Thursday, December 06, 2007

What is a shared residence order?

A shared residence order simply states that the children have 2 homes - rather than living with one parent and seeing the other the children live with both. It does not have to be on an equal basis and the children can live with one parent only 1 or 2 days per week but the label is still that they live there as opposed to visit.

What is the point of a shared residence order?

It equalises the power between the parents. It emphasis that both have similar rights and responsibilities , which is the point of parental responsibility but it has practical implications too. It may supply a right to council housing, it carries more weight than a contact order if the other parent wishes to leave the area or even the country. It currently has judicial approval.

How common are shared residence orders?

They used to be rare, the thinking being that in order for them to work there had to be cooperation and goodwill between the parents and if that was the case they would not be in court fighting but would have made their own arrangements.

Now the philosophy has changed and they are regarded as a useful tool to make parents cooperate and accept each other. The increase in father's rights groups may have had an impact on this.

Do they work?

In many respects they are no different to a contact and residence order and whether they work or not depends upon how organised and reasonable the parents are.

Want to make your child feel awful?

Criticise and berate the other parent in front of them.

Want your child to grow up insecure?

Tell him/her that he is useless like his/her other parent. It is very easy to destroy your own child and telling someone that they are stupid when they are 5 will shape their adult personality.

The choice is yours - you may hate your ex but encouraging your child to do so will damage your child irreparably!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Will getting divorced make me happier?

That depends on why you are getting divorced and how unhappy you are now. Only you know the answer to this. Many people dither for years thinking life on the other side of unhappy coupledom will be worse. Perhaps it will but to a very large extent that is your choice. Most people who contact me some time after their divorce talk of a feeling of relief and do not regret breaking up an unhappy home.

When a divorce is the right decision:

1. If you are scared of your partner.
2. If your partner is scared of you.
3. If you loath your partner and his/her breathing or laugh or mannerisms makes you want to scream or hit him/her.
4. If you would rather perform some unpleasant duty than go home to your partner and this happens a lot.
5. If you are in love with someone else.
6. If your partner is in love with someone else.
7. If you have fantasies of your partner dying.
8. If you have fantasies of dying yourself and it has got nothing to do with work related stress or any other issue but simply a wish to escape your partner (this is extremely serious by the way and you should seek help from your doctor immediately).

If any of the above apply to you then divorcing will make you less unhappy - however being happy depends on the rest of your life and takes work.

When a divorce maybe the right decision:

1. You treat your partner with a lack of respect.
2. Your partner treats you with a lack of respect.
3. You are having an affair or meaningless fling with someone else.
4. Your partner is having an affair or meaningless fling with someone else.
5. You are lonely in your marriage.
6. Your partner is lonely in your marriage.
7. You are bored - big time bored - not just a bit restless.
8. Ditto your partner is bored as in 7 above.

If any of the above apply then a careful analysis of any possible solutions such as attending counselling or changing something is needed before going ahead. Divorce may be the result but it will probably be followed by a period of guilt and ultimate happiness depends on how you choose to live your single life. Divorce in the above scenario may make you less unhappy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can a holiday together save your marriage?

Probably not!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Going away together and being forced to spend all day and night in each others' company can be the final sign that divorce is afoot.

Danger signals:

1. Not wanting to even talk to your partner - eating dinner in silence or worse reading a book!

2. Not wanting to be affectionate or intimate with your partner.

3. An over enthusiasm to meet new people to avoid time alone together.

4. Rows, followed by a period of ignoring each other more rows followed by.....

5. Counting down the days until you get home.

6. Only going because it is already booked and you don't want to waste the money.

7. Checking in late at the airport hoping you will be allocated seats apart.

A lot of relationships stumble on because people manage to live separate lives and the loneliness of their situation is not thrown into the spotlight. Being forced to spend time together highlights the barren waste of many relationships and makes people realise that they cannot tolerate half living any longer.

The unfortunate reality for most people in this situation is that by the time they realise the problem is serious it is too late for them to be able to retrieve the relationship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Want to hang on to him?

Regret pushing him down the road to divorce?

Want him back?

Scared he'll say no?

How did it get to this stage?

Many people treat their partner badly, lose respect for them, treat them even worse, demand that they leave and then..........regret it deeply when they do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

They think they can simply call up and say:

"OK, I didn't mean it, you may return."

Maybe they have done this many times in the past.

But this time their ex says:

" NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What a shock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's the old worm has turned syndrome.

Maybe you genuinely regret being mean in the past, maybe you sincerely intend to change...............the problem you have is persuading your partner you are worth giving another chance to.

What won't work:

1. Pleading
2. Begging
3. Crying
4. Fighting
5. Demanding
6. Sulking
7. Swearing

I am writing a book on what will work........................... It's not easy, needs genuine commitment on both sides and can develop into a lifetime project but the rewards can be great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Who said men weren't beautiful?

Thinking about getting divorced? Bored? Had enough? Don't fancy your partner any more? If you are in an abusive relationship - go right ahead and divorce. If this is not the case and you are simply contemplating divorce try making this list first.

1. Work out what attracted you to your mate initially.
Nice voice? Hands? It's a bit unfortunate if it was his hair and he is now bald, her figure and she is now twice the woman you married, but write it all down anyway.

2. Have you ever liked anything about him/her?
Generous? Funny? Kind?

3. What is he/she good at?
DIY? Cooking? Driving? IT?

4. Who likes him/her?
Put down everyone, it's not a question of sides so your best friend and your mother can be on the list.

