Collaborative Family Law Protects Divorce Finances And Property

How Can Collaborative Family Law Help You?

Collaborative Family Law protects divorce finances and property. Could this apply to you and your family?

Divorce is the final straw for many. Hence numerous unhappy couples stick together for fear of the emotional and financial fall out. Because splitting up will just make everything even more difficult – won’t it? And in addition, seeing a lawyer – how can anyone afford that?

The solution to protecting your finances and your children on Divorce may be to instruct a Collaborative Family Lawyer.

Collaborative Family Law Prioritises The Family’s Interests

Everyone involved focusses on ensuring your relationship remains amicable and respectful.

And the process is much quicker and cheaper than Court. Also much less rigid because you can come to an agreement individually tailored to your family’s needs.

Some find Collaborative Family Law even better than mediation. This is because you have your own Collaborative Family Lawyer at your side at every four way meeting.

What Makes The Collaborative Family Law Process So Successful?

An expert always by your side …

Your Collaborative Family Lawyer will advise you at every four way meeting. Most importantly, she will speak for you if you so wish.

You and your partner agree to be open, and not to blame …

Both of you, and your lawyers, start off with a Participation Agreement. You will agree upon:

  • Openness
  • Full Disclosure
  • Constructive Discussion
  • An Absence Of Blame

You commit yourselves to avoiding court…

That’s both you and your partner, and both of your Collaborative Family Lawyers. In fact if the process doesn’t work, you will both have to find new solicitors. This is because they can’t act for you in a Court process as well. So that’s a tremendous incentive to make it work.

You and your partner will not be dwelling on the past …

Your Anchor Statements set out the issues you want to address, and your aspirations for the future. Both of you will look forward rather than dwell on the past.

Collaborative Family Law Protects Divorce Finances And Property

Legal costs are limited …

Detailed agendas control each four way meeting. Legal work in between meetings is limited. Costs are under control.

You won’t have to go to Court …

You won’t have to face the lottery of going to Court. Most importantly, a Court Order won’t be imposed on you.

Phone Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for a free 20 minute consultation on how Collaborative Family Law protects divorce finances and property.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image credit: Meeting by martinc (filter etc applied) on Flickr

 

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Collaborative Law & Divorce: The Importance Of Assertiveness

I have guided many clients through the collaborative law divorce process and I have noticed a common theme. Many simply do not know how to assert themselves. Perhaps this is because they have lived for years with a forthright and dominating partner? Maybe it’s been easier to acquiesce?

But with the marriage over, and the rest of their lives to deal with, the time for acquiescence has gone. It’s time to be assertive.

A Collaborative Law Divorce Can Forge A Positive Future For Families

It can also provide a life changing learning experience in assertiveness.

I remember in particular a client I will call Rebecca. She travelled the world with her husband, Geoffrey. They rarely stayed in one country, let alone one home, for long. Her family – her husband and three tiny children – were her entire life.

But she told me Geoffrey had left her and was eager to negotiate a quick settlement. He wanted to put the marriage behind him. She was tearful and anxious because she simply had no idea what to do. Where would she live? Where would the children go to school? Would their father remain a positive influence in their lives? Would she have enough money?

Collaborative Law Divorce: The Process

I told her about the collaborative process and how I could help her as her collaborative lawyer. She would be able to resolve the issues that concerned her, negotiate the necessary arrangements, and make the right decisions for her family.

I would sit at her side in meetings with her husband and his collaborative lawyer as her voice, support, and legal adviser.

Collaborative Law Divorce And Life Coaching

Rebecca was interested in a collaborative law divorce but said she feared conflict with Geoffrey. She would never find the courage to stand up to him. Furthermore she feared he would simply turn his back on her and the children forever.

And she was anxious about the cost of the divorce. Would the outcome leave her and the children in penury?

I gently reminded her she must try to think long term. Would she consider consulting a life coach? I could recommend one who specialised in the difficulties arising from marriage breakdown. Other clients had found new confidence as a result. They had been able to deal with painful issues, and achieve a level playing field.

Rebecca thought about my suggestion. A few days later she got back to me and said yes, she would like to go ahead.

The Power Of Assertiveness In The Collaborative Process

I introduced Rebecca to a life coach. They made great strides together. It wasn’t long before we were able to start the collaborative process.

Rebecca was now able to face all the issues head on, and state her point of view with conviction. In addition she now realised she had the right to express her views, refuse settlement proposals, and offer her own ideas. It was a pleasure to sit by her side and guide her.

If in the collaborative process you are assertive, and focused on your needs, you will achieve the best settlement for yourself and your family, long term. And as a result the experience will help you manage your family better after your divorce. In particular the unreasonable demands and expectations of others.

The assertiveness you have learned during the collaborative law divorce process will help you plan financially for the future.

