It has been announced that from 27th July Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will ask everyone going to court in England to wear a face mask. In Scotland and Wales, wearing face masks will not be compulsory. If you have a valid reason you may be excused from wearing a face mask. These […]
The often stressful, protracted and adversarial process currently in place in the family court can have the effect of worsening conflict between parties, which in turn can cause further trauma for victims of domestic abuse and their children. The family courts often have to conduct cases involving some of the most vulnerable in society, and […]
When a couple decides to divorce, there are often other issues that must be resolved along the way. For many, the family pet is considered another member of the family and trying to decide on the arrangements for who should take care of the dog can be very difficult and saying goodbye can be upsetting. […]
The Government recently announced that from 4th July couples can now get married in England with up to 30 guests and enjoy their wedding ceremonies with rules in place, such as all individuals from different households being at least 2 metres apart, or one metre with risk mitigation if this is not possible.
The recent case of Mr and Mrs Villiers (Villiers v Villiers  UKSC 30) is a reminder that divorce law is different depending on where you live in the UK. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own laws which are different to those in England and Wales. Mr and Mrs Villiers lived in Scotland for […]
The President of the Family Division has announced that the functioning of the Family Court is unlikely to return to full and ordinary operation until Spring 2021 and, even by then, there may be a new normal to the court working environment. Most of the court buildings have been closed to the public as a […]
Family lawyers breathed a sigh of relief last night (17 June) when it was announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, to introduce no-fault divorce finally cleared through the House of Commons.. The next step is for the bill to receive Royal assent later this year. Receiving Royal assent should be a quick process; […]
One of the unfortunate consequences of the pandemic is that a large number of people have been forced to delay their marriage. Clearly there is some disappointment about this but for those who have been married before, this may in fact be a blessing in disguise. It is a common misconception that when you go […]
The President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane last week issued his Road Map indicating that as social distancing restrictions will remain in place for many months it is unlikely that anything approaching a return to the normal court working environment will be achieved before the end of 2020 or even the spring of […]
Improved life expectancy and quality of life has resulted in a rise in the number of divorcing couples over the age of 65. Those separating in the later years of their life are likely to be retired, with one of their most valuable assets being their pension(s). They may also have additional needs which must […]
The pandemic has certainly put a lot of people in difficulties – physically, mentally, financially and socially. This can be especially true for separated couples who need to continue to live together in the current circumstances. However, even before the pandemic, some separated couples might have found themselves in no position to live apart for […]
The trials of family life are different for everyone but in this crisis situation that we are experiencing now thanks to Covid-19 it really increases the pressure on merged or separated families. We have had a number of unique Covid-specific queries from families and individuals living across the South East as well as from abroad, asking […]
Good news, the bill to change divorce law to ‘no fault’ has passed the next stage which was a second reading in the House of Commons with 231 votes for and only 16 against on 8 June 2020. The next stage is for the bill to be considered in detail at committee stage. This proposed […]
While the reforms making no-fault divorce possible are going through a stop-start process in parliament, you might be wondering how long you need to wait until you can get divorced. Clients often come through our doors expecting they’ll need to wait several years – sometimes under very acrimonious circumstances – before they can divorce their […]
Dealing with a divorce is stressful enough but when farmers divorce there are usually additional considerations. It is not uncommon for both spouses to work on the farm, for their matrimonial home to be on the farm, for wider family members to work or live on the farm and for long working hours to be […]
When two parents fall out, and use their child against each other, the court can step in and become the child’s official parents, assuming power over major decisions concerning the child’s life. Wardship may be an ancient form of proceedings, but it plays an important present-day role. In 2017 the Court of Appeal dealt with […]
It is a very unsettling and difficult time for us all at the moment, but none more so than for separated couples who find themselves in self-isolation, either together or in separate homes. If this is you or someone you know, you may be wondering how you will ever be able to sort things out […]
Your personal safety is a priority.
Many couples have taken the romantic or maybe the practical decision to live together during the lockdown so they can still see each other. This may have been considered slightly premature in normal circumstances, maybe because your relationship is not a particularly long one or because you haven’t quite worked out how the bills are […]
Being confined to a particular place for an extended period with anyone can be difficult. How much harder is it therefore if you are in the middle of a divorce? Divorcing couples living under the same roof during Coronavirus It is not uncommon for couples to remain under the same roof while dealing with the […]
Now that we are in lockdown we have been advised that the courts are no longer proceeding with the traditional face to face hearings. Instead, we’re all getting used to the prospect of telephone, email or Skype hearings. We have to have some sympathy with the court who are bending under some pressure prior to this […]
The Coronavirus outbreak will have a far-reaching effect on all aspects of life, including income and job security. Your business may be feeling the brunt of it, or your income may have taken a sudden turn as you’ve been asked to take unpaid leave; whatever the case you will be wondering how you can afford […]
The government has issued a national lockdown to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with people only being allowed to leave their homes for limited purposes and all public gatherings of more than two people being banned (save for where the gathering is of a group of people who live together, or for essential work purposes). […]
Michael Gove had to apologise this morning on BBC Radio 4 for creating confusion over his comments on Good Morning Britain yesterday regarding divorced/ separated families and their child contact arrangements. He said yesterday that during “lockdown” children should not be travelling between separated parents. This is wrong.
We are living in unprecedented times. The next 3- 6 months are going to be really challenging for us all.
The outbreak of COVID-19 (“the Coronavirus”) brings unprecedented times with it, and family law is one of many aspects of life that will no doubt be impacted by this. You may find yourself in self-isolation with your partner, ex-partner or soon to be ex-partner for what might be months wondering what now. You may find […]
On 20th March, the world will celebrate the International Day of Happiness, which is likely not going to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind in light of the current pandemic. This year’s theme is Happier Together, which is not to suggest people should ignore social distancing but instead, focus on what we have in […]
What should you do if you and your household are self isolating, but your child[ren] are due to spend time with their other parent, or family member such as a grandparent over the Easter holidays?
Like many of us who enjoy a gripping legal drama, I have recently enjoyed watching the second series of the BBC’s The Split. It has an extra appeal to me as a practising family lawyer and mediator myself! The main character is top family lawyer Hannah Stern, working for a London niche family law firm. […]
In a divorce or separation often one of the more contentious and emotive issues can be the question of who keeps the pet dog or cat etc. Pets are often regarded as a member of the family. They can provide companionship upon finding yourself without your spouse or partner, and, for adults and any children, […]
Who are the child’s legal parents?
Couples who have a religious marriage in England need to be very aware of their rights otherwise, as history has now taught us, this can come back to haunt you. A religious marriage in England will not be treated as a legally recognised marriage unless it’s followed up by a civil ceremony. If you don’t […]
It might seem impossible but Valentine’s Day and divorce have one thing in common; they can be the beginning of something new, the next chapter in someone’s life. People going through divorce will often ask whether they can and should date other people while divorcing their ex-spouse.
Pre-nuptial agreements (“pre-nups”) have become more popular in recent years, but they are not just for the rich and famous. Following the marriage proposals at Christmas and on Valentine’s Day, and the ladies who proposed on 29th February, more and more couples may now be turning their minds to having a pre-nup as well as […]
The end of a relationship is a difficult time, but it’s important not to rush into decisions.
The most frequently asked questions from our clients in a civil partnership.
When couples separate or divorce they need to sort out how they are going to divide their finances, and the arrangements for any relevant children. Sometimes couples are able to resolve things amicably between themselves but often some professional input and support is needed. There are different ways that divorcing couples can resolve their financial […]
Frequently separating or divorcing partners / spouses want to sort out the division of their finances and/or the arrangements for any relevant children in family mediation but they are worried that their husband / wife / partner may not want to. One partner / spouse would like to mediate as it provides a way for […]
In a landmark case in 2018, a heterosexual couple won the right to enter into a civil partnership. This resulted in a change in the law and, as of 31st December 2019,heterosexual couples who want to legally formalise their relationship can choosewhether to enter into a civil partnership or marry. So, how do you decide […]
What is mediation?
What is arbitration?
Along with the pledge to get healthier, this time of year sees many couples decide that the New Year is going to bring them a fresh start in their home and family life. The thought of starting the process of divorce can be overwhelming and frightening – but much like fad diets, do all divorces […]
Sometimes when a couple divorces it is important to consider which country should and can deal with the divorce. This might be relevant if you were married, for example, in another country but then moved to live here. This might also be relevant if one spouse has moved abroad on the separation. If there a […]
Can I claim on my partners’ house?
The most frequently asked questions from our clients going through a divorce.
Are you thinking about popping the question this Christmas? Or do you think your partner may ask you? If it looks like engagement is on the horizon, many congratulations!
There are a countless number of decisions parents need to make for their children throughout the course of their lives. One of the most important being which school your child attends – which primary school and which secondary school. Children also often look to their parents for advice regarding higher education as well.
Since 5th December 2005 it has been possible for members of the same sex to enter into a civil partnership, whether or not there is any romantic or sexual element. Civil partnerships are governed by very similar rules to marriage regarding their formation and dissolution. For example, close relatives cannot enter into a civil partnership. […]
With Halloween often falling on or around the first half term of the school year, this is usually the first break parents and children enjoy after the summer holidays. A bit of trick or treating can be ideal for letting children blow off some steam. However, for parents that are separated, who has the children […]
Dealing with a divorce is stressful enough, but when farmers divorce there are usually additional considerations. It is not uncommon for both spouses to work on the farm, for their matrimonial home to be on the farm, for wider family members to work or live on the farm, and for long working hours to be […]
There is no one size fits all when it comes to divorce. Every situation is different from the next and some people may find a different approach works best for them but ultimately, everyone has the same goal; a quick and amicable separation. 1. Firstly, consider whether reconciliation is worth exploring. Reconciliation may not seem […]
Imagine that your wedding is just a couple of months away – the happiest day of your life – and your lawyer friend says you should be thinking about your divorce. For most engaged couples, thinking about divorce before you’ve even tied the knot might seem somewhat depressing. However, pre-nuptial agreements can establish a sounder […]
It is not uncommon for spouses to be worried that their ex will try to hide assets, or lie about the true extent of their income or investments, when it comes to a financial settlement alongside divorce proceedings. This can particularly be a worry for, typically, a wife who has been a stay-at home mum […]
Family breakdown is never easy, especially when coming to an agreement regarding children and finances. This is compounded if you find yourself going down the route of litigation. If you do find yourself in this situation, you will want to do all you can to avoid going to court, not least as the court process […]
What you need to know about taking children abroad after separation The Ashes test series has begun, the sun is shining; summer is here. Attentions naturally turn to holiday. But there’s a word of warning if you are divorced or separated – you must have written permission from your former partner before you take the […]
As Boris Johnson settles in to his new residence at No 10 Downing Street with girlfriend Carrie Symonds it seems that they may just be the first ever cohabiting couple to move in. Is this just another subtle sign that society is starting to accept and recognise cohabiting couples as equals to our married counterparts? […]
Marriage has become a more inclusive term over the past decade with the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which made gay and lesbian marriage possible. This has been praised by many as a victory for equality, something many will think about as London Pride approaches on 6th July. At first glance […]
Marriage has become a more inclusive term over the past decade with the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which made gay and lesbian marriage possible. This has been praised by many as a victory for equality, something many will think about as London Pride Parade approaches on 6th July. At first […]
Recent case law and statutes have reiterated time and again the importance of the child’s welfare. How does this link with parental responsibility? Parental responsibility is defined as the ‘rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’. Here, there is […]
Recently, lawyers, judges and social workers have become increasingly aware of parental alienation. It is however just as crucial for parents to also recognise when this is happening and why this might happen. Parental alienation can manifest itself in many different ways but ultimately it is where a parent has been pushed out of their […]
I have dealt with several cases where the biggest bone of contention (excuse the pun) was the family pet. In a particularly acrimonious matter I had suggested to my client that it would be cheaper to buy a new cat than instruct me to keep fighting for it. My suggestion did not go down well […]
Parents might want to change their child’s name for a variety of reasons. Perhaps there is an absent parent or the child is being bullied, or perhaps the child wants to change his or her name.
