Tag: Matrimonial Property Rules

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.

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.

Divorce Rates on the Rise for Silver Splitters

Despite latest statistics showing an overall fall in divorce rates to levels not seen since the 70s, divorce rates have actually gone up among those who would have been little more than teenagers back then.   

Middle aged divorcees have been labelled silver splitters in the newspapers who have pointed at the latest statistics as evidence that people are more likely to seek a new life without their partners when kids have left home and some couples are forced to look more closely at their relationship. Unfortunately, the statistics show the verdict is often that there is nothing left to keep a marriage together.  

The official verdict from the ONS for the rise in divorce rates in the 50s and 60s age group is that people can look forward to living longer and getting married again in later life if they feel a marriage has run its course.  

While a new life can seem like an appealing prospect, divorcing in middle age can be more difficult than it is for young people. Finances are often interlinked with joint accounts, pensions, houses and other assets often shared between married couples. Then there is the question of wills.  

Divorces must be carefully planned, therefore, to avoid at least some of the disputes that may arise as the process gets underway.

Getting A Divorce If You Have Children

One of the biggest concerns for parents contemplating a divorce is what will happen will happen to their children. From who gets custody to maintenance payments, the whole process of coming to an agreement can be difficult for both parties.  

If you are in this position then one thing you will be relieved to hear is that children are not included in the divorce case itself. Matter concerning the children are treated separately nowadays and cases are often quite straightforward. 

In some cases divorced parents can resolve what happens with the children themselves without having to go through lengthy court battles of the kind you might have seen on tv or in the movies. Arrangements for the children are now made via family courts under what is called a child arrangements order while housing and maintenance payments are dealt with again separately as part of financial relief proceedings.  

Even before any of these cases are brought before the courts there will be a mediation process to try to resolve any outstanding issues before going to court.  Family based arrangements can be made between ex partners to sort out child maintenance without the involvement of third parties which is often far less stressful than having to involve others.  

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.  

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.   

Strict Penalties Now Being Imposed For Divorce Settlement Breaches

One 83-year-old man recently found out the hard way that breaching a divorce settlement can result in a jail sentence rather than a financial penalty which has often been applied to such cases in the past.  

The man from Bristol was a multimillionaire who had reached a divorce settlement totalling more the 3 million with his ex-wife. The sum was awarded following a disputed divorce case which had  continued for more than seven years and involved several court appearances in that time to reach settlements on a number of issues. 

The length of the case may well have been an aggravating factor which led to a prison sentence being imposed when it was found that the individual had breached the divorce settlement. Even so, the case should serve as a further warning that judges are prepared to impose more severe sentences following similar outcomes in other divorce cases involving breaches of settlements.  

Sentences imposed recently have totalled six months in prison which can far outweigh any financial gain from attempting to delay and avoid paying settlements.  

If you are concerned about financial settlements in divorce and your rights to fair treatment in a divorce case, contact us today.  

Latest ONS Marriage Figures Reveal Ticking Time Bomb

Marriages between opposite sex couples continue to decline according to the latest figures released by the ONS leading to calls for legal reform as more and more couples appear to be choosing to cohabit rather than tie the knot.  

The report covers marriages in England and Wales that took place in 2015 which also happened to be the first year marriages were also recorded for same sex couples. According to the ONS, the report is the latest in a steady decline in the number of opposite sex marriages which has been taking place since the 1970s. On current evidence the trend is unlikely to be reversing with the number of marriages down 3.4% on the year before.  

These figures have raised concerns among experts that co-habiting couples are mistakenly believing they will have the same rights as married couples if they break up. This belief has been cultivated by the myth of common law marriage where people believe that they have the same entitlements to a share of assets when this is not the case.  

The only way to protect rights in these cases is to have a formal cohabitation agreement in place which outlines entitlements in the event of the relationship breaking down. There are also calls to make changes to marriage so that it better meets the needs of today’s couples.  

Recent study reveals many ‘unhappy’ couples stay together in order to secure home ownership

A recent study produced by L&C Mortgages has revealed that some 1.8million adults in the UK have primarily stayed or would stay in a relationship in order to get on to the property ladder.

They found that 1.8million people had stayed with a partner in order to pay for the mortgage or a deposit. On average, 44% of the 1.8million remained in their relationship for at least a year longer than they would have if there were no financial consideration and a further 15% stayed for more than two years and 40% said they were still with their partner now.

David Hollingworth from L&C Mortgages said the results of the study were ‘indicative of the struggle people face when buying their first home’ and that it ‘isn’t right that people are sacrificing their emotional wellbeing in order to focus on financial stability’.

If you are considering purchasing a property with your partner it is important to think clearly when it comes to such an important financial decision. Once the deposit has been paid and a mortgage entered into, what happens to the family home upon separation may be more complicated if you have never married.

If you are buying a house with your current partner, make sure that you have a Cohabitation Agreement in place so that both of you are very clear about who walks away with what in terms of ownership. To speak with one of our specialist Family Law solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement  please call 0161 927 3118.

Changes to existing matrimonial law being considered by the House of Lords

The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords last week. The Bill is a Private Members Bill introduced by Baroness Deech (Crossbench) and proposes to replace section 25 (2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Setting out the proposals to the Bill, Baroness Deech explained:

‘The purpose of this Bill is to reform the law relating to the splitting of assets on divorce.  The current law is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 25, which has not been thoroughly debated by Parliament for 40 years despite radical changes in society and families, and which has been the subject of calls for reform from the Law Commission, Resolution and the Centre for Social Justice. Reform is urgent because the law is uncertain. It is largely judge-made law, which bears little resemblance to the statute. Judicial discretion has led to unpredictability and conflicting decisions, which make it hard for parties to negotiate and lead to disproportionate costs. Legal aid has been removed and parties of modest means are left unrepresented with little guidance as to the right outcome. The Bill would implement provisions very similar to those of Scottish law, and the laws of most European and North American states. It would introduce as a fair starting point the equal division of all the property and pensions acquired by the couple after marriage; provision for short term maintenance; flexibility to allow the home to be retained for the carer and children; and binding prenuptial agreements. This is intended to facilitate mediation, reduce litigation and costs, and recognise equal partnership in marriage.’

The Bill is a long way off becoming law and may not even make it onto the statute books at all.

If you need to speak to a specialist family lawyer call us on 0161 927 3118.