Loading...

Follow Grayfords Family Law on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

The breakup of a marriage or civil partnership is about much more than a relationship coming to an end. Divorce and dissolution are when two lives, which up until this point have been tangled together, now need to be carefully unpicked and separated.

Who will be the primary carer for the children? What will happen to the family home? How will the family business work? All of these questions and more have to be dealt with so that both parties are able to move on with their lives.

Fortunately, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on some (or all) of these issues, help is at hand in the form of various alternative dispute resolution methods.

Mediation – someone neutral to aid your discussions

When emotions are running high, it’s all too easy to find yourself having the same arguments every time you meet your spouse to discuss your future. Mediation – where an independent third party is there to help you and your spouse work towards reaching an agreement about everything from childcare to your financial settlement – is one way to try to avoid an expensive and lengthy court case. Indeed, most couples will have to attend an initial mediation meeting known as a MIAM (Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting) before heading to Court.

Collaborative law – working together with your solicitors

Another way to attempt to resolve your issues is for you, your spouse and your respective solicitors to meet to try to work together to reach an agreement. Just like mediation, these “four-way meetings” can be a good way for both parties to have their say and hopefully work more collaboratively (compared to being on opposite sides in Court) in order to reach a solution.

Court proceedings are sometimes necessary

If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, Court may be the only option. Normally, it should be viewed as a last resort, as court proceedings can be time-consuming and costly.

Going to Court may also be necessary in certain circumstances, such as if there is domestic violence or if there is an international element to your divorce and time is of the essence.

It is always possible to negotiate alongside Court proceedings.

It is highly advisable to seek independent legal advice specific to your situation before making a decision on whether to head straight to Court or to try alternative dispute resolution methods first. Get in touch with us to book your free initial consultation with one of our experienced family solicitors.

Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords says:  “Attempting to resolve issues without going to Court should always be a priority, not just because it is likely to avoid the financial and emotional costs of going to Court but also because people generally feel more positive about solutions in which they have had a hand themselves or in which they feel that their voice has been heard as part of that resolution process.  However, alternative means of trying to resolve issues first outside Court are not always suitable if, for example, there are concerns over financial disclosure or a fundamental welfare issue and in some cases can even place you at a disadvantage when the legal arguments in your case are subsequently advanced.  We always aim to deal with cases in a consensual and conciliatory way but we are also experts in our field in knowing when and how to fight your case in Court”.    

This article was written by Lauren Howells and Neil Graham.

The post Divorce 101: how to avoid a public and bitter divorce battle appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In divorce cases, the welfare of the children is rightly the central point from which all considerations stem. Increasingly, however, as one or both spouses often regard pets as their “children”, greater focus is placed on them within divorce proceedings by the parties. This importance placed on pets is also leading to an increasing number of “dog-nups”. But what are “dog-nups” and how do the courts resolve disputes involving family pets following divorce or separation?

What are “dog-nups”?

Although many may see their pet as their “child”, the law does not recognise them as such. Instead, pets are seen as property in the eyes of the law, the same as a piece of furniture, for example, so there are no special provisions for pets. This is likely a key factor behind why many couples are seeking to document what would happen to their pet(s) in the event of a breakup, such as upkeep costs and who will care for the pet and when. This type of agreement is colloquially known as a “pet-nup” or “dog-nup” (due to many such cases involving dogs). This is seen as similar in nature to a “pre-nup” due to its proactive nature; detailing what would occur should the couple divorce.

The Guardian reports that in the past year there were 30,000 divorce cases involving a dispute over a pet. It may, therefore, be unsurprising that reportedly one in 20 pet-owning couples now have a “pet-nup” (with many more stating they would consider entering into one). This is a rapid increase from the numbers even as recent as 2014, where the first legally binding pet-nup was said to have been created by the animal welfare charity, Blue Cross.

A key reason behind such an increase is perhaps due to high profile celebrity divorces where pets are a contentious issue. For example, Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong recently battled over who will get custody over their Labrador, Hurley, and when Cheryl and Ashley Cole divorced, they ensured their dog Coco was shared between them to “keep the peace”. This public awareness, coupled with Britain being a nation of pet lovers, is leading many to increasingly ask, “who will get custody of the pet if we divorce?” This is leading many to consider “pet-nups”.

How do the courts resolve disputes involving family pets following divorce or separation?

The courts’ standard position in determining disputes with pets on divorce places children at the centre. In practice, this means that any pets will often stay with the children, particularly if they were close to the children. A key reason behind this is because such an approach will be in the children’s best interests if it helps to minimise the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.