5. What do they like about him/her?

6. What is the best thing he/she has ever done?

7. Has he/she done anything to make you feel proud?

8. When you needed help was he/she there for you?
Think hard, changing your tyre will do if he gave you no emotional support when your dad died. Washing your shirt works even if she refused to go to your company do. No negatives, only positives, no matter how insignificant they seem to you.

9. If you were at his/her funeral now what memory what you write in the condolences book? What memory would his/her mum write? Your children etc?
Unless you married your partner for the wrong reasons (money, no one else available etc sad etcs abound) you should be feeling very nostalgic and upset by now.

The next stage:

Write his/her profile for a dating agency using the information above.

The next stage:

Write your wish list for your ideal partner.

Make this totally comprehensive - mine includes - can drive!! One of my friends has 146 things on her list and her current boyfriend ticks every box!!!!

Do you see many similarities between your wish list and your current partner?

If no.........go ahead divorce is probably the right decision.
If yes.........try to save your marriage.......... the subject of another post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still living in the past?

I have had a run of bad luck smashed up on motorway (no one hurt but it takes weeks to sort out) ripped off by a conman (entered office under guise of plumber and stole our cheque book), lost my favourite bracelet (irreplaceable - whoever is wearing it now will get no pleasure as that bracelet is totally imbibed with my vibe).... could go on but that would be moaning.

Anyway, I launched in to the universal victim cry "Why Me?".....and the answer came:

"You cannot alter what happens to you but you can control how you react to it, stop dwelling on it, stop living in the past, deal with the hassle and move on".

So many people who get divorced spend so much time running through what went wrong, again and again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Nothing changes, they are just trapped by the what ifs and why questions.

If this is you you have a choice:

1. Continue allowing your mind to focus on the unfairness and desperate sadness of your treatment at the hands of your spouse. The result will be depression, desperation or even madness. Heather Mills is an example of someone who outwardly appears to be trapped in the fight and the need to win, to make everyone sympathise with her and accept that she was right all along, to have him publicly apologise..... nothing will make it right fact the only thing good enough is to turn the clock back.

Like the monkey in the trap one needs to let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Every day when you wake up or go to sleep repeat a positive mantra to yourself 10 times. Choose what suits but something like:

"I am a beautiful and successful person and deserve the best and to be treated with respect"

Not you? Do you prefer:

"I am a useless, fat idiot with no drive or direction in life and no friends?"

What you think is what you get!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If it hurts too much think of people recovering from major surgery who have to learn to walk again. Force yourself. It is not easy but if you put in the effort you will get the results.

Recovery is a journey, but you cannot move down the road to self fulfilment, confidence and happiness until you take that first step.................

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What is mediation?

Mediation is the process of negotiating a settlement with your ex using the input of an impartial third party.

What can we mediate on?

1. The divorce
2. The matrimonial finances
3. Arrangements for the children

Who can act as a mediator?

A mediator does not have to be a qualified solicitor. It is important to ensure that you are referred to a good one. A mediator can become accredited in a matter of days so the title alone should not reassure you. Not all mediators are good and impartial in the same way that not all catholic priests are celibate!!!!!!!!!!!!

A good mediator however should be able to help resolve a number of issues and open up communication, even if a final settlement is not reached.

It is also important to consult your solicitor after each mediation appointment to ensure that you are fully aware of your legal rights and entitlement.

Who should attend mediation?

Anyone who feels able to do so and who is able to stand up to their ex. If you were bullied throughout your relationship or if there are issues of domestic violence then mediation will probably not assist you. Some people really do present a double personality to the world so go with your gut instinct. I had a friend who was working shifts with a guy whose wife had kicked him out and he spent the whole time crying which was driving my friend mad. In the end he told him to ring her and explain how much he missed her. My friend said he felt sorry for him and thought that his wife must have it in her heart to reconsider given how heartbroken the poor guy was. Anyway ............... he overheard the conversation - he said he spoke to the woman as if she was dirt, was swearing and shouting and abusing her and in the end she hung up on him and he continued to swear into mid air. No doubt his lawyer would consider him a suitable candidate for mediation and conclude that the wife had made up her allegations of abuse!!! Similarly, I had a client years ago whose wife bullied him remorselessly but he was determined that no one else should know!!!!

As for those of you who cannot bear to be in the same room as your are you going to cope at parents' evenings?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Feeling cold and isolated?

Many people are forced down the road of separation and divorce by their partner and are devastated by the impending loss and unquantifiable, frightening change.

It is bad enough getting divorced when you want to - how much more distressing when you feel your life is being snatched away to be replaced by a vast feeling of emptiness. Some sink into depression, lose their focus at work and have a series of unfulfilling transitional liaisons that never quite make it on to the relationship map.

How to cope?

Getting divorced is a bit like bereavement, there are 4 stages to the loss:

1. Disbelief - shock
2. Anger
3. Sadness - grief
4. Acceptance

The four stages are not on a linear curve, one can achieve acceptance and then slip back into anger. However it is important that all 4 stages are gone through in order to recover and move on. We've all seen the over cheery, newly deserted man or woman, claiming total resilience and moving swiftly into a committed situation with the first passing candidate - probably living with someone they met on the internet 3 weeks earlier!!!! Best not to comment on what fate awaits them.

Dealing with the pain of a broken heart is best reduced into achievable daily goals. The worst time to get through is the weekends and the best way of avoiding feeling dreadful is to fill one's time. Visit a relative you don't normally make time for, go for a run in the woods, join a class, interest group, learn to fly, absail, pot hole, take up golf, drama , get a job in a pub Saturday night to avoid being home alone - basically JUST DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Couples are normally constrained on the weekend by their partner's wishes - so, if your wife never let you watch football and always made you go shopping with her, now is the time to get a season ticket. Think deeply about what you've always wanted to do and do it, even if it's reading a tabloid newspaper!!!!

