Category: Legal Advice

Your finances and divorce

The family home, businesses, pensions, trusts, international issues…divorce finances can be daunting. By looking beyond the legal and taking a commercial, practical and creative approach, we make the complex understandable.

When you’re facing a divorce, you need to know where you stand financially. You may be concerned about your immediate financial security or responsibilities, unclear on how to approach dividing up the family’s assets or worried about what kind of financial settlement you might end up with to support you and your children

Whether we’re negotiating on your behalf, representing you in court, facilitating discussions with your partner in mediation or collaborative meetings, or preparing a pre-nuptial agreement, we are adept at answering the most challenging legal questions.

In considering a suitable settlement a variety of factors need to be considered including:

  • The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would, in the opinion of the Court, be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
  • The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the Court, be inequitable to disregard it;
  • In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring (e.g. a right to your husband’s pensions).
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
  • The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the Court, be inequitable to disregard it;
  • In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring (e.g. a right to your husband’s pensions).

 Call our team today on 0161 924 0079 to arrange your first appointment.

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.

Coronavirus is very likely to cause a spike in divorce rates in the United Kingdom

With the whole country now into it’s third week of lock down it is likely there are thousands of married couples now self-isolating which could potentially end in divorce.

Typically the peak times for people divorcing are after long periods of exposure together over the summer holidays and Christmas period.

Lady Shackleton told peers at Westminster that often when couples face serious and stressful situations it can lead some to re-evaluate their lives and what is important to them.

Ahead of the United Kingdom in the divorce increase is China. After ‘couples spending too much time together’ China has seen over 300 couples applying for divorces in the last three weeks. One city has introduced a limit to allow no more than 10 couples to divorce per day.

A 2018 study found couples who lived together before marriage had lower divorce rates in the first year, compared to couples who didn’t. But higher divorce rates appeared after people living with their spouses for five years or longer. 

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.

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.

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.