However, in cases where there are no children, resolving disputes with pets is more uncertain. Here, the courts will exercise more discretion in determining what happens to the pets. In doing so, the Court will consider various factors to determine who should look after the pet, when and on what terms. Such factors, among others, may include whether any one spouse owned the pet initially, who paid for the pet, whether one spouse disproportionately looked after the pet’s daily needs, whether the partners want the pet full-time and the living arrangements of the parties (e.g. whether a partner’s rented accommodation allows pets).

Once the Court has considered the relevant factors, there are numerous possible outcomes. For example, some common outcomes include the court ordering that the pet be cared for by one party only, the pet be cared for jointly by both parties or the parties sell the pet and split the cost. However, it is important to note that such outcomes may be more complex to implement in practice than perhaps they first appear. For instance, if both parties are to jointly care for the pet, it may be the case that each partner looks after the pet for a few months each or that a contact schedule be required, just as would be the case with a child, which would delineate the ex-couple may look after the pet for specific days separately each week.

Even where there exists a “pet-nup”, there is no absolute certainty as there may be issues around its enforceability if there is a dispute and ultimately the Court will decide what should happen to the pet.

What the above highlights then is that the courts do not see animals as akin to children in divorce proceedings but rather as property.

How Grayfords can help

Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords comments: “Feelings often run high on the breakdown of a relationship when it comes to pets, not just in relation to the pedigree ones which can often be very valuable but also in relation to the faithful four-legged, feathered or any other variety to whom the parties are understandably devoted.  In the eyes of the law, pets are still property, and there is nothing the Courts dislike more than having to become involved in property disputes.  Including a clause in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement which provides for pets is a sensible idea in order to minimise the chances of a dispute later.  Alternatively, finding imaginative solutions which enable both parties to continue to share in the life of their faithful companion is always better than going to Court. We are always willing and able to assist with the above.”   

This article was written by Neil Graham and Ishtiaq Shafiq.

The post “Dog-nups”: who gets to keep the pet after a breakup? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’ve decided your marriage isn’t working anymore and it’s time to take action and make an appointment with a family solicitor to discuss the next steps. How would you feel if you were told you had to complete a course before you could divorce your other half?

It’s a question that divorcing parents in Denmark are now having to deal with, after a new law came into force just over a month ago, which means parents with children under 18 years old who want to get a divorce now have to partake in a half-hour online course to help both them and their children to adjust to their new circumstances.

If the course is not completed by the couple wanting to divorce, they will stay married.

One of the people who helped develop the course, Professor Gert Martin Hald from the University of Copenhagen, told a news outlet that the course “gives advice on communication with your former partner and how to help your children”.

In Denmark, it is reported that nearly half of all marriages ended in divorce in 2017. Danes are able to get a divorce relatively quickly compared to the UK, although there is now a three-month reflection period.

Should the course be replicated in the UK?

Firstly, it’s worth reiterating that the divorce process in Denmark is very different to that in the UK.

While in Denmark couples who both agree to the divorce can get their divorce almost immediately by submitting an application to the State Administration, the same cannot be said of here in the UK. There is an obligatory waiting period of 6 weeks and 1 day between the decree nisi and the application for the decree absolute (when the divorce is finalised). Indeed, it’s not unusual for divorces to take around 9 months here in the UK, sometimes much longer if there are complex issues. It is for this reason that the 3-month reflection period seems unnecessary within our current system, as couples can always change their mind before the divorce is finalised.

On the other hand, anything which could help families to plan for life after divorce is always welcome, especially in the form of a simple online course. The divorce process can be stressful for parents and children alike, so if this course is shown to improve communication and can help to build the foundations for the new family life post-divorce, maybe making it mandatory for divorcing parents in the UK may not be such a bad idea.

If you would like advice about how to start planning for yours and your children’s future post-divorce, get in touch to speak to one of our family lawyers today.

This article was written by Lauren Howells and Megan Bennie.

The post Should the UK introduce a mandatory course for divorce-seeking couples? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It’s only been a few weeks since Adele’s representatives confirmed she had separated from husband Simon Konecki, news which shocked fans worldwide. The statement requested privacy and said they were “committed to raising their son together lovingly”.

What could this Grammy-winning superstar’s divorce settlement look like? And what could the divorce mean for her music career? We take a closer look…

Is there a prenup?

A prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, is a document which sets out what a couple would like to happen to their assets if they were to divorce in the future. It is signed before the wedding.

It has been reported that Adele and Simon didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement before they married.

If there is no prenup, it is the laws of the country in which a couple divorce that will determine how the assets will be divided upon divorce.

The £140 million divorce

Adele is reportedly worth more than £140 million. According to The Sun, Simon Konecki is thought to be worth around £800,000. There’s been a huge amount of speculation in the press surrounding how much the divorce could affect Adele’s net worth, with some suggesting that Simon could be entitled to up to half of the singer’s fortune. In England and Wales, the starting point for the division of assets is equality, but there are many different factors which could impact the final divorce settlement.

Of course, this is all only speculation. The lengthy and very public court battle that we have become accustomed to with other divorcing celebrities may never happen. The notoriously private couple could come to an agreement about their divorce settlement between themselves and we may never know what this arrangement is. Indeed, according to some news outlets, the division of some of their assets may already be taking place, which means they would have already come to an arrangement between themselves.

If this is the case and they can reach an agreement on the way forward, the stress on Adele, Simon and their child could be greatly reduced.

As for how the divorce could affect the superstar’s music career? We’re not too worried, as there are already rumours that a divorce album could be released by the end of the year.

Worried about what a divorce could mean for your finances? Get in touch to book your free initial consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren Howells.

The post Rolling in the deep: Focus on Adele, her divorce and her assets appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I don’t know about you, but with my pension I’m very much ‘out of sight out of mind’.  My employer deducts a chunk of my salary at source and pays it into a fund and I don’t have to worry about carrying out transactions or making decisions.  For that reason, when I think about what my assets are, I usually forget all about it.  Lots of our clients are the same.  After bricks and mortar property, for most people their pension will be their biggest asset so it’s vital that their pension is taken into account in a financial settlement upon divorce and protected as far as possible. 

One of the key mistakes people make in relation to pensions is thinking about the value now and not the value in the future.  What clients often do is they think about security now (generally in the form of somewhere to live) and trade it off for security in the future (in the form of an income).  Here is an example: 

Jo and Alex are trying to agree finances after their split.  Jo has a pension of £100,000 and both Alex and Jo are joint owners of a flat worth £100,000. Alex has a pension of £10,000.  Rather than put the flat up for sale and split the proceeds and have Jo transfer a chunk of pension to Alex, the couple decides that the flat will be transferred into Alex’s name and Jo keeps her pension. So far, so neat. 

This might sound like a great arrangement: Jo has an asset worth £100,000, Alex has an asset worth £100,000.  Property prices can and do go up in value but not in the same way as a pension does and usually not as much.  Plus, when you cash in a pension you generally receive a lump sum then an income.  If you have a property, you have somewhere to live but it does not generally generate an income and would have to be sold to release a lump sum.

The way a pension works, the money in the fund is used to purchase an annuity which pays out regularly to someone when they retire.  Jo’s pension will keep building and building as long as she keeps paying in: the money she pays in is spread across many months, will likely be supplemented by employer contributions and has tax advantages.  Meanwhile, Alex’s flat might have increased in value but not as much as Jo’s pension.  When Alex retires, if she wants to purchase an annuity to give her the same or similar income to Jo, she might need three times as much to achieve the same income.  Will the flat have tripled in value to allow this?  Unlikely.  Has she been receiving a tax break on the money she’s put into the flat?  No.

That’s why it’s so important to protect as much of your pension as you can – or if you don’t have a good pension, to see if you could be entitled to a chunk of your spouse’s – they’re a tax efficient way to build up security for the future slowly and in a way that (hopefully) grows without you having to do very much at all. 

Pensions aren’t the simplest topic and it’s never an easy task to balance up priorities now with those you may have in the future. That’s why it is absolutely vital that you get good legal advice in relation to pensions and divorce.  A bad decision now could have consequences decades and decades into the future. We work closely with independent financial advisers and pension specialists to make sure our clients strike the right deal for them now and when they reach retirement.  If you’d like some advice in this area, or any other area of family law, you can call us on 020 7100 6100 to make an appointment or email info@grayfords.co.uk.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Sarah Arifi.  

The post #AskMegan:Why do I need to protect my pension? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One of the most common questions that our clients ask us is whether they have to wait two years to get a divorce. The answer is…maybe.  There are various ways to go about getting a divorce and the time you have to wait depends on your circumstances and the route you go down to end the marriage.