In Conclusion

The experience of your collaborative divorce will be your first step to developing your independence and autonomy in your newly formed, separated family.

Phone Us For A Free Consultation …

Phone Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for a free 20 minute consultation on these important issues.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs, including same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog might have application to you, you should seek expert legal advice.

image credit: Woman Pointing by Helmuts Rudzītis (filter etc applied) on Flickr

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Brexit, Family Law And Divorce

 

See February 2019 update, What Does Brexit No Deal Mean For Family Law 

Brexit will affect international families involved in family law disputes.

Are you part of an international family?

Let’s use the example of Sarah and Pierre. She was born in England, he in France. They married ten years ago and have two children, both of whom were born in France. The marriage has broken down and Sarah has returned to England and, with Pierre’s agreement, she has brought the children with her.

You are part of an international family if you live in the UK but were 
born in another EU country. Or if you were born in the UK but move to 
another EU country. Or perhaps your ex was born in another EU country 
or moves to another EU country.

Brexit And Family Law: What Is The Significance?

Many of the important steps in Sarah and Pierre’s divorce are determined by EU rules. For example EU rules ensure court decisions made in one EU country are recognised in other EU countries.

Vital EU rules apply to divorces and family law in the UK.

Brexit And Family Law: EU Rules Decide Where To Start Court Cases

The importance of these rules cannot be overstated. Otherwise there 
can be family law cases in courts in two different countries at the 
same time.

Sarah and Pierre can’t agree in which country to start their divorce. Pierre urgently needs an order setting out when he can see the children. Sarah urgently needs a maintenance order. She starts divorce proceedings in England, which means Pierre can’t ask the French courts to make decisions. All the issues that concern them – the divorce proceedings, questions about the finances, how much time the children are going to spend with Pierre – are decided in England. But the English orders are enforceable in France.

Without EU rules, Sarah and Pierre could have proceedings going on in England and France at the same time leading to tremendous confusion, expense and delay.

EU rules decide in which country you can start your divorce and 
obtain a financial order. Without these rules couples who can't 
agree upon a country could face lengthy and expensive court cases. 

EU rules decide in which country you can start cases about your 
children, too. And these rules say it's where the children live. 
Without these rules there could be court proceedings about the 
children in two different countries at the same time.

Brexit And Family Law: EU Rules Streamline Child Abduction Cases

Do EU rules have anything to do with the Hague Convention’s role in child abduction? Yes, they are very significant. EU rules ensure a court in the child’s home country makes the final decision. This can mean the difference between a child returning home or not.

So if Pierre doesn’t return the children from France after a contact visit, Sarah knows a court in England will review any decision made in a French court.

EU rules will soon tighten up the Hague Convention by allowing the court to hear evidence from the child. EU rules will also impose a time limit of six weeks for the court to give its judgment.

Children who have been abducted are likely to be traumatised. 
Any delays and uncertainty in the procedure are to be avoided.

Without EU rules child abduction cases under the Hague Convention would take much longer. They wouldn’t take into account the child’s wishes. Furthermore there wouldn’t be an automatic review in our courts of the decisions of other EU courts.

Brexit And Family Law: EU Rules Allow Enforcement Of Family Orders In Other EU Countries

Sarah obtains a maintenance order against Pierre. Because of EU rules, this order can be enforced in the French courts. Pierre will have to pay Sarah maintenance even though she lives in England, and he lives in France.

If you obtain a court order you need to know it will work in 
other EU countries. 

These are orders concerning children, who sees them and where 
they are to live, maintenance, financial orders, and domestic 
abuse. And in particular orders made by consent.

Sarah and Pierre are able to agree the matrimonial finances which means they have avoided the stress and expense of court proceedings. They have a “consent order” made in the English court setting out what they have agreed. Under EU rules this is enforceable in France.

What Are The Options for Protecting International Families on Divorce After Brexit?

The Government is steering the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 
through Parliament. This will bring all EU family law rules onto 
our books. 

But we will need new agreements to ensure EU family law rules 
remain reciprocal with other European countries.

When the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill becomes law,  we will absorb all EU family law rules into our system. This means we will be bound by them. So we need the remaining EU countries to be bound by them as far as this country is concerned, too. But this isn’t automatic because, of course, we will no longer be a member of the EU.

If both this country and the remaining EU countries are bound 
by the same rules, they will be reciprocal. But there must be 
agreements to ensure reciprocity as we will no longer be part 
of the EU.

The Government will need to enter into fresh agreements with the remaining EU countries to ensure the rules are reciprocal. It is vital we use this opportunity to knit our family law system and the EU family law system together. Because this will keep it fully functioning for international families.

But it is by no means guaranteed we will enter into these new agreements. The Government is concentrating on trade and other important agreements. Family law is, perhaps understandably, low on the agenda. But various family law organisations are lobbying Parliament about this important issue.

