Category: Digital Divorce

The new no-fault divorce law: What you need to know

The government are introducing no-fault divorces in a bid to end the divorce ‘blame game’ and make the process faster, simpler and more amicable.

When announcing the plans to reform divorce law, Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples.”

Current grounds for divorce

Existing divorce laws are over 50 years old and have been under fire for being outdated and causing unnecessary further conflict between divorcing couples.

Currently, couples who wish to get a divorce are required under the Matrimonial Causes Act to prove one of the following:

  • Unreasonable behaviour.
  • Desertion (for 2 years).
  • Mutual separation (for 2 years).
  • Have lived apart for 5 years (if one party does not agree to the divorce).

The new no-fault divorce

Under the proposed new laws, couples will simply be required to issue a statement saying that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of their relationship.

A minimum time frame of six months will be introduced to give couples the opportunity to work things out and change their minds before the divorce is finalised.

Other changes include the option to make a joint application for divorce, and the scrapping of the option to contest proceedings.

There is not yet a date for when the new law will come into effect, but the government have expressed that they are committed to introducing the new changes as soon as possible and expect it to be within the next year.

If you require legal help or advice with any aspect of divorce law, get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors here at Lund Bennett by giving us a call on 0161 927 3118.

Brexit Divorce Dilemma For Property Owning Couples

With Brexit looming large in March property prices may see a dramatic readjustment that could go one way or the other depending on the outcome. This may not be an issue for those not planning on moving anytime soon but for couples on the edge of divorce there is now a dilemma.  

Property prices to a great extent are driven by a mixture of national sentiment, the availability of credit and seismic shocks to the economy. The financial crisis of 2008 for example brought prices tumbling across the country and many areas are still yet to recover.  

According to the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, a no deal Brexit could see prices fall by 35% in three years. Whether this actually turns out to be the case is another matter. Forecasts by the Bank of England aren’t always as accurate as the weather forecast and then there is the prospect that we get a deal, everything is forgotten and there is a boom in house prices.  

So the dilemma for divorcing couples where property biggest is their biggest asset is whether to go ahead with the process of divorce and risk selling and dividing up a property at a potential loss, or speed up the process in the hope that advantage can be taken of more favourable market conditions. 

Depending on the view of the person thinking of filing for divorce, the strategy may be to wait until all the fuss is over before proceeding.

Is Facebook Bad for your Marriage?

According to statistics it is. Research into reasons given for divorce in the UK show that Facebook is mentioned in 33% of divorces.  

While Facebook was originally conceived as a way for lost friends to get in touch with one another, its use has grown to the point where it has a a direct impact on the lives of those friends if used inappropriately.  

While much of what is posted in social media relates to people’s travels, family photos, food and nights out, there is sometimes a darker element to its use which can sometimes get out of hand.  

For one thing, getting in touch with lost friends can include those of the opposite sex such is the ease of tracking people down on the site. Depending on how either partner views getting back in contact with old flames, this can result in deep mistrust between partners and even divorce if behaviour is seen as unreasonable.   

News can also travel fast when it broadcast among friends and sometimes people may even use the Facebook to air their grievances about their husband or wife. Criticising a partner in front of several hundred friends can be a whole lot more damaging than doing it face to face.

Divorce and Children’s Education

Schools are an important and often overlooked area of divorce and complex issues can arise when parents don’t agree on where their child goes to school, who pays for what and who takes responsibility for picking up and dropping off at the gates.  

With many good state schools oversubscribed parents may well be concerned that their children won’t get a good education if one partner has to move to another area where schools are not of the same standard.  

There can also be disputes over who will continue to pay for a child’s education if one parent has always paid the lion’s share of fees at a fee-paying school.  

In both case the arrangements are best made through a mediation process where parents can decide what is in the best interests of the child. This can mean decisions are made over affordability, for example if one parent can’t afford to pay school fees then the other may commit to pay a share of the costs.  

This sort of arrangement may also apply to the purchase of school uniforms, equipment and school clubs throughout the school year.  

When it comes to living arrangements, then the parent that has custody of the child will be the one who decides for practicality reasons where the child should attend school if they live in a particular catchment area and the only option is a state school.  

These are just some of the issues surrounding a child’s schooling which may arise during divorce proceedings and if you need help with this or any other issues surrounding divorce, contact us today.

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.

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.