Tag : family-law
Tag : family-law
A divorce can only be obtained if one of five specific reasons are proven. One of the reasons is adultery yet how adultery is actually defined in law can lead to a great deal of confusion, myth and misinformation which can only add to the frustration and emotional turmoil.
According to studies married men are statistically far more likely to stray than women with the former having a 50% of chance of engaging in an extra marital compared to 26% of women.
Yet what might represent a bond broken and an irretrievable breakdown of trust for the person on the receiving end of their partner’s pursuit of relations outside of marriage may not be seen as one of the same in law.
Contrary to popular belief, adultery doesn’t include all forms of sexual activity. In fact it only refers to full sexual intercourse between a man and a woman where one or both of those involved are married to other people. If the extra marital affair involves a same sex relationship then it doesn’t count.
There are also cases where lesser forms of sexual gratification are deemed insufficient to be counted as adultery. Another misconception is that sexual intercourse with another person outside of marriage doesn’t count as adultery following separation when technically it does.
If you require further advice on divorce law, please get in touch.
One of the most common questions asked about divorce is “how long will it take?”.
Deciding to go through with a divorce and end a relationship is not an easy decision for most people. Often getting divorced can not only have an impact on the couple themselves but also on family and friends. The longer that relationship has been in place the more difficult it becomes to untangle all the links and move on to a new phase in life.
Filing for divorce will in most cases mean all avenues will have been explored to save a relationship so naturally given what is at stake, one or both people in the relationship will be keen to get the process out of the way as soon as possible so that they can continue with their lives.
Unfortunately, even if a couple is in agreement on everything, there is still a fairly lengthy period of time before a divorce is finalised. The good news is, however, timeframes have fallen a little in recent years following the introduction of regional divorce centres aimed at speeding things up.
The average time taken for divorce in 2014 was 33 weeks, however this has now been reduced to between 22 and 24 weeks where both parties agree. You can expect the process to take a little longer of course, if both parties are not in agreement.
Reconciliation contracts are a relatively popular in the US but over here in the UK, they are less well known. The contract can often help a couple sort out their differences by pressing pause on a divorce, allowing time to sort out the terms of any future split if attempts at reconciliation ultimately fail.
Whether a reconciliation contract could be seen as an alternative to divorce depends on how far a married couple are away from making a final decision to divorce. To be useful for both parties there should be some chance of a reconciliation as the name of the contract suggests.
The contract can be used not only for financial agreements but also to provide an opportunity to press the reset button with commitments given to curb the behaviour that led to divorce proceedings in the first place such as adultery, or addictive behaviour.
This can bring the added benefit of allowing couples to make a fresh start and feel more secure in a relationship where they feel the partner at fault is making a genuine commitment to changing their behaviour. The reconciliation contract will make clear the consequences of any breach and the practical details of a future split will already be included, simplifying the process of divorce.
Mr. Asif Aziz, a billionaire London property developer, has claimed that he was never married to Mrs. Aziz, his ‘wife’ of 14 years, who is claiming a share of £1.1 billion in financial remedy proceedings in the High Court.
The Decree Nisi of divorce was pronounced in 2016 however Mr Aziz wishes for this decision to be reversed on the grounds that they were never actually married.
Mrs Aziz claims that a Muslim ceremony of marriage took place in Malawi in 2002 however Mr Aziz has said that this ceremony never took place and has also alleged that the marriage was based on a fake certificate which was obtained so a child they adopted could get a passport.
Even if Mr. Aziz is successful in proving that the marriage was not recognised in Malawi and therefore invalid in this country, it would dangerous for him to assume that this will mean that Mrs. Aziz will not be entitled to any financial relief.
Mr. and Mrs. Aziz’s relationship lasted 14 years and they have 4 children together. As long as Mrs. Aziz has sufficient evidence to show that they both intended to be married and lived their life as man and wife, then her financial claims against him will remain open.
If Mrs. Aziz obtains a Decree of Nullity (i.e. the marriage is annulled) then she is still entitled to ask the Court to make financial orders in the same way as if there had been a divorce.
Mr. Aziz is not the first person to try and get out of sharing his wealth on the grounds of a marriage being invalid. The most famous of all was in 1999 when Mick Jagger tried to claim that he had never been married to Jerry Hall. In the end Jagger and Hall agreed to have their marriage annulled on the basis that the marriage ceremony was not valid according to Indonesian law thus not recognised in England. Recently there has been speculation that Elle Macpherson and her husband Jeffrey Soffer’s nuptials in Fiji were legally invalid.
If you are unsure as to your legal marital status or have any questions about foreign marriages and their recognition in England, please contact a member of our team today on 0161 927 3118.
The effects of divorce on children are still the subject of a whole range of studies. Some find that the effects are present even in adulthood when children grow up into adults statistically more likely to end up divorced themselves.