For an individual to feel happy and fulfilled the 8 areas of his/her life need to be in balance, like the spooks on a wheel. If one segment takes over the wheel won't turn. When one separates the loss encompasses more than one segment and can be completely debilitating. It is important to ensure the other seven segments are not neglected. I will blog on what these are at a later date .........................

Monday, October 22, 2007

What's holding you back?

The main obstacle preventing people getting and doing what they want is themselves. Often a symptom of a lack of drive is not being able to get up in the morning. The universal excuse is "I'm not a morning person".

What if I gave you a million pounds to become one? Would you get up at 6am then? What is missing is the right motivation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When people go through relationship breakdown a side effect is extreme anxiety which prevents them sleeping. Turn this into a positive force, go to bed at 10pm and rise at 6am for 3 weeks and you will be amazed at the difference in your energy levels and the improvement you feel with an increasingly positive outlook.

3 weeks is the key because this is how long it takes a behaviour pattern to become a habit.

Good luck!!!!!!....... future post what to do with all that extra time!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who are the Best 15 men in England?

The Best 15 men in England are:

1. Jonny Wilkinson
2. Matthew Tait
3. Mark Cueto
4. Jason Robinson
5. Paul Sackey
6. Mike Catt
7. Andy Gomarsall
8. Andrew Shreridan
9. Mark Regan
10. Phil Vickery
11. Simon Shaw
12. Ben Kay
13. Martin Corry
14. Lewis Moody
15. Nick Easter


Work well as a team, fighting spirit, brave, tenacious, magnanimous in defeat, honest about their disappointment, accepting of official decisions that went against them, impeccable behaviour on and off the field. Fantastic comeback given their previous defeat. Amazing concession that they were defeated by a better team despite giving it their all!!!!!!!

Bag one if you can........they will be in demand!!!!!

Let's hope their performance is an inspiration to the rest of our country to be the best we can.

Roll on Rugby World Cup 2011!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One kiss or two?

Definitely two!

reports that we Brits are cringing because we no longer know how to greet each other.

Here are my preferred rules of engagement:

1. All meetings with clients

Handshake at start and finish of meeting. Use of title and surname.

2. Conclusion of matter with client

Handshake, kiss on each cheek and...... if it has been traumatic - hug! Use of forenames.

3. Friends

Kiss on each cheek - first name terms obviously!!!

4. Acquaintances

Handshake if man, kiss on each cheek if woman. Use of forenames unless they are of an older generation in which case respect demands that one uses their title and surname until they tell one otherwise.

5. All children under 10

Handshake, one kiss on cheek and ask them how they are and use their name in each sentence.

6. All children over 10

As friends

7. My family

Hugs and kiss on each cheek. Use of pet names

8. People whom I have never met whom I correspond with on a professional basis

Use of title and surname. It annoys me when mediators address me as Lynne when they would not recognise me in the street. Just because mediation is friendly does not mean that you are my friend. There are exceptions, fellow bloggers, people who comment on this blog, Law Society employees, the police, Neil Diamond, Al Gore, George Clooney - oops seem to have moved to my top ten men which is the subject of another post...

9. People whom I correspond with on a personal basis

As 8 above. I do not think my home insurance provider, based on another continent should address me by my first name. No doubt this is a sign that I am getting old.

10. Judges

District Judge - Sir/Madam
Circuit Judge - Your Honour

No physical contact

11. My boyfriend

Usually no contact on greeting. He hugs and kisses every other woman he knows which is how I know he likes me. He can, of course, say the same about me......

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nervous about going to Court?

This is a seasonal photo, looking forward to and celebrating Halloween, Bonfire night, crisp autumn evenings and the fact that we live in this country in this century!!!! What a fantastic deal.

I was in Court on my own matter last week, which was excellent at helping me understand how nervous my clients can be. Outwardly I didn't appear nervous but I lost my cool a few times at my ex husband's barrister and felt that I had to apologise to him. I know the saying that a solicitor who represents himself has a fool for a client but...... I have instructed another solicitor in the past and it cost me a fortune arguing with him. Basically he would not do what I wanted. In the end he did but he charged me for all those rows!!!! Deep down I knew I was right, not emotionally but legally and his "scared to take action" approach drove me mad. Which leads me on to.....

Before instructing a solicitor check out their approach to negotiation, risk and litigation. If you turn up with a black eye and they tell you that you may have difficulty obtaining an injunction then they are clearly risk averse. If they advise you to launch into an interim maintenance application when your ex has just lost his/her job they are clearly on the outer edges of risk taking!!!!

Anyway, what happened last week? The important thing in any negotiation is to work out what the other side wants, what's their deal breaker and what is their bottom line. This is not necessarily logical and something you don't value could be very important to them. It is also rarely obvious. What they say they want and what they really want can be very different.

I worked out what my ex wanted. I mentioned to his barrister that I wanted a word with him. I let him draft an order based on a contest. He then reminded me I wanted a word. I made the offer. He said it was the most bizarre thing he had ever heard but he was obliged to take instructions and went off.... A deal was struck much to the barrister's amazement.

