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Vines Legal Limited

Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

Progressive • Dedicated • Persistent

Call today for your free initial, no obligation, consultation on 01246 555 610 for immediate, friendly and professional advice.

HOW TO DIVORCE AMICABLY

Divorce is well known to come in two variants – amicable or hostile.

We thought that it may be of interest to share our insights into how you can try to ensure a positive resolution to your divorce:

1. Children should stay outside the divorce

It’s sad to say the people that get hurt the most in a divorce are the children. Divorce is a stressful, painful and sad experience for anyone to go through, so why involve children in that unnecessarily?

Children of parents separating should always be kept on the outskirts of the process and not told details of the case, with exception from emphasising that both parties still love them dearly. If you have children together your relationship will have to continue to a certain extent and it pays for you both to stay amicable and agree boundaries for moving forwards.

2.  Choose the right separation path for you

Divorce sometimes gets some bad press from high-flying celebrities and big court cases, but at the end of the day, there are options available to you when you separate.

Divorce in court is just one process you can take; you should always seek legal guidance about the best route for you, your family and your circumstances.

It’s always worth remembering, that at the end of the day, you must have shared happy times in the past and why would you want to wash them away with bitter and hurtful exchanges during the separation process?

If you are concerned about starting divorce proceedings, then please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your needs with our friendly and professional team on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 9 Aug 2013

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HOT WEATHER INCREASES DIVORCE

The hot summer weather we’ve been lucky to receive in the UK over the past weeks has also has an adverse effect on relationships, the latest figures have found.

Couples seeking advice on separation have soared to over 69% over the past month, according to figures from the Co-Operative Legal team as well as people seeking help on issues such as child custody solutions and financial maintenance in divorce.

As temperatures soar, so do heated arguments among couples, with the warm weather testing patience of couples who are already struggling to keep their relationships together.

Claire of the Vines Legal team in Chesterfield says “Unfortunately during the past few weeks since experiencing warmer summer weather, we have noticed a strong increase of enquiries from couples looking to separate as the arguments come to the surface”

If you are experiencing relationship issues and would like to discuss your position with our friendly team in Chesterfield, call Vines Legal on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 6 Aug 2013

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OVER 50’S DIVORCE RATE SOARS

Divorce rates among the over 50’s have soared dramatically over the last few years, creating a new generation of ‘silver singletons’ about town.

While the divorce rate drops among all other age groups, the rate of separations between couples in their 50s and 60s continues to rise.

The number of over-60s getting divorced is at its highest on record, with 1 out of 4 divorces registered now in the UK involving couples over the age of 50.

However, the ONS (Office of National Statistics) has found that this increase has little or nothing to do with length of marriage: The most likely explanation for the rise is due to the steadily increasing age at marriage since the late 1960s.

To illustrate this, the average woman who married in 1975 aged 23 would now be reaching 60, after 37 years of marriage, one year earlier than women who married a decade earlier in 1965. The average man who married in 1978 aged 26 would now be reaching 60, after 34 years of marriage, two years earlier than men who married in 1968.

The conclusion is that sadly, those born between 1946 and 1964 will be the first generation for which living alone in old age may be the norm thanks to the rising divorce rate as revealed by marriage guidance