The highly anticipated Domestic Abuse Bill has recently passed its final stage in the House of Commons and will now be debated in the House of Lords before bringing into force a variety of new measures that will change the landscape for those who have been...
The long awaited changes to the divorce regime which seek to remove the need to attribute blame to one party will come into force next year as the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has received Royal Assent. Sam Miles , Partner in our Family...
For those parents who are facing Court proceedings over their children, the coronavirus pandemic will be bringing additional stresses to an already emotional situation. If you are currently in the midst of proceedings or the Local Authority have...
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it much devastation in our family lives, including the rise in domestic abuse . Findings have shown a higher than average number of people suffering domestic abuse since the introduction of lockdown and...
The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds. For couples who are struggling in their relationship, or were in the process of divorce or Family...
We are all currently adjusting to a new way of life since the coronavirus pandemic led to country wide lockdown, and it is vital that parents are there to support their children through these troubling times. This can be difficult if you are no longer...
If your divorce has recently been finalised and as a result you are either reliant on or are obliged to adhere to a Financial Order, we understand that you may have questions due to the uncertainty now created by the coronavirus pandemic. Sam...
Making the decision to divorce or separate will be a difficult one for any couple, but in the current climate when we are also facing the coronavirus pandemic, self-isolation and financial concerns it can add even more strain. Our Family Law team...
Following a divorce or separation , you may be struggling to have conversations with your former partner or spouse regarding your children or financial arrangements. With your history and potentially fraught breakdown of your relationship, you may be...
Once you have made the decision to divorce, we know that you will be keen to finalise the details as swiftly as possible to allow you to move forward with your new life. The first step is to apply for your Decree Nisi and once that is granted you can apply for your Decree Absolute; we are often asked whether we would recommend applying for the Decree Absolute at the earliest opportunity or whether it would be more prudent to wait. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here why it could be in your best interests to wait to apply until the time is right.
Family Mediation is an alternative way to resolve disputes with your former partner if you are divorcing or separating; however, there is often some confusion over the roles of a Solicitor and Family Mediator, and whether a Solicitor should be appointed to coincide with Mediation. While a Solicitor is there to advise you legally throughout your divorce or separation, a Family Mediator will work with both you and your former partner to help you to make joint decisions involving your children or finances. Sam Miles, Family Partner and accredited Family Mediator, here explains the difference between a Solicitor and a Mediator and the roles they have to play.
Family Mediation is an entirely voluntary process and neither party can be forced to attend if they do not wish to. It is understandable that you may feel nervous or apprehensive about talking to a stranger about difficulties you are having in reaching agreement on certain matters following a divorce or separation. Claire Knight, Law Society accredited and Resolution trained Family Mediator, here explains how Family Mediation can help you reach an agreement and what happens if your former partner does refuse to attend.
We understand that if you are struggling to agree on arrangements for your children or your finances following a divorce or separation, you will be looking for support from those around you, such as your family and friends. Family Mediation can help you resolve and explore the options, and you may wish to have this support network around you during this time. In most cases, Family Mediation is just for the parties directly concerned, namely you and your former partner. Claire Knight, Law Society accredited and Resolution trained Family Mediator, explains more here about who can attend and how Family Mediation can help you.
The cost of Family Mediation will depend on your own personal circumstances as that will determine how many sessions you need. There are three separate costs to consider; the first for the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), the second cost for the Mediation sessions themselves and the third cost for the preparatory work involved. Claire Knight, Resolution trained and Law Society accredited Family Mediator, explains more about the costs involved and why Mediation can be more cost effective than going to Court.
Family Mediation is a way to discuss and resolve arrangements regarding financial assets and children following the break down of a relationship with your former partner, or after a divorce. Making these arrangements after a relationship has ended will be incredibly difficult, as feelings can cloud your discussions.
The Family department are congratulating Associate Chartered Legal Executive, Claire Knight, after the successful completion of her Law Society Family Mediation Accreditation.
Upon separating, many married couples assume that the financial arrangements and division of assets will be considered by the court at the same time as the divorce petition. This is not the case however, and so a legally binding financial order may be needed to specify how any monetary assets will be divided. It will also bind you to an agreement that no future claims will be made against your former spouse’s financial assets, for example if they receive a large inheritance or sell their business. Sarah Pennicott, Associate Solicitor in our Family team, explains more about how the application for a financial order works and when you should apply.
There are currently no prescribed time limits as to when a pre-nuptial agreement should be completed. It is best practice that the agreement should be entered into at least twenty eight days before you celebrate your marriage, but you can also enter into post-nuptial agreements shortly after marriage and these should not be treated differently by the Courts should your marriage end. Sarah Pennicott, Associate Solicitor in our Family team in Portsmouth, explains the facts you need to consider regarding pre-nuptial agreements, and whether it may be right for you.
This is a tricky area of employment law and will be determined by your employee’s employment contract as this will state the notice pay they are entitled to if you have chosen to go over and above the statutory entitlement. Our Employment team explain your position and how you can calculate the amount that your employee is entitled to.
All birth mothers automatically have parental responsibility as do fathers who are married to the mother at the time a child was born. The rules regarding parental responsibility do alter for children whose parents are not married; Stephanie Preston, Paralegal in our Southampton based Family team explains more about parental responsibility in these situations and what this means for the input you have in your child’s life.
You do not have to wait two years to divorce if you can show the Court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to adultery or unreasonable behaviour, in which case you can divorce after one year. Stephanie Preston, Family Paralegal in our Southampton office, explains your position further if you find yourself in this situation, and advises what your next steps are.
The number of couples entering into a civil partnership has increased in recent years; the most recent Office of National Statistics from 2017 show an increase of 2% compared to 2016. With the increase in those entering a civil partnership also comes the increase in the number of those coming to an end. Sarah Pennicott, Family Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, here explains how a civil partnership legally comes to an end, and how we can support you through this emotional change in your life.
Statistics show that over half of divorcing couples have at least one child at the time of their divorce but, of course, many more children go through parental separation each year because these statistics do not include parents who have not been married.
A midwife has succeeded in claiming she is entitled to 50% of the £1 million home she had shared with her CEO ex-partner after a High Court Judge agreed that he had promised her half the property during a conversation in a pub 13 years ago. Hannah Rogers, Family Solicitor in Portsmouth, reviews the case here and advises how you can possibly avoid the same situation through a Declaration of Trust or Cohabitation Agreement.
We understand that the welfare of your children is of paramount importance, and if you are looking for legal advice to improve your situation, there may be terms or parts of the process that you do not understand. Hannah Rogers, Family Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, here explains what a PLO meeting is, and what you should do if you are invited to a meeting of this nature.
The news that no-fault divorce is likely to become law has been welcomed, but what does this mean for couples in the future? Hannah Rogers, Family Solicitor in Portsmouth, explains what the change in legislation means and why Family Mediation still has a valuable part to play.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that divorce rates are on the decline however separation is increasing; indicating that a growing number of couples are choosing not to marry. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews...
A recent divorce case has highlighted the question of whether the divorce legal system should be revolutionised, and consequently a new consultation has been launched to review the new proposals. Sam Miles, Family Partner, discusses here what the...
We have been keenly watching the case of Mills v Mills in recent years and last week the Supreme Court made their decision that could have far reaching implications for future divorce proceedings. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews the...
Following a divorce, it can be difficult to make arrangements for your children, but what do you do if you are a step-parent? We understand that even though you are not a biological parent of the child or children, you will no doubt have built a bond...
Whether you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, splitting up can be an emotional time. If there are children involved, the feelings of hurt and anger can be magnified. However, this is the time when your children need you to be at your most level-headed.
As we move closer towards Spring, thoughts turn more to wedding season and if you are tying the knot this year it is likely you have spent time carefully planning everything from the bouquets to the table centres.
2018 has begun and Christmas seems like a distant memory. For some however, their Christmas celebrations have been marked by family divisions or the break down of their relationship.
When a relationship breaks down, and if the couple are not able to agree on decisions regarding children or finances, a first step can be for them to go to Family Mediation. However, in some circumstances this is not an option, if there is an accusation of domestic violence for example, or if one party refuses to take part.
