Category: Adultery

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 – 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.

The Biggest Myths About Adultery and Divorce

A divorce can only be obtained if one of five specific reasons are proven. One of the reasons is adultery yet how adultery is actually defined in law can lead to a great deal of confusion, myth and misinformation which can only add to the frustration and emotional turmoil.  

According to studies married men are statistically far more likely to stray than women with the former having a 50% of chance of engaging in an extra marital compared to 26% of women.    

Yet what might represent a bond broken and an irretrievable breakdown of trust for the person on the receiving end of their partner’s pursuit of relations outside of marriage may not be seen as one of the same in law.  

Contrary to popular belief, adultery doesn’t include all forms of sexual activity. In fact it only refers to full sexual intercourse between a man and a woman where one or both of those involved are married to other people. If the extra marital affair involves a same sex relationship then it doesn’t count.  

There are also cases where lesser forms of sexual gratification are deemed insufficient to be counted as adultery. Another misconception is that sexual intercourse with another person outside of marriage doesn’t count as adultery following separation when technically it does.  

If you require further advice on divorce law, please get in touch. 

Dr. Foster and dealing with the aftermath of a ‘messy’ divorce

The gripping BBC drama Dr. Foster returned on our screens earlier this month for a second series.

The new season focuses on life after divorce and the hostility and anger that can continue for many years. Dr. Gemma Foster and her former husband Simon Foster separated 2 years ago however the second series sees Simon Foster return to live nearby so that he can spend more time with their 15-year-old son Tom.

Separation has a huge impact on the children of the family as evidenced in the second series as Tom is constantly caught in the middle of his parents’ acrimony. This has had a negative impact on Tom and resulted in him being excluded from school for punching his friend and sexually assaulting a girl at a party after getting drunk.

Although it is a tough time for all involved, whatever the cause of the separation, it is vital that children do not feel like they have to choose between their parents. It is also incredibly important that parents put on a ‘united front’ and agree a joint approach in how they should deal with schooling matters and prioritise their child’s emotional wellbeing.

Sadly, parents often use their children against one another during separation and this has a long-term impact on children in both their personal development and their relationship with their parents.

If you find yourself in a similar situation to Dr. Foster or Simon Foster, please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist family law team today on 0161 927 3118.

Women Can Benefit From Unfaithful Partners In The Long Term

A partner being unfaithful can come as a huge shock and often a blow to the self-esteem of those involved but a new study provides hope for the future if you happen to be a woman.

The study which looked at nearly 6,000 people across multiple countries by University College London and Binghamton University in New York State who had experienced their partners being unfaithful found that the women involved in the breakups were the most likely to benefit.

With adultery being one of the main reasons for divorce, couples often breakup as a result of infidelity. One consolation for the women involved with unfaithful partners is that they ended up happier in the long term following the end of the relationship.

Unfortunately this gender advantage didn’t stretch to the ‘other woman’. They were often less happy with their new partners due to them having already demonstrated their potential to be unfaithful.

The researchers concluded that women who have come through relationships where a former partner has been unfaithful will be choosier the next time. It was even speculated that this response from women could be part of some evolutionary benefit linked to higher mating intelligence.

The rise of the silver separators

The latest figures provided by the Office of National Statistics show that the overall divorce rates are falling, but that is not the case for one particular demographic. The over-50s, dubbed the “silver separators”, are bucking the trend with an increase in the number of divorces in that age group. Interestingly, as long ago as September 2013, we wrote a blog about this very subject and the latest figures show that the trend is continuing.

With grown-up children having left home and retirement looming, “empty nest syndrome” can lead to people realising that they simply no longer enjoy spending time with their spouse. Without the distractions of work and children, it can become apparent that they no longer have any shared interests and want different things in life. Increased life expectancy means that many people are now enjoying 20-30 years of retirement and are putting their own needs first rather than remaining in unhappy marriages. There is far less of a stigma surrounding divorce and this may encourage people who were previously reluctant to do so to take the plunge and move on with their lives. Media reports also suggest that the rise in the silver divorce may be because women are becoming increasingly financially independent, with their own income and pensions.

Sharing and publishing images to embarrass a former partner and obtain revenge – the growing problem of the malicious use of intimate images in Family Law proceedings

The increased use of smartphones and social media has changed the way in which relationships are conducted and more recently the way in which people act upon relationship breakdown. Those who have smartphones can instantly take high quality pictures and videos and can instantly share these with a partner, friends or the public using websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. The ease of such sharing has increased the scope for abusive and controlling behaviour upon separation.

The Queen Mary Legal Advice centre refers to the issue as SPITE – Sharing and Publishing Images To Embarrass which acknowledges that there can be circumstances where images are not shared for revenge and shaming an individual but perpetrators can also be motivated by the desire for control or financial motives.

