Month: July 2014

The Face Of Modern Day Divorce

Facebook was originally a concept by young people, for young people. College students in America flocked to the social media site in their thousands, then millions. Soon, the concept of linking with friends old and new became a very appealing concept to people in their 20’s, then 30’s and now virtually every generation seems to be spending time on their computers connecting with friends and family online instead of spending time connecting with friends and family in real life. Even married couples seemingly devote less time to their relationship in favour of posting status updates online.

And that is where the problem lies. Facebook is increasingly being highlighted in many divorce proceedings because one spouse has read or seen things on the ‘wall’ of the other spouse that played a part in the breakdown of the marriage.

The obvious culprit of a social media-fuelled divorce would be photographic evidence of one party participating in adulterous affairs. At times it doesn’t even have to be photos… flirtatious messages back and forth to a third party result in jealously, suspicion and confrontation. The worst type are actually played out on social media, with each spouse hurling insults and accusations back and forth while friends and family watch in amusement/horror as the dirty laundry is very openly aired on social media.
Connecting with former flames seems to be the cause of much social media marital strife, as a husband or wife sits back and watches their spouse stroll down memory lane with an ex, reminiscing of time spent together and what might have been.

Not all marital meltdowns on social media are the result of a cheating spouse. Another phenomenon is a husband or wife reading the thoughts and feelings of their partner about various subjects on social media, and realising they actually do not particularly care for the person’s true persona. This is usually over a much longer course of time, but it has appeared in multiple divorce petitions that are filed.

In America, where this is far more common than in the UK, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers surveyed its 1,600 lawyers, who reported that 81 percent of the nation’s top divorce attorneys have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases where social media is cited as evidence of grounds for divorce.

A marriage is usually fractured before social media plays its part in the demise of a relationship, so it would be unfair to say Facebook and other social media platforms are a culprit in destroying families. Sometimes people just grow apart. The best way to move forward is being as amicable as possible, and if there are children involved, put their needs first. Lund Bennett can help you navigate this difficult transition. Call our caring, professional team today for a consultation.

What to Consider When You Are Considering Surrogacy

Celebs do it. Same sex partners do it. Couples with difficulty conceiving do it. It’s even played out as a dramatic story line on Coronation Street. Its surrogacy, and it can be a legal and emotional minefield if you are not careful.

Outsiders looking in may not understand why anyone would go through the process of surrogacy. Adoption seems like a much more practical solution, especially with so many orphaned children in the world today. And if seemingly able-bodied women go down the surrogate route, it is often assumed she was too ‘lazy’ to go through the pregnancy herself and hired a womb to do the job. But for those in the situation where they cannot bear their own children for health or age reasons, this is the only way for a couple to have a biological connection with the child.

Once the decision to move forward with surrogacy is made, many couples are quickly overwhelmed by constraints placed on surrogacy by English law. Under the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985, ‘Commercial arrangements’ where anything beyond reasonable expenses are paid are illegal under the Surrogacy Arrangements Act of 1985, leaving couples in the awkward position of depending on family or friends, or engaging in an illegal activity. Not only that, but surrogacy arrangements are not legally enforceable under UK law, leaving the birth mother opportunity to change her mind. Daunted by so many issues, couples are looking into surrogacy in foreign countries with less restrictive laws like India and the US.

The government, it seems, is now starting to take notice. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office seems to see the problems facing couples who are going abroad for a surrogate, and have published a guide “for British nationals who are considering entering into surrogacy arrangements in foreign countries.”

A quick summary of subjects covered in Surrogacy Overseas are:

• Returning to the UK with the new child or children can be a complex process requiring several months to complete.
• The necessary travel documents can take up to six months to obtain and many countries have special visa requirements for couples seeking surrogacy.
• There may be restrictions on surrogacy even in those countries where it is legal – it may, for example, be available only to married, opposite sex couples.
• When commissioning couples do return to the UK with the surrogate child (or children), they will again need to obtain a parental order in the courts before they are considered the legal parents.

FCO Children’s Policy Advisor Daisy Organ said:

The legal procedures surrounding international surrogacy are complex, and the processes for securing passports and confirming nationality for the child can be lengthy and problematic. The best way to move forward is hiring a reputable family law specialist. Lund Bennett can help. Call our caring, professional team today for a consultation.