Christmas is the time to spend with loved ones and family; however for couples who have recently divorced or separated, it can be a particularly painful time. If there are children involved who now need to split their time between parents and extended family, these feelings can be heightened when a parent is facing Christmas without their children, possibly for the first time, or can be exacerbated if agreements can’t be reached.
Divorce rates are on the rise, according to the latest statistics, and with the increase in the value of family assets, couples should do more to face up to financial affairs during the good times. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reveals the latest divorce statistics and reviews the steps couples should be taking now when it comes to their finances.
Grandparents can often be caught up in the breakdown of a marriage, which can sometimes result in the breakdown of any contact they would normally have with their grandchildren. Hannah Rogers explains here what rights grandparents do have when their son or daughter divorces from their partner, and the steps that can be taken to ensure the best resolution for every party.
When deciding to divorce, there will be a lot of decisions to make regarding arrangements for children and division of financial assets. If there are any businesses or business interests in the family, these will need to be looked at carefully. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here what business owners should be aware of when making the decision to divorce.
A separation or divorce will be an emotional, confusing and stressful time for any couple, but these feelings are heightened when there are children involved. Parents will need to make plans with their children’s best interests at heart, remain aware that their children could pick up on negativity caused by disagreements, and recognise that they may even feel responsible for their split. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews here what parents need to consider when it comes to arrangements for their children.
Celebrations are happening at Hampshire law firm Warner Goodman LLP as Trainee Solicitor, Hannah Rogers, qualifies after her two year Recognised Period of Training.
A new online divorce form has been released by the Government which invites the third party in adultery cases to be named by the person filing for divorce. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here what impact this could have on adultery cases being filed in the Family Courts and clarifies what the grounds for divorce are.
When a couple decides to separate it will naturally be a distressing and confusing time. While the majority of people go on to divorce, some couples decide to simply remain separated so as not to go through the seemingly stressful process of divorce, or there may be financial or business reasons why they wish to remain married. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here the implications of not divorcing, and reviews what steps you could take to decide what is best for you.
Following a separation there could be many reasons why someone may wish to relocate abroad; they may originate from another country and wish to return to their home and be around a familiar support network, they may have been offered employment, they may have a new partner who lives abroad, or they may simply wish to try a new culture and make a fresh start.
Sam Miles, Family Mediator and Partner at Warner Goodman, has recently received accreditation to practice Child Inclusive Mediation, a unique qualification held by only a small number of Family Mediators in Hampshire.
A recent case judged in a private hearing is believed to have led to the largest divorce pay-out in the UK of £453million. Sarah Pennicott, Family Lawyer, here reviews the case and explains why it has an impact on not only high-net worth individuals, but all couples considering a divorce.
In light of the upcoming election, Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution, has urged the major political parties to commit to family law reform in their manifestos. Hannah Rogers, Family Lawyer, here reviews the contents of the letter, and why they are necessary to keep up with today’s modern families.
Cuts in police and support services are being blamed for an increase in the number of domestic violence victims withdrawing charges against their alleged abusers. Worryingly, in correlation with this decline in victims following through their charges, the number of domestic violence incidents is on the increase. Sam Miles, Family Lawyer, explains here what support is out there for victims, including the importance of legal advice.
The importance of pre-nuptial agreements has been highlighted in a divorce case taken to the Court of Appeal this week, as well as raising many questions about how long a marriage should be before the ‘sharing principle’ of assets should apply. Claire Knight, Family Lawyer, here reviews the case and offers advice as to how couples should protect themselves and their assets when considering marriage.
After an eight year legal battle, a Northern Ireland woman has won her case in the Supreme Court to claim a share of her former partner’s pension, who died in 2009. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews the case here and explains that, while this now brings Northern Ireland in line with laws already in England, Wales and Scotland, this does have larger implications for cohabiting couples rights.
A wife has taken her request to divorce her husband on the grounds that she is ‘desperately unhappy’ to the Court of Appeal after her divorce petition was refused in family courts last year.
