Tag: 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Secretary David Gauke said: “While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples.”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Existing divorce laws are over 50 years old and have been under fire for being outdated and causing unnecessary further conflict between divorcing couples.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.

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.

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 – 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.

Divorce – Is Your Former Partner Being Secretive About Finances?

Not every couple involved in a divorce case will be faced with a spouse being secretive about their finances but there are plenty of cases where crucial information is withheld. This can be self -defeating for those who are attempting to conceal information to protect their assets and avoid having to share them with a former spouse.   

One thing is certain in the case of finances in divorce, there will need to be full and frank disclosure of finances otherwise there is the very real risk that any agreement can be challenged either during the divorce process or at a later on.  

You solicitor will provide all the necessary advice about what you need to disclose about your finances and you will be advised that it is in your interests to be fully transparent. A court will take a dim view if anything subsequently comes to light about finances that was deliberately withheld in an agreed settlement.  

Disclosure of finances is done via the completion of Form E which provides the opportunity to document all details relating to your finances. It is expected that the details contained in this document include everything that should be included with no omissions.  

Your solicitor can advise you on how to complete the form and also how to follow the correct procedures if you feel that your spouse is attempting to conceal the full details of their finances.   

Who Gets The Pet After A Divorce?

Much is written and about child custody battles following a divorce but very little is known or understood about who gets custody of pets. So whether it’s your prize Pomeranian or a common tabby cat, what is the likely outcome in your case?

For many couples the most important consideration following a divorce is who gets the dog. This is understandable when people usually devote a lot of love and care to their four-legged friends – an investment they are not prepared to give up so easily.

So it often comes as a surprise that pets are treated the same way as an inanimate object such as a car. Battle lines are often drawn when there is a dispute over who should gain possession and the outcome is then decided in court.

Cases can be complicated when it comes to deciding which party deserves to gain custody of a pet. Merely purchasing the pet might not be enough to give that person custody if a spouse is the one who spent most time caring for it.

While cases are not going to be judged anything like as strictly as in child custody cases, the welfare of an animal will be taken into account.

With co-habiting couples, a case may be decided on the basis of ownership alone, so it’s important to keep hold of receipts that prove who owns the animal.

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.

What Can I Do If My Spouse Ignores My Divorce Papers?

Deciding on getting a divorce can be a difficult first step towards moving on in life but what if your spouse decides to ignore your divorce papers?

An article which appeared in the Mail recently highlighted how Cold Play lead singer Chris Martin ignored his wife Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce papers for a full nine months. For anyone who wants to end their marriage as soon as possible a nine month wait is not something most people will be patient enough to consider.

So what are the options?
You have four options in total if you are confident that all usual attempts to contact your spouse are unsuccessful. They are as follows:

Personal service
This involves asking a court bailiff to serve the papers on your behalf. You will need to fill in a D89 form and include a recent picture and description of your spouse.

Deemed service
If you can find evidence that your spouse has responded to your papers in some way it can be used as evidence and filed at court. You will need an application notice Form D11.

Application for service by an alternative method or at an alternative place
You can serve the papers at an address where you are confident that your spouse will receive them (at their parents for example). You will need to fill in an application form D11 to use this method.

Application to dispense with service.
If all avenues are exhausted and you still cannot get a response from your spouse, then you can use an Application to Dispense with service. 2 forms are required for this, a D11 and a D13B.

What Is Divorce Mediation And How Can It Help?

Divorce mediation is a process where couples can attempt to sort out their differences outside the courtroom with the help of an independent professional.

While mediation isn’t suitable for cases where domestic violence or abuse is the reason for couples divorcing, it can provide a way to resolve disputes and possibly save money. When couples are fist informed of the opportunity for mediation in their cases, the first reaction is that it will be some sort of marriage guidance service. This is not the case in divorce mediation because the assumption is that the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

Divorce mediation is focused on the practicalities of divorce including what happens with the children, the house and finances following divorce.

To get the best out of mediation couples should be open to keeping lines of communication open and be willing to compromise on the more difficult aspects of separation. Mediation is particularly useful if you want to reduce the impact on children.

Lengthy court battles over finances, custody and assets can have a profound impact on the wellbeing of all concerned and good communication should help speed up the process of separation and divorce which will be better for all concerned.