What does Heather Mills want? It would appear fame and the chance to make the American public like her. What does Paul McCartney want? I would suggest never having to read or hear about his divorce and Heather Mills again. What should he offer her? The chance to write her book (who's going to want to read it anyway?) provided his publicist has the veto on anything controversial, this offer should limit substantially her pay off and he should offer to dedicate a song to her with all the proceeds going to her favourite charity. This would make Heather appear magnanimous, taking less money than she could and would help her to forget that she is famous principally because she married an extremely talented man!!!!! The alternative will cost him a lot more money. It's a bit like a parking fine.....just because one can afford it does not make it more palatable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Have you written your will?

Every year at least one of my clients or their spouse dies. It is always shocking and unexpected and happening in the middle of divorce proceedings is uncomfortable and embarrassing for the spouse who is left behind, some might say a great relief but it never is.

Have you written your will?

Do you want your soon to be ex spouse to be in charge of your funeral arrangements?

A will is not expensive (£80.00 plus VAT)

I am in the process of re drafting my own will.

What do you want to happen at your funeral?

Mine will be at the Ritz and only 17 people are invited - 2 live abroad, 2 are not speaking to me and 2 are on the list to please my children. One is likely to change - which is my current love interest, assuming I am on this planet for another decade or more!!!!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ready to tie the knot?

Thinking of getting married?

Not sure if he/she is the one?

What questions should you be asking?

Here's my check list:

1. Do you fancy him/her?

Quick test - if anyone was to text you now who would you most want it to be? Be honest with yourself and if it is not him/her call off the wedding.

2. Do you like him/her?

Odd question but it is amazing how many couples actively loath each other despite the sexual chemistry. Imagine you are at a dinner party and he/she is retelling a tale you have heard many times before. How do you feel? Slightly bored is OK but ready to decapitate him/her is not. The best response is fond amusement and attentive listening but you're probably a saint if this is your reaction.

3. Do you make each other laugh or at least smile?

A shared sense of humour goes a long way to easing life's scary moments. If his/her jokes make you cringe already beware, you will become more and more exasperated as you hear the same old puns.

4. Are your finances in line?

If one of you is extravagant and the other is a saver there will be trouble ahead.

5. Why do you think he/she is marrying you?

Is it love? Or is it your bank balance/body/fame....? Fill in the gap which fits your profile, deep down you will know...... Have you found an e mail she sent to a friend saying she has hit the jackpot? Have you heard him tell his mother that you will get pregnant and leave work in 12 months?

6. Can you at least tolerate each other's friends and family?

If you hate his/her friends life will be hard, if you hate his/her family life will be harder!!!!

7. Do you both have the same attitude towards having children?

8. As above but substitute pets for children.

This is a big clue, if he/she hates your cat/dog the competition will become unbearable.

9. Can you communicate?

Do you tell each other what you want? Do you look forward to hearing about each other's day? Do you have to read between the lines....... My boyfriend and I are going to a 60th Birthday party tonight. I have shown him my dress which is full length. He has now called me to tell me that I will look out of place in a long dress and that I should wear a mini skirt!!!! He is obviously nuts if he thinks I will fall for that one and he will be very disappointed with my wedding dress if we should ever marry!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Divorce Barbie!!!

My friends keep texting me this joke:

A father was on his way home and decided to buy his daughter a Barbie. He stopped at a toy store and noticed that there was a Shopping Barbie, a Beach Barbie and a Disco Barbie which were all £19.95. There was also a Divorce Barbie for £265.00.

"Why is the Divorce Barbie so much more expensive?" asks the dad.

The salesman answered " That's because Divorce Barbie comes with Ken's car, Ken's house, Ken's boat, Ken's computer, Ken's furniture and one of Ken's mates!!!!!!

It is a joke but.......humour based on truth. Recent, high profile, big money, divorce cases have spot lighted a legal system which appears unfair to wealthy individuals!!!

I have said this many, many times. If you are richer than your partner, don't get married, or at least don't live in this country!!! And you must, must, must get a pre nup!!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Want more help with your divorce?

John Bolch at Family Lore has done a round up of the other family law blogs he is aware of and I'm happy to follow suit!!!!!!!!!!

Some people want to talk about their divorce non stop and want to read everything they can to help them understand the bewildering process they are going through. Just for you , I recommend the following blogs:

Family lore

This is a regular update of what is happening in family law by John Bolch. For the religious among you beware, he does not hold back on his views about how ridiculous religion is!!! He did a particularly funny post about the Muslim veil court drama!

Judith's family law blog

This is, in Judith's own words "reflections and emotions associated with divorce".

Bloody relations

The only thing I can say against the barrister who pens this blog is that she supports Arsenal, and I am a Saints fan! She knows her stuff!!! Might challenge her to a pub quiz on football though!

Pink Tape

A blog by another barrister, clever name after the tape used to bind barrister's briefs.

This blog has been targeted by commentators seeking to overhaul the Family Justice System!

If you still crave more try reading Harry Potter - very diverting!!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Still wearing your wedding ring?

Anne Robinson, as pictured in that tabloid daily I pretend I don't read but always look at my mother's copy

is still wearing her wedding ring despite announcing that her marriage is over. Apparently Miss Robinson and her husband have reached an amicable financial settlement and have agreed to divorce.

Why wear the ring then?

Maybe because:

1. It's very nice.

2. Miss Robinson bought it.

3. Miss Robinson never takes it off and simply forgot!

4. Miss Robinson can't get it off!!!!!

5. Miss Robinson wants her husband to see her wearing it and sweep her off her feet.

6. Miss Robinson has a shortage of jewellery.

Of the above, I think 3 is the most likely and 5 the most unlikely but I have been wrong before.

I am wearing my wedding ring today.