With heavy weight boxer Anthony Joshua looking for a knock out against his opponent this weekend, we look at 5 common myths around separating and divorcing that also need to be knocked out of circulation for good!
Separating from your partner or getting divorced can be traumatic and stressful. As a family law solicitor and mediator I appreciate the need to be sensitive to my clients’ emotional needs, but also those of their partner / spouse. Often I work in the collaborative process, or as a family mediator, with a family consultant […]
The press has recently reported that Paul Hollywood and his wife of 20 years, Alex, will be going to court to argue about the division of their financial assets. The press reports suggest that they had been trying to resolve matters in family mediation, but that this has now broken down so court proceedings are […]
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May. It’s therefore a good time to consider how mental health can be affected by separation and divorce.
With the birth of the latest royal baby, Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, we have seen the first mixed race child born to a senior royal in centuries, a reflection of our modern multi-cultural society. As a family law solicitor and mediator, I sometimes come across disputes between parents from different backgrounds about the upbringing of […]
Easter offers many parents an opportunity to take their children on holiday and the big question is often home or away? If you are a separated parent, the decision to take your kids abroad can be more complicated than it first appears.
The popular BBC programme “Who Do You Think You Are?” highlights how interested we have all become in our family trees. The number of daily visitors to genealogy websites like Ancestry has increased significantly over the last few years. Looking up your family history is now apparently the second biggest hobby in the USA after […]
Any keen golfer (or golf widow) will know that the prospect of teeing off and landing straight in the bunker can have catastrophic effect on your final scorecard. It is easy to get your separation or divorce off to a similar start by making a mistake that will leave you well over par and potentially […]
Separating from your partner can feel as though you are swept up in a never ending steeplechase with ‘money’ being the big prize on offer. But there are so many other considerations when separating and here are just a few of the options below:
Mother’s day, otherwise known as Mothering Sunday, is around the corner. It is often considered a day for children to show their appreciation to their mums, and if you’re lucky there may even be a homemade present. Mother’s day, just like Father’s day, can also be a point of contention when trying to sort out […]
The self proclaimed ‘worlds happiest separated couple’ Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Fergie (Sarah Ferguson), may tie the knot a second time. Will they also take the increasingly popular step of taking out a pre-nup? Although it may sound unromantic, pre-nups are not just reserved for royalty and super wealthy.
The announcement that Jennifer Lopez has become engaged to former US baseball player Alex Rodriguez has caught the public’s imagination. The couple, widely referred to as ‘J-Lo and A-Rod’ have been dating for two years. Their combined wealth is staggering: Jennifer Lopez is estimated to be worth an incomprehensible 400 million dollars, and her fianc√©, […]
Generally, the issues you face upon a divorce or separation are threefold: legal; emotional and financial. Mediation is a bespoke flexible process which can accommodate all skillsets needed to cover these issues.
As a family law solicitor and Law Society accredited mediator I regularly assist clients going through a separation or divorce in resolving their financial affairs and/or difficulties in the arrangements for the children. There are many benefits of choosing mediation to resolve these issues, some of which are as follows:
You may have seen in the press recently the case in which the Supreme Court grappled with this question.
When you commence a new relationship or get engaged protecting your assets is probably not the first thing on your mind. Whilst it is unromantic it is, however, a good idea to consider the following protective measures you can take to try to protect your assets. This is particularly the case if there is a […]
The Court of Appeal has released judgment in the case of Waggott v Waggott saying no it shouldn’t and dismissing the wife’s appeal.
As it is Family Mediation Week I took part in a live Twitter Q & A on Wednesday to answer any questions about family mediation. The question which seemed to generate the most interest was:
I commonly come across the following mediation misconceptions in my role as a family mediator:
In the wake of the striking divorce case of Mrs and Mr Owens, BBC Radio Solent spoke to Debra Emery, Partner and Head of the Moore Blatch Family department about the implications of Judge Robin Tolson QC refusing Mrs Tini Owens application for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour at the Family Court sitting […]
As we enter 2017, there is a higher-than-normal degree of uncertainty regarding the prospects of the UK economy and the housing market, especially for first time buyers.