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Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; O for Oath

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is O for Oath

 

What is an Oath in law?

 

Before giving evidence in court you will be asked if you wish to take an oath or make an affirmation that your evidence is true. To take the oath means to swear to the truth of what is written by you, or said by you, on either the bible or other religious book of your faith.

 

The difference between an oath and an affirmation is that the oath is a religious commitment where as an affirmation is non-religious.

 

Below are examples of the types of oaths and affirmations used in court.

 

Witness Oath

"I swear by .......... (according to religious belief) that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

 

Witness Affirmation

"I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

 

Sworn testimony is evidence given by a witness who has made a commitment to tell the truth. If the witness is later found to have lied whilst bound by the commitment, they can often be charged with the crime of perjury. Lying under oath is a criminal offence and in the United Kingdom, perjury is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

  

For another legal “O” topics read about an Occupation Order in our Injunction blog here.

 

If you have any queries regarding the above information or would like any further advice remember obtaining accurate legal information from the outset can be vital in the resolution of your matter and can make the process less stressful. Call 01246 555610 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.

 

 

By Administrator on 20 Nov 2019

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Festive Colouring Competition

Christmas is coming to Vines Legal and we want you to be part of our festive season! 

This year we’re inviting your children to join in our colouring competition. All entries will be displayed in our office.

Nieces, nephews, cousins and grandchildren are welcome too so please share this email with your friends, family and colleagues

The more the merrier!

There are four pictures attached to choose from and all the entry details are below.

Download:

 

 

By Administrator on 15 Nov 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; N for Nisi

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is N for Nisi (Decree Nisi)

What is a Decree Nisi?

The decree nisi (a Latin phrase meaning 'rule, unless') is an interim decree of divorce pronounced when the Court is satisfied that a person has met the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce.  In other words, the Court is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Following the pronouncement of decree nisi, the marriage still exists and you are not yet ‘divorced’.

The person seeking the divorce must then wait at least six weeks and one day after the declaration of the decree nisi before making their application for the decree absolute. This period can only be reduced in certain exceptional circumstances. The applicant can wait up to 12 months to apply for the decree absolute however any longer than that will require an explanation to the Court.  The decree absolute is the final decree which actually dissolves the marriage. Once this has been granted you are ‘divorced’.

Please note the above only applies to ending a marriage. The process for dissolving a civil partnership is virtual the same as obtaining a divorce but some of the terminology is different. Instead of pronouncing a decree nisi, the court grants a conditional order and rather than granting decree absolute, the court grants a final order.

If you have any queries regarding the above information or would like any further advice remember obtaining accurate legal information from the outset can be vital in the resolution of your matter and can make the process less stressful. Call 01246 555610 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.

By Administrator on 12 Nov 2019

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Bullying and Coercive Control

Today sees the start of Anti-Bullying Week 2019 but bullying isn’t all about children.  Coercive control is a form of bullying and is a crime and can affect anyone at work or at home

Domestic abuse isn’t always a physical attack. Coercive control is behaviour that includes ongoing acts of physical assault, threats and/or threatening actions, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This controlling behaviour is intended to make a person dependent on the abuser by isolating them from friends or family support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive control creates an emotional paralysis and a sense of fear that infiltrates all aspects of a victim’s life. At the most basic it can make a victim doubt themselves and at the very worst coercive control can be compared to being taken hostage advises expert Evan Stark. As he says: “the victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction and fear.”

 

How do you know if this is happening to you?

Some common examples of coercive behaviour are:

Intimidation – Making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things or destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.

Emotional Abuse – Putting you down and making you feel bad about yourself, calling you names, humiliation, playing mind games.

Isolation – Controlling what you do, where you go, who you see and talk to. Using jealousy to justify behaviour. Limiting or preventing contact with family or friends. Taking away internet access or telephone.

Economic Abuse – Preventing you from having a job, controlling access to money or only giving an allowance, taking money away.

Using Threats – Making or carrying out threats to hurt you, threatening to leave her or commit suicide, threatening to report you to social services, making you carry out illegal actions or forcing you to drop charges.

Using Children – Using child arrangement visits to harass you, relay abusive messages, threatening to take the children away.

Minimising – Making light of any abuse, denying any abuse took place, shifting responsibility and convincing a victim it is their fault.

 

Who Is Affected?

Please remember coercive control and bullying can affect both men and women and can occur in both opposite-gender and same-gender relationships.

 

In April 2018 the first woman to be accused and charged with domestic abuse against her male partner made headlines.  Read the story here

 

About 25% of LGBT people suffer through violent or threatening relationships with partners or ex-partners.

 

The list above is not exhaustive. If you are worried for yourself, family member or friend or if you have any queries regarding the above information remember obtaining accurate legal information from the outset can be vital in the resolution of your matter and can make the process less stressful. Call 01246 555610 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.

 

Sources: www.womensaid.org.uk, Duluth model, www.endthefear.co.uk, www.mensadviceline.org.uk

By Administrator on 11 Nov 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; M for Mesher Order

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is M for Mesher Order.