Is it because:

1. It's very nice. (yes)

2. I bought it. (no)

3. I simply forgot. (no)

4. I can't get it off. (no)

5. I want my ex to find out and sweep me off my feet. (no, definitely not!!!)

6. I have a shortage of jewellery. (yes)

Best not to read too much into things then..........

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Looking for free legal advice?

When people are going through separation and divorce they can react in panic and seek advice from where ever they can get it. A lot of people consider that they need professional advice but want to receive it for free. Why? Does getting free advice mean that you can rely on it?

We outline a lot of the procedure for obtaining a divorce on our website but people frequently ring and are keen to tell us the facts of their case and seek an immediate answer. Our receptionist took a call recently and there was no solicitor available. The caller asked the receptionist to give her opinion on the caller's situation!!!!! The receptionist refused saying that she was not qualified to do so and the caller insisted, stating that the receptionist must have picked up some idea of divorce law given where she worked. This sums up the ethos of free advice. If it is free it is potentially worthless.

Most people I meet at one time or other ask me for free advice on some aspect of their personal situation. The people I know least well are the cheekiest. I now carry a stack of cards and hand them out. I do help people I know, my gardener, my plumber, my mortgage broker - but I draw the line at a photographer who took my picture once, calling me at 8.30pm on my mobile to ask for a full analysis of his brother in law's case! Wonder what he would say if I got my sister to ring him and ask for a free photo session?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dive in - Embrace Change!

I have updated my profile and changed the template on my blog. I prefer my last template but think it was becoming stale. Not that I support change for change sake but........change is necessary for growth and I was getting bored of my wedding photo!

Getting divorced can be traumatic because it often forces one to accept unwelcome change. Try to turn this change to your advantage. Here's how:

1. Do something you always wanted to do but your ex spouse discouraged - going to a football match is a favourite.

2. Update your image.

3. Go somewhere you have never been before.

4. Meet at least 1 new person a week and invite your favourite one of the month to Sunday lunch.

5. Buy a pet! Guaranteed unconditional love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who do you love?

Rather like selecting your favourite friends on facebook work out who you love before you launch yourself into a battle over money, the car, who keeps the house, the wedding album and so on. Some people are very good at starting again, some people are very bad.........

Isn't it obvious who you love?

You would think so but probably not. My four year old son has a top ten chart of the people he loves and if I try to make him eat his vegetables he tells me that I am off the scale and reduced to zero. Children are adept at such emotional blackmail but the upside is it focuses his mind on the people he wants to see most. My mother is currently his number one so consequently due to him claiming he misses her we have now booked flights for her to visit.

The reason to work out this list is not only to ensure that you protect your loved ones as much as you can from any fall out from your divorce and separation but also to ensure that you spend your time with the people who matter most to you - no more duty funerals and obligatory suppers with people you grew out of years ago.

What if my number one does not want me?

If your spouse is your number one and he/she is determined to proceed with a divorce you need to spend time with the rest of the people on your list to avoid feeling totally lost and alone. Accept that the number one spot will be vacant for a while but not forever.........your choice!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and give yourself a mini treat every three hours to try to raise your spirits, this is a good idea regardless of your emotional state, keeps me happy anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ready to Jump?

Lots of people think about getting divorced for at least 2 years before they do anything about it. The main reasons for procrastination seem to be fear and guilt. Lots of people tolerate and contribute to very unhappy home lives for a long time before they feel ready or able to make a change.

If this is you consider that you will need emotional support when you decide to stop being part of an established couple and start being a single adult. It is useful to consider who the 5 people are that you spend the most time with. You are probably the average of them. If you do not admire them, if they moan and waste time, if they gossip and lie, if they talk big but live small then change this area of your life first. This may mean that you change your job or your friends. It may mean that things improve when you stop having to spend time with your partner's sister and her husband. However, make sure you surround yourself with people you admire and aspire to be like, other than people you feel sorry for.

You will need to focus on your own problems so stop rescuing other people for a while, this is often a way of avoiding facing the truth of the pain in your own life.

Also remember that in the same way everyone at work knows about inter office affairs, despite the parties believing they have kept it secret, so everyone will know you are separated. Confide in one work place colleague and the news will be out quicker than your clothes are thrown out of the bedroom window. Even if you tell no one, driving round with all your worldly goods in the back of your car is a huge give away!!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Need help dealing with the CSA?

It is virtually impossible to locate a solicitor prepared to help you with a CSA case. I do a few pro bono cases but it is so frustrating because matters are simply not dealt with. Plus, each step of the procedure has to be followed, even if they know it is a complete waste of time. For example, if you require a reassessment they will request 2 months payslips. What if the non resident parent earns most of his money in twice annual bonus payments? Well, you will have to appeal the assessment. Can't you request sight of his P60? No, the Government has laid out strict procedures which the CSA must follow. How long will this take? Do not expect to hear from us for at least 12 weeks. Then you need to appeal. How long will that take? Add on 12 weeks for each step, multiply by 7 and start again.

I don't know who is in a worse position, the parents who feel like they are banging their head against a brick wall or the CSA staff, who have all initiative removed from them and must be bored and stressed.

What they don't tell you.

Your assessment for child support will never be increased or reduced unless you ask them to do a reassessment. Even then, if the non resident parent's income has increased by 6% or less they will not increase the assessment. You will receive a schedule each 12 months, but it will be identical to the one you received last year unless you request a reassessment, which sounds very official and off putting. At least Court Orders used to increase in line with inflation.