The first thing to consider is how long you’ve actually been married.  You cannot start divorce proceedings until you’ve been married for one year.  Before the one year mark an annulment is available in certain very limited circumstances.  For most people though, a divorce will be their only option and they have to wait until a year from their legal marriage ceremony has elapsed.

If you’ve been married for more than one year and you wish to end the marriage, you can begin divorce proceedings.  There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This must be shown by reliance on one of five facts. These facts are commonly called “grounds for divorce” in the press.

  • The first is adultery which must be admitted or proved in line with the legal definition. This is harder to prove than you might think, and many people are reluctant to admit adultery because they fear it will have financial consequences for them although it generally doesn’t. If you want to rely on adultery, you can do it as soon as you are able to divorce.  Definitely no waiting for two years with this fact. 
  • The second fact is behaviour – commonly called “unreasonable behaviour” though the behaviour doesn’t have to be all that unreasonable. The most common examples of behaviour that we see in divorce petitions are fundamental disagreements about money, work-life balance, how to raise children and future plans.  If you want to rely on behaviour you can do so straight away – no need to wait two years.
  • The third fact – and the most rarely used – is desertion and this one does need a two year wait to rely on it.  Desertion is when your partner has left you for at least two of the past two and a half years without your consent, without a good reason and with the intention of ending the relationship.  The reason this is so rarely used is that it is hard to prove a person’s intent.  Why risk a petition failing because you can’t show their intent when you can just base it on their behaviour (i.e. them leaving you for a significant chunk of time against your wishes)? It costs time and money to amend a divorce petition that can’t proceed because a fact can’t be proved so most people take the view that behaviour is a safer option than desertion.
  • The fourth fact is two years’ separation with the consent of the other party.  This one does require a two year wait but that time period does not always start when you might expect. 

A great many of our clients tell us they haven’t been separated for anything like two years so are surprised when we tell them they maybe have been.  The Court will readily accept that you have been separated but living under the same roof with your spouse. Why? The realities of modern living – mainly property prices – mean it’s not as simple as picking up your things and moving to a new home. Most families’ finances are stretched running one household: they simply can’t set up and run another one for two years.  If you’ve been living more like flatmates for a period then you could be regarded as being separated.  We look for things like shopping for food and cooking separately, doing laundry separately, sleeping in separate beds (though this is not always the case due to space issues), taking separate holidays and socialising separately amongst other things. So, while this fact does require a period of two years to elapse, the clock doesn’t necessarily start ticking when you might expect.

  • The fifth and final fact is five years’ separation (with consent not required from the other party).  As with two years’ separation, the timing of the separation can begin even while you’re under the same roof.

It’s clear from the information above that you don’t necessarily need to wait two years before you start divorce proceedings so why do some people do it? The answer is simple, desertion and the separation facts don’t require fault or blame to be placed at the other person’s door in the same way as adultery and behaviour do.  This can make a for a more amicable process which is often the highest priority for clients.  For others though, the priority is speed and they want to get the ball rolling straight away so they choose to base their divorces on adultery of behaviour. There is no right or wrong answer a to which fact is right for any particular client.  That’s why we work with our clients and talk to them in detail about the pros and cons of each fact, giving them advice tailored to their own unique circumstances and aims.

If you’re thinking about divorce and aren’t sure what to base it on or have any questions at all about divorce or family law matters, you can book a free confidential consultation with a Grayfords solicitor to discuss your case.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Sarah Arifi.

The post #AskMegan: Do I have to wait 2 years to get a divorce? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Spousal Maintenance is a complex issue which often leads to much debate during financial proceedings on divorce. This is largely due to the oft-cited claim that such maintenance payments – legally known as Periodical Payments – are a “meal ticket for life” by obliging one spouse to maintain the lifestyle of their former spouse for the rest of their life. However, an analysis of legislation and recent cases highlights the courts’ approach is, in reality, not to use Spousal Maintenance as a “meal ticket for life” but rather to use it as a temporary (when possible) safeguard from hardship for the financially weaker spouse until they are able to stand on their own two feet.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal Maintenance is a payment payable by one spouse to the other to meet their income needs following a divorce. It may become payable when there is a large difference between the incomes of the two spouses and/or one spouse requires additional income, for example due to a disability. Such payments are often made on a monthly basis and for a set period of years or for the remainder of the spouse’s life. However, it is important to note that Spousal Maintenance is not payable in all divorce cases.

