Category: Marriage

The Rising Cost of Divorce

Taking the decision to go ahead with a divorce is not to be taken lightly with fees rising rapidly in recent years. Taking this into account, it pays to ensure you are using the right solicitors firm to represent you and that they provide value for money.  

According to a survey released by the insurance company Aviva, the average cost of a divorce increased from £1,280 to £2,679 since 2014. This doubling of the fees inevitably places an enormous burden on those who lack the funds to pay fees.  

It must also be considered that the better family law firms will ensure the best outcomes in contested cases, which means selecting the cheapest firms might end up costing more in the long run.  

Divorce cases where children are involved can often be more complex than for couples with no children and in these cases, costs have risen by 62% to an average £5,671.  

In order to pay these sorts of fees people are generally forced to either borrow money or turn to friends and family for help.  

If you are concerned about any aspects of divorce including the fees involved we would be happy to advise on how are services are competitive and aimed at achieving the best outcomes for our clients.  

What Happens To Joint Mortgages During And After Divorce

It is very common for married couples to take on a joint mortgage on their home but if a marriage ends in divorce it isn’t easy to make a clean break when the lender still expects payments to be kept up as before.  

Attempting to negotiate a way out of a joint mortgage will of course depend on individual circumstances. Also, if there are children involved, things can get even more complicated particularly if the couple relied on each other’s incomes to be able to afford a mortgage in the first place.  

Then there are cases where the partner who has custody of the children cannot afford repayments on their own when they either work part time or they care for the children full time.  In these cases the hope is that a former spouse will continue to make the mortgage payments even if they no longer live in the property.  

This however is asking a lot when that person will wish to move on with life after the marriage has ended.  

If you are the person left in a property unable to make the mortgage payments if your former partner refuses to pay their half, then you can contact your local Citizens Advice about potential benefits you may be able to receive.   

If you do have sufficient funds to cover the mortgage then you may be able to have the mortgage transferred to you as part of a clean break divorce by consent.  

Getting A Divorce If You Have Children

One of the biggest concerns for parents contemplating a divorce is what will happen will happen to their children. From who gets custody to maintenance payments, the whole process of coming to an agreement can be difficult for both parties.  

If you are in this position then one thing you will be relieved to hear is that children are not included in the divorce case itself. Matter concerning the children are treated separately nowadays and cases are often quite straightforward. 

In some cases divorced parents can resolve what happens with the children themselves without having to go through lengthy court battles of the kind you might have seen on tv or in the movies. Arrangements for the children are now made via family courts under what is called a child arrangements order while housing and maintenance payments are dealt with again separately as part of financial relief proceedings.  

Even before any of these cases are brought before the courts there will be a mediation process to try to resolve any outstanding issues before going to court.  Family based arrangements can be made between ex partners to sort out child maintenance without the involvement of third parties which is often far less stressful than having to involve others.  

Divorce – Do I Have To Go To Court?

Divorce can be stressful enough without the added worry of appearing in what can be the intimidating surroundings of a courtroom. So if you are currently considering divorcing your partner can you avoid that movie style court battle and just get it over and done with?  

The good news is, yes you can but only if the divorce is a straightforward one that remains undefended by your partner. The processes involved in ending a marriage are actually quite straightforward in most ordinary cases and are certainly nothing to be afraid of.  

You will simply need to issue a divorce petition which we work with you to complete and then it gets sent through to the court who will then send the document on to your spouse. It is then up to your spouse to either object or allow it to go through undefended. The latter is by far the most common scenario because nobody wants those legal costs to mount.   

The main issues that are likely to involve appearances in court are financial and related to custody of children. These cases can turn out to be complicated but even in these cases compromises can be reached to suit both parties.  

Strict Penalties Now Being Imposed For Divorce Settlement Breaches

One 83-year-old man recently found out the hard way that breaching a divorce settlement can result in a jail sentence rather than a financial penalty which has often been applied to such cases in the past.  

The man from Bristol was a multimillionaire who had reached a divorce settlement totalling more the 3 million with his ex-wife. The sum was awarded following a disputed divorce case which had  continued for more than seven years and involved several court appearances in that time to reach settlements on a number of issues. 

The length of the case may well have been an aggravating factor which led to a prison sentence being imposed when it was found that the individual had breached the divorce settlement. Even so, the case should serve as a further warning that judges are prepared to impose more severe sentences following similar outcomes in other divorce cases involving breaches of settlements.  

