Category: Matrimonial Law

What is a quickie divorce?

Anyone that reads celebrity news will have come across the term “quickie divorce” at some point over the years.

If you’ve read about Ant McPartlin, Cheryl Cole, Rowan Atkinson, or Louise Redknapp’s divorces, then you may be under the impression that they received special celebrity treatment, a divorce in just a matter of seconds!

These media reports about so called “quickie divorces” are actually very misleading, as all divorces go through the same process, no matter what your celebrity status.

So, what are the media actually referring to when they say that Cheryl Cole received “Britain’s fastest ever quickie divorce”, and was divorced in just 14 seconds?

The part of the divorce process that is being referred to here is how long it took the judge to read out the pronouncement of the first decree.

Once a couple receive the first decree, this does not mean that their divorce is complete, it is simply confirmation from the court that they agree there are grounds for a divorce.

The divorce will not be finalised until the decree absolute has been granted, and unless there are exceptional circumstances the couple must then wait a minimum of six weeks and one day before applying for the decree absolute.

Exceptional circumstances are considered on a case by case basis. The most common reasons for a decree absolute to be expedited is if one person is dying and wishes to divorce before they pass away, or if one party has moved onto a new relationship, is pregnant, and wishes to remarry before the baby is born. Celebrity status certainly doesn’t play a part!
Generally, all divorces in the UK take between 6 and 12 months to complete. If financial matters take a long time to resolve, then the process can take even longer.

For help or advice with filing for a divorce quickly and efficiently, give our team of solicitors here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

New study shows that 7.6 Million Parents Stay Together Because Of Their Kids

A new study has indicated that over a fifth of parents have stayed in a relationship for longer than they wanted to for the sake of their children.

On average, parents stayed together an additional five and a half years because of their children, when they would have otherwise split up.

Also, parents are staying in relationships for over half a decade longer than they would have if it wasn’t for their children.

Interestingly, the study, which was commissioned by Direct Line Insurance, also demonstrated a division between men and women on their reasons for staying together. The main reason for men is because they believe it is better for children to have two parents living at home (46 per cent), while for women it is because they cannot afford to separate with the other parent (31 per cent). This highlights the financial challenges many families, and especially women, can face when splitting up as the previous combined household income then needs to stretch across two properties and often cover additional childcare costs too.

There is a clear generational difference, with parents now over the age of 55 believing they stayed in a relationship for nearly seven years longer due to their kids, compared to just over three years for parents currently under the age of 35. It shows how attitudes are changing towards break-ups and relationships where children are involved.

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

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.

What is mediation?

When a dispute cannot be resolved, mediation can be used to help all parties involved to communicate effectively and reach an agreement.
Mediation is a process whereby a professional third-party mediator sits down with all parties involved in a dispute and helps them to discuss issues constructively to reach an agreement amicably without involving the courts.

Most of the time neither party really wants the dispute to go to court, as it can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Instead, mediation can be used to successfully resolve most non-criminal disputes, including those between family members, neighbours, business partners, landlords and tenants.

Mediation is most commonly used to resolve conflict that arises after a divorce or the dissolving of a civil partnership. Mediation is very useful for helping couples going through a separation to come to an agreement about living arrangements for children, child maintenance, and other financial issues.

Benefits of mediation
Better control over outcome – When a dispute goes to litigation, the courts make the final decision on the outcome. Mediation allows you the opportunity to work together to come to your own decisions.

Confidential – Going to court can potentially become a very public process. Mediation goes on behind closed doors and is entirely confidential.

Informal – Taking a dispute to court is a lengthy, formal and intimidating process. Mediation sessions are informal and usually take place in a neutral venue of your choice.

Cheaper – Mediation is generally a much faster and cheaper process than litigation. Whilst mediation will usually cost just one fixed price, the price of taking a dispute to court can be very unpredictable and easily run into the thousands of pounds.

Less damaging to relationships – Going to court can be a stressful process fraught with conflict which can ruin relationships. Mediation focuses on helping parties to communicate calmly and effectively to repair and sometimes even rebuild relationships to reach an amicable agreement.

To find out more about the mediation services provided by our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett, give us a call 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.

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.

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.

What Is a Stay At Home Parent Entitled to In A Divorce?

Divorce is a major step for any couple to undertake and there are circumstances where a parent might be left at a significant financial disadvantage. This is particularly tru if for example you happen to be a stay at home mum with no regular income.   

Fortunately, this is the 21st century and there is no reason to remain in an unhappy marriage due to the fear of being left destitute. You will find that courts have plenty of power to ensure that where necessary your needs will be met through ongoing maintenance not just for the children but also for you personally depending on your circumstances.  

Child maintenance and spousal maintenance are the main sources of help but you can even apply for interim spousal maintenance prior to a final order if you are likely to suffer significant hardship.  Beyond that and following divorce, you could as a stay at home parent be entitled to spousal maintenance until your children have completed their secondary education and there are cases where orders can be indefinite.  

Unfortunately, you will need to make a clear case for spousal and child maintenance and awards can vary depending on your former spouse’s ability to pay, It is important therefore to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to achieve the best outcome.

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.