The strange things divorcing couples have rowed over

A TOP lawyer firm has revealed the most bonkers items divorcing couples have fought over – including a Henry the hoover and a doll’s house.

A recent article written by The Sun newspaper has revealed the bizarre items of property that divorcing couples have rowed over.

Pets were a running theme in disputes, with parrots, dogs and even dog clothes being contested. 

But there were also some unsurprising entries, with couples locked in a divorce battle fighting over engagement rings and family heirlooms.

Other trivial things unhappy spouses went to war over were a selection of Star Wars figurines, an antique mirror and a vintage fruit bowl. 

It is very common for some parties to become wrapped up in a dispute over items which are simply not cost proportionate to litigate over. 

With the help of legal representation from Lund Bennett, it is important to try and take a step back and look at the bigger picture, recognising the difference of an item’s value against its worth.

Legal advice: The right steps to take when a relationship ends

More often than not, the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship is a traumatic experience. Not only is there emotional distress, but there may well also be serious anxieties around finances and the custody of children.

Following the good legal advice of a reputable family solicitor like Lund Bennett and understanding your rights could, however, go some way towards easing the process.

At what stage during a relationship breakdown should you take legal advice? 

Normally the earlier the better. If you are thinking about leaving your partner or your partner has left you, it is best to get advice from a solicitor specialising in family law as soon as possible to see what your options are.

Why is it so vital to take steps sooner rather than later?

Once the relationship has broken down the family assets need to be divided up. By doing this early on you can ensure there is a fair distribution. It will also help you to move on with your new life once everything has been decided.

How is custody of children determined?

The primary concern is always the best interest of the child – this will always be first and foremost in any arrangement. Depending on the child’s age, however, his or her wishes may well also be taken in to account.

Do entitlements differ depending on whether or not you are actually married?

Yes. Unfortunately, if you are not married you won’t have the same rights as a married couple. In this situation it is therefore even more important to seek legal advice early on in a breakdown.

Missing persons, guardianship and the presumption of death

Looking for a missing person

A missing person may be reported to the police. In addition, a number of organisations offer assistance in searching for a missing person.

Guardianship

A person going missing may give rise to a range of difficult financial consequences, as well as emotional and personal problems.

The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 came fully into force on 31 July 2019. It creates a new legal status of guardian of the affairs of a missing person, enabling someone to act in the best interests of a person who has been missing (generally) for 90 days or more. Applications for guardianship must be made to the High Court and, once appointed, guardians are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Presumption of death 

The Presumption of Death Act 2013 came fully into force on 1 October 2014.

This Act enables an application to be made to the High Court for a declaration that a missing person, who is thought to have died or who has not been known to be alive for at least seven years, is presumed dead. Once it can no longer be the subject of an appeal, a declaration is conclusive as to the presumed death and effective for all purposes and against all persons. The missing person’s property passes to others and his or her marriage or civil partnership is ended.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate legislation governing the presumption of death.

KIRSTEN BENNETT HAS VAST EXPERIENCE WORKING IN THIS AREA AND REGULARLY ACTS FOR FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND.

For more information please visit our website here

The Family Court and COVID-19

An article from Family Law has suggested that The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published a document entitled ‘The Road Ahead’, aimed at establishing a framework for the Family Court in England and Wales by attempting to chart the road ahead over the next six months or more.

In the early weeks of the COVID crisis most contested fact-finding or final welfare hearings were adjourned (unless they could proceed, for example, with minimal oral evidence). It was no doubt hoped by many that normal working would resume relatively soon and the delay in resolving the contested issues would not be great. It now seems sensible to assume that social distancing restrictions will remain in place for many months and that it is unlikely that anything approaching a return to the normal court working environment will be achieved before the end of 2020 or even the spring of 2021.

Lund Bennett offer a range of services and are Family Law Specialists. If you require our assistance or expertise, please call us today on 0161 924 0079.

Your finances and divorce

The family home, businesses, pensions, trusts, international issues…divorce finances can be daunting. By looking beyond the legal and taking a commercial, practical and creative approach, we make the complex understandable.

When you’re facing a divorce, you need to know where you stand financially. You may be concerned about your immediate financial security or responsibilities, unclear on how to approach dividing up the family’s assets or worried about what kind of financial settlement you might end up with to support you and your children

Whether we’re negotiating on your behalf, representing you in court, facilitating discussions with your partner in mediation or collaborative meetings, or preparing a pre-nuptial agreement, we are adept at answering the most challenging legal questions.

In considering a suitable settlement a variety of factors need to be considered including:

  • The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would, in the opinion of the Court, be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
  • The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the Court, be inequitable to disregard it;
  • In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring (e.g. a right to your husband’s pensions).
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
  • The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the Court, be inequitable to disregard it;
  • In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring (e.g. a right to your husband’s pensions).

 Call our team today on 0161 924 0079 to arrange your first appointment.

Revealed: A surge in Domestic Violence during COVID-19 Pandemic

A report by the Guardian has revealed shocking statistics revealed that domestic violence has surged since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, as the home secretary, Priti Patel, insisted that help for all victims of abuse was available.

The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25% more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Data from around the world suggest that the introduction of lockdowns has led to a rise in domestic abuse, with victims unable to avoid perpetrators.