Sentences imposed recently have totalled six months in prison which can far outweigh any financial gain from attempting to delay and avoid paying settlements.  

If you are concerned about financial settlements in divorce and your rights to fair treatment in a divorce case, contact us today.  

Latest ONS Marriage Figures Reveal Ticking Time Bomb

Marriages between opposite sex couples continue to decline according to the latest figures released by the ONS leading to calls for legal reform as more and more couples appear to be choosing to cohabit rather than tie the knot.  

The report covers marriages in England and Wales that took place in 2015 which also happened to be the first year marriages were also recorded for same sex couples. According to the ONS, the report is the latest in a steady decline in the number of opposite sex marriages which has been taking place since the 1970s. On current evidence the trend is unlikely to be reversing with the number of marriages down 3.4% on the year before.  

These figures have raised concerns among experts that co-habiting couples are mistakenly believing they will have the same rights as married couples if they break up. This belief has been cultivated by the myth of common law marriage where people believe that they have the same entitlements to a share of assets when this is not the case.  

The only way to protect rights in these cases is to have a formal cohabitation agreement in place which outlines entitlements in the event of the relationship breaking down. There are also calls to make changes to marriage so that it better meets the needs of today’s couples.  

January Divorce Rates Set To Be High As Ever

Christmas is over, the New Year celebrations are now a memory and perhaps January comes as a relief to some couples who have had to maintain the appearance of a happy relationship to please family and friends. 

Unfortunately, the stress of all this can often reach the point where it becomes intolerable to face another month as a couple.  

Christmas often brings things to a head for obvious reasons. The festive season while enjoyable can be a stressful time when there are lots of things to organise and in-laws need to be catered for. If a relationship is good, these stresses can of course be brushed aside, but they will only add to the pressure on unhappy couples.  

January 8th is the date which has been dubbed ‘Divorce Day’ by family law solicitors because this is the date when the biggest spike in divorces occurs.   

The sad thing for those affected is that there is little sign that January will lose its notoriety any time soon with relationship charity Relate reporting a 24% increase in calls to their helpline in January 2017. The ONS also reported a 5% increase in divorce rates in 2016 compared to the previous year with the average marriage lasting 12 years and 42% ending in divorce.   

Now For The Pre-Nuptials?

The recent engagement of Prince Harry and the actress Meghan Markle has attracted much attention in the media. The wedding is set for the Spring when the eyes of the world will once again be on the UK.  

Alongside all the romance that goes with this occasion some will be wondering id the couple have a pre-nup in place. This is something the general public will never know even if they do get to enjoy seeing the spectacular ceremony when the day arrives. 

Pre-nups are of course common amongst the rich and famous and any couple that doesn’t have one in place before their wedding can run the risk of having to share all their assets and wealth during a divorce and in some cases even more than that.  

While it would be unthinkable that ordinary people would go to the length of a pre-nup, today the reality is different. People tend to marry later in life these days and many will have accumulated property and other assets before meeting their partner.  

It might kill the romance to be pulling out forms to sign prior to a wedding but it is the only way to protect wealth if the relationship ends in divorce in the future.   

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.

Recent study reveals many ‘unhappy’ couples stay together in order to secure home ownership

A recent study produced by L&C Mortgages has revealed that some 1.8million adults in the UK have primarily stayed or would stay in a relationship in order to get on to the property ladder.

They found that 1.8million people had stayed with a partner in order to pay for the mortgage or a deposit. On average, 44% of the 1.8million remained in their relationship for at least a year longer than they would have if there were no financial consideration and a further 15% stayed for more than two years and 40% said they were still with their partner now.

David Hollingworth from L&C Mortgages said the results of the study were ‘indicative of the struggle people face when buying their first home’ and that it ‘isn’t right that people are sacrificing their emotional wellbeing in order to focus on financial stability’.

If you are considering purchasing a property with your partner it is important to think clearly when it comes to such an important financial decision. Once the deposit has been paid and a mortgage entered into, what happens to the family home upon separation may be more complicated if you have never married.

If you are buying a house with your current partner, make sure that you have a Cohabitation Agreement in place so that both of you are very clear about who walks away with what in terms of ownership. To speak with one of our specialist Family Law solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement  please call 0161 927 3118.