Category: Court Law

When Should You Hire a Family Lawyer?

It can be incredibly difficult and upsetting when legal issues arise within a family. There are many different reasons why a family might be struggling with legal issues.  A family lawyer can help manage all of these family affairs, making it easier for your family to get professional advice and sort out any issues you may be having. 

But what sort of legal issues may require a family lawyer? Below, we take a look at some of the reasons you may need a family lawyer. 

Marriage

If you are preparing for a marriage, it is important that you seek legal advice. Although it may seem like a simple ceremony, it can be actually quite complicated legally. A lawyer can help you understand the marital laws of your state and any advice on any marital rights you should know. If you are considering getting a prenup, a family lawyer will also be able to help you navigate this. 

Divorce

Divorce can be incredibly tricky for any family, and ending a marriage can be a long and complicated process. There are various reasons why you will need a family lawyer to help deal with a divorce. An attorney will help you sort out issues like: dividing property and working out property ownership, child custody, and alimony.

Adoption

Adopting a child is incredibly exciting, but it is a long and strenuous legal process. For some people, it can take years to be given a child to adopt, and even then it can take a few months to finalise the documents. A family lawyer will make sure that your adoption papers are all up to standard and will hopefully ensure that your adoption will be successful. 

Benefits of Using a Family Lawyer – Lund Bennett

Whenever you have an issue or a family matter that requires legal representation, it’s essential to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced professional. This is even more apparent in situations such as divorce or matters involving children, as the outcome could be life-changing in regards to your personal or financial situation.

At Lund Bennett, our team of family lawyers based in Manchester specialise in all areas of family law. This means we have a wide range of experience and knowledge at our disposal, having dealt with countless situations involving children and divorce. These scenarios can be extremely stressful for parents, and emotionally traumatic for children, which is why a specialist will prove to be a crucial asset for a swift and smooth resolution.

In-Depth Knowledge of Family Law

Laws change all the time for a variety of reasons, and no matter how minuscule a change is, it should never be overlooked. Many different cases fall under the umbrella of ‘family law’, but these are only a small percentage in regards to the law as a whole. A family lawyer specialises in these specific areas and will maintain an up-to-date knowledge of family law and child law, as well as remain aware of any changes that may affect your case.

A Family Lawyer to Suit Your Needs

Every member of our family law team is an example of the highest-quality family lawyer. With a wealth of experience and a vast range of knowledge pertaining to family law, we have a family lawyer on hand to suit the needs of any client who requires legal assistance. So, whether one of our lawyers handles your matter personally, or as a team when necessary, you will have the peace of mind knowing you’re in safe hands. 

Children and divorce is undoubtedly a tricky and stressful subject, but these feelings can be reduced somewhat when you have a specialist family lawyer in your corner. With years of experience in divorce and financial proceedings, as well as child law, we can guide you to a satisfactory resolution that ensures the best possible future for your children.

Highest Rates of Divorce

  • In 2018, the small Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia had the highest divorce rates in all Europe at 3.1 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants each. 
  • In the mid-1900s, the Nordic countries had shifted to emphasise individual independence even within the family unit, giving way to higher divorce rates. 
  • As a result of strict family laws, divorce rates in England and Wales are significantly lower than other European countries.

A Short History Of Divorce

Throughout history, Europe upheld a series of strict laws regulating divorce. Around the 1950s, many countries allowed divorce if one partner had committed an unspeakable act like adultery or domestic abuse. However, the 1970s gave way to what is colloquially known as the “no-fault revolution,” in which divorce was permitted if mutually agreed upon by both partners.  

From then on, numerous reforms related to divorce took place, with some countries even introducing the concept of unilateral divorce which legally granted separation if requested by only one spouse. Many experts agree that these new laws made divorce easier to obtain, ultimately contributing to the rise of divorce rates in Europe.

Reasons For Divorce

These same experts generally agree that there are numerous reasons for divorce shared by many countries around the world. Some argue that the overall quality and sanctity of marriage has declined, while others insist that our new modern world has provided individuals more opportunities to meet potential partners after having decided to settle down. Victor Martin Organista, an attorney from Madrid, even claims that people grow more mature and independent as they get older and simply decide to follow a different path than their spouse.  

There are, of course, very specific reasons related to each country, particularly in Europe which is a wonderful tapestry of different cultures and people. For example, divorce was illegal in Spain up until 1981, long after the rest of Europe had already progressed well beyond that. Because of these types of reforms, Spain moved away from its Catholic roots to become more secular. Event though Catholicism frowns upon it, this sudden increase in religious freedom made it more acceptable to file for divorce.