In the recent case of RC (mother) v AB (father) [2015] which concerned a private law application for leave to remove the child from the jurisdiction it was found that the father had arranged for a friend to post an intimate photograph of the mother on Instagram together with a caption ‘bring back my child’. The mother also feared the father would publish an intimate video of them which had been taken years earlier. Cobb J in this case found that such incidents were harassing and done deliberately to hurt the mother and this behaviour had to be taken into account when considering the arrangements for the child.

The publishing of images without consent is becoming increasingly cited in Family Law cases, as threats to release intimate photos or videos are frequently being used in order to coerce an individual into taking or ceasing a particular course of action within proceedings. The sharing of such images can have a devastating impact on those involved. The victims of such behaviour are not only left feeling humiliated but also images and information posted on social media can have a detrimental effect on their current and future employment prospects.

Remedies and removing the images:

Most social media pages such as Twitter and Facebook have banned photographs being posted without the subject’s consent and there are policies in place for the removal of such images. It is important that screen shots are taken of the images prior to removal to support any further action that may need to be taken. Non-molestation orders can be applied for if those involved are ‘associated persons’. ‘Associated persons’ are those who are associated with each other in one of the following ways:

• You are or have been married to each other.
• You are or have been in a civil partnership with each other;
• You are cohabitants or former cohabitants (including same sex couples)
• You live or have lived in the same household.
• You are relatives.
• You have formally agreed to marry each other (even if that agreement has now ended).
• You have a child together (this can include those who are parents of the same child, and those who have parental responsibility for the same child).
• Although not living together, you are in an “intimate relationship of significant duration”.
• You are both involved in the same family proceedings (e.g. divorce or child contact).

If none of the above applies it may be possible to apply for a protection from harassment order.
If you are experiencing abuse following your separation or fear that your former partner is acting in a vengeful manner, you can talk to us in complete confidence about the legal steps you can take to bring your abuser to justice and to legally end your relationship. Our Family Law specialists will handle your case with sensitivity and provide the proper advice and guidance you need. Please contact us for a free 20 minute consultation on 0161 927 3118.

More than half of under-35s getting married consider a pre-nuptial agreement

A recent study has shown that more than half under-35s would consider getting a pre-nuptial agreement drawn up before they get married. Despite once being only considered relevant to the ‘super rich’, pre-nuptial agreements are becoming an increasingly popular choice not only for young couples but also those marrying later in life in order to protect their assets. The agreements are also increasingly being used in second marriages between people of equal wealth.

A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by a couple before they get married which sets out how they will organise their finances during the marriage and what they would wish to happen in relation to financial matters in the event of separation.

When considering marriage, it is understandable that the first thing on peoples’ minds is not usually protecting themselves in case things go wrong. However, particularly those marrying later in life, or with considerable assets or inheritance, may want to exclude certain assets being brought into the ‘marital pot’. Some individuals taking part in the study claimed they would consider a prenuptial agreement due to the fact their partner was ‘not very good with money’. Others also mentioned the fact that had received very little financially in previous relationships and wanted to avoid history repeating itself.

Pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular with under-35s but also with those later in life as people are showing a desire to protect their assets and wealth accrued prior to marriage. Recent decisions of the courts have also endorsed such agreements and the Law Commission recommended earlier last year that pre-nuptial agreements should be legally binding in divorce settlements, after the needs of the separating couple and any children have been taken into account.

Pre-nuptial agreements need to be entered into with proper legal safeguards and both parties will need independent advice. Such agreements are a useful way of protecting assets and providing for how finances would be dealt with in the event of divorce. For advice and guidance on pre-nuptial agreements or financial arrangements on marriage or separation, or to discuss your current situation, please contact our specialist Family Law lawyers on 0161 927 3118 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Women More Likely to Own Up To Adultery

A report in the Telegraph reveals that women are more likely to own up to cheating on their husbands because they are said to be “more pragmatic”.

The suggestion that women are more open and honest about cheating than men has been drawn from a study by a law firm which has examined the changing patterns of divorce cases in recent years.

The long term trend, according to the Office of National Statistics, is a move away from adultery as grounds for divorces to ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

Unreasonable behaviour, even if it might include hidden adultery, is easier to prove unless real evidence can be presented that an affair has in fact taken place.

The easiest way to approve adultery is an admission of guilt. Coming clean about cheating is apparently easier for women than it is for men who prefer to contest rather than admit to cheating.

Women have historically been less likely to commit adultery but when they do they are happy to ‘take it on the chin’ and own up according to national statistics. Men are more reluctant to be seen as the guilty party and prefer to be divorcing for the less dramatic sounding ‘unreasonable behaviour’.