Category: Family Solicitor

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

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.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

If you and your partner have decided to get a divorce, you’ll probably want to get things settled as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Unfortunately, getting a divorce can sometimes be complicated and the timescales for getting one can vary significantly.

How long it will take from filing for a divorce to receiving your decree absolute is dependent on several factors including:

How quickly you reach an agreement
If you and your partner reach a straightforward agreement, then this is called an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually much quicker to settle than contested divorce.

If you cannot reach an agreement about the terms of your divorce, then you will be required to attend mediation followed by court if the dispute still cannot be resolved. This can cause the process to drag on and take much longer than an uncontested divorce.

Whether any children are involved

If you and your partner have children, then it may take longer to iron out all the terms of your divorce relating to custody and child maintenance payments.

How many assets are owned
The more assets that you and your partner own, the more complicated and time-consuming the process of dividing your assets is likely to be. Just some of the assets that will need to be considered include property, savings, pensions, and vehicles.

How busy the Court of Administration’s processing centre is
Even if you come to an agreement quickly and fill out and return all documentation promptly, if the Court of Administration’s processing centre is very busy and have a backlog of work, this can hold things up.

Average timescale for a divorce in the UK

Once an agreement has been reached and a divorce has been filed for, the average time to receive a decree absolute is around 12 months.

For further help or advice with divorce law or beginning divorce proceedings, give our team of family law 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.

Tips for managing Christmas arrangements when you’re a divorced or separated parent

If you’re divorced or separated with kids, your Christmas arrangements may look a little different to the ‘traditional’ family’s.

Deciding who the kids will spend time with over the Christmas period can create a lot of tension and stress if not managed carefully.

Striking a fair and harmonious agreement about Christmas arrangements often means letting go of your image of the ‘perfect Christmas’ and making new traditions instead.

We’ve put together some tips and advice for keeping Christmas arrangements as amiable and stress-free as possible.

Make plans in advance

Making plans for Christmas well in advance of December will help to avoid disappointment and extra stress during the busy festive period. It is also in the children’s best interests to know what to expect at Christmas.

Have a ‘fake Christmas

Don’t hang all your hopes and dreams on Christmas day. Remember, it’s just a day and you can still do everything you want to do on an alternative day instead. If you’re feeling disappointed that you won’t experience the magic of Christmas eve or Christmas Day dinner with the kids this year, try recreating the events on another day when you’re all together, chances are the kids won’t object to spreading out Christmas and doing it all over again!

Prioritise the children
Remember, it’s not easy for children either and their preferences and feelings should always be the priority in your arrangements.

Make new traditions
Accept that Christmas will be different as a divorced or separated parent and embrace the change. Whilst it may be possible to continue some of your old traditions, don’t be afraid to get creative making new Christmas traditions with your children.

Keep it harmonious
No matter what form your Christmas is going to take this year, try to focus on enjoying the time you have together with your children rather than letting any disputes or bitter feelings take hold of the festive period. Try to stay positive about Christmas arrangements in front of your children to save them from getting mixed up in any disputes.

For help with divorce law, separation law or children law, get in touch with our team of family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

What is a pension sharing order?

Since divorce pension sharing was introduced in December 2000, pensions have become part of the assets that must be considered during a divorce settlement.

Getting a divorce can be very stressful, with lots of important decisions to be made and paperwork to be filled out during what is already a very emotional time.

One of the biggest tasks that must be tackled is fairly dividing up the couple’s assets. Assets can include property, money, possessions and pensions, anything under a shared name must be considered.

Dividing up a pension
Pension sharing orders are not a compulsory part of a divorce. A pension is an important asset that should be considered during a divorce, but there are different options for dividing it up.
The three main options for dividing a pension are sharing, offsetting and earmarking. A pension sharing order offers a clean break solution.

What is a Pension Sharing Order?
If one party of a divorcing couple has no pension entitlement, then a pension sharing order can be granted by the court to give shared rights to the other party’s pension through a legal arrangement.

How is the pension split?
A pension sharing order does not always require a pension to be split 50/50.

Both party’s assets and finances should be assessed in order to determine how to fairly split the pension. If a decision cannot be reached, then it will be down to the court to decide.

Why do I need a pension sharing order?
If a couple decide that they wish to share a pension, then even if they can amicably agree the percentage split, they will still need to apply to the court for a court order.

This is because pension providers and pension schemes are not allowed to divide or transfer a pension without direction from a court.

For further help or advice with dividing a pension during divorce proceedings, speak to our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett by giving our team a call on 0161 927 3118.

What property rights do unmarried couples have?

As many young couples choose to shun married life, it’s important that cohabiting couples understand their property rights.

Cohabiting couples are the UK’s fastest growing family-type, but the law has not yet caught up with the country’s changing lifestyle trend. Currently, cohabiting couples, even those in very secure long-term relationships, have very different legal rights to married couples.

Married couples both have the right to live in the matrimonial home, whether that is rented or owned accommodation, however the law differs for cohabiting couples.

It’s important that all unmarried couples living together understand their property rights to help them to plan and prepare for the future and to avoid a nasty shock in the event of a separation.

Rented accommodation
When it comes to cohabiting couples that rent property, if your name is not on the tenancy agreement, then you have no legal right to stay in the property if asked to leave. If you are both named on the tenancy agreement, then you have equal rights to stay at the property.

Owned property
If a property is owned jointly by a cohabiting couple, then they both have equal legal rights to the property if they separate.

However, if the property is owned solely by one party then they are the only ones with ownership and the legal right to remain in the property. The other party may still be able to claim ‘beneficial interest’ if they can prove that they have made significant financial contributions towards the property.

If beneficial interest cannot be claimed, then the party will have no legal right to stay in the property.

Forming a cohabitation agreement can be an excellent way for cohabiting couples to gain some financial security. When forming an agreement, the couple will legally agree each party’s rights and responsibilities to help reduce the risk of disagreements in the event of a breakdown of the relationship.

For help creating a cohabitation agreement or resolving a cohabitation dispute, speak to our team of expert family law specialists here at Lund Bennett by calling 0161 927 3118.

Contact Centres: Not the only answer

The Law Gazette reported yesterday that since the cuts to family legal aid, more separated parents are self-referring themselves to contact centres without instructing solicitors.

Statistics from the National Association of Child Contact Centres show that self-referrals from parents have risen sharply from 3.7% in 2009/10 to 35.8% in 2018/19. In contrast, solicitor referrals drastically fell within the same period, from 67.8% to 21.9%.

In 2012, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 significantly reduced the availability of legal aid within private family proceedings. Those who are eligible must demonstrate evidence that they are both on a low income and are also victims of domestic violence. Funding for parents who are involved with public law care proceedings is still widely available.

Those who don’t fit into the above categories must fund the costs of legal representation for private children matters themselves. This is leading to parents who are unable to afford the costs of legal representation self-referring to contact centres in a bid to decrease the amount of stress and anxiety.

However, the downside to this is that parents do not have the benefit of advice as to the role of contact centres or a management of their expectations of the service available. We would always recommend that for disputes between parents, a contact centre alone is no substitute for clear and independent legal advice from a family solicitor.

If you require legal advice or support, give our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 924 0079.