This is an interesting topic today as we are sure most people have never heard of a Mesher Order. So what is it?

A Mesher Order is a Court Order that directs how the family home will be dealt with after divorce. A Mesher Order allows the sale of the family home to be deferred for a certain length of time or until a specific event takes place; such as when the child/ren leave school.  It effectively allows one spouse and the child/ren to remain living in the family home until the date the Courts have decided upon.

One of the advantages of the Mesher Order is that it fulfils the statutory requirement that the Court is to give first consideration to the welfare of any child of the family under 18 years of age. Also, it does not cause any destabilising effect upon the child or the child's carer by forcing a sale of the home at a time that will undoubtedly have been emotionally stressful. The postponement of the sale at a time when the finances of the parties may be significantly stretched has the added benefit of delaying incurring immediate moving costs and other costs associated with the sale of the property.

Should the occupier of the property wish to sell the home and purchase another, provision will need to be made in the Order to allow for this and for the costs of sale to be provided for. The new home will ordinarily be held on the same terms as the previous home.  Conditions should be made in the Order instructing how any financial gain or loss should be dealt with.    Consideration should also be given to, and provision made for, the occupier to purchase the other spouse's interest in the property and there will need to be provision for the valuation of the property and treatment of the costs of sale.

If you have any queries regarding the above information or would like any further advice remember obtaining accurate legal information from the outset can be vital in the resolution of your matter and can make the process less stressful. Call 01246 555610 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.

 

 

By Administrator on 5 Nov 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; L for Lump Sum

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is L for Lump Sum Order 

A Lump Sum Order is an order that requires one person to pay the other person a lump sum of money. This could be for the ex-spouse’s benefit or for the benefit of the child/ren. For example, a lump sum can be ordered when there is a transfer of ownership of a property, typically the family home. The property would be transferred into one person’s name and a lump sum would be paid to the other person for their share of the equity of the property.  Lump sum orders are available on divorce and on the dissolution of a civil partnership alike.

Every case is different and how the payment is made is usually specific to the needs of those involved. The payment could be made in instalments or in one lump sum. If payment is to be made by instalments, then these are variable and can be ordered to be secured. How the payments are secured will depend upon your individual case. Other factors will be considered such as which other assets are available against which the lump sum can be secured, eg against a property owned by the person paying.

The lump sum order can be defined as a specific sum on a specific date and it should be noted that penalties for late payment of lump sums can be ordered, which can accrue interest, generally at the judgment rate of 8%.

If you need help with your finances during divorce or separation why not come in and have a chat with one of our experienced solicitors.  Call 01246 555 610 to book a free consultation today.

By Administrator on 29 Oct 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; K for Knowledge

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is K for Knowledge.

No matter what your situation is, whether it’s starting divorce proceedings, sorting out child arrangements or organising a prenuptial agreement, it is very important to obtain advice from someone who knows what they’re doing.  Family law can be a bit of a minefield to navigate through with new words and lots of forms. It can be daunting at any time, let alone at a time when you’re feeling vulnerable or scared.

It is very important to speak to someone with full knowledge and understanding of these situations as well as the qualifications to practice law. You wouldn’t go to a person professing themselves to be a doctor or dentist without the relevant qualifications so why take the risk with your legal affairs?  When engaging a family law specialist, you’re working with someone who has extensive experience in the field. Knowing that your Solicitor is tried and true is a great step to feeling more confident and calm during your legal process.

The benefits of getting advice from a firm specialising in Family Law early on in the proceedings are:

  • We provide one to one support when you need it and will explain all options in full from the outset. 
  • Family law solicitors have an empathetic approach
  • We have an in-depth knowledge of family law.
  • We are specialists in this field

So if you are considering whether or not you need a family law solicitor, why not come in and have a chat with one of us before you decide to go it alone?  Call 01246 555 610 to book a free consultation today,

By Administrator on 22 Oct 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; J for Judges

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is J for Judges.

 

What is a judge?

A judge is a person who oversees Court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. The judge conducts the trial impartially and, typically, in an open court (save for Family Law matters). The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers or solicitors of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury.

 

Different Types Of Family Law Judges In The UK

When your family law matter reaches Court, your case will be heard by a judge or a bench of Magistrates. The type of judiciary you face will depend on the type of court where your case is being heard. Generally, family cases are heard in the County Court or a Magistrates Court, and will either be heard by a District Judge, Circuit Judge, Bench of Magistrates and/or a Legal Advisor.

 

Magistrates, or Justices of the Peace, are members of the local community without legal background or knowledge who sit in the Magistrates’ court. They bring a broad experience of life to the bench, working part-time. Justices of the Peace receive support in court from Legal Advisers and cannot hear cases without one. They must sit for at least 26 half-days a year.