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.

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.

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

What is a quickie divorce?

Anyone that reads celebrity news will have come across the term “quickie divorce” at some point over the years.

If you’ve read about Ant McPartlin, Cheryl Cole, Rowan Atkinson, or Louise Redknapp’s divorces, then you may be under the impression that they received special celebrity treatment, a divorce in just a matter of seconds!

These media reports about so called “quickie divorces” are actually very misleading, as all divorces go through the same process, no matter what your celebrity status.

So, what are the media actually referring to when they say that Cheryl Cole received “Britain’s fastest ever quickie divorce”, and was divorced in just 14 seconds?

The part of the divorce process that is being referred to here is how long it took the judge to read out the pronouncement of the first decree.

Once a couple receive the first decree, this does not mean that their divorce is complete, it is simply confirmation from the court that they agree there are grounds for a divorce.

The divorce will not be finalised until the decree absolute has been granted, and unless there are exceptional circumstances the couple must then wait a minimum of six weeks and one day before applying for the decree absolute.

Exceptional circumstances are considered on a case by case basis. The most common reasons for a decree absolute to be expedited is if one person is dying and wishes to divorce before they pass away, or if one party has moved onto a new relationship, is pregnant, and wishes to remarry before the baby is born. Celebrity status certainly doesn’t play a part!
Generally, all divorces in the UK take between 6 and 12 months to complete. If financial matters take a long time to resolve, then the process can take even longer.

For help or advice with filing for a divorce quickly and efficiently, give our team of solicitors here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

Why do divorce rates increase after Christmas?

January is the most popular time of year for starting divorce proceedings, so what is it about Christmas that pushes so many couples to breaking point?

January 7th is dubbed ‘divorce day’ in the UK, as many couples take the first step towards accepting that their relationship isn’t working by seeking advice about getting a divorce.

But what is it about Christmas and the new year that pushes so many couples over the edge?

Stress and pressure of the festive season
For many people, Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time of the year. With lots of events to attend, guests to entertain, meals to plan and gifts to buy, it’s easy to get stressed out by all the planning and preparation and forget to spend time together.

Failing to communicate or compromise effectively can also cause major clashes over Christmas plans and finances.

Time spent with in-laws
Christmas can mean spending more time with family and in-laws than usual which can cause tensions to run high. Existing tensions with in-laws can come to a head, causing arguments and testing loyalties between couples.

Alcohol
Any existing problems in the relationship can be amplified when under the influence of alcohol. With alcohol flowing more freely over the festive period, many couples find themselves having more frequent and explosive disagreements over Christmas.

Putting on a brave face for Christmas
Many struggling couples, particularly those with children, grin and bear it over the festive period so as not to upset anyone.

New year, new start

The new year marks new beginnings, and many people use it as a time to make big changes in their lives for the year ahead. For some couples this may mean admitting that their relationship isn’t working and it’s time to part ways.

For help or advice with divorce law this Christmas or new year, give our team of family law solicitors a call on 0161 927 3118.

Am I eligible to apply for an occupation order?

An occupation order can enforce safe living arrangement for victims of domestic abuse.

If you have suffered domestic abuse you may feel unsafe living in the same house as your perpetrator. An occupation order can be used to provide you with a safe place to live by regulating who can live in your family home.

How can an occupation order be used?

Occupation orders are flexible and can be used in a variety of ways to offer victims protection. Some of the commonest ways in which occupation orders are used in domestic abuse cases include:

  • To exclude someone from the family home.
  • To enforce the right to remain in or return to the family home.
  • To set out who pays for expenses relating to the family home.
  • To exclude someone from a defined area around the family home.

Eligibility to apply for an occupation order

In order to be eligible to apply for an occupation order you must be ‘associated’ with the other person in one of the following ways:

  • Married, in a civil partnership, or engaged.
  • Previously married or in a civil partnership.
  • Cohabiting in a family scenario.
  • In an intimate physical relationship for a significant length of time.
  • Have parental responsibility for the same child.

Occupation orders are only applicable in very serious cases as they can grant access to a property that a victim does not have a legal entitlement to and deny access to a perpetrator with legal entitlement.

The court will assess whether an occupation order is suitable for your individual case by applying two tests. The tests are called the balance of harm test and the core criteria test. These tests take into consideration the health, safety and well-being of the victim and any children involved and their related housing and resource needs.

If you require help, support, or legal advice relating to domestic abuseor occupation orders, please give our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

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.