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Divorce & Family Law - Divorce & Separation

What is a Final Hearing within financial remedy proceedings?

Charlotte Bowen
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The Final Hearing will usually be the third and final court hearing within financial remedy proceedings. The Judge will make a decision on your financial position and impose a settlement on you and your husband/wife if agreement is not reached. Prior to the...

'No fault' divorce rules set to end the 'blame game'

Lucy Phipps
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The introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce in April 2022 is perhaps the biggest shake-up in divorce law for decades. The aim is end the “blame game” and reduce acrimony and hostility which can be made worse under the old regime. Now,...

How a house is divided on divorce

Ella Dodgson
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There is no magical equation or ‘one size fits all’ formula to separating assets on divorce and dividing up the family home is no different. The family home will be treated as a matrimonial asset regardless of whether it is owned in the sole name...

What is an FDA court hearing?

Charlotte Bowen
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One of the most important parts of getting divorce, is reaching a financial settlement. A lot of couples are able to agree this without going to court, but if there are difficulties in achieving this. Perhaps with one person not providing their financial...

Divorce rates - will they rise with the advent of no fault divorce?

Ella Dodgson
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Each year, the Office of National Statistics provide updated statistics for divorce rates in the previous year. It was anticipated by the media and many professionals that the strains of lockdown restrictions would see a spike in divorce rates. The Office...

Remote Hearings in the Family Court

Lucy Phipps
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After the country was put into Lockdown in March 2020, the courts in England and Wales had to find a way to make sure they could continue to hear court cases, but at a time when we weren’t able to meet in court buildings. Radical upgrades were made to...

What does Without Prejudice mean?

Ella Dodgson
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You will often receive correspondence within divorce proceedings or a financial offer marked ‘Without Prejudice’ and you may be wondering what this means. ‘Without Prejudice’ means ‘without loss of any rights’ and the...

What are your rights to property after separation?

Amy Foweather
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Assuming you have a registered marriage, the first question is whether or not you entered into a prenuptial agreement, or subsequent postnuptial agreement. Such agreements are now becoming much more common in a wide range of cases and are not limited to the...

How does no fault divorce work?

Rebecca Laffan
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Currently to be able to start your divorce proceedings there needs to be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To prove this the Court must be satisfied that one of the following facts are met. Adultery Unreasonable behaviour Desertion 2 years...

Should I wait until after my divorce to change my Will?

Hayley Crossman-Shaw
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The short answer is no; you must act sooner than this. It may be important to create a Will or amend an existing Will to ensure you protect your interests. Do not wait until you obtain a decree absolute. If you do not have a Will, strict rules apply to the...

No Fault Divorce allowed from April 2022

Emma Walker
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It has been a matter of public record for some time that the Government were considering implementing a system whereby parties could divorce immediately, without the necessity to blame each other. Those of you familiar with the divorce process will be aware...

What do I do if I change my mind about my divorce?

Ella Dodgson
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This depends entirely on where in the divorce proceedings you are. You can change your mind about your divorce and withdraw the proceedings at any point unless your Decree Absolute has been pronounced. If your divorce petition has only just been filed with...

If I am separating from my partner, can I change the locks on the family home?

Lucy Phipps
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Yes, you can change the locks on the house if the property is legally owned in just your name, but not if it is owned jointly with another person. If you own the house with your former partner, then you will need their permission to change the locks and you...

Tips for divorcing a narcissist

Ella Dodgson
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Narcissism is a personality disorder which can be characterised as having an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration and a lack of empathy or inability to recognise the needs and feelings of others. A narcissist’s personality traits...

Will divorce rates rise in 2021?

Ella Dodgson
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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have recently confirmed that divorce rates increased in 2019 to the highest level in 5 years with 107,599 couples divorcing last year. This was attributed to a backlog of divorce cases following the centralisation of...

Information for victims of domestic abuse

Emma Walker
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Family arrangements at Christmas time can increase pressure in relationships that are already volatile and so, sadly, there is usually a spike in domestic abuse reports over the holiday period. Unfortunately, in this pandemic year, many families have been...

The No Fault Divorce Bill and the shift away from the 'blame game'

Rebecca Laffan
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As the No Fault Divorce Bill has now passed the final stage and is expected to be implemented in Autumn 2021, it has subsequently brought with it a lot of curiosity from people who are questioning the extent of the impact this change in the law will have on...

Should I wait for further easing of lockdown restrictions before I apply for a divorce?

Ella Dodgson
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The media has predicted that we will experience a rise in divorce cases following the restrictions of lockdown but are there any benefits to waiting for the restrictions to be lifted to start the process? Make early contact with a specialist lawyer The...

Can I apply for divorce whilst we are in lockdown?

Amy Foweather
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Q. Can I apply for divorce whilst we are in lock down? A. We are receiving several enquiries from clients who have made the recent decision to divorce their spouse, either because they now have the time to do so or because being in the same house for...