Their rationale is that they have millions of clients and it would be too costly to implement an assessment for each individual. Why don't they automatically increase the reassessment in line with P60 and tax returns filed via the Inland Revenue? They could deduct the money at source, via the PAYE system and hand it over to the parent with care via the tax credit system or even an increase in their own tax code if they were working. After all, if your salary were to increase by 6% or less you would pay additional tax and national insurance on the difference.

For those caught on the other side of the fence, an assessment for which they do not have the means to pay, the experience can take on nightmare proportions but that is the subject of another post...........

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The continuing fall in the divorce rate

I have been so busy that I have not had time to post on this blog, or do my knitting! I was therefore very surprised to hear that the divorce rate has reduced again.

The following article in THE TIMES attributes it to:

1. Younger people having been through the pain of their parent's divorce and not wanting to inflict similar torment on their own children.

2. People getting married older and therefore being more sensible and mature about it (bit odd that analysis given that the only increase in divorce rates was in men over 60).

3. The increase in cohabitation.

Less people are getting married, but given that the average marriage lasts 11 years it will be a decade before this filters into the figures. One needs to consider the number of marriages related to the size of the marriageable population extrapolated over time to compute whether marriage is a declining institution. Only then can we calculate whether divorce is also in decline.

There was a baby boom in the sixties and the average age for divorce is 40 plus. One would expect the divorce rate to increase based upon the population explosion - instead it has fallen. One needs to know how many of these baby boomers remain married, choose cohabitation or a life on their own.

There is a housing crisis partly because there are an increasing number of people living alone. There is a population decline because an increasing number of women are choosing not to have children. An increasing number of people are leaving this country to live abroad, no doubt getting divorced abroad as well. There is an increasing immigrant population from countries where religion is more widespread and the consequent disapproval to marriage breakdown.

We have enjoyed 10 years of relative prosperity. Now this country owes more in personal debt (mortgage borrowing, credit cards personal loans) then the total Gross Domestic Product. There is an increase in insolvency and personal bankruptcy and the numbers of houses being repossessed has reached record levels, but not the headlines - due to the lack of negative equity. Poverty and divorce often go hand in hand. If interest rates rise and the economy continues to worsen I predict that the divorce rate will rise accordingly ..............

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dating Help for Women

This has been a tough one to research.

Many dating web sites seem to be full of attractive single women looking for love and not so attractive men looking for...... best to term it a more casual relationship.

I have not looked at any of the match making agencies who ask you for a month's salary to find you the man of your dreams because I don't have any real life success stories to report.

There are lots of frogs out there waiting to kiss you. If looking for your prince ask yourself:

1. Am I over my ex?

2. Do I like my life?

3. Do I like the way I look?

4. Am I fun to be with?

If the answer to any of the above is no put your search on hold and visit Christian Carter's website.

He is long winded and a bit of a preacher but he gives out some helpful advice on how to make a man attracted to you...... and how to make that attraction grow.....apparently that is the secret to success with men.........

Where to meet men?

Unless you want to end up with a player it is best to avoid clubs and bars. I was sitting in a bar in Surrey with 4 single friends on Friday night lamenting the fact that they would never meet an eligible man there as it was full of unattractive married men and............ in walked Hugh Grant!!!!!!

I love it when am gloriously wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dating help for men

If you have come through a divorce and are looking for a new love then this website may help build your confidence and approach women. It is always more difficult for men, generally they are expected to make the first move, despite female emancipation.

If you have been in a long term relationship it can be overwhelming to start dating again, it's all about confidence, which, if you have just been dumped can be shot to pieces.

This website is created by entrepreneur Eben Pagan (probably not his real name either) under the pen name of David De Angelo

I have done the link to my favourite page, which describes the 8 different male personality types and how women react to them. I have not ordered the e book so can't recommend it, but I think the information given on the website is insightful. However, he has missed out on the best chat up line ever.............the subject of another post.........

Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Rights for Cohabitees?

The Law Commission has recommended that the Government introduce legislation to give legal rights to cohabitees on the breakdown of their relationship. The suggestions are:

1. It will apply to those who have cohabited for 2 years of more and to those who have children.

2. People can opt out of it if they so choose.

3. It will be based on "qualifying contributions"and one will have to show that either one has lost out or one's ex partner has gained.

4. The remedies available will extend to making a pension share and can include a forced sale of the property.

What do I think:


1. The opt out clause.

There is a similar procedure under the Landlord and Tenant Act which removes the rights of compensation which the statute provides to the tenant if the landlord were to reclaim the building. It is standard practice for landlords to insist that tenants sign the opt out before they grant a lease. No doubt it will become standard practice for the cohabitee with financial clout to insist that the cohabitee with financial disadvantage signs the opt out before they move in.

2. The terms "qualifying contribution" and "enduring consequences".

These are subject to interpretation and sound ridiculous. There should be a straightforward definition of exactly what a "qualifying contribution" is otherwise they will simply encourage litigation. I don't think £100.00 is enough for a "qualifying contribution" but maybe you do type scenario. What is The Law Commission's definition of a "qualifying contribution"?

"any contribution arising from the cohabiting relationship which is made to the parties' shared lives or to the welfare of members of their families. Contributions are not limited to financial contributions and include future contributions, in particular the care of the parties' children following separation."

Clear as mud then!!!!!!!

3. Will the economically disadvantaged be entitled to legal aid?

If so, and one has no assets, one will have nothing to lose by litigating for one's "qualifying contribution" courtesy of the State. The Law Commission talks about serious cost consequences if one litigates needlessly or disproportionately, but that's no threat if you have nothing.


1. The enforced sharing of childcare costs.

I have always thought it a nonsense that one can make a claim under the Children Act for school fees (which by definition are for the relatively financially advantaged) but not for childcare costs. In effect the State picks up the tab via the Tax Credits system.

