Friday, June 29, 2007

Just How Good is Friends Reunited?


I registered recently and the blond at the front of the picture is an old school friend I have not seen for 15 years who now lives with me!

I have had a call from a guy I went ice skating with when I was 14, who has put me in touch with 3 other friends, and a guy I last saw 8 years.

When going through divorce it can feel that your life is falling apart and getting in touch with old friends can be a great diversion and can help you to stop thinking about your problems.

Have a go:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Importance of a clean break!

If ever you have a chance to buy out a nominal maintenance order or need to litigate to get rid of one, this article in THE TIMES should be a warning to all you men out there to make sure you get a clean break!!!!!!

In summary, a couple divorced nearly 3 decades ago, and she received a financial settlement. However, their financial situations hit divergent paths, he became wealthy and she became poor. A Judge has ordered him to pay her over £200,000.00 and he has appealed. We await the Court of Appeal's judgement with interest.

It is important to remember that in English Matrimonial Law the Judge has a wide discretion to interpret the statutes and case law to arrive at what he/she deems a FAIR OUTCOME.

Best to remove the possibility of a Judge deciding what is fair for you in future!

Monday, June 25, 2007

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Firstly it's an Americanism.

Secondly it's a process not a symptom attributable to the parent with care.

Thirdly it is not generally recognised in the UK Courts and is very difficult to prove. However, Parental Alienation is recognised as a form of emotional abuse.

Fourthly the absent parent can add to the process by his/her own behaviour. Always late for contact? Don't make regular child support payments? Get angry at your ex in front of the children?

Fifthly it can be a conscious or unconscious form of brain washing of a vulnerable child. At worst it can totally alienate and destroy the child's relationship with the other parent. At least, it can make the child feel uncomfortable, unhappy, sad and isolated. For example:

"We can't afford to go on holiday because your dad spends all of his money on his new girlfriend."

This may well be true but does your child really need to know that? Do not burden your offspring with your resentments and dissatisfactions against their parent. Doing so is guaranteed to hurt your child!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Something to make you smile

I don't watch TV and it took an Australian to point this out to me - thanks Orhan

This should help distract you from your divorce and have a great feeling for a change - I defy anyone not to be moved (extra cool guys excepted of course).

The Unintended Consequences Of Divorce Part 2

2. Remorse

No matter how much you wanted it there will usually be a sense of regret and failure.

3. Intense loneliness and depression

The single life will no longer appear attractive and you will feel isolated from past social arrangements, normally couples socialise with couples and you will now be firmly left out. This feeling should pass after 6 months, otherwise you should consult a doctor, counsellor or find some other way to move on. If you cannot get over it yourself, be it the divorce or your ex, then seek help, being stuck in the past is painful.

4. Children will spend more quality time with their father or none at all.

Which will it be for your children?

5. Men's standard of living increases

Maybe it's not having to buy all those shoes any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Women and children's standard of living drops.

No surprises there then.

7. Divorced women are more likely to remain single than divorced men.

Why is that then? Had enough of men? Perhaps it's because they have less money to socialise. Or maybe they don't need a transition relationship or they are bitter, less attractive to other men with their "baggage", past it, or simply exhausted with running a home and a full time job on less than half the income they used to have.

8. You will miss someone.

Not your ex, but someone from his/her circle.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can reconciliation work?

Maybe, rarely, not in my experience.

Surprisingly, it is typically couples who have gone through the most acrimonious divorce who choose to reconcile.

It is reported in the Daily Mail that Heather Mills and Sir Paul McCartney are flirting with the idea of reconciling. ( see post 23rd October 2006 - Heather Mills and Paul McCartney) Remember Richard Burton and Liz Taylor?

A likely scenario is a reconciliation, with a 12-18 month honeymoon period followed by 6-12 months of extreme acrimony and misery followed by a final split.

There is something to be said for getting it out of your system, but...........................