This conclusion is an easy one to make. Parents are a primary influence on the behaviour of their children and they will help set the examples to follow in adulthood. If parents end up divorced or separated, then the assumption is that when their children grow into adults, they will be more likely to consider divorce themselves.
This link has indeed been well established over the years, however a recent study by the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Lund University in Sweden has found that that this link doesn’t exist for one particular group of children.
The study found that divorce rates among adopted individuals is more closely aligned with their biological parents than it is with the parents who brought them up.
This presents compelling evidence that the likelihood of divorce is linked to genetics rather than environmental impacts and the normalisation of divorce.
So the unfortunate conclusion to be drawn from the study is, that if you are considering marriage, then the chances of that marriage failing will be higher if the biological parents of your spouse kept their marriage together.
The latest Ministry of Justice figures show 13,029 new private family law applications were made between April and June 2017. In 36% of these applications neither the Applicant nor the Respondent were legally represented.
The lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cymgiedd, told the House of Commons justice committee that the rise in private law cases was ‘deeply worrying’.
Lord Thomas also quite rightly said that forcing parties to family disputes to confront each other in court without lawyers can often make matters between them even worse. The prospect of even more litigants in person in the family courts has also raised concerns that violent partners may use the courts to bully their victims.
The court is also faced with the difficult task of explaining issues to litigants in person that lawyers would routinely know about and that the Court cannot advise them what to do. Many litigants in person may do their case damage by adopting the wrong approach and making applications which are without any merit or not complying with the correct procedures.
If you are worried about going through the court process and need representation from a professional family law solicitor contact a member of our team today on 0161 927 3118.
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.
The harsh reality of a cohabitation separation hit Miss Turner hard as Judge Alan Johns QC ruled that her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Durant, had not promised to marry her and she did not have a claim for a half-share of his business. After judgment was delivered, Miss Turner fainted onto the desk in front of her and the case was adjourned while she received medical attention.
Mr. Durant and Miss Turner were in a relationship from the late 1980s to 2014 and had a child together however they never married.
Miss Turner claimed that Mr. Durant’s business was worth ‘millions’ and that he promised her a 50% share in the business. Miss Turner said that she put £200,000 life savings into buying their home and asked Mr. Durant to match that contribution however Mr. Durant said that he needed cash to grow his business and instead promised her a half share in his company.
The fact that Miss Turner could provide no documentary evidence in support of her claim meant that the judge decided that it was ‘inherently improbable’ that Mr. Durant ever made such a promise. The Judge also added that there was no imbalance between Miss Turner and Mr. Durant as he would be paying the £250,000 mortgage on their home.
This case highlights more than ever the importance of raising public awareness of the legal issues cohabiting couples face upon separation.
There is a widespread belief that a ‘common law’ marriage exists however the reality is that cohabiting couples are not afforded the same legal rights as their married counterparts when it comes to property and business ownership.
All of these uncertainties can be avoided by having a Cohabitation Agreement in place so that both you and your partner are clear about who walks away with what in the event of separation. To speak with one of our specialist Family Law solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement please call 0161 927 3118.
According to recent statistics released by law firms, there has been a significant rise in divorce rates among couples where one or both partners work shifts.
Marital issues are not the only problem linked to shift working. Studies have shown that working shifts can lead to health issues such as obesity and depression but the findings on divorce rates are new and significant considering the growing number of shift workers in the UK.
1 in 8 UK workers now work nights and the total of workers has risen by 250,000 in the past five years alone to reach more than 3 million. A US study found that among men who were married with children, the divorce rate was six times higher than those who worked days.
A study carried out in 2000 by US researchers found that among men working night shifts who had children, separation or divorce was six times more likely in the first five years of marriage than if they were working days.
One law firm claims that the proportion of divorces amongst shift workers has risen by 35% in the past three years indicating the scale of the problem.
Working shifts often disrupts family life when people spend their days catching up on sleep rather than spending time with family. Then there are issues with zero hours contracts which mean the work itself is irregular.
Extra marital relationships can also form between those who are working night shifts regularly and spending a lot of time together.
New research from Sweden has suggested that children do better in joint custody arrangements than when one or the other partner has custody.
Countless studies have been carried out on the psychological impact of divorce on children with many studies reporting the negatives of divorce. This study is unusual as it shows that in cases where parents are given joint custody, there is no difference in behaviour when compared to children coming from stable family units.
At least this is the case from the perspective of parents who were asked to fill in questionnaires about their children’s behaviour. Teachers, however, had a different view and the consensus was that youngsters from traditional families were better behaved than those from divorced families.
The ultimate finding of the study by researchers from Uppsala University, Karolinska Institute and the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Sweden -which included 3,656 children aged between three and five years old – was that children suffered less behavioural and psychological symptoms if they didn’t live with their mother or father the majority of the time.
The reason for the better behaviour of children was that parental quality was improved when parents had the opportunity to spend more time with children rather than just at the weekends.