Whether, and indeed how much, Spousal Maintenance will be payable depends on numerous factors and is assessed holistically on a case-by-case basis. For example, the length of the marriage, whether each party is working and who is looking after any children of the marriage, amongst a number of other factors. Another key consideration will be the determination of what constitutes the parties’ “reasonable needs”. In determining this, numerous factors will be assessed, particularly how much the parties need to live on, standard of living during the marriage and how these costs can be met from the resources available.

Spousal Maintenance is not a “meal ticket for life”

It is arguable that historically the courts have interpreted what constitutes “reasonable needs” widely, allowing some financially weaker spouses to receive generous Spousal Maintenance payments.  This has contributed to the argument that such maintenance has become a “meal ticket for life”. However, the courts have a duty to try and pursue a “clean break” (terminating all financial ties between the spouses after a divorce) wherever possible.  It should be noted though, a “clean break” can never be achieved in relation to payments for children.

This focus on a “clean break” and therefore a reluctance to provide, or continue to provide, Spousal Maintenance has been reinforced by legislation and reemphasised by significant recent cases. Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which governs Spousal Maintenance, has been amended to state that the court should seek to achieve a clean break on divorce or award Spousal Maintenance only for a set period of time. A recent Private Members’ Bill put forward by Baroness Deech seeks to create a strong presumption in favour of a five-year fixed term as the set period of time.

The case of Wright v Wright in 2015 reemphasises this approach. Here, the wife was a stay-at-home mother and, in 2008, she was awarded significant Spousal Maintenance following divorce. The husband subsequently made a court application for the payments to be reconsidered and varied. He argued that it was unfair for him to support his ex-wife indefinitely whilst she made “no effort whatsoever to seek work”. The court ordered that the payments be reduced and should end after a set period. Importantly, while the court accepted that the wife did not have great earning capacity, they highlighted that she must take some financial responsibility and “just get on with it” and get a job, like “vast numbers of other women with children.” Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting at the Court of Appeal, rejected her challenge to the decision.

Last year’s Supreme Court decision in Mills v Mills can be said to further reinforce the idea that Spousal Maintenance is not a “meal ticket for life”. In this case, the couple divorced after a 15-year marriage. The husband agreed that he would make annual payments to his ex-wife. However, by 2015, the wife had run out of money. She had incurred debts of just over £40,000. She requested the court make an order against her ex-husband for the shortfall. The Supreme Court refused to allow an increase in the wife’s periodical payments, stating it was unfair to expect the husband to meet his ex-wife’s additional financials needs.

What the above highlights then is that, in practice, the courts will be reluctant to order Spousal Maintenance unless absolutely necessary and even then, it will likely be for a temporary period until the financially weaker spouse is able to stand on their own two feet as opposed to providing a “meal ticket for life”.

How Grayfords can help

Spousal Maintenance is an important mechanism which provides a safety net from undue hardship for the financially weaker spouse following a divorce. For example, one spouse may look after the children to the detriment of their career and therefore find it difficult to stand on their own two feet in the immediate absence of the financially stronger spouse. At the same time, as the above demonstrates, it is equally important to ensure Spousal Maintenance is only paid if absolutely necessary to avoid it being an unfair “meal ticket for life”.

It is important to seek independent legal advice as each case will be assessed on its own merits. Grayfords, a renowned firm for divorce, is well-positioned to advise you based on what you are seeking.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Ishtiaq Shafiq.

The post Spousal payments: a meal ticket for life? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The sharenting divide: How children feel about sharenting

With the seemingly never-ending increase in popularity of social media and our apparently insatiable appetite for sharing every little detail with our friends and family online (and depending on our privacy settings, whoever else happens to be “listening”), it was only a matter of time before we all started to wonder exactly how much is too much.

“Sharenting” – where parents share content about their children on social media – has caused a great deal of controversy over the last few years, with Barclays bank even warning that parents could be making their little ones “fraud targets” in the future.

Not everyone is following the trend, however, with the Guardian reporting that more than half of UK parents do not post videos or photos of their children on social media, mainly due to privacy concerns.

But what do children think about so-called “sharenting”?

“Uncomfortable and bothered”

A report by the Children’s Commissioner, Life in ‘likes’, described how children talked about “feeling uncomfortable and bothered” when their parents shared some photos. It went on to say that for some children, this was due to the fact that they didn’t want lots of people to see them or they did not like the way they looked. Other children said they did not like to be “pestered and pressured” by their parents to share photos when they did not want to.

One child was quoted as saying: “I don’t like when my mum posts pictures of me, she just says ‘give me a picture’”.

Many children revealed that it was common for their parents to post a ‘bad’ video or photo of them. They said they didn’t like this because they were worried about people laughing at them.

According to the report, some children revealed that they had even tried to take away their parents’ smartphones when a bad picture had been shared.

What’s more, a report by Ofcom found that only 52% of parents who do share photos say that their children are happy for them to do so.

Reassuringly, the majority of parents who share photos (85%) revealed they were careful about who could access the material.

To share or not to share?

With many of us using social media on a daily basis, it seems that sharenting is, at least for the foreseeable future, an issue which is here to stay.

If you think your ex is sharing too much about your children online, get in touch with us today to speak to an experienced family lawyer.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren Howells.

The post The sharenting divide: How children feel about sharenting appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Schedule 1 of The Children Act 1989 enables the courts to make orders regarding financial provision for children. Most commonly, claims under Schedule 1 arise when non-married couples with children separate.  They also arise with a ‘top up’ is sought from a very high earner beyond their minimum child support obligations. As there is no such thing as a “common law marriage” in England and Wales, often the only claim that can made in situations where cohabitees separate is a claim for child support and/or under Schedule 1.

What is child support?

Both parents are expected to pay towards the child/children’s costs. Usually, this means that one parent (the non-resident parent) will end up paying the other parent (the day-to-day carer of the child).

Child support claims – the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If the separated parents cannot come to an agreement between themselves (known as a voluntary or family-based arrangement), most parents who are looking for financial provision for their child/children would ask the CMS to calculate the child support. If the non-resident parent earns more than £156,000 gross per annum (the highest amount the CMS can take into account), the day-to-day carer of the child may decide to make an application to the court under Schedule 1.

Schedule 1 claims – what can the courts award?

The courts have the power to award lump sum payments, periodical payments and even the transfer of a property in order to meet the housing needs of the children (in this instance, the property is almost always returned to the other parent when the children no longer have need of it, generally upon reaching adulthood).

What will the judge consider when making his/her decision?

All of the circumstances of the case will be taken into account.

The judge will give regard to various factors, including both the applicant and the respondent’s income, as well as any property they have. The financial needs of the child will also be taken into account.

Does the child have to enjoy the same standard of living as their step siblings?

This often comes as a shock to parents but legally, no, they do not.[1] There is no duty for the paying parent to make sure the child’s lifestyle is the same as the better-off parent or their other children.

Schedule 1 claims can be highly complex because there are many different factors to consider. What’s more, if a parent makes an unsuccessful Schedule 1 claim, they could find that they are responsible for both their own and the other parent’s legal costs. It is highly advisable that anyone considering a Schedule 1 claim seeks expert legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. Get in touch to book your free consultation with one of our team today.

This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren Howells.

The post What if I move on: does my child have to enjoy the same standard of living as their step sibling? appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A Russian oligarch has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay his ex-wife £2.68 billion.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, 47, met his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva 30 years ago when they were both students. The pair were married for 24 years, during which time Mr Rybolovlev amassed a great fortune from his shares in a successful Russian fertiliser business, Uralkali.

The couple have one child together, a daughter who is in her teens.

Ms Rybolovleva filed for divorce in 2008 and the couple have been battling over the divorce settlement for 6 year. Ms Rybolovleva stated in the petition that the reason she wanted to divorce her husband was that she could no longer stand his infidelities. She went on to describe lavish parties where her husband had shared some ‘young conquests with his friends, and other oligarchs’.

However, the Swiss court has now ordered Mr Rybolovlev to pay his ex-wife a very precise 4,020,555,987 Swiss francs and 20 centimes. This is £2,681,297,538 and 78 pence – an estimate of half the Russian oligarch’s entire fortune.

Mr Rybolovlev’s fortune had been invested in a number of properties, trusts and companies, making calculating his precise wealth very difficult. During their marriage the couple bought numerous properties including a $95million Palm Beach, Florida, home purchased from Donald Trump, a £12million Hawaii mansion he bought from the Hollywood star, Will Smith, and La Belle Epoque penthouse in Monaco, where he lives, for which he paid £178 million.

He bought the Greek island of Skorpios from the Onassis dynasty last year for a reported £100 million for his daughter, Anna. The Island was the location for Aristotle Onassis’s wedding to the former US First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, in 1968.

Ms Rybolovleva currently lives in a lakeside mansion in Geneva.

The post Russian oligarch ordered to pay £2.68billion to his ex-wife appeared first on Divorce & Family Law Solicitors | London Lawyers.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview