Tag: Divorce Laws

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.

The strange things divorcing couples have rowed over

A TOP lawyer firm has revealed the most bonkers items divorcing couples have fought over – including a Henry the hoover and a doll’s house.

A recent article written by The Sun newspaper has revealed the bizarre items of property that divorcing couples have rowed over.

Pets were a running theme in disputes, with parrots, dogs and even dog clothes being contested. 

But there were also some unsurprising entries, with couples locked in a divorce battle fighting over engagement rings and family heirlooms.

Other trivial things unhappy spouses went to war over were a selection of Star Wars figurines, an antique mirror and a vintage fruit bowl. 

It is very common for some parties to become wrapped up in a dispute over items which are simply not cost proportionate to litigate over. 

With the help of legal representation from Lund Bennett, it is important to try and take a step back and look at the bigger picture, recognising the difference of an item’s value against its worth.

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. 

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 much does it cost to get a divorce?

When getting a divorce, the cost of the process probably isn’t the first thing on your mind, but it is certainly something that you should consider.
Over recent years, the cost of court fees has risen, bumping up the price of filing for a divorce.
It’s not just the immediate cost of the divorce process that couples should prepare for though, they must also plan for other hidden expenses that they may face as a result of the divorce.

The cost of filing for a divorce
The price you can expect to pay when filing for a divorce will vary depending on several factors, including:
• Whether you are the divorce petitioner or respondent (the person applying for the divorce or their spouse).
• Whether you use a solicitor or a DIY divorce service.
• Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.
• Whether your divorce involves a financial settlement and, if so, the complexity of the settlement.
• Whether you require divorce mediation.

Divorce centre fee

No matter what the circumstances of your divorce and the route you take when filing it, you will be required to pay a fee of £550 to the divorce centre to cover the cost of court fees upon applying for your divorce.

Solicitor fees
It is possible to fill out and apply for your divorce without the help of a solicitor to save yourself some money. Bear in mind though that this can be a stressful and complicated process which could prolong the process of getting divorced. If your divorce requires a financial settlement, then you will also require legal help with this.
On average, using a solicitor to apply for a divorce costs between £1000 and £1500.
This cost will increase if you and your partner cannot come to an agreement about finances.

The hidden lifestyle costs of divorce
The hidden costs of divorce are those associated with getting your life back on track after the divorce has been finalised.

The extent of these costs will depend on:
• Whether you owned property together.
• Whether you have any children.

Some of the hidden costs of divorce to plan and prepare for include:
• Moving house.
• Buying a new property.
• Redecorating.
• Child maintenance.
• Buying a new vehicle.
• Childcare costs.
• Buying new furniture and electrical goods.

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.

What evidence can be used during divorce proceedings?

During divorce proceedings you will be required to give evidence to support all information and claims you make.

When applying for a divorce, you will need to provide proof that your marriage has irretrievably broken down for one of the following reasons:
• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Desertion
• Two years separation with your spouse’s consent; or
• Five years separation, whether your spouse consents or not

The evidence and documentation you provide will be used to prove your grounds for a divorce and help to fairly divide assets and make important decisions regarding custody and maintenance costs for any children involved in the case.

Types of evidence that may be required to support your case

Financial
• Bank statements
• Tax returns
• Salary information
• Details of property owned
• Details of assets owned
• Details of any debts

Children
• School records
• Your child’s medical records

Reasons for divorce (eg. domestic violence or adultery)

• Photos
• Text messages
• Social media posts and messages

As well as physical documentation and evidence, you may also provide evidence verbally through your own testimony and witness testimonies by friends, family and experts.
Hearsay is not acceptable as evidence.

What should not be included as evidence?

• Confidential documents/letters obtained without permission.
• Private emails, social media messages and text messages obtained without permission.

Intercepting confidential letters or communications and hacking into a person’s private digital accounts is illegal, so any evidence obtained this way cannot be included in proceedings.

You can, however, include any physical or digital communications that you have received yourself.