The Family Law Bar Association, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and the family law solicitors’ association, Resolution, have published a paper, Brexit and Family Law. This paper sets out the options available to the Government, along with their recommendation to retain full reciprocity.

Why Parliament Needs To Enter Into Fresh Agreements For Brexit and Family Law Rules 

What could go wrong if there aren’t reciprocal agreements for Brexit and Family Law rules.

Imagine a situation where Sarah starts the divorce in England and shortly afterwards Pierre starts the divorce in France. The French court would not recognise Sarah’s proceedings in England, or any of the orders made. But the English courts would recognise the orders made in the French court. Both Sarah and Pierre would be involved in protracted and expensive court cases in both countries to sort out the resulting confusion.

Without reciprocal agreements we would lose the straightforward 
enforceability of orders in EU countries concerning maintenance 
and children. 

And the question of where to start your divorce case or your case 
about the children will be unnecessarily complicated.

What About The Court of Justice of the European Union?

The Court of Justice of the European Union has an important role 
in the updating and interpretation of EU family law rules. But 
the Government wants to end all links with it.

What are the implications of merging EU family law rules with our laws, but ending our links with the Court of Justice? Changes in interpretation of these rules, and amendments to these rules, will apply to all the remaining EU countries, but not to us.

This will cause confusion for international families. Here again 
Sarah and Pierre may become involved in lengthy and expensive court 
cases simply to decide fine points of legal interpretation.

Family law organisations are proposing to Parliament we maintain links with the Court of Justice of the European Union. This means we would be able to have our say in EU family law procedure and interpretation, and keep our laws and rules up to date. This would ensure continued fairness for international families in this country. It has no implications for sovereignty.

Should I crack on with my divorce or wait a bit?

If you are keen to divorce in a particular country for financial reasons you should seek legal advice without delay

I’m not sure what to do in the meantime. Can you help?

Yes of course. Here at Just Family Law we’re closely monitoring the situation and are up to speed with all changes as they occur.

Phone Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for a free 20 minute consultation on these important issues.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law to provide you with solutions tailored to your family’s needs – including same sex couples and families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog might have application to you, you should seek expert legal advice.

image credit: Happy Families by Catherine Scott on Wikimedia (filter applied)

 

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Ring fence and protect assets on divorce

Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce
Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce

Is it possible to ring fence and protect assets on divorce? The answer is, yes, sometimes. But this is a complex area: if you are at all unsure, please take advice from an expert family lawyerIn this blog I consider the following questions:

  • matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset
  • can I protect my inheritance
  • can I ring fence my business
  • shall I transfer my assets to someone else
  • how are assets split on divorce
  • what’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?

Let’s start with an example …

I have a friend who’s a magician. Her husband wants a divorce and furthermore he wants half of everything, including her magic cabinet.

Is it a matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset?

Non matrimonial assets can sometimes be kept out of the pot for division. They can include:

  • assets built up before the marriage
  • inheritances
  • businesses

But if there aren’t enough matrimonial assets left to fulfil her husband’s needs – for example for housing – non matrimonial assets can be used to plug the gap.

Is it possible to ring fence and protect inheritances?

My friend is particularly fond of her magic cabinet as her grandfather left it to her in his will. 

Timing is important. Was the inheritance received before or during the marriage, or as the couple separated? And what happened to the inheritance in the meantime. Did they mix it with their matrimonial assets? Did they keep it separate?

Can a business be ring fenced?

I advise my friend that her husband might make a claim over her business – if it has any value.

She laughs. She tells me her assets comprise trick cards and a white rabbit. As for income: she does it all for charity. My friend and her husband live off their wages from their respective jobs. 

What if her business had valuable assets and an income? See my blog How to protect business on divorce

How about transferring assets to someone else?

My friend has a savings account and some shares. She’s thinking of transferring them to her sister.

She risks the Court freezing her assets and imposing a costs order. If she hides her assets she could go to prison for contempt of court. Both she and her husband must give full and frank disclosure of their finances. See my blog Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know.

How are assets split on divorce?

What will happen to their house, their savings and pensions?

I advise her the starting point for division is a fifty fifty split although there are special considerations. These include the care of children, the extent of the couple’s wages and their earning capacity. Also their standard of living during the marriage, and their ages. The length of the marriage is important, too. As is their health. Lastly what the couple put into the marriage financially, and their individual financial needs.

What’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?

The good news is she has met someone new, a fellow magician. It’s early days, and she wants to get her divorce sorted out first, but who knows, this could be the real thing.

I advise her if they decide to tie the knot, she ought to think about a prenuptial agreement. She says she will certainly keep this idea up her billowy sleeve along with her magic cards and scarves.

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on ring fencing and protecting your assets on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your matrimonial financial situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

 


JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image credit: Ungár Anikó bűvész by Fortepan/Urbán Tamás on Wikimedia Commons

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