Category: Getting Married

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. 

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.

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.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders and Non- Molestation Orders

A case that is prominent in the headlinesat the moment involves Princess Haya of Jordan, the estranged wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. She is asking for a forced marriage protection order relating to their children and a non-molestation order against her husband following the breakdown of their marriage.

The coverage of this case illustrates that the issues raised by these types of Orders can affect people from all walks of life.

What is a Forced Marriage Protection Order?

A forced marriage protection order is a civil remedy to prevent people from being forced into marriage against their will. They can also protect those who have already been forced into marriage. In the majority of cases the person involved has received pressure from family members to marry against their will.

Whilst forced marriage is a crime in the UK, many people are reticent from reporting members of their own family to the police and pursuing criminal charges. A Forced Marriage Protection Order is an alternative to this and can provide protection. They and can also have a power of arrest attached if the court believes the respondent has used or threatened violence against the applicant or is in breach of the Order.

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

Non-molestation orders can protect against violence or harassment by a partner, ex-partner or family member. These can be useful for people who still need protection from the court in situations where the Police have confirmed they won’t be pursuing criminal charges.

A Non-Molestation Order allows the family court to impose restrictions on the partner’s ability to contact a person and this can be extended to attendance at a person’s property and methods of communication. These types of Orders are usually made for either 6 or 12-months duration. Any breach of these Orders is a criminal offence and should be reported to the Police.

Is It Worth Getting Married These Days?

Marriage is being brought into question more than ever these days and for some couples, simply living together is preferable. Some people view marriage as a huge expense just for a piece if paper. They me even live together for decades and have children in the process. So, is entering into a marriage or civil partnership worth it?  

The short answer from a legal perspective is yes if you want to protect areas such as inheritance and save on huge tax bills either for those left behind when you die or a partner die. While this is not an article designed to promote marriage, indeed for some couples it can be preferable not to pass on their assets to a partner when they die, let’s highlight how being married can save a number of legal headaches.  

Perhaps the biggest consideration for mature unmarried couples is the will. If your partner dies you won’t inherit anything and the best you can hope for is some provision towards living costs. If you had children together inheritance will pass to them. If there are no children then your partners family members will be next in line to inherit as part of Intestacy Rules.  

The next potential issue is inheritance tax. Couples who marry will and leave everything to their spouse will have ensured no inheritance tax is due on the estate. The opposite is true for unmarried couples where IHT can take away a significant chunk of the inheritance.  

These potential outcomes are avoided if a couple decides to marry and there have been some high-profile cases where a person has decided to marry just before death for this very reason.