Month: September 2017

Dr. Foster and dealing with the aftermath of a ‘messy’ divorce

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.

Woman collapses in court after judge rules that she did not have a claim for a half-share in her ex-boyfriend’s business

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.

Rise in Divorce Rates for Shift Workers

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.

Joint Custody Best Option For Children

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.

The Indian Supreme Court finds Islamic practice of instant divorce by ‘triple talaq’ unconstitutional.

The ‘triple talaq’ is an Islamic practice which allows men to instantly divorce their wives by pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ (the Arabic word for a type of divorce) three times. After decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims, India’s Supreme Court has declared the practice unconstitutional.

In May 2017, the Indian Supreme Court formally opened hearings into a number of applications challenging the constitutionality of the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in Islam. As the practice was protected in law, increasing numbers of women receiving a ‘triple talaq’ from their husbands were being left without financial or emotional support.

The judgment was handed down on 22nd August 2017 with a 3-2 majority of the Indian Supreme Court bench finding the practice to be ‘un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional’. This ruling should therefore mean that the ‘triple talaq’ will no longer be considered a permissible practice in India. Other Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Bangladesh have also banned the practice.

Campaigners have hailed this decision as a huge victory for Muslim women in India. Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an activist group that was party to the legal battle has already prepared a draft law to send to the government in order to ensure that the decision is reflected in legislation as soon as possible.