All of your evidence should be given to your solicitor during the preparation of your case so that it can be included in your exhibit list and properly introduced during the court case.

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.

Advice for easing the stress of a separation for children

Tension and emotions can run high during a separation, so it’s important to take steps to reduce stress for any children involved.
It’s normal for children to feel upset, angry and anxious if their parents are separating or getting a divroce. It can feel like their whole world is being turned upside down, so it’s important to do everything you can to make the transition less painful and confusing.

You can help your child to cope with the upheaval of a separation using the following advice.

Avoid the blame game
No matter what the circumstances of the separation, it is important to avoid playing the blame game in front of your child. Keep hurtful or distressing details about the reasons behind your separation private from your child to prevent them feeling torn or stressed about their relationship with either parent.

Minimise conflict
Try to keep all communications civil and polite in front of the children. Avoid talking about legal proceedings or conflict within earshot of your child to minimise confusion, stress and worry.

Minimise disruption
At a time that is filled with turbulence, it’s important to retain as much consistency and routine in your child’s life as possible. Maintaining routine will help to comfort them and keep them feeling safe and secure.

Keep them in the loop
As soon as decisions have been finalised about living arrangements, discuss them openly with your child. Chances are they will be worrying about what is going to happen next, so keeping them in the loop and talking honestly with them as much as possible can help to reassure them.

Make time for your child and tell them you love them
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to be there for them, holding them and reassuring them that you love them. Life can be hectic, emotional and stressful during a separation, but don’t forget to take time out for 1-on-1 quality time with your child. Go out, do something fun and laugh together, you will find that it makes you both feel better.

Listen to them and acknowledge their feelings
Whilst communicating clearly with your child is very important, so is listening. Let your child express their worries, feelings and emotions to you, whether that’s using their words or through their behaviour. Acknowledge that this is a hard time for them and legitimise their feelings. Let them know that it is ok to feel sad or angry now and that things will get better.

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

Who decides where a child lives after their parents separate?

Any separation can be difficult, but one that involves children can be particularly challenging and emotional.

The biggest decision that couples with children will need to make if they separate, is the children’s living arrangements.

Where possible, it is always easiest and less stressful for everyone involved if the family can come to an amiable agreement together.

However, this is not always possible. In instances where parents do not agree on where a child should live, they may need to seek help from one or more of the following:
•A solicitor specialising in family law.
•Mediation.
•The Family Court.

No matter which route you take to help decide the best living arrangements for your children, the welfare of the children is always considered first and foremost.

Family law solicitor
A family law solicitor will be able to advise you on all avenues open to you and provide you with sound legal advice and guidance.

Mediation
Mediation is a process guided by a trained, impartial, third-party that allows the two parties to have a constructive discussion and hopefully negotiate an outcome that all parties are happy with.

The Family Court
If an agreement still cannot be reached, then it may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for one or more orders to be made. A child arrangement order will decide who the child will live with, who they will spend time with, and when. In some cases, it may also be relevant for the court to issue a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

Lund Bennett are family law specialists based in Altrincham and Manchester. For legal help and guidance regarding disputes about child living arrangements, mediation services, or help applying for a court order, get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

No Fault Divorce and Domestic abuse proposals may be revived in the Queen’s Speech

Two key bills which have a major impact on family law face an uncertain future given the recent prorogation of Parliament. Both the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill and the Domestic Abuse Bill have been halted due to lack of parliamentary time.

As reported in the Law Gazette, both of the bills were a result of extensive cross-party work and follow years of campaigning for reform. As there was no cross-over motion pre-prorogation then if the Government brings the bills back the process may have to start from scratch in the next parliament.

A glimmer of hope comes from the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg who has stated that the Domestic Abuse Bill is “likely” to be a feature in the new parliamentary session.

He heavily hinted that it will feature with in the Queen’s Speech, saying: “I can’t tell you what is precisely going to be in the Queen’s Speech but I think I can give a steer that it’d be a great surprise to all of us if this Bill was not revived very quickly.”

Parliament has been suspended by the Government and is due to return on 14 October 2019.