Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know

considering divorce

Considering divorce? Here are some quick pointers to set you off in the right direction.

1. Everyone will have an opinion

Yes, that’s your family and friends, your neighbours and your colleagues at work. Even your Facebook friends. This can be distracting if you’re trying to figure out what to do. Struggling to see the wood for the trees? Time to get advice from an experienced family lawyer.

2. Try not to make a drama out of the divorce petition

A divorce petition can simply be a means to an end. You want to get divorced? – filling out the paperwork is how to go about it. Only you, your ex and the Court are ever likely to see the divorce petition, so try if you can not to fall out about it. If possible, agree which one of you is going to issue it and agree what it’s going to say. See my blog, Grounds for Divorce, 5 Things you Need to Know.

There are so many other more important things to focus on right now.

However if there’s been domestic abuse, or you believe the children are at risk, please seek immediate advice from an experienced family lawyer.

3. Address the finances

You can’t just leave things hanging, not indefinitely, because you will both be moving on. Important decisions need to be made about the assets – who gets what – and about child maintenance. See my blogs How do you Split Assets in a Divorce and What are your Child Maintenance Options? 

The divorce and the finances can run in parallel, see my blog What Comes First, Divorce or SettlementIf you can agree it all between you, that’s great. But please get legal advice on your rights – a one off appointment won’t cost much. After all, this is the rest of your life.

You both need closure and certainty when it comes to the finances. This means a Court order. But this doesn’t mean you have to attend at the Court, or that it will cost you a fortune – it can be a simple process. See my blog How to get a Consent Order? A Simple Guide.

4. The lawyers don’t have to win

Try to talk to your ex even if it’s really hard. If you fall out you may have to put everything into the lawyers’ hands. Worst case scenario, it all ends up in Court. This could cost you a great deal. Try these alternative approaches:

5. Pension or family home?

If you’re thinking you want to stay in the family home, come what may, take a moment to think. A share of your ex’s pension might be more valuable to you, long term. In many years time when you retire, you might discover that your ex is sitting pretty with a huge pension. Whereas you’re scrabbling around with a tiny pension and a big house that needs lots of maintenance.

This might be an opportunity to plan for the future. Perhaps you can downsize, release some capital for your ex, and get a share of their pension in return? This may take a little extra effort but might be worth it in the long term. Speak to an experienced family lawyer.

6. Ring fencing assets, your inheritance, pension, business …

Can you ring fence your assets? It depends. See my blogs Ring Fence and Protect Assets on Divorce and How to Protect Inheritance on DivorceDo you have to throw your business into the melting pot? See my blog, How to Protect Business on Divorce.

Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know A rayas by Juanedc on Wikimedia.

Read the article

When will no-fault divorce begin in the UK?

When will no-fault divorce begin in the UKThe Government has announced it will legislate for no-fault divorce as soon as parliamentary time allows. If you are keen to start your divorce and not sure whether to wait until the law changes, speak to an expert family lawyer.

What is no-fault divorce?

This is a way of getting divorced without raising conflict. Currently you have to rely on a reason:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years separation with consent
  • Desertion
  • Five years separation without consent

Allegations of adultery and unreasonable behaviour raise tensions, and if the divorce is contested, the only option can be to wait five years. The most amicable solution at the moment is two years separation with consent. No-fault divorce means the marriage has broken down but no one is in the wrong, and you don’t have to wait for years.

Why has the Government decided to act?

Resolution and other organisations have been lobbying. And the case of Owens v Owens has been in the news. Mrs Owens said her marriage was over because of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. But he contested the divorce and she is now in the process of waiting five years to reach the end of her unhappy marriage.

Why is no-fault divorce a good idea?

Joanne Houston of Just Family Law says no-fault divorce will reduce conflict in divorce and protect children. She adds, “This presents an opportunity for parting couples to engage in a constructive rather than a destructive process.” Joanne is a specialist in collaborative family law which allows couples to reach amicable agreements, avoid Court proceedings, and move forward with dignity and positivity. See my post, What is collaborative family law. Other options are –

How will no-fault divorce work?

The details have yet to be fully formulated but there will be a minimum time from start to finish of six months. There will still be a decree nisi and decree absolute stage. See my recent post How to file for divorce for a basic guide to divorce under the current law.

Why is divorce an important stage in agreeing the finances? 

A Court order finalising the finances is only available once the first divorce decree has been granted (the “decree nisi”). Hence it’s a good idea to sort out the divorce and the finances at the same time. See my blog What Comes First Divorce Or Settlement.

When will no-fault divorce begin in the UK?

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial free of charge consultation on the question When will no-fault divorce begin in the UK?

 In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post When will no-fault divorce begin in the UK? are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for When will no-fault divorce begin in the UK? Family Portrait by Eric Ward on Wikimedia

Read the article

Quick Divorce or Safe Divorce? How To Protect Your Financial Settlement

Quick Divorce1. How Quick Is A Quick Divorce?

Need a quick divorce? It usually takes about four months to end a marriage if the divorce is uncontested and there are no mishaps with the paperwork along the way. This may not sound particularly quick, but did you know you risk missing out financially if it goes even this quickly?  (see question 3 below).

To avoid mishaps with the paperwork take a quick look at our recent blog here.

2. Why Can’t A Quick Divorce Be Quicker?

Because there’s a strict timetable for the Court paperwork.

Documents have to be completed by you, your other half, and the Court. You will need to supply the reasons for your divorce (our recent blog can help). And even when you’ve dealt with all the paperwork and you’ve got your Decree Nisi, you will have to wait six weeks and one day before applying for the Decree Absolute (which ends your marriage).

And did you know there are special rules for short marriages? Click here to read our recent blog on this subject.

3. Why Would Anyone Want To Delay Their Divorce?

Because you could miss out on a fair share of the matrimonial finances.

If your other half dies after the divorce but before you have a Court Order confirming the financial settlement, you could lose out because you won’t be their widow or widower. And you could miss out on a fair share of their pension.

4. When’s The Ideal Time To Finalise A Divorce?

When the Court has made an Order confirming your financial settlement.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to Court for a big fight about money. After all, you may be in agreement about everything, or maybe there are just one or two things outstanding. Whatever the case is, get a quote from a family solicitor to help you with a Consent Order.

5. What Is A Consent Order?

It sets your financial settlement in stone.

Once the Court has made the Order, your other half can’t change their mind. And if you come into money, your other half can’t claim it. You can now apply for your Decree Absolute knowing your interests are protected.

6. Quick Divorce Or Safe Divorce?

It’s up to you. But make sure you take expert legal advice if you have any doubts.

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will discuss with you what’s been going wrong, and advise you of the most suitable wording for your divorce petition, and whether or not you require a Consent Order.

 


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: Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Read the article

10 Reasons Why You Need A Family Law Solicitor To Check Your DIY Divorce Petition

1.     Is a DIY divorce petition worth the risk? Every year countless petitions are rejected by the Court, and anxiety and delay are experienced.

2.     Doing it yourself means you miss out on expert legal advice regarding financial issues and children. And a family solicitor can help if you are at loggerheads by guiding you towards an amicable agreement with the help of mediation or collaborative law

3.     It doesn’t have to be expensive to speak to an experienced family law solicitor. But please make sure you find a solicitor who offers “Pay As You Go Advice“.

How Hard Can It Be To Get A DIY Divorce Petition Right?

4.     Why do DIY divorce petitions get sent back by the Court? A common problem is service. Perhaps you don’t know the respondent’s address, or failed to check the process server’s statement of service is correct, or named the co respondent but failed to serve them. You might have forgotten to ask for your costs to be paid. You might have overlooked the option to apply for a financial order. Or you might simply have forgotten to tick a box.

5.     When it comes to applying for a financial order, you may think it’s a simple “Yes/No” answer. But are you sure you know all your legal rights? You don’t want to miss out on a fair share of the pensions, or the business, or to be left with your ex’s debts. You could end up regretting your DIY financial agreement for the rest of your life.

6.     Even if you have an agreement about the finances there can be serious implications if you don’t have a Court order recording it, because your ex can change his or her mind, or can come back for more. And did you know it’s risky applying for a Decree Absolute (which brings your marriage to an end) before you have a Court order?

7.     Legal definitions in the divorce petition can be confusing. Your “habitual residence” or “domicile” may not be immediately clear to you because both can change over time and according to your particular circumstances. If you are an international family this can be a complication.

What’s The Worst Thing That Can Happen to a DIY Divorce Petition? 

8.     Your DIY divorce petition can fail completely because you haven’t chosen the right reason for your DIY divorce, or not given sufficient detail. In my last blog I talked about the recent case of Owens v Owens which says the Court can refuse a divorce if the Respondent defends and the petition isn’t strong enough, particularly in the case of unreasonable behaviour.

9.     If you belatedly discover you’ve ticked the wrong box, or if you want to strengthen your DIY divorce petition, the only option is to apply to amend it. But amending a petition is not only costly – an extra £95 Court fee – it’s time consuming and fiddly too.

10.   Finally, you may be in agreement about the children but there’s no option to record this in the petition. It may be worthwhile having a word with a family law solicitor, particularly in the case of international families. Otherwise you might find yourself accused of child abduction (an imprisonable office).

Contact us on 01962 217640 for a free telephone consultation on this or any other family law issue

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

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.

“Owl” by Mark Coleman on Flickr

“Eagle Owl” by M Shattock on Flickr

“Owl” by Chris Page on Flickr

Read the article

12 Things You Need To Know About “The Blame Game” – Fault or No Fault Divorce

1.    Divorce is never easy but if it can be amicable that’s best for you and best for the children. So the last thing you need is to fall out over the divorce petition. Whoever starts the divorce needs to choose one of five reasons: either adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years’ separation with consent, two years’ desertion, or five years’ separation.

2.    Most people just want to get on with it so they can sort out the family finances. The quickest options are adultery, and “unreasonable behaviour”, but of course they both involve blame. In the case of adultery it’s not necessary to name the other man or woman but to give dates and locations, if known.

3.    In the case of unreasonable behaviour you must prove “the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”. Typically there are five or six short paragraphs, mentioning for example attitudes to money, alcohol, sex or communication, or emotional deprivation or anger issues.

4.    When preparing a petition, a good family solicitor will follow the Law Society’s Family Protocol and “include brief details … sufficient to satisfy the court”, and send a draft to the other party “with a view to coming to an agreement”.

5.    In the recent case of Owens v Owens [2017], Mrs Owens’ petition relied on Mr Owens’ unreasonable behaviour. He had apparently prioritised work over home life, was unloving and unsupportive, moody and disparaging, and the couple had led separate lives for many years.

6.    Mrs Owens’ petition could easily have achieved the end result of obtaining a divorce, but Mr Owens took the unusual step of defending. The Central Family Court dismissed the petition saying the unreasonable behaviour involved “minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage”. Mrs Owens appealed. Sir James Munby in the Court of Appeal applied the law as it stands and approved the Central Family Court’s finding.

Time For A Change In The Law?

7.    In the Owens case Sir James Munby said “the challenge for the divorce lawyer is … to draft an anodyne petition” which navigates between rejection by the Court on the one hand, and non-cooperation by the respondent on the other. Many couples “colluded” in the allegations set out in the petition. He concluded the law was based on “hypocrisy and lack of intellectual honesty”, and indicated it was time for a change in the law to no fault divorce. In the meantime, Mrs Owens’ only option is to wait for five years from the date of separation.

8.    It is possible to avoid blame. But this involves living separately for two years and the other spouse consenting to the divorce. It’s amicable but it’s not exactly getting on with your life. Unless you are one of a tiny minority who can rely on desertion (it’s hard to prove), the only other option is to separate and wait for five years.

9.    Surely it would be better if couples could divorce without mud-slinging or delay? Yes, but that’s not possible without a change to our out-dated law. The family law organisation, Resolution, campaigns for no fault divorce, but at the moment it seems only a distant possibility.

What Are The Arguments Against No Fault Divorce?

10. Some people value the idea of punishment in fault based divorce. But what a hollow victory where blame simply creates antagonism. And the “punishment” is of the most obscure variety because the divorce petition is only seen by the couple, their solicitors, and the Court. Relying on fault makes absolutely no difference to outcome save for hurt feelings.

11. The Government tried to introduce no fault divorce in 1996 but got into a muddle with the arrangements and backed away for fear of undermining marriage. This is despite being committed to reducing conflict over children and matrimonial finances by promoting mediation rather than court proceedings.

12. Scotland has had no fault divorce since 2006. Surely it’s time for us to follow their lead. Sticking to our current divorce laws is likely to cause increasing misery to separating couples, and damage to children and society as a whole.

Contact us on 01962 217640 for a free telephone consultation on this or any other family law issue

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

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.

Gallus gallus domesticus (Chicken) by Philip Pikart on WikiMedia

Read the article