10 years after the parties divorced notwithstanding the fact, as the husband argued, a verbal agreement was reached at the time of separation that the wife would retain the family home worth £700,000 mortgage free, maintenance of £10,000 per annum plus child maintenance. However as this verbal agreement had never been approved by the court, it effectively meant that the parties’ financial claims remained open.

At the date of separation the husband’s company was turning over £1 million and at the time the wife issued her financial application with the court his business was estimated to be turning over £30 million.

In issuing her financial application with the court the wife argued that no legal agreement between the couple had ever been finalised.

In another case which attracted a great deal of media attention was the case of Wyatt v Vince in 2015. In this case Kathleen Wyatt won the right to pursue a financial claim against her former husband, Dale Vince from whom she separated 30 years previously. The parties met in 1981 and after having a son, separated in 1992. During the parties’ relationship they lived on state benefits. Following separation the husband built up a green energy business reported to be worth £57 million.

The parties eventually settled matters by way of agreement (later embodied in a court order) with the husband paying the wife £300,000 plus a proportion of her legal costs.

Frequently asked questions

1. My ex-wife and I recently divorced and agreed how to divide our assets, do I need to go to court?

Answer
If you and your former wife have reached an agreement as to how the matrimonial pot will be divided, the agreement should be embodied into a consent order, signed by both parties and which will be lodged with the court with a request for a Judge to approve it. If, upon considering your financial position, the Judge deems the agreement fair, the consent order will be sealed and become legally binding.

2. My ex-husband and I divorced 6 years ago and at the time I verbally agreed to accept a lump sum payment from my ex-husband. Is this legally binding?

Answer
No the agreement is not legally binding. The courts still have jurisdiction to deal with a financial claim after divorce and until there is a court approved order.

3. As I am divorced I presume my ex-wife no longer as any financial claims against me.

Answer
Wrong. It is a common misconception that once divorced either party is prevented from seeking financial assistance from the other. Until matters have been finalised by way of a court order, either the husband or the wife is entitled to make a claim against the other’s assets, property, income or pension.

4. How can I achieve a clean break?

Answer
Do not assume that if you have reached a verbal agreement with your spouse that this is final. If your agreement is not approved by the court you are exposing yourself to future claims being made by your spouse and possibly your estate upon your death. A clean break is a clause inserted into a court order and which severs all financial ties between you and your spouse. A clean break may not be suitable in all circumstances. It is advisable to seek legal advice to discuss your individual situation.

Please note that the above answers are generic and it is important to seek legal advice regarding your individual set of circumstances. Call one of specialist lawyers on 0161 9273118 for a free and confidential 20 minute consultation.

Categories: divorce, Divorce Law, Divorce rate, divorce settlements, Family Law, Lund Bennett, Marriage