Sunday, March 31, 2013

What will Divorce Solicitors do now?

From tomorrow Legal Aid will be removed from most divorce applications.  Couples disputing their finances, the divorce itself and contact and residence applications for their children will no longer be able to access legal advice via public funding.

The exceptions which remain:

1. Forced marriage
2. Children being taken into care
3. Reported domestic violence - either an injunction has been sought or the police are investigating the allegations

So what will all these out of work divorce lawyers do?:

1. Care work
There has been a dramatic increase in Care Applications since the Baby P case

2. Mediate
The Government wants separating couples to mediate to sort out their differences so there should be an increase in this type of work.

3. Work 16 hours a week at Tescos and
Claim tax credits

Lots of changes ahead then.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Do I need to Think About before I Separate?

Often people who want to separate are paralysed by anxiety.  They become overwhelmed by the magnitude of what they want to do. Controlling what you think about and organising your thoughts into a practical sequence can be a huge help.

So what do you need to think about?

1. Your children

How will it impact on them?
How will you tell them?
How will you support them?
Where will they live?
How often will they see the other parent?
What reassurance can you give them that their life is not ruined?
Will they stay at the same school?
Still see their friends?

2.  Money

Can you afford to separate?
Who will move out?
Will the house be sold?
How will you divide the assets?
Who will pay any debts?
Will one of you support the other financially?

So that is what you need to think about.

How you separate and what you need to do is the subject of another post.

For more help contact me at Bastows Divorce Solicitors

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What is a clean break?

Lots of people hear this term when they are contemplating divorce and separation but they do not know what it means.

What it means is that there is an end to any claim you or your ex spouse can have against each other.

In order to finalise financial matters on divorce a Consent Order is needed. Without this claims can remain open indefinitely.  One man won the lottery 10 years after getting divorced and ended up having to pay some to his ex wife as they never filed a Consent Order with the Court. 

A capital clean break means that any agreement reached on capital, such as transfer of the house, a lump sum payment, or each keeping your own savings, is final and you cannot go back to court to ask for more or less.Unless of course there has been fraud or mistake.

There are 2 caveats:

If the lump sum is paid by installments it is possible to ask for the payments to be varied - usually asking for them to be reduced or cancelled.

If there is an intervening event of such magnitude that the court would have made a different order had it been made aware of it at the time. The fluctuations of the market - such as losing your company on the stock exchange - even if the value was millions of pounds do not qualify as an intervening event.  Your ex spouse committing suicide does. Such an event has to happen within 12 months of the Consent Order being sealed by the Court.

It is also possible to seek further capital if you have a maintenance agreement - your ex spouse pays you income every month and a variation is sought.  At this stage the court can look to compensate the party who is losing the maintenance by capitalising it - that is - making a further capital award.

In order to obtain a clean break on income you need to have no ongoing maintenance payments.

The court has a duty to consider a clean break in every case.

Each case however is different and the road to financial independence may take longer for some or may never happen and lifetime maintenance payments can be made.

Often the court will not order a clean break if the lower earning party has young children to support.  Instead a nominal maintenance order can be made but that is the subject of another post....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Does Every Marriage Have Its Secrets?

The fate of Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce is to be determined by a judge today who will hand down their sentences upon their conviction for perverting the course of justice. It's likely that they will both serve a term of imprisonment.  No doubt Miss Pryce will think it's worth it as her objective according to newspaper reports was to seek revenge on him.

What does Isabelle Oakeshott, the journalist involved say of all this:

"Writing ahead of the sentencing of the couple for perverting the course of justice today, the Sunday Times political editor denied having egged on the former government economist, whom she said was still in love with her husband even as she tried to bring about his downfall. “For all her anger and desire for revenge, I was sure she still loved her husband and wanted him back,” Ms Oakeshott said."

 As reported in The Independent

 That does not take a masters in human psychology to work out. The end of love results in indifference.  If your ex were to become engaged to Pippa Middleton or Brad Pitt no qualms of envy or jealously would result.

If, by contrast you hate your ex, then clearly you are still emotionally embroiled, call it being in love, call it obsession, whatever, it is an unpleasant  emotional roller coaster for all involved. Anyone else focused on trying to destroy their ex should maybe take a step back and consider the consequences before proceeding. There are a lot of miserable people out there happy to encourage and support you in your thirst for revenge but are they true friends? What is the point of revenge? Didn't someone once say that the best revenge was to be happy? If you are concerned about what your ex is doing, earning,and need to shape up before you see them get help.  If you quiz your children for every detail on their return from staying with your ex then the first thing to do is accept that there is something wrong with your behaviour and acknowledge that it is not acceptable then seek professional help.

 As for Vicky Pryce. When will she get over him?  Probably never. Prison will just cement her hatred. He will probably come out and write a best selling book and be even more successful and will move on emotionally and financially.

The lesson here for people considering ending their marriage is to work out if your soon to be ex has anything on you and if they have tell your solicitor straightaway.  It is better to mange how it comes out and deal with the consequences before they can potentially ruin your life!


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Fixed Fee Collaborative Law in a Nutshell



Four way meetings which includes you, your partner, your lawyer, and your partner’s lawyer.

Meetings between the two lawyers to prepare for the four way meetings.

You communicate directly with your partner with the support of your lawyer.

All four participants pledge not to make an application to court. This is a powerful incentive to reach agreement and provides a more relaxed atmosphere without the threat of court proceedings hanging over the negotiations.


You and your partner between you decide what is best for your family.

Everything is discussed openly and your lawyers advise you in front of each other, there is no arm-twisting, no horse trading, and no secret negotiations.

Other professionals are instructed as needed, such as counsellors, accountants, family therapists, actuaries and surveyors.


You and your partner are in control of the timetable.

You and your partner are also in control of the outcome.

Speed, an agreement can be reached after only three meetings

Your lawyers work together – not against each other.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Fixed Fee Collaborative Law

We are excited to announce our Fixed Fee Collaborative Law Service.

Both lawyers have agreed to work for a fixed fee - they work together but from different firms so both you and your ex partner can benefit from this excellent deal.

The Collaborative Law process works with a series of round table meetings - they will take place in either Central London or Southampton.

The Collaborative Law process gives you control of the timing and outcome, reduces the acrimony and gives you the support of your solicitor in negotiations and legal advice.  It gives balance and all four participants are committed to achieving an outcome best suited to your family.

With Collaborative Law acrimony is reduced and things can progress swiftly - it is a less stressful solution than Court Proceedings or normal solicitor led negotiations and is not as nerve wracking or isolating as Mediation can be, especially if one party is less able to stand up to the other.

Most people who try Collaborative Law are relieved and pleased that they did.