Category: Marriage

What does the New Year mean for your relationship?

Now the decorations have come down and people have recovered from the Christmas festivities is the time that families reflect on what they want to achieve from the year ahead.

Sadly, for many this means a decision to separate from a marriage or a partnership. A New Year, and for 2020 a new decade, can have a strange effect on people and give them a boost to make and implement life changing decisions.

These should never be taken likely and it is always upsetting when a relationship breaks down, particularly when children are involved.

In 2019, there were hopes that there would be widespread reform of the divorce system within England and Wales. Due to complications around Brexit and the snap General Election, these proposals were put on hold and their future remains uncertain. Those hoping to initiate proceedings under a ‘no fault’ divorce will have to use the grounds under the current system, which are: Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour, Desertion – 2 continuous years, 2 years separation with consent and 5 years separation – no consent required.

There is however an exciting shake up to the laws surrounding relationships in 2020 for heterosexual couples. For the first time they will have with the ability to choose whether to enter into a marriage or a civil partnership, which has previously only been available to same-sex couples. It will be interesting to see how many take advantage of this option throughout the year.

Maybe people we advise feel a sense of loss or embarrassment over the breakdown of their relationship. Our approach is to listen to our clients and provide non-judgmental and pragmatic support and guidance during an initial consultation and throughout the process.

If you have a family law query, then please contact our team at Lund Bennett Law LLP on 0161 924 0079.

Why do divorce rates increase after Christmas?

January is the most popular time of year for starting divorce proceedings, so what is it about Christmas that pushes so many couples to breaking point?

January 7th is dubbed ‘divorce day’ in the UK, as many couples take the first step towards accepting that their relationship isn’t working by seeking advice about getting a divorce.

But what is it about Christmas and the new year that pushes so many couples over the edge?

Stress and pressure of the festive season
For many people, Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time of the year. With lots of events to attend, guests to entertain, meals to plan and gifts to buy, it’s easy to get stressed out by all the planning and preparation and forget to spend time together.

Failing to communicate or compromise effectively can also cause major clashes over Christmas plans and finances.

Time spent with in-laws
Christmas can mean spending more time with family and in-laws than usual which can cause tensions to run high. Existing tensions with in-laws can come to a head, causing arguments and testing loyalties between couples.

Alcohol
Any existing problems in the relationship can be amplified when under the influence of alcohol. With alcohol flowing more freely over the festive period, many couples find themselves having more frequent and explosive disagreements over Christmas.

Putting on a brave face for Christmas
Many struggling couples, particularly those with children, grin and bear it over the festive period so as not to upset anyone.

New year, new start

The new year marks new beginnings, and many people use it as a time to make big changes in their lives for the year ahead. For some couples this may mean admitting that their relationship isn’t working and it’s time to part ways.

For help or advice with divorce law this Christmas or new year, give our team of family law solicitors a call on 0161 927 3118.

Tips for managing Christmas arrangements when you’re a divorced or separated parent

If you’re divorced or separated with kids, your Christmas arrangements may look a little different to the ‘traditional’ family’s.

Deciding who the kids will spend time with over the Christmas period can create a lot of tension and stress if not managed carefully.

Striking a fair and harmonious agreement about Christmas arrangements often means letting go of your image of the ‘perfect Christmas’ and making new traditions instead.

We’ve put together some tips and advice for keeping Christmas arrangements as amiable and stress-free as possible.

Make plans in advance

Making plans for Christmas well in advance of December will help to avoid disappointment and extra stress during the busy festive period. It is also in the children’s best interests to know what to expect at Christmas.

Have a ‘fake Christmas

Don’t hang all your hopes and dreams on Christmas day. Remember, it’s just a day and you can still do everything you want to do on an alternative day instead. If you’re feeling disappointed that you won’t experience the magic of Christmas eve or Christmas Day dinner with the kids this year, try recreating the events on another day when you’re all together, chances are the kids won’t object to spreading out Christmas and doing it all over again!