A Judge has recently ruled that an ex-wife, who has been divorced from her husband for 15 years, can have the amount of spousal maintenance she receives each month from her ex-husband increased by £341 per month. Sam Miles, Family Partner, here reviews the case and considers the ways in which this could have been avoided.
Divorce is an emotional time for any couple, but if you serve in the military you may feel that your decision needs to be put on hold until you have returned from deployment. Sam Miles, Family Partner, here answers the questions she often faces explaining why this is not always a requirement and that you can continue with your life while continuing to serve your country.
Couples looking for a romantic day on which to wed would naturally choose Valentines Day; a day to celebrate love. A recent study has shown however that choosing ‘gimmicky’ dates are more likely to lead to divorce.
January is notoriously known as the month when family lawyers become busy following Christmas chaos and arguments. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) however show that the overall rates of divorce are continuing to fall.
Children proceedings, whether public or private, include children of varying ages and all with different levels of understanding of the process that they are involved in. Within public children law cases which can involve children going into foster care, the Guardian appointed by CAFCAS (Child and Family Court Advisory Service) represents the child, their wishes and best interests. However, the view of the Guardian does not always align with the views of the child. In some cases a child is also entitled to appoint their own solicitor. Hannah Rogers, Trainee Solicitor, explains here what a child can and cannot do during proceedings in which they are involved.
So, you’ve met someone you want to share your life with and want to make a home together. Neither of you are in a rush to marry, maybe one or both of you have been through a marriage that went wrong and don’t want to go through it again. Maybe it just isn’t on your agenda. You decide that it’s much simpler to just live together. All well and good….until it isn’t.
With Legal Aid becoming more difficult to obtain and the cost of legal services being too high for some, more people are conducting their own Family Law cases in court. Anyone involved in a family law case is entitled to represent themselves and they can also be accompanied by someone who can give them reasonable assistance. This person is called a McKenzie friend. Hannah Rogers, Trainee Solicitor, here explains what a McKenzie friend is and, while able to lend support during an emotional time, why having a solicitor is of paramount importance.
When a couple goes through a separation or divorce, it will be an exceptionally trying time for all concerned, but when children are involved it can become even more emotionally difficult. Depending on the nature of the dispute, children could feel they are in a position where they must choose between their parents, they could be used as leverage and their whole routine and way of life will change. The decision may even be out of the parent’s control, if the Local Authority is involved and the children are at risk of being removed from the parents care.
A recent Court of Appeal decision found that an oral agreement agreed by an unmarried couple was legally binding; reiterating the benefits of obtaining legal advice at the time when couples begin to live together.
23 years after their divorce, former spouses Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince reached a financial settlement. Ms Wyatt applied for a financial order against her ex husband, after discovering Mr Vince’s business venture had been successful in the years after their divorce.
A vegan couple in Milan have lost custody of their 14 month old after being taken to hospital by grandparents and found to be seriously malnourished, weighing 5kg.
A new three-part documentary series “Call the Mediator” takes a look behind the curtain of family mediation on Tuesday nights on BBC2. In an aspect of family life that is rarely shown in the media, it was the perfect opportunity to showcase an alternative to the depiction of slamming doors, and drawn-out arguments that often represent separation.
A new documentary series premiering on BBC2 tomorrow night; Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator sets out to explore the experiences of splitting families at the time of divorce using footage of the mediation sessions, and the effects the experience has on both parties in their home and social lives.
With celebrity divorces making headlines, financial affairs of the rich and famous are brought to light. Johnny Depp’s 15 month marriage to Amber Heard is under fire as she files for divorce after being granted a restraining order against him.
Reaching an agreement in child arrangement disputes can be one of the biggest challenges a parent can face. Just ask Madonna; The 57 year old entertainer has been locked in a bitter child residence battle with ex-husband Guy Ritchie.
Separating couples are facing a further rise in the cost of divorce with a big increase in court fees, and many are facing up to the challenge of asset-sharing and high property prices by turning to innovative solutions to deal with the change.
An increase to the Court fee payable to file for a divorce has long been on the horizon. It has now been confirmed that the fee will increase by a whopping 34% rising from £410.00 to £550.00 on Monday 21st March 2016.
A study was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) aiming to shed light on how parental separation might affect children’s well-being.
Family solicitor and Partner Sam Miles is awarded Law Society accreditation for mediation services.
Most couples will hit a bump at some point along the path of married life. For most, it can be easily overcome, sometimes with marriage counselling, sometimes without. When you feel like your marriage has more bumps than you can iron out, and you are tired of having the same conversations again and again, there is a point when it is easier to walk away than to keep fighting.
Today marks the start of international marriage week, celebrating the love and union of two people intending to spend their lives together. If you’re engaged and on the road to wedded bliss, then Congratulations! While organising the venue, flowers and seating plans, a few legal aspects often get overlooked.
The first working day in January is commonly known as Divorce Day, when family lawyers receive more enquiries than at any other time of the year, but they are more likely to be faced with ‘silver splitters’ than young couples these days.
On the 22nd January 2016 the no-fault divorce bill will get a second reading, which could lead to a major shake-up in the future of divorce proceedings if passed. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explores the bill and explains the impact this could have.
Parents are being urged to realise their rights should their children need to be taken into temporary foster care. This follows a recent family law case in which the most senior family judge in the UK accused the local authority involved of abusing the process and holding the children in temporary care for too long.
The Family law team at Warner Goodman LLP sees every day the impact domestic abuse has on people across Hampshire, and it’s for this reason they are supporting White Ribbon Day on Wednesday 25th November.
This phrase has rung true for two ex-husbands who have recently been uncovered as being dishonest during their original divorce hearings, meaning their ex-wives are now entitled to re-apply for their financial settlements. Sam Miles, Family Law Partner, here reviews the case and advises those who are currently divorcing to be open about their financial arrangements.
A businessman is facing a hearing in the Supreme Court to answer claims that he misrepresented the value of his company to cheat his ex-wife out of millions in their divorce settlement. Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here that carving up a family business for a divorce settlement can spell disaster for the company, and the best option is to plan ahead rather than resort to crisis management.
While Christmas is enjoyed by the majority of us as a time for family, friends and merriment, for some families it can be a time of conflict. In situations where parents are separated, arrangements need to be made for where the children will be spending Christmas, and without proper preparations in place, instead of wishing for the latest computer game in their stocking, children could simply be wishing for an argument free holiday.
No matter the reason for a divorce, all couples will be feeling hurt, confused and possibly betrayed by the loss of trust in their relationship. During proceedings there may be the temptation to find out if a spouse is seeing a new partner, maybe looking for evidence of adultery taking place, or to see if they are hiding assets during financial proceedings. Graeme Barclay, Family Partner, here answers the question… are you ever entitled to hack their emails or sneak a peek at their post to find this out?
Parents failing to make maintenance payments to a former partner to support their children is unfortunately a situation that is regularly seen in our Courts. For those who cannot afford to pay adjustments can be made to support both parties as a whole to act in the children’s best interests, however when a party has the means to make payments but simply avoids them, stronger measures can be taken by the Courts.
The Court of Appeal has recently upheld a family judge’s decision to order an anaesthetist to give 100% of his assets to his former wife. The case comes as a warning to those looking to shy away from making regular maintenance payments for the benefit of their children, and here Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews the facts of the case and what motivated the judge to make the remarkable award of 100%.
For the many couples who face a divorce or separation each year, the process is a stressful one, stretching them on both emotional and financial levels. When considering the latter, there are many areas that need to be confirmed, and it’s in these situations that a family financial order is normally implemented.
The number of divorces and separations is constantly on the rise in the UK, with 118,140 divorces occurring each year. With so many people affected, Resolution, the organisation representing 6,500 family lawyers and other family professionals, is calling on Government to change the law to make the whole process less stressful, leading to less conflict and less impact on the children involved.
Those who have divorced without making proper financial arrangements should take heed from a recent case which could spell a very different future. In the case of Wyatt v Vince, the court ruled that an ex-wife could proceed with a claim against her former husband who, since their divorce 20 years earlier, had turned into a successful businessman worth millions. Sam Miles, Family Partner, reviews the case and advises how divorcing couples can avoid this in their own future.