For a minority of financially blessed and happy families, lockdown might seem almost holiday. For most, however, it has unleashed profound stress due to economic pressures, bereavement, sickness — and the unfamiliar experience of being cooped up in small spaces, in many cases juggling kids and, if you are lucky enough, jobs.

For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:

  • Police : 999 press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak
  • Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline : 0808 2000 247

Your Child Arrangements during Coronavirus

During this uncertain time as family lawyers we are receiving a significant number of enquiries from separated parents about how and whether they should continue with arrangements in light of the spread of coronavirus, school closures and further government advice.

It is very important that we continue to follow government guidelines. If you are not aware of the current Government Advice we have covered this below:

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, appeared on both Good Morning Britain and BBC Breakfast News on 24 March 2020. In his initial interview he indicated that all children should remain with the parent in whose care they currently are. In his second interview he both apologised for his lack of clarity in the earlier interview and helpfully clarified the government’s advice which is that all children of separated parents under the age of 18 should continue to see both of their parents.

The clear government advice is welcome news for separated parents and means in general that:

  • If there is a Court Order in place that defines the time children spend with each of their parents this should continue; and
  • If there is no Court Order in place then the normal arrangements should continue.

Everyone at Lund Bennet appreciate that each case will be very different and every family will have their own particular set of circumstance they have to contend with. We would encourage all separated parents/families to discuss matters openly and honestly and agree with a plan which works best for the children. If unfortunately, you’re a parent who is being refused time with their child and are unsure if this is reasonable, or if you’re a parent who doesn’t know whether to allow their child to visit their other parent’s home, you may need some legal advice at this time. We can offer telephone appointments with our experienced solicitors who can provide practical and sensible guidance at this difficult time. Contact us to book a telephone consultation today.

Coronavirus is very likely to cause a spike in divorce rates in the United Kingdom

With the whole country now into it’s third week of lock down it is likely there are thousands of married couples now self-isolating which could potentially end in divorce.

Typically the peak times for people divorcing are after long periods of exposure together over the summer holidays and Christmas period.

Lady Shackleton told peers at Westminster that often when couples face serious and stressful situations it can lead some to re-evaluate their lives and what is important to them.

Ahead of the United Kingdom in the divorce increase is China. After ‘couples spending too much time together’ China has seen over 300 couples applying for divorces in the last three weeks. One city has introduced a limit to allow no more than 10 couples to divorce per day.

A 2018 study found couples who lived together before marriage had lower divorce rates in the first year, compared to couples who didn’t. But higher divorce rates appeared after people living with their spouses for five years or longer. 

Adultery is decreasing

It is encouraging to note that fewer couples are now citing adultery as grounds for divorce, as shown by the recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. Adultery was cited in 9,205 divorces in 2018, down from 20,765 in 2008 and 36,310 in 1998.

It is encouraging because adultery petitions are often filed when there is a heightened level of animosity between the parties and make it more difficult for the parties to progress the divorce, and their related financial matters, amicably.

We are, of course, all waiting for the Government to change the law so that parties can obtain a ‘no fault’ divorce.  This will save parties from the upsetting process of having to place blame on each other just to progress their divorce, even when not doing so would be their preference, reducing conflict so that the parties can move forward as amicably as possible.

Experienced and understanding lawyers, contact Lund Bennett’s team of family lawyers have the empathy and the expertise you need. Call us now on 0161 927 3118 or contact us online today and we will call you.

Emotions and Divorce

Separating/divorcing – and the legal process of doing so – is one thing, but the practicalities of divorce go hand-in-hand with an emotional transition.

If proper attention isn’t paid to the emotional and mental side of divorce it can lead to a significant impact personally and any family who might be impacted by the decision – particularly children. 

There is no doubt that a life changing decision like separation can be very traumatic. The process will require important decisions to be made at a time when stress and hurt-feelings can cloud judgement, resulting in choices that might later be regretted. A decision made in a moment of anger, in the spur of the moment can mean a significant long-term loss – financially, in relationships with others and in future life prospects. 

It is the job of family lawyers to provide sound advice and take you through the legal process, but to also understand and work with the inevitable emotional stress. Without this expertise, achieving a positive result is far less likely.

The early stages of a divorce will bring significant anxiety, leading to disbelief, confusion, a feeling of helplessness, a sense of insecurity and – ultimately – loss of control. This is not a good time to be making decisions about your future and a good lawyer will recognise this.  You are unlikely to have to make urgent decisions about your future at this stage. It’s our job to give you clear information, emotional support and for you to get an understanding of the situation you are in.

Feelings of guilt are also common. Many clients will assume that they have done something wrong and start to blame themselves. Again, for anybody experiencing these feelings, it is not a good time to be making important decisions. 

While these feelings can seem to be all-consuming, experience has shown that – in the vast majority of cases – they are only temporary and do pass as the divorce process unfolds. Reaching a feeling of calm will make planning for the future easier and allow you to think about life after the divorce. This will also lead acceptance that, while things will inevitably be different, it doesn’t necessarily mean a change for the worse.

An experienced family lawyer will be able to help you through the emotional journey divorce can bring as well as introducing you to professionals who can provide extra support, should you need it. From that point, the process of evaluating, planning and executing the best legal support for you is a much easier, more effective process.

Lund Bennett Family Law Specialists offer a wide range of family law related services. Call us today and we can help.

0161 927 3118