Making the other parent share the childcare costs is a good idea and should be extended to all parents via The Children Act and not just to ex cohabitees.

Anyway perusing the whole report was as interesting as reading my local parking committee's implementation and definition of survey requirements agenda for car parking facilities in and around the village. To put this in context, I rarely drive, I use my bike and I love reading about Family Law.

See the following report in THE TIMES for more details on The Law Commission report and the Hamble news for an update on the car parking.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

How can you tell if your wife is being unfaithful?

Whenever people report that their partner wants a divorce due to meeting someone new, the signs were there long before the relationship finally crashed. Possible clues to look out for in your wife, and one of these alone is probably not indicative but more than 3 should raise suspicions:

1. She develops a new hobby such as salsa, and you hate dancing, so she goes alone.

2. She starts going out regularly with a new female friend whom you have never met.

3. Her appearance has improved. Nicer clothes, more sexy underwear, or she has lost weight, changed her hairstyle, gone for botox, got a brace on her teeth etc.

4. She refuses to have sex with you.

5. She encourages you to work away from home or go on that golf holiday with your friends.

6. She shows no interest in you or your work.

7. She avoids you, for example 5 minutes after you walk into the sitting room she goes upstairs to have a shower. This happens a lot.

8. She has stopped arguing with you.

Of course, it may simply indicate that your wife has gone off you, but that is not good news either. Do you want to save the marriage? - suggest Relate. Do you want to end it? - hire a private investigator and see a divorce lawyer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Men and their double lives

An increasing number of women are reporting an incidence of men deceiving them with the double lives syndrome. No longer content with simply having an affair a greater buzz is to be acquired by pretending each girl is the only one.


1. Over the top flowery text messages.

2. His phone goes off radar after 7pm or he always calls on his way home.

3. You don't know his home address or home phone number.

4. He manipulates arguments late at night and storms out.

5. He has a hobby which takes him away from home.

6. You haven't met any of his family or he claims they are all dead.

7. Something doesn't add up - he is still in business with his ex partner or he has left his bike/dog at her house.

8. When on the phone to you he suddenly hangs up and claims there is a problem with his phone/battery.

9. He suggests impossible dates - he invites you over when you have your best friend from South Africa staying, he asks you to go to Paris with him for the weekend when he knows you are working.

10. Eventually you are invited to visit his flat which he shares with his mate and there are none of his personal possessions on display. Most men are untidy, so a pristine room suggests he doesn't actually live there.

Next time your intuition warns you that something does not add up - believe it, and next time a man asks you for your phone number exchange home numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Heather Mills to Get £70 million

According to newspaper reports, Heather Mills is to receive a total package from Sir Paul McCartney worth £70 million. Will she cheer up now? Probably not.

Apparently there is a gagging order included preventing either party talking about the reason for the breakdown of their marriage. Is that not a bit late? What more could possibly be revealed by the hated Heather to put Sir Paul in a bad light?

This is more money than originally expected (£30 to £40 million reputed offer) but Sir Paul is reported to have a fortune of £800 million so he can easily afford it. It's a bit like receiving a parking ticket though, just because you can afford to pay it does not make it any more palatable!!!!!!

This is the biggest divorce payout so far in this country and all rich people should take note and remain single. Not sure how the super rich get past the first question anyway, as Dame Edna said to Debbie McGhee "what initially attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

To all you nice men at Fathers for Justice

To all you guys who have sent me mail calling me a sexist, money grabbing, corrupt, 2 bit, lesbian, moron, bitch who does not know what she is talking about - you too have a right to be wrong. However, if you wish me to post your comments please reveal yourselves - anonymous blogging is for cowards.

To Matthew O Connor - "feeding me to your membership" and sending me 9500 e mails telling me that your organisation is watching me is not flattering, an ex boyfriend told me that even he would have stopped at 1000. Neither is it intimidating, although if you advise your membership to use the same tactic on their ex partners, it is no wonder they have problems with contact with their children!!!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dads who will not pay to support their children

Until now I have deliberately ignored this story goes........ don't say I didn't warn you......

The barrister? legal clerk? (reports vary) Michael Cox, has been jailed and subsequently freed for refusing to pay Child Support. The BBC reports that given his children spend 50% of their time with him he argues that the law is wrong and he should not have to pay their mother anything towards their care.

Why are the CSA involved?

This is where the story starts to get confusing. The CSA is not like the Crown Prosecution Service, they act upon the Parent with Care's instructions, unless he/she is in receipt of State Benefits in which case they plough on regardless. According to reports, again confusing, the ex wife works part time in a taxi office and pleaded with the Judge that if dad was jailed she would have to give up work and go on State Benefits to look after her 16 year old and 13 year twins without dad's help. Given that 16 year olds can legally marry and have their own children in this country it is unsurprising that the Judge did not fall for that one. By all reports it's one big happy family, dad having remarried and having 2 further sons and living nearby, so why can't the 3 lads stay with their step mum and brothers while dad is in prison anyway?

So, the mother is not in receipt of State Benefits but does receive Tax Credits which is why the CSA is seeking the £43,000 arrears, according to reports. This is contrary to the whole ethos of the Tax Credits system!!!!!! Tax Credits are paid regardless of what maintenance the Parent with Care receives. Such income is disregarded in their assessment. This was deliberate to encourage Parents with Care back into work, as their maintenance was always taken into account in assessing their State Benefits.

Curiouser and curiouser!!!!!!!!

If what they claim is true however, and it is baffling in the extreme, a simple solution would have been for the mother to cease making her Tax Credits claim, but it would still appear that she must have made a CSA Application in the first place. Insufficient facts are provided to work out how this situation arose, it is atypical because normally the Parent with Care embraces the help of the CSA in order to collect Child Maintenance because she needs it. Clearly this barrister's/legal clerk's ex wife did not need it (again according to newspaper reports) so why make the claim in the first place? One is left to assume, and I emphasise assume because the facts are not supplied, that she was on State Benefits which is why the CSA marched on, to reclaim tax payer's money, and why not?

Of course, this assumption may be wrong. His ex wife may never have received State Benefits and may never have made a CSA application.

Who did then?

Why is this nightmare happening to Mr Cox? The CSA was renowned for it's inefficiency and lack of proactive chasing of recalcitrant absent parents. It would appear that they set this claim up themselves. How very singular.

Who is this £43,000.00 payable to?

Mrs Cox or the State?

If it's Mrs Cox, why doesn't he just give her the money and she give it back to him? We are talking about 12 years arrears, that is a lot of State time and money (your taxes and mine) spent chasing this guy. Why?

Why should he pay anything?

The now disbanded CSA was set up to assess child maintenance. The Family Courts take the view that a child has the right to share in the living standards of his parents. The CSA rates are reduced to account for how much time the child spends with the absent parent and at the time this was introduced it was considered controversial as it was thought it would encourage additional contact in order to reduce the maintenance levy.

In any event the assumption was that the main carer required support from the absent parent and in the vast majority of cases this is true. The best way to achieve this is via Child maintenance and perhaps an additional capital order or topping up order in favour of the child, even where care is split. For example, dad could be earning £70,000 per annum and mum could be on minimum wage. Clearly mum needs help in this instance even where the care is shared. The aim was to ensure that children did not fall into poverty.

In the unusual cases where incomes were similar and care was split then couples could make their own arrangements and did not need to involve the CSA. Lots of couples make their own arrangements. The CSA was only there to support parents with care in the sad cases where the absent parent did not pay.

The law is wrong says Mr Cox

Given that most old people don't have any school age children why should they pay towards our education system? Given that a lot of people live fit and healthy lives why should they pay towards the National Health service? It is the law of this fair and pleasant land. The welfare system helps to support our society's weakest members and it is a matter of public policy to be lauded that absent parents are expected to financially support their own children.

What of Mr Cox?

As I have pointed out, I do not have the full facts of his case, I am more than prepared to change my opinion if the facts are supplied and it turns out that Mr Cox is indeed a helpless victim of the system.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What is a Consent Order?

This is one of the most popular search terms on this blog. Everyday there are hits relating to this. There are only 2 more popular daily searches on my blog, one of which is "What makes a man attractive?" Will enjoy doing a further post on that one later.

A Consent Order is the legal document which finalises financial matters on divorce. It is a completely separate legal procedure to the divorce itself, which is known as the main suit. A financial application in divorce is labelled Ancillary Relief.

Don't leave home without one! Remember, you can get divorced without a Consent Order but it is rare that it would be in your financial best interests to do so.

A Consent Order is necessary if you have any assets, are likely to acquire any assets in the future (such as an inheritance), have a reasonable income or have an income potential.

The Consent Order needs to be carefully drafted to cover all aspects and to ensure that the matter does not end up back in Court years later.

For a more detailed explanation of what it involves please refer to post dated Thursday August 3rd 2006 " Divorce - Consent Order". to make it easier to find I have set up a separate category.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Non paying dads list of shame!!!!

The CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY produce their list of non paying dads on their own web site in an effort to name and shame. Unfortunately, someone who refuses to pay to support their own child is probably beyond shame.

What they need to do is name and cause maximum grief and aggro. They need to publicise the list more, with photos and ages and the total debt owed.

I suggest the following:

1. Have a link to their page from all dating agency sites.

2. Produce a local list of the sad dads at the back of all football programmes, bus and train timetables.

3. Make them display a non paying dad sticker on their car which prevents them parking on any public street.

4. Make them exempt from treatment under the National Health

5. Make them exempt from receiving the State Pension.

No doubt there would be outrage, but perhaps they would pay up, and that is the aim isn't it?

Our society extends a lot of privileges and rights to its members, those who do not fulfil their obligations should have some of their privileges removed.

I remember a film I watched as a child with Yul Brynner as Tony Curtis' father and the bravery he showed for his son. My dad is my Yul Brynner and I will be eternally grateful for everything he has done for me. What on earth do these non paying dads think their children will grow up to think of them?

If anyone wants to argue this point on the basis of needing the money to fight for Contact I can show them some heartbreaking e mails from adult children (names withheld) who want me to sue their dads for never supporting them. PAY UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

How can I hurt my spouse as much as possible?

Be unfaithful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is probably not your intention when you fall into an accidental affair but it is a guaranteed result. The same as drunk drivers don't mean to maim and kill pedestrians, it is simply an unintended consequence of their reckless and selfish act.

It should be reasonably foreseeable, to even the least educated and gifted intellectually, that deceiving your partner by indulging in intimate acts with another individual is going to cause pain.

What to do when temptation looms?

1. Go for a run or take up a sport or regular exercise.

2. Change the situation so that you do not come into contact with the individual concerned.

3. Once you have not seen the object of your desire for 6 months re assess how you feel. If your hormones are still raging, tell your spouse it is over, move out and then move on.

It is like driving when you want to turn right - mirror, signal, manoeuvre, get it the wrong way round and there will be a crash!!!!!!!!!