Tag: Lund Bennett

What are the risks of using a DIY legal document?

It is cheap and easy to purchase DIY kits for producing legal documents, but they don’t come without risk.

Whilst it may appear to be quick and simple to fill out a do-it-yourself template for a legal document, can you really be confident that it is valid and will achieve the desired outcome?

Just some of the dangers of using a DIY legal document include:

  • Document is invalid.
  • Template is outdated.
  • Errors mean it results in a different outcome than desired.
  • Errors incur a penalty.
  • Distress for you and your family if the desired outcome is not achieved.

When it comes to legal documents, just one small mistake or miswording could invalidate or completely change the meaning of the document.

The law is intricate and complex, and precision and accuracy are key. Sometimes, in the simplest of cases, a generic template may suffice, but often a more bespoke approach is required.

Legal documents can have long-lasting effects for you and your family and are not something that we’d advise trying to take shortcuts with.

Saving money on the cost of your legal document could well turn out to be false economy if a mistake then incurs penalties or you are required to start again due to an error.

Advantages of using the services of a specialist solicitor

Having your legal documents created by a specialist solicitor will save you time and stress as well as offering you peace of mind that they are free of errors, valid, and will achieve your desired outcome.

Your solicitor will also be able to offer you bespoke advice and guidance tailored to your individual needs, advising you on additional areas that you may wish to consider.

At Lund Bennett our team of specialist solicitors can create professional legal documents for every aspect of family law, from cohabitation agreements to separation agreements. Give our team a call on 0161 927 3118 to discuss your requirements.

Do I need consent from my ex to change our child’s name?

If a parent wishes to change their child’s surname, they should first seek the consent of any other person with parental responsibility.

There are several reasons why a parent may wish to change their child’s name after a separation or divorce. If the parents were married, then it is quite common for one party to revert to their maiden name. Similarly, if one person remarries, they may wish for the child to take their new family name.

Whatever the reason for the name change, everyone with parental responsibility should consent to the change in writing before it can be changed.

When there is consent

If all parties with parental responsibility are happy with the proposed name change then the change can be made via deed poll. If the child in question is aged between 16 and 18 then they too must sign the deed poll to consent to the change of name.

When there isn’t consent

If your ex disagrees with the name change and you cannot get their consent, then you will need to apply for a Specific Issue Order to change the child’s name.

The court will then decide whether the name change is in the best interests of the child. A few factors that will influence their decision includes the length of time the child has had their existing name, the reasons for the change, the effect changing or not changing their name could have on the child, and the child’s wishes.

Specific Issue Orders can also be requested by the opposing parent in order to prevent the name change.

Requesting a Specific Issue Order

If you require a Specific Issue Order to either apply to change your child’s name or prevent it being changed, get in touch with our team of specialist family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

When should a Prohibited Steps Order be used?

A Prohibited Steps Order can prevent one parent from making a significant change to a child’s life or upbringing that the other parent disagrees with.

When two or more people share parental responsibility of a child, it’s unlikely that their ideas about what’s best for the child will always align.

In most cases, it is possible to come to an amicable agreement, however in instances where an agreement can’t be reached, a Prohibited Steps Order may be applied for by the opposing person.

Applications for a Prohibited Steps Order can be made to the court, and if successful, they prevent a parent or guardian from performing an activity with the child.

What could warrant a Prohibited Steps Order?

When applying for a Prohibited Steps Order it’s important to remember that the child’s welfare will always be the key consideration in the court’s decision-making process.

Examples of the type of activity or decisions that may warrant a Prohibited Steps Order include if a parent or guardian wants to:

  • Move abroad with child.
  • Change the child’s school.
  • Change the child’s surname.
  • Allow child to have a medical treatment or operation.
  • Give the child a religious education.

When can a Prohibited Steps Order be used?

Prohibited Steps Orders are not restricted to parents, they can be made by anyone with parental responsibility, including guardians and those with a Residence Order in relation to the child.

However, you cannot apply for a Prohibited Steps Order when the child in question is in the care of a Local Authority or aged 16 or older.

For more help and advice with applying for a Prohibited Steps Order, please speak to one of our specialist solicitors here at Lund Bennett by giving us a call on 0161 927 3118.

What is included in a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protection as married couples, but a cohabitation agreement can offer some protection.

A cohabitation agreement allows couples living together to agree their financial commitments and obligations to each other, to avoid disputes later down the line.

With more people than ever now choosing to cohabit, the lack of legal protection for cohabiting couples can make breakups fraught and messy.

To avoid stressful disputes, many cohabiting couples are now choosing to create a legal cohabitation agreement, to iron out the details about what would happen in the event of a relationship breakdown.

A cohabitation agreement gives couples the opportunity to discuss who owns what, how property and assets should be split, and how children will be supported, should they decide to part ways in the future.

Creating an agreement in advance usually results in fair and realistic decisions being made, which isn’t always the case in the midst of a relationship breakdown.

are a few things that you should sit down and discuss in detail before creating a cohabitation agreement.

Whilst you’re cohabiting:

  • Who owns what?
  • How will bills and living expenses be covered?

In the event of a separation:

  • How will your possessions and assets be divided?
  • How will property be divided?
  • Where would children live?
  • How will children be financially supported?
  • How would money in joint accounts be split?
  • How would overdrafts and debt be split?
  • Who owns each vehicle?

For a cohabitation to be legally binding, you will each need to be able to confirm that you have received independent legal advice and entered into the agreement voluntarily.

For help and advice with a cohabitation dispute or creating an agreement, get in touch with our team of specialists here at Lund Bennett Law 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.

Is Facebook Bad for your Marriage?

According to statistics it is. Research into reasons given for divorce in the UK show that Facebook is mentioned in 33% of divorces.  

While Facebook was originally conceived as a way for lost friends to get in touch with one another, its use has grown to the point where it has a a direct impact on the lives of those friends if used inappropriately.  

While much of what is posted in social media relates to people’s travels, family photos, food and nights out, there is sometimes a darker element to its use which can sometimes get out of hand.  

For one thing, getting in touch with lost friends can include those of the opposite sex such is the ease of tracking people down on the site. Depending on how either partner views getting back in contact with old flames, this can result in deep mistrust between partners and even divorce if behaviour is seen as unreasonable.   

News can also travel fast when it broadcast among friends and sometimes people may even use the Facebook to air their grievances about their husband or wife. Criticising a partner in front of several hundred friends can be a whole lot more damaging than doing it face to face.

Divorce and Children’s Education

Schools are an important and often overlooked area of divorce and complex issues can arise when parents don’t agree on where their child goes to school, who pays for what and who takes responsibility for picking up and dropping off at the gates.  

With many good state schools oversubscribed parents may well be concerned that their children won’t get a good education if one partner has to move to another area where schools are not of the same standard.  

There can also be disputes over who will continue to pay for a child’s education if one parent has always paid the lion’s share of fees at a fee-paying school.  

In both case the arrangements are best made through a mediation process where parents can decide what is in the best interests of the child. This can mean decisions are made over affordability, for example if one parent can’t afford to pay school fees then the other may commit to pay a share of the costs.  

This sort of arrangement may also apply to the purchase of school uniforms, equipment and school clubs throughout the school year.  

When it comes to living arrangements, then the parent that has custody of the child will be the one who decides for practicality reasons where the child should attend school if they live in a particular catchment area and the only option is a state school.  

These are just some of the issues surrounding a child’s schooling which may arise during divorce proceedings and if you need help with this or any other issues surrounding divorce, contact us today.

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.