 

District Judges are legally qualified and sit alone in Court without a legal adviser. District Judges hear the longer and more complex cases which come before the Court. They do not normally wear robes in Court. District Judges are full-time judges who deal with the majority of cases in the County Court. In the Family Court, District Judges hear most of the cases involving the division of family assets and, along with the Circuit Judges, they also hear the cases involving children. They preside over a wide a range of family and civil law cases such as divorces, child proceedings and domestic violence injunctions.

 

Deputy District Judges are part-time and sit in the County Courts and District Registries of the High Court for between 15 and 50 days a year. In general their jurisdiction is the same as that of a District Judge. 

 

Recorders are a type of judicial officeholder who sit in both Crown and County Courts. They are solicitors or barristers with at least ten years practice before these Courts. Their jurisdiction is broadly similar to that of a Circuit Judge, but they generally handle less complex or serious matters coming before the court. Appointments are made for five years, and Recorders normally sit for between 15 and 30 days a year.

 

Circuit Judges are appointed to one of the six circuits in England and Wales, and sit in the Crown and County Courts within their particular region. Some Circuit Judges deal specifically with criminal or civil cases, while others are authorised to hear public and/or private law family cases.

 

There are also High Court Judges who can be assigned to the Family Division. Finally there are Judges of the Court of Appeal, senior judges, who hear both criminal and civil appeals which have been referred up to them from other Courts.

 

By Administrator on 15 Oct 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; I for Injunctions

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is I for Injunctions.

 

What is an Injunction? 

An injunction is an Order of the Court preventing someone from doing something such as disposing of assets, being violent or threatening. in family law, an injunction is a Court order that requires someone you are associated with to do or not do something. The two main types of injunctions you can take out under the Family Law Act are:

 

A Non-Molestation Order

A Non-Molestation Order aims to prevent your current or former partner/spouse from threatening or using violence against you or your child/ren. The order also aims to stop any harassing or intimidating behaviour. The ultimate purpose is to protect your health, safety and well-being, as well as that of your child/ren.

 

An Occupation Order

An Occupation Order determines who can live in the family home. It can also mean that the other party cannot enter the area nearby.

Do you feel unsafe living with your partner? Or have you left home because of violence? If either of these things are true in your case, and you want to return to the property but exclude your abuser, you may wish to apply for an Occupation Order.

 

What happens if the Order is breached?

If the Non-Molestation Order is breached, they will be committing a criminal offence and you can get the police involved. The maximum sentence for the breach of a Non-Molestation Order is 5 years imprisonment. However, if you do not wish to begin criminal proceedings you may take them back to the Family Court that made the Order for punishment for breaking the order.

If you already have an Occupation Order, a breach is not a criminal offence, unless you have a Power of Arrest attaching to the Order. Breaching an Occupation Order that has a Power of Arrest could result in imprisonment or a fine. Without a Power of Arrest you can apply back to the Court that made the Order for the offender to be punished/arrested.

 

Who can apply for an injunction? 

To apply for an injunction, you must be an ‘associated person’. This means you and the other party must be connected with each other in at least one of the following ways: 

  • You are or were married to each other.
  • You are or were in a civil partnership.
  • You live with each other or used to live together.
  • You live or used to live in the same household.
  • You are blood relations.
  • You are or were engaged to be married to each other.
  • You have children together – this may include those who are parents of the same child, as well as those who have parental responsibility for the same child.
  • You are in an ‘intimate relationship of significant duration’.
  • You are both taking part in the same family proceedings such as custody or divorce.

 

If you would like more information about Non Molestation Orders and Occupation orders; or if you need advice and help with your situation please contact us on 01246 555610 for a free consultation where one of our experienced solicitors will be able to assist you. 

By Administrator on 8 Oct 2019

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Vines Legal's A-Z of All things Family and Matrimonial; H for Home Rights

Welcome to our Alphabet Information Series.  Today’s topic is H for Home Rights.

 

Home Rights Notice 

For most people, the home that they share with their spouse or civil partner, and possibly children, will be their single most valuable asset. It is very common for people to panic when a marriage or civil partnership breaks down if the property is held solely in the name of your spouse or civil partner. This can leave some people feeling extremely vulnerable and worried about what their rights are. At the very least, you will have matrimonial home rights in the property, which mean that you are allowed to occupy the property without being disturbed.

If you are married or in a civil partnership and the family home is held in the sole name of your spouse or civil partner if the relationship ends you should consider registering your “home rights”.

 

But what are home rights?

Matrimonial home rights, are a statutory right to protect your interest in the home you lived in when you were married or in a civil partnership, but where you do not own the property.

If you do not own a share in the matrimonial home, whilst you sort out your matrimonial finances, you can register a caution at HM Land Registry which will be placed on the title register of the property. You will then be protected from your spouse or civil partner; selling, transferring or mortgaging the property, without your consent. A Home Rights Notice permits the occupation of a property, but it does not give any actual right of ownership to it.

The matrimonial home rights notice would be removed once you were divorced, but at that point you should already have dealt with the financial aspects of the divorce meaning that the notice would no longer be required.   

 

If you would like to discuss your matrimonial home rights, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01246 555610.

 

By Administrator on 1 Oct 2019

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