Family Law Blog

Divorcees suffer upon retirement

05 May 2018, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

According to new research undertake by Prudential, a divorcee can expect their annual income on retirement to be £3,800 less than those who have never divorced.

This is important because it highlights the need for divorcing couples to consider their pensions, not only in connection with matrimonial settlement but to make plans post-divorce. The research also revealed that divorcing couples are more likely to retire in debt (23%) although the amount if debt is typically lower than those not divorcing.

It is imperative that couples contemplating divorce understand the long term financial implications in relation to their income in retirement.

We advise all clients where there are pensions in issue, to take independent legal advise from a financial advisor who specialises in pensions.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

Defective Divorces – Mistakes by the court lead to couples entering into bigamous marriages

05 April 2018, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Under The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s.3 states the following;

‘Bar on petitions for divorce within one year of marriage.
(1) No petition for divorce shall be presented to the court before the expiration of the period of one year from the date of the marriage.
(2) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the presentation of a petition based on matters which occurred before the expiration of that period.’

The question that follows is how are divorces being granted when the parties have been married less than a clear year?

The President of the family division Sir James Munby has revealed that because of failures by divorce court staff defective divorces have been processed and parties have wrongly been granted a divorce that breached the time limits imposed.

Past cases such as Woolfenden v Woolfenden [1948] and Butler v Butler, confirm that petitions in breach s.3 are invalid and any Decree Nisi or Absolute granted is null and void. As you can imagine this is not ideal for the those who have since re-married, and unknowingly have committed bigamy. Their new marriage is invalid because they were still married.

Court fees will be waived  for those who find themselves with defective divorces. Munby J states that the courts will ‘need to be alert to the potentially devastating impact’ once parties are  informed that there is a ‘problem’ with their divorce.

Munby J has placed his faith and assurances in the courts and their software to prevent such errors from occurring in the future.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

83 year old ends up in prison for persistent failure to comply with orders

05 March 2018, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

A family court can sentence someone to prison for contempt of court where they have failed to comply with a court order or there has been a wilful disrespect of the court.

In the case of Hart v Hart, the 83 year old husband was found to be in serious contempt of court. He had failed to comply with multiple financial disclosure orders and consistently refused to co-operate.

The judge accepted the husband, a successful businessman,  was of good character and that a prison sentence would have a marked effect on him, but he sentenced him to 14 months imprisonment.

This case highlights the powers of the court where there is persistent failures to comply with court orders. However, imprisonment is always seen as a last resort.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

Inheritance – Will my spouse be entitled to half my inheritance?

05 February 2018, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Clients often ask what will happen to their inheritance when they get divorced.

In general, all matrimonial assets are pooled and treated as joint assets. Money or property inherited is not automatically excluded.

Each case is treated differently and depends on its individual facts. The court will take into account the following;

  1. Worthy inherited assets transferred into joint names or used for the benefit of the couple e.g. improvements to the family home.

In this case they will be treated as marital assets.

  1. When was the inheritance received?

If it was shortly before the breakdown of the marriage it is less likely to be included in the marital assets.

  1. How was it treated during the marriage? did the beneficiary ring fence the inheritance and treat it as their separate property.
  2. How large was the inheritance in the context of the total marital assets?
  3. The needs of the family, in particular the children. If the matrimonial assets are insufficient to meet these needs, then the court will take into account inherited property to satisfy them.

Future inheritances.

In the case of Alireza v Radwan the wife was entitled to a prospective inheritance from her wealthy Saudi Arabian father because of forced heirship i.e. she would receive a share of his estate upon his death. This was regarded by the court as a financial resource.

In most cases, future inheritances are not taken into account because if uncertainty. However, if one of the parties is likely to inherit in the immediate future e.g. on the death of a terminally ill relative, the court may adjourn the financial application until the inheritance has been received.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

Stopping Child Contact

05 January 2018, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

This was the opinion of the court of appeal in the case of an ultra orthodox Jewish father who had left his community to live as a woman, who was appealing against a decision that she should not have direct contact with her children. The appeal was upheld and the case was referred back to the high court.

After it became known that the father was living as a woman, the religious community threatened to ostracise the family if they had any contact with her. The high court judge had decided that the gulf between the parents, the mother within the orthodox community and the father as a transgender person, was too wide for the children to bridge.

The court of appeal disagreed and decided that it was more important that a parent was able to see their children, the judge has a positive duty to attempt to promote contact and to consider all available alternatives. The high court judge had given up too easily.

If you are experiencing problems with the arrangements for your children, or would just like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact   Nicola Dunkerley. Please call 0161 883 0460 or email Nicola.dunkerley@taylorking.co.uk  for further information.

Pensions Update

17 December 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Since pension sharing was introduced two decades ago, many women (and men) have steered clear of making claims against the pensions of their spouses in divorce proceedings.

The Scottish Widows Women and Retirement report 2012 revealed that only 11% of women took pensions into account (see our 2012 blog understanding pensions on divorce). Five years later the most recent Scottish Widows Women and Retirement report 2017 indicates that the number of women who had discussed pensions in divorce settlements had only risen to 22%.

This is due most likely to lack of knowledge rather than strict avoidance, because nearly half of women  have no idea what happens to their own and their husband’s pensions on divorce.