If you are considering reconciling with your spouse remember:

1. He/she will not change. If what drove you apart is still there but buried it will re surface even more pungent in about 12 months.

2. Issues need to be aired and dealt with, be they violence, money or infidelity. Sorry is not enough.

3. Most people will think you are mad and your social life will be difficult with a lot of people still smarting from the fall out of the initial split.

4. When the chemistry is spent all you will have left is a partner you should never have married in the first place.

5. Only if you genuinely like each other and are prepared to be true friends will it work.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Divorce resource?

I have been contacted by Ian Rispin, a man going through divorce who has felt the need to set up a divorce information website wikivorce which he describes as the:

"first social/networking community website in the UK"

Not sure what that means exactly, but I would opinion that most people only want to talk about their own divorce. However, he has done a lot of research and there are some useful links.

Mr Rispin feels that most people going through divorce struggle to understand the law, and the process. Dare I suggest that's what a solicitor is for? It's a bit like doing your own conveyancing or learning to drive a formula one car or play golf. Knowing how to do it and being able to do it are two different things..................................

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bitterly regret the waste of your best years?

It's my birthday today!! As I was walking to Court yesterday I was thinking about my age and contemplating that I was fast approaching the stage when women become invisible. Right on cue 2 builders shouted out some lewd remarks at me. At the age of 19 I would have been irritated by their sexist comments. As a mother of a 19 year old daughter I was flattered. Flattered but not bothered. I was starting to understand Germaine Greer's theory of female ageing.

People often take longer to get over their divorce because they are bitter that their ex has taken the best years of their lives and then dumped them. Rather than moving on and embracing the pleasures of each decade they look back with regret that their best years have been diminished. Accepting that each decade supplies its own pleasures and rewards and seeking them out is the key to resolving this battle with your lost past. It's not wasted or ruined it's simply gone. As is everyone else's. All you have is now, and perhaps tomorrow, and the only thing preventing you making this the best year of your life is your own perception.

I'm not saying I'm looking forward to spending Sunday afternoons at the garden centre but it is on my radar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Tipping Point

Just when you start to feel sorry for rich men getting divorced in this country, Alan Miller pulls a rabbit out of the hat and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights. He is appealing against the House of Lords judgement that confirmed that his ex wife Melissa could retain the £5 million awarded to her after a marriage which lasted less than 3 years. He is appealing on the basis that Judges in this country have such a wide discretion in matrimonial matters that it undermines his human right to property so reports The Telegraph

Good luck to him. This Government never seems to fare well in dealings with the European Courts. Remember the fishing quotas and the Spanish fishing vessels using our landings and the compensation we were ordered to pay them? Neither do we do well in the Eurovision song contest but no doubt this is a coincidence.

Have we reached a tipping point? When both Judges and rich men are asking for the law to be changed one wonders whether Gordon Brown will take note and do something.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Can I interest you in a Pre-Nup?

It is difficult to feel sorry for the rich but the Divorce regime in this country does appear biased against wealthy individuals divorcing their less wealthy spouses. The recent Court of Appeal case in Charman has reinforced the House of Lords case of White - equality, the less wealthy non earning spouse, is no longer simply entitled to have her needs met, which in Mrs Charman's case would have meant her accepting Mr Charman's offer of £20 million, instead of the £48 million she has received. Indeed (great word, a bit pompous but draws you in) the starting position in distribution of capital is a 50/50 split unless there are compelling reasons for departure such as:

1. Stellar contribution, and stellar means stellar, not simply making millions of pounds. Moreover, even if your exceptional efforts are recognised, the Courts will still consider it fair to give the non earning spouse between 33.3% and 45%. Nice .

Where's the moral argument?
Nowhere, behaviour has no place in settling battles over the matrimonial finances. So, in the recent House of Lords case of Miller, Mr Miller left his wife for a newer model, fair game for the newspapers to pour scorn on him. What of the hard working millionaire whose wife leaves him for the tennis coach? Tough, same deal.

2. Non matrimonial assets, acquired pre the union and kept separate, but the matrimonial home will be given special treatment. There is no guarantee this argument will succeed if the other party has an unfulfilled need.

The facts in the case of White were that they had a family farm that the wife had worked in for many years. The facts in Charman are that he is an insurance magnet. He was bound to lose but you can understand his frustration at the interpretation the Courts are obliged to follow.

How does this trickle down to the rest of us?

Very badly. In the past, the non earning spouse with the kids could expect to get at least 70% of the capital to rehouse herself and her children . Now the equality argument means that she has to convince the Court that her need is overwhelming and cases are settling more in the 45%/55%. An attempt to introduce equality has made life worse for the lower earning spouse in lower value cases.

What to do?

Anyone with more assets that their intended spouse who does not take out a pre-nuptial agreement is asking for trouble. They are not binding on Judges but they are one of the factors which they can consider and in recent judgements they have given them credence.

An article in The Times yesterday goes further, recommending people take out a post nuptial agreement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have been warned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

What's in a Name?

Everything and nothing! My four year old son has decided to change his name to Matthew (after his best friend) James Blond (after an action movie character whose name he has got wrong but in that special arrogant 4 year old way he refuses to accept is his error). Obviously I have not proceeded with a name change deed but he will now only respond to Matthew James Blond or Strong Boy (I think I prefer the former).

If contemplating changing the name of a minor you need the permission of all parties with parental responsibility or a Court Order. If the father does not have parental responsibility and you proceed regardless of his wishes it is likely to be overturned if the father goes to Court.

What will the Court take into account?

The Law in this area is unsurprisingly sexist as Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss pointed out, and retaining the absent father's name is considered a way of encouraging dad to keep in touch.

To quote Lord Justice of Appeal Hale in the case of Re R (2001)
"It was a matter of great sadness that it was so often assumed that fathers needed the outward and visible link of a shared surname in order to retain their relationship with and commitment to their child, whereas the crucial point was that it was important for there to be transparency about a child's parentage, for it to be acknowledged that the child always had two parents."

It is therefore very difficult to change a child's name. Basically you have to show that it is in the child's best interest and the burden of proof is on the applicant seeking the change.

Even if the other parent plays no part in the child's life the Courts may still consider it is better for the child to retain an outward link, after due consideration of the Welfare Checklist, which is the subject of another post.....................

The majority of disputes arise where the parents have never married. Given that the mother has retained her own name, either through choice or because her partner rejects marriage why then register your child in the father's name? Seems mighty sexist to me. It's an open secret that cohabitation breaks down more often than marriage and that the majority of children live with their mother after their parents separate. A puzzling dilemma and therefore more difficult for the mother to overturn the child's name later given that she was involved in the initial choice...................

Importantly, the law changed in respect of unmarried fathers obtaining parental responsibility in December 2003. For children born of unmarried parents after that date, if the father's details are included on the birth certificate he will automatically acquire parental responsibility. Putting the father's details on the birth certificate and giving the child the father's name are two different things......

Register of Births

Friday, June 01, 2007

Special Contribution just not special enough


The alpha male John Charman has again been defeated in his efforts to overturn the £48 million his wife was awarded following their divorce. He met his match in Sir Mark Potter, the President of the High Court Family Division (surely this guy knows his stuff?) who stated that Mr Charman's special contribution had been taken account of and refused him permission to appeal to the House of Lords. He has been told to go direct to their Lordships if he wants to pursue the matter and no doubt he will. Given his career one doubts that Mr Charman has met with such disappointment at not getting his own way in the past. Oh well.... at least he afford it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What does this mean for wealthy singles?

Have you heard of :

1. Forum shopping?

2. Pre-Nuptial Agreements?

3. Making love last?

If wealthy and single and contemplating marriage I advise you to try them all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Source: Guardian