Almost a year after the launch of our Family Mediation service, we have trained another of our lawyers’, Claire Knight, to practice as a Resolution Mediator to meet the demand for the service from divorcing couples.
Come January you either look back at the year or forward to the next. Family lawyers instead expect to be preparing for their so called busiest time of year. The first working day in January is known as ‘Divorce Day’ each year, as lawyers receive more enquiries than at any other time of the year, and the latest EU data shows that the UK has the highest rate of family breakdown in Western Europe.
Making the decision to divorce or separate is a life-changing one for everyone involved, and while it’s the parents who ultimately make that choice, they’re not the only ones who suffer. Recent figures from family lawyers’ association, Resolution, show that some children not only perform worse at school, but also turn to drink and drugs in an attempt to block out what is happening at home.
The Department for Work and Pensions has proposed plans to implement regulations that will enable the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and the Child Support Agency to share information about client’s payment records with credit reference agencies. This comes as another potential blow to families using the CMS, as only a few months ago new charges were introduced for families using their payment system.
National Adoption Week was launched in 1997 by BAAF Adoption and Fostering with the aim of raising awareness of adoption and the process across the UK. Each year sees a different focus to the campaign and this year the week, running from Monday 3rd November to Sunday 9th November, will focus on siblings.
Graeme Barclay, Family Partner at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP, was recently selected for interview to contribute towards important research conducted by Cardiff Law School. The aim of the research was to ascertain how often the courts make orders on divorce sharing pensions between couples, as initial signs show they are not as popular as predicted they would be. Graeme explains further on the purpose of the research, and what this means for couples in the future.
The world of family law has evolved greatly over recent years, with the media heavily commenting on the removal of Legal Aid, the number of couples divorcing on the rise and the introduction of compulsory Mediation. It’s only recently however that children becoming wards of court has been a topic of conversation. Sarah Pennicott, Family Lawyer, explains exactly what wardship proceedings are and the implications for families.
Savvy property owners who club together to buy a home are turning to no-nups to safeguard their investment. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, explains how cohabitation agreements, or no-nups as they are becoming increasingly known, can help fix the outcome if things go wrong between a cohabiting couple or two or more friends clubbing together.
The whole landscape of family law changed on 22nd April 2014 as the Children and Families Act received Royal Assent. The changes to the law will implement recommendations made by the Family Justice Review in 2011 which showed that the futures of vulnerable children were being jeopardised due to long delays and acrimonious court battles between parents.
Pre and post nuptial agreements are likely to be given binding status, in a move that’s intended to give couples a more predictable outcome on divorce. Samantha Miles, Family Partner, here explains the reasons behind the move.
Hard on the heels of Britain’s longest-running and most bitter divorce, the Government has said it will be pushing more couples towards mediation. Working as a mediator, Samantha Miles, Partner and Head of the Family department, has seen first-hand how mediation can help couples make life-changing decisions in their relationship, and so is wholly supportive of this initiative.
Since legislation changes in April 2013 regarding access to Legal Aid there have been a lot of misconceptions about what has and hasn’t changed, in particular for domestic violence victims. Graeme Barclay, Partner of the Family Team at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP, sets the record straight on the rights that domestic violence victims have when it comes to accessing Legal Aid.
A recent case has given hope to victims of domestic violence when it comes to the safety of their children. Sam Miles, Family Partner of Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP, explains the ruling in this particular circumstance, and what this means for future justice in domestic violence cases.
The stress, worry and upset of divorce is all that couples should have to face when making this difficult decision, but now divorcing couples also have to manage the financial cost since Legal Aid disappeared for the majority of cases earlier this year. Samantha Miles, Family Partner at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP, looks at the effect this is having on couples looking to divorce, and how the launch of their new fixed fee packages will help them.
Official figures released in December 2012 show that the number of divorces dropped by 1.7% in the previous year, but Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman LLP highlight that divorce statistics continue to peak in the period following Christmas, with the second week in January notoriously the busiest month for couples taking the decision to part.