Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just how bad is the CSA?

In one example I know the father's salary has increased by over £100,000.00 since the original assessment but the mother is still receiving the same original amount. The CSA wrote to her in January stating that they have reassessed what the father should pay and guess what? It's the same figure he was assessed at 3 years earlier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How do they work that out then? They have written to him, they have written to her, they have produced a new 5 page statement and sent it to both of them. Time is being spent and costs are being incurred but what are they doing apart from wasting taxpayer's money????????????????

In another example the father is an ex city dealer. He claimed to the CSA that he was unemployed so the mother received a nil assessment. Five years later the father tells her that he cannot see the child because of work commitments. The mother has repeatedly rung the CSA and told them that he is regularly seen going out suited and booted, she thinks he is on PAYE so there must be tax records, but still she has a zero assessment. The CSA's advice to her:


The situation already appears to be in meltdown. The staff now seem to be advising parents to complain about them, one way of getting a file out of your in tray and into someone else's I suppose, but if widespread it is an appalling indictment of this Government's ability to run an administrative function.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Should I move out of the house?

Separating couples, frequently can't stand remaining under the same roof once the decision to part has been made but often this is the only practical option.

Be aware that if you move out it can affect your financial settlement and the living and contact arrangements for the children of the marriage.

If the sale or otherwise of the matrimonial home is an issue then moving out removes your influence over the conduct of the sale and may even strengthen your spouse's right to retain it.

If there is violence or abuse, then advice should be sought as to having your spouse evicted.


I know of a case years ago where the dad, a sales director, moved out and rented a luxury 2 bedroom apartment with sea views. His living costs were such that he could not afford to pay his wife any interim maintenance. His wife, a nurse, meanwhile remained in the home with the four children and made enormous financial sacrifices, buying clothes for the children from charity shops, and living on potatoes and bean. She cut her income needs to the bone and felt sure that the judge would congratulate her on her thrift and award her and the children the house. He did not. He told her to carry on scrimping and saving, he could not award her higher income needs than she claimed and therefore no periodic payments were ordered from the husband. He decided that the father needed a bigger property so that the children could stay with him overnight and that the house should be sold as the father needed access to his capital to buy a property and the mother should take on a smaller mortgage. He was concerned that long term the mother would not be able to keep up the payments on the matrimonial home as she was receiving no assistance from her husband. only minimal child support based on his basic salary. If only the mother had been advised differently she would likely have ended up with the house and maintenance from her high earning husband, whilst he would have had a charge on the home and been told to use his high mortgage capacity to purchase a property!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is important to get the right advice in the first place, not only to obtain a fair financial settlement, but to prevent people sinking into bitterness over the injustice of the system!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

How much will my divorce cost?

The first question people ask is:

What am I entitled to?

The second question is:

How much will it cost?

The answer is sometimes in your own hands.

If you want a big fight and to use your solicitor as a counsellor, then a lot. Unfortunately, it could be that your soon to be ex spouse is behaving unreasonably and your costs are increased accordingly.

We then move on to the third question people should ask but often forget:

Is it a fight worth winning?

Take Heather Mills according to the
Daily Mail

She has had to sell a cottage and has dipped into overdraft. I would guess that that is fairly low risk for her bank manager!!!!!!!!!!!

The next question is:

How can I fund it?

There are various options:

Legal aid, bank loan, loan from relatives, credit cards, sell personal possessions such as engagement ring, loan from your solicitor against the expected payout.

If none of these avenues are open to you, you could even make an application to the Court to make your spouse pay your on going legal costs, this is normally only open to the spouses of wealthy individuals who have no assets in their name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will you marry me?

This is the day to do it. If you have been thinking about popping the question make it an extra romantic Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!!!!

However, if either of you have assets, or children from a previous relationship, follow it through with question number 2 and it's probably best to use the assumptive close:

"Of course we need a pre nup - don't you agree darling?"

A prenuptial agreement has more chance of being considered by a judge if it is completed in good time, covers all aspects of the couple's finances and is made following full financial disclosure (this means that you tell each other about all your assets and debts - it is amazing how many people enter into marriage without revealing their true finances!). It is also important that both parties receive independent legal advice.

The agreement should only deal with financial arrangements. You cannot make a sexual contract. Marriage itself requires consummation (at least once) and non participation is grounds for annulment but that is the subject of another post. There is a hilarious case about an air steward, a rich Scandinavian business man, the gift of a flat and domination. Basically the contract was rendered void because it is against public policy to endorse a legal contract for sexual favours!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How the 80/20 rule applies to your divorce

The 80/20 rule, or Pareto principle is an economic rule that 80% of resources are spent producing 20% of output, it began by him noticing that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people . The rule is universal, for example:

20% of customers and 20% of sales staff produce 80% of revenue

We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time

We only use 20% of our stuff so the other 80% is clutter

Eat healthily 80% of the time

80% of crime is carried out by 20% of criminals

80% of horse races are won by 20% of jockeys and trainers

How does this rule apply to my divorce?

Recognise that 80% of the stuff you are arguing about is stuff you don't need or want and will become clutter if you get to keep it. I know of one woman who was determined to prevent her husband getting the dining table and chairs and left them to rot in her garden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Understand that 80% of the pain you are feeling is the resurgence of past hurts and try to focus on the events happening now. We know he never helped in the house, had an affair, was violent, and that she constantly undermined you and refused to have sex for years, but all these past hurts and rejections feed the fight. Try to separate what is hurting now from past scars.

Focus on what the issues are. The family courts, perhaps unwittingly, understand this rule and ask couples to agree the matters in dispute at an early stage.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What do women find attractive in a man?

For those of you coming out of divorce and separation and looking for love this is a very important question. Fortunately help is at hand. The
have unearthed the latest research which shows what women find attractive in men.

There are two requirements:

1. Good looking

No surprises there then, women after all, are as superficial as men. Unfortunately for woman, there are nowhere near as many good looking men around as there are women. I think it conforms to the old 20% /80 % rule which is surprising given the findings of this study. You would expect selection to reduce the amount of unattractive men.

2. Middle of the road earnings prospects.

Apparently, women are not attracted to high earning men as they consider them predatory but prefer those on an average income for long term prospects.

Bit of a shame for all those rich men out there, but I haven't noticed that even the most ugly celebrities (mention no names) have any shortage of beautiful babes on their arm. They must have lied about their earnings and pretended to be plumbers!!!

Also there is hope for unattractive rich men because they can spend their money on plastic surgery......

What of the frogs trying to disguise themselves as princes and the impact it will have on their chat up lines? No more carpet fitters claiming to be property developers, now they must pretend to be ........teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Help for children of divorce

There are lots of resources on the web to help children cope with parental separation and divorce and prevent them feeling isolated.

You may not realise it but your behaviour towards your child will probably change. Some teenagers report that whereas their mother used to shout at their father, now he has gone mum screams at them. The teenagers' own behaviour may well have changed for the worse, but from their perspective, not only have they lost dad but mum is now picking on them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An excellent website and beautiful book is: