Category: Law Students

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 Rates fall in England and Wales

Divorce rates in England and Wales have fallen by 3.1% according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The results of the survey cover the period between 2013-2014 where there was a 3.1% fall in divorces from the figure recorded in 2013.

With 2017 looming large on the horizon these figures may well change as new data comes in, however, there is still cause for optimism ahead of what is described as peak season for divorces following the Christmas holidays.

Reasons given for the falling divorce rates include more couples co-habiting before getting married and thus ensuring that relationships are on a more stable footing and also couples leaving it later to get married.

Younger couples are statistically more likely to divorce than those getting married later on in life, however, even in this age group divorce rates have fallen. Divorce rates in 2014 are lower than they were in 2004 for all age groups except women aged 55.

The divorce rate currently stands at 9.3 divorces per thousand men and women with 60% of all divorces in England and Wales due to adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

If you need help with divorce proceeding please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

67-year-old millionaire ordered by the Court to leave his home due to accusations of physical and emotional abuse towards Wife

The Family Division at the High Court heard that the Wife in this case, who is in her late 70s, was frightened of her husband, a 67-year-old millionaire from Essex, and took legal action against him. Judge Catriona Murfitt concluded that the Wife was likely to suffer ‘significant harm’ if the Husband stayed in the property any longer and therefore he was ordered to vacate the property.

The Husband went on to appeal this decision, stating that the ruling was ‘unfair’. Mr Justice Baker dismissed this appeal and told the Husband that he had ‘no prospect’ of overturning Judge Murfitt’s initial ruling. Mr Justice Baker went on to say that the Wife claimed ‘that for the duration of the marriage, she had been the emotional punch bag for his insecurities and frustrations’.

Mr Justice Baker said that Judge Murfitt held that the Wife was likely to suffer significant harm if an order was not made and that harm was greater than any harm which the Husband was likely to suffer from having to leave the property and he upheld this decision.

Occupation orders

If you are experiencing abuse following your separation or your former partner is acting in a vengeful manner and causing you to fear for your safety in the family home, as outlined in the case above, the Court can issue an occupation order against your former spouse.

An occupation order is an order setting out who has the right to stay, return, or be excluded from a family home. An occupation order doesn’t change the financial ownership of a home, it is usually a short-term measure and the length of time an occupation order lasts will depend on your circumstances. In many cases an order will last for between 6-12 months and some can be renewed. An occupation order can only be made for a property where you both live, did live, or intended to live in as the ‘family home’.

Our Family Law specialists are here to help and can provide the proper advice and guidance you need. You can talk to us in complete confidence about the legal steps you can take to bring your abuser to justice, to feel safe in the former matrimonial home and to legally end your relationship. Please contact us for an initial consultation today on 0161 927 3118.

Lund Bennett Law’s Trainee Solicitor appointed as Education Director of Manchester Trainee Solicitors Group Committee

Lund Bennett are delighted to announce the recent appointment of Grace Matthews, Trainee Solicitor, as Education Director of the Manchester Trainee Solicitors Group Committee (‘MTSG’).

MTSG is one of the largest and most active Trainee Solicitors groups in the country and provides a range of events from social evenings, sporting fixtures to various educational programmes and fundraising events for its 500 plus members across Greater Manchester. Grace spoke further on her appointment:

“I am very excited about being elected as Education Director on the Manchester Trainee Solicitors Group Committee this year. I look forward to working with legal recruiters, barrister’s chambers, the courts and legal education stakeholders across Greater Manchester to provide training, networking and volunteering opportunities for all MTSG members and also working alongside all elected committee members over the next year.”

Isle of Man Approves Gay Marriage

The Isle of Man parliament has recently voted to approve gay marriage on the island, which leaves just one country in the British Isles opposed to gay marriage.

The bill to legalise gay marriage was approved in April by the High Court of Tynwald which is responsible for setting laws on the island. The Isle of Man has the freedom to make its own laws due to its status as a crown dependency.

The decision to legalise gay marriage on the island marks the final step on the journey to acceptance of gay relationships. The island had a reputation in the 80s and 90s for its opposition to homosexuality and only legalised same sex relationships as recently as 1992 – becoming the last part of the British Isles to do so.

This has not been the case with gay marriage however, and the decision to make it legal, subject to the law receiving Royal Assent, means that only Northern Ireland remains opposed to gay marriage in the British Isles.

Commenting on the change in the law, chief minister of the Isle of Man, Alan Bell, said “It’s a totally logical human right and human expectation that straight couples and gay couples should be able to enjoy life with the partner that they choose and I totally support that.”

Is Loss Of Civil Partnership Case A Victory For Discrimination?

A heterosexual couple who wanted to enter a civil partnership rather than get married have provoked some serious debate over discrimination.

While same sex couples have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships since the Civil Partnership Act 2004, same sex couples are prevented from doing so by the same Act. The couple are both academics and have set out to change the rules so that heterosexuals couples including themselves are given an alternative to what they see as a “patriarchal” institution.