Statistics show women are less prepared for retirement;

  • 52% of women as against 59% adequately prepare for retirement.
  • 25% of wives have smaller pensions than their husbands.
  • Many women have no pension provision, save for the state retirement pension.

Most people would think that the most valuable matrimonial asset is the matrimonial home this is not the case, especially where the couples are in middle age and one of them has a final salary pension.

The value of final salary pensions has been soaring. Under todays flexible pension rules, anyone with a defined benefits scheme from a private company, not the public sector, can demand a cash transfer and if 55 years and over access funds in the scheme.

It is important that divorcing couples obtain expert advice from an independent financial adviser, who specialises in pensions.

Although most pension sharing orders are made in favour of women, husbands with inferior pension provision are still entitled to pension sharing orders. We have recently acted for two husbands who obtained a share of their wives Teachers Pensions.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

Benefit of early legal advice

08 November 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

A report by Ipsos Mori commissioned by the Law Society, showed a link between getting early legal advice and resolving problems. The vice president of the Law Society stated that without early advice, relatively minor legal problems can escalate. The research showed that one in four people who received early legal advice had resolved their problem within three to four months as against nine months for those without legal advice. Early legal advice was defined as within three months.

If you are contemplating separation or have separated form your partner give us a call. We provide free legal advice over the telephone and can advise you of your rights and options. If you want a face to face appointment, then you can have a fixed-fee interview of up to one hour at a cost of £75 plus VAT.

Child Maintenance

05 October 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Parents who are able to agree child maintenance, can make a family based arrangement. This route is encouraged on the CMS (child maintenance service) website. It claims that 85% of parents are happy with such arrangements.

However, these arrangements are not legally binding and cannot be enforced if the paying party fails to make the payments.

If an agreement can be reached within divorce proceedings, this can be incorporated into a consent order and becomes legally binding. However, the consent order can be replaced by a child maintenance assessment once the order has been in place for more than 12 months. Either party can apply to the CMS for an assessment. Once the assessment has taken place, it replaces the court order. The order will not automatically be replaced by a child maintenance assessment after 12 months. An application has to be made to the CMS and an assessment made. The paying parent cannot assume that if the CMS assessment is less than the court order it will be automatically reduced after 12 months.

The court can make a child maintenance order in circumstances where the CMS has no jurisdiction e.g. where the paying party is not resident in the UK.

The court often makes a maintenance order which is the mirror of a CMS assessment. However, the court has a discretion and can make an amount that It deems appropriate and is not bound by the CMS figure.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk

Enforcement of Contact Orders

25 September 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Many parents manage to make amicable arrangements for the children to have contact with the other parent, even when the breakdown of their relationship has been very acrimonious. However if parents cannot agree on suitable arrangements, then the courts will often be required to intervene and make a Contact Order.

Even when an order is in place situations arise where a parent refuses to comply with the Order.  When this happens you have to consider what sanctions the court can impose and which would be appropriate.

There are a number of sanctions which are available to the Court including:-

  • Imposing contact activity order such as such as parenting classes
  • Requiring Cafcass to monitor compliance and report back to the Court
  • Imposing curfews, electronic tagging and/or unpaid work
  • Ordering financial compensation be paid for losses sustained by the failure to comply with an order
  • Transferring residence of the child either immediately or on a suspended basis i.e. the Court suspend the change of residence unless or until the original resident parent breaches the Contact Order again
  • Ultimately the Court could commit someone to prison for contempt of Court

Whether a sanction is appropriate, and if so, which sanction is applied will depend on the circumstances in each case.

In certain circumstances rather than enforce an order, the court will take a fresh look at the existing order and decide whether or not it would be appropriate to vary it. The main consideration of the court is the welfare of the child/children, not the rights of the parents.

If you have the benefit of a Contact Order, but are concerned that it is not being adhered to, you should take advice as early as possible.

 

If you are experiencing problems with the arrangements for your children, or would just like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact   Nicola Dunkerley. Please call 0161 883 0460 or email Nicola.dunkerley@taylorking.co.uk  for further information.

Importance of a financial consent order

25 August 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Many divorcing couples agree their financial arrangements, but do not have it recorded in a financial order.

Mr & Mrs Briers divorced in 2005, at that time Mr Briers transferred to his wife the former matrimonial home, mortgage free which was worth approximately £700,000. The husband retained his clothes business, which he had set up in the family garage. Both parties were teachers at the time.

In 2013 Mrs Briers applied for a financial remedy order, in the interim Mr Briers had transformed his business which then had a turnover of £30 million. Mrs Briers had continued working as a teacher and looking after the children.

Mr Briers argued that there was a verbal agreement in 2005 which prevented his wife from making a claim.

The court of appeal found that there was no agreement. They said that the wife has contributed after the divorce to the family by looking after the children and she was ordered one third of her husband’s wealth.

We advise separating clients that they should not make payments to their spouses, divide assets or transfer property, without a final consent order in place.

Recently we have noted a rise in the number of ‘spouses’ coming back for a second bite of the financial cherry after they have received a lump sum or the transfer of the family home. In one case this was 14 years  after the wife had received all the net proceeds of sale of the family home upon separation.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email st@taylorking.co.uk