I have moved in with my partner for the lockdown, what happens if things don't work out?

Ella Dodgson
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Q I have moved in with my partner for the lockdown, what happens if things don’t work out? A. The deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, has suggested that couples who do not live together should either stay apart during the Coronavirus...

Do I still need to meet Family Court deadlines whilst on lock down?

Amy Foweather
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Q. Do I still need to meet Family Court deadlines whilst on lock down? A. As explained in our Q&A on 25 March 2020, the Courts are still open, with there being a clear expectation that court deadlines and hearings are still complied with as far as...

Will my Family Court Hearing still take place during lock down?

Amy Foweather
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Q. Will my Hearing still take place whilst we are on lock down? A. Whilst the courts are inevitably facing new challenges due to Covid-19, it is important to still prepare for your hearing to take place, albeit not in the conventional way. Solicitors...

Does marriage affect my declaration of trust?

Lucy Phipps
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If you are not married and buy a property with your partner, it is possible to set out how the money should be divided upon sale by entering into a Declaration of Trust. However, if you are married or go on to get married, the strength of that Trust is...

Do I have to go to Court to get divorced?

Ella Dodgson
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A divorce is the process of legally ending a marriage and therefore some documents need to be filed with the Court. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will need to appear before a judge. Courts are used to resolve legal disputes and if you and...

What do I have to do to start a divorce?

Lucy Phipps
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Meeting with a family lawyer can be a daunting step to take, but knowing what the divorce process entails and how long it will take should help to ease any concerns you may have.  Your solicitor will need your original marriage certificate (a certified...

What are my rights if I am not married to my partner?

Emma Walker
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The ‘common law’ myth There are lots of myths out there about co-habiting couples acquiring the same rights as married couples, once they have lived together for a certain period of time. Put simply, there is no law for the ‘nearly...

No fault divorce. Do not hold your breath.

Emma Walker
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One of the things that we are asked on a regular basis by people thinking of getting divorced is whether or not they have to ‘blame’ their spouse or civil partner for the reason for the relationship breakdown. I will not detail the facts that...

Divorcing after long term separation

Emma Walker
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We are often approached by people who have been separated from their spouse for many years. If there are no children arising from the relationship, the parties often do not know where the other party lives. There are various options. If you have a current...

What are the grounds for divorce?

Lucy Phipps
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As many wait for Divorce Reform to come into play, we take a look at the current system, where there is in fact only one ground for divorce. This being the irretrievable breakdown of marriage . However, in order to demonstrate that your...

How long does a divorce take?

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At the outset of divorce proceedings this is often one of the first questions asked. The divorce itself should be relatively straightforward if you have instructed a family solicitor to manage the process for you. The divorce process itself usually takes 6...

More divorce 'urban myths' busted

Emma Walker
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Myth:  Can I divorce my spouse if they have committed adultery with a person of the same sex? Busted! It is not possible to issue a divorce petition citing adultery as the reason for the marriage breakdown if your spouse is having an affair with a...

Think about changing or making a Will during divorce

Lucy Phipps
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If you are in the process of getting a divorce , it is vital that you think about changing or making a Will even during divorce proceedings This is because any existing Will you may have is unlikely to reflect your wishes during and after separation. ...

What is a separation agreement?

Amy Foweather
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A separation agreement can be entered into by couples who are separating but who do not want to divorce or dissolve their civil partnership at that time. This can be for various reasons, including not being ready to take that step or for religious reasons....

What is the difference between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute?

Lucy Phipps
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During the divorce process , two Decrees will be received but they have very different meanings and effects.  Decree Nisi is the first Decree that will be received, a few weeks after your Application for divorce has been issued by the Court....

How do I change my name after divorce

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When going through a divorce , people often want to change their surname from their husband’s surname back to their maiden name. The Decree Absolute of your divorce should be sufficient evidence of the change of name to enable you legally to adopt...

How do I end my civil partnership?

Amy Foweather
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If your relationship has broken down irretrievably, then you can take steps to dissolve your civil partnership .  To apply for a dissolution, you must have been in a civil partnership for at least one year. The partner wanting to dissolve the civil...

What is the court process to get divorced?

Lucy Phipps
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There are three stages to get divorced and which are: issuing a divorce petition, obtaining decree nisi; and obtaining decree absolute.  What is a divorce petition? A divorce petition is an application for the legal dissolution of a marriage....

What is judicial separation

Lucy Phipps
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Judicial separation is where you and your spouse formally separate and this separation is recognised by the Court. Judicial separation is rare and is usually used due to religious reasons. As with divorce , a petition for judicial separation will need to...

Can you still live together during a divorce?

Lucy Phipps
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Quite simply, yes. You are able to divorce even if you and your spouse remain living with each other, though it must be proven that you have maintained separate lives whilst divorcing and perhaps even prior to separation. However, bear in mind that living...

Brexit and Family Law

Lucy Phipps
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As the political debate around Brexit continues, we take a look at the impact it could have in Family Law . EU Regulation assists in determining the appropriate legal jurisdiction for divorce proceedings. Currently, within the EU, the country where...

When can you annul a marriage?

Lucy Phipps
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A marriage can be annulled if it is a void or voidable marriage and an annulment can take place at any time after the wedding, unlike a divorce where you have to wait a year. What is a void marriage? A void marriage is where your marriage is not legally...

Christmas: Taking the pressure off already strained relationships

Lucy Phipps
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It is well known that the most busy time for divorce lawyers is January.  This is because already strained personal and family relationships can come under particular pressure over the Christmas and New Year period. Having seen many January...

Divorce 'Urban Myths' Busted

Emma Walker
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As we have cautioned previously, you need to be careful not to be misled by urban myths that frequently circulate online. To help you, we call out and bust four urban myths concerning divorce law . Myth: If you live together for two years you acquire the...

Googling divorce questions

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It is so easy - a quick Google search and, bingo, you have answers to questions you may have about divorce proceedings , separation or what should happen with the family home. However, proceed with caution, the answer you find may not apply to your...

What happens to my pet on divorce

Lucy Phipps
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A pet is often seen as an integral part of a family – but, in the eyes of the law, household pets are treated only as property. What happens if there is a dispute? If there is dispute about ‘who should have the pet’ upon divorce , it...

Broken engagements - your rights

Lucy Phipps
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If your engagement breaks down, do you have any rights? A broken engagement might be devastating to one party or might be a mutual decision but either way it’s likely to cause upset and sadness. Once the initial shock has eased, it will be necessary...

Divorce and severing joint tenancy

Lucy Phipps
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Decisions regarding the family home are usually those which can cause the most conflict and need to be considered in detail during divorce and financial proceedings, but what else do you need to think about? When you purchase a family home purchased jointly...

Why was Mrs Owens denied the right to divorce?

Lucy Phipps
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It might surprise many people to discover that ‘no fault divorces’ do not exist under English law – though they do in other jurisdictions like Scotland and the USA. The current position is that divorce can only be granted within the first...

The Split: the drama vs the reality

Lucy Phipps
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Like most family lawyers, I have felt compelled to watch the BBC1 drama ‘The Split’ to see how my day job is represented -  albeit I watched most of it distracted by some pretty significant inaccuracies! The drama centres around a high...

5 reasons to consider mediation when facing relationship breakdown

Lucy Phipps
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When thinking about how to settle the issues that arise from a separation, the benefits of mediation are well worth considering. Mediation won’t suit everyone, but for some couples it can be a valuable way to reduce the stress involved in relationship...

Can I get divorced online?

Lucy Phipps
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The answer is yes, but do so with extreme caution as dealing with your divorce incorrectly can result in missed financial claims or a failure to stop your ex from coming back and claiming against you in the future. There are at least two strands to every...

I'm a celebrity divorcee, get me out of here!

Lucy Phipps
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He already shares half of his wealth with double-act best friend Dec, so will Ant McPartlin now be required (or agree) to share that half again with estranged wife Lisa Armstrong? The announcement that one of TV's best loved presenters is separating...

How can you divorce quickly without creating acrimony?

Lucy Phipps
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During a recent ITV 'Tonight' documentary, the subject of divorce was discussed and the issue of whether England & Wales should allow parties to separate on a no-fault basis (as you can in Scotland or the US) was debated with valid arguments made...

"Divorce Day"

Lucy Phipps
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It is a recent phenomenon that the first Monday in January has become known as ‘divorce day’.  In 2018 that day in fact falls on Tuesday 2nd January as the first Monday is of course New Year’s Day. We are often asked whether or not...

Practical information for those at risk of domestic abuse

Emma Walker
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It’s that time of year again when the festive period is upon us. Sadly, instances of domestic abuse and violence increase significantly over this period. If you are concerned about a family member or loved one who you believe is at risk of domestic...

End the blame game - time for reform of divorce law?

Lucy Phipps
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Some 118,000 divorces are granted in England and Wales each year; that’s more than 300 couples every day. Divorce in itself is difficult enough, but when the outdated laws surrounding divorce are largely fault-based, it makes it even harder and often...

Guide to the first meeting with your divorce lawyer

Lucy Phipps
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Going in to meet a divorce lawyer can be a daunting prospect.  So, what do you need to know from them and what are they likely to ask you? You need to trust your divorce lawyer You need to know that you can be open and honest with them - both about...

No such thing as a common law spouse

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Buying your first house is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Couples who are buying together for the first time are making a huge financial and emotional investment, often funded by one or both of their respective parents. An important factor...

Divorce myths explained

Lucy Phipps
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In a generation of celebrity and social media, it comes as no surprise that ‘split rumours’ and ‘custody battles’ amongst the rich and famous are filling up the columns of our daily news feed. This reporting means that divorce is now...