Prioritise the children
Remember, it’s not easy for children either and their preferences and feelings should always be the priority in your arrangements.

Make new traditions
Accept that Christmas will be different as a divorced or separated parent and embrace the change. Whilst it may be possible to continue some of your old traditions, don’t be afraid to get creative making new Christmas traditions with your children.

Keep it harmonious
No matter what form your Christmas is going to take this year, try to focus on enjoying the time you have together with your children rather than letting any disputes or bitter feelings take hold of the festive period. Try to stay positive about Christmas arrangements in front of your children to save them from getting mixed up in any disputes.

For help with divorce law, separation law or children law, get in touch with our team of family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

Who decides where a child lives after their parents separate?

Any separation can be difficult, but one that involves children can be particularly challenging and emotional.

The biggest decision that couples with children will need to make if they separate, is the children’s living arrangements.

Where possible, it is always easiest and less stressful for everyone involved if the family can come to an amiable agreement together.

However, this is not always possible. In instances where parents do not agree on where a child should live, they may need to seek help from one or more of the following:
•A solicitor specialising in family law.
•Mediation.
•The Family Court.

No matter which route you take to help decide the best living arrangements for your children, the welfare of the children is always considered first and foremost.

Family law solicitor
A family law solicitor will be able to advise you on all avenues open to you and provide you with sound legal advice and guidance.

Mediation
Mediation is a process guided by a trained, impartial, third-party that allows the two parties to have a constructive discussion and hopefully negotiate an outcome that all parties are happy with.

The Family Court
If an agreement still cannot be reached, then it may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for one or more orders to be made. A child arrangement order will decide who the child will live with, who they will spend time with, and when. In some cases, it may also be relevant for the court to issue a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

Lund Bennett are family law specialists based in Altrincham and Manchester. For legal help and guidance regarding disputes about child living arrangements, mediation services, or help applying for a court order, get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

Is It Worth Getting Married These Days?

Marriage is being brought into question more than ever these days and for some couples, simply living together is preferable. Some people view marriage as a huge expense just for a piece if paper. They me even live together for decades and have children in the process. So, is entering into a marriage or civil partnership worth it?  

The short answer from a legal perspective is yes if you want to protect areas such as inheritance and save on huge tax bills either for those left behind when you die or a partner die. While this is not an article designed to promote marriage, indeed for some couples it can be preferable not to pass on their assets to a partner when they die, let’s highlight how being married can save a number of legal headaches.  

Perhaps the biggest consideration for mature unmarried couples is the will. If your partner dies you won’t inherit anything and the best you can hope for is some provision towards living costs. If you had children together inheritance will pass to them. If there are no children then your partners family members will be next in line to inherit as part of Intestacy Rules.  

The next potential issue is inheritance tax. Couples who marry will and leave everything to their spouse will have ensured no inheritance tax is due on the estate. The opposite is true for unmarried couples where IHT can take away a significant chunk of the inheritance.  

These potential outcomes are avoided if a couple decides to marry and there have been some high-profile cases where a person has decided to marry just before death for this very reason.

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.

Will I Have the Right To Remain In The UK Following Divorce?

The right to remain in the UK if you are a foreign national is becoming an increasingly hot topic even for EU citizens with Brexit looming on the horizon. So, what happens to your right to remain if your relationship with a British citizen ends in divorce?    

While divorce itself is far from an easy process, foreign nationals will have the additional process of trying to remain in the country following the split. This can often bring home the disappointing reality that the right to remain in the UK depended on the person who is now an ex-partner.  

Fortunately for EU citizens there may be a right to remain if they have been married and have lived in the UK for five or more years. For those outside the EU the process is not going to be quite so straightforward.  

Whatever the circumstances, you should seek legal advice and make the home office aware if you are at all unsure of your status post-divorce. This may help your case if you want to remain in the UK or apply for one of the various visas that can buy you time while you consider your options.  

Student visas, work visas and family visas are just some of the possible ways to remain in the UK with varying timeframes applying to each.

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 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.