While marriage is accepted by the vast majority of opposite sex couples the current rules may be tested to the limit as other cases may be brought to the attention due to the flurry of media interest the case has brought.

The couple’s campaign for civil partnerships to be legal for opposite sex couples is being taken to a higher court to appeal the recent decision. Whether the appeal is successful depends on a number of factors not least the lack of equality. Same sex couples are free to enter civil partnerships or marriage the latter being introduced in 2013.

However the Judge said: “This is not a case where they cannot achieve formal state recognition of their relationship, with all the rights, benefits and protections that flow from such recognition; on the contrary, it is open to them to obtain that recognition by getting married” in reference to the couple’s case.

Guide To The ‘Presumption of Death’

A quarter of a million people go missing in the UK every year and this can be extremely distressing for families who are left not only wondering if their relative is dead or alive but later also having to deal with their affairs.

Mention missing persons and one of the first names to come to mind is that of Lord Lucan, who mysteriously disappeared in 1974 never to be seen again. A more recent case involved Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards whose body was also never found.

Prior to the Presumption of Death Act 2013, people found it virtually impossible to access to bank accounts, obtain a death certificate or take control of property, assets or titles if someone went missing.

In the case of the Manic Street Preachers guitarist, it took the family 13 years to even register the death. Of course it can’t always be assumed that a person is dead simply because they have gone missing for a few years. There are cases where people come back but since the Presumption of Death act came into force, it at least makes it less stressful for relatives who want to move on in life.

At the time the Act was introduced in 2013, Former Justice Minister, Helen Grant MP said, “The certificate of presumed death that we are introducing is a significant step forward for families who face the terrible situation of losing a loved one and creates a simpler legal framework to ensure bereaved people can better deal with the property and affairs of a loved one who has gone missing and is presumed dead.” Former Justice Minister, Helen Grant MP, March 2013.

If you are affected by any issues relating to the above and require legal assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly legal team who can advise you.

Rising Cohabitation Increases Need For Legal Protection

According to the latest statistics released by ONS, the number of cohabiting couples has risen rapidly in the UK. This has raised concerns about the lack of legal protection for couples if a partner decides they want to separate.

The rise in cohabitation puts pressure on the government to act and provide some kind of safety net for families who don’t enjoy the same protection as married couples. The latter still makes up the majority of families in the UK even though cohabiting couples currently account for 17% overall.

The number of couples cohabiting reached 3.2 million in 2015. This raises a number of issues for a society that has placed great importance on marriage as a means to bond families together.

Unlike married couples, a partner living as part of a cohabiting couple can simply get up and walk away without having to take any responsibility for the welfare of a former partner.

This can have a particularly bad effect on any children the couple may have as one partner can be left struggling to bring up children alone. If the current trend continues, then new laws will need to be introduced to keep pace with how society is developing.

Court of Appeal upholds judgment summons in respect of non-payment of maintenance arrears – Prest v Prest to return to Supreme Court

The Court of Appeal in Prest v Prest [2015] upheld a judgment summons in respect of non-payment of maintenance arrears. The former couple had 4 children, were married for 15 years and separated in 2008. The final order made at the end of financial remedy proceedings provided for the husband to pay a lump sum to the wife of £17.5m (by way of property transfer) and pending this lump sum to pay periodical payments to the wife at the rate of 2% per annum on the amount outstanding in relation to the lump sum.

The wife made an application for judgment summons alleging non-payment of arrears and Mr Justice Moylan granted a judgment summons and imposed a penalty of 4 weeks imprisonment but suspended that sentence provided the husband paid the arrears due within 3 months. The Husband appealed this decision and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision. As part of the appeal the husband asserted that the judge’s refusal to adjourn and investigate the husband’s ill health denied him a fair trial however the Court of Appeal found that the judge approached the matter properly. The Court of Appeal also rejected the argument that the husband’s application to vary the order remained outstanding therefore a judgment summons application could not proceed. The Court of Appeal also found that a 4 week prison sentence was not excessive considering the arrears due totalled £320,000.

Mrs Prest’s solicitors have said that the decision confirms judicial findings which have been made against Mr Prest and rightly considered his persistent breaches of court orders. The solicitors for Mr Prest have indicated that their client intends to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision and take the matter to the Supreme Court.

We have a lot of experience in dealing with the enforcement of financial orders. If your former partner or their solicitor has accused you of failing to comply with the terms of a financial order, or your former partner has breached the terms of an order then we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice immediately. Our specialist team can advise on whether you or your former partner are in breach of the order and, if so, what the consequences of this may be. Consulting our specialist lawyers in our Altrincham or Manchester offices is a great first step. Please contact us on 0161 927 3118 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Lund Bennett Law to Assist Law Students

Lund Bennett Law is to take on a new project from January next year. The firm will be assisting law students of BPP, in both Manchester and Leeds, in their pro bono scheme. BPP runs a legal advice clinic where members of the public can seek legal advice from students which is verified by a practising solicitor.

Lund Bennett Law see this as an opportunity to assist students in the transition from studying to law to practising law and at the same time making legal advice readily available to the public. We are very much looking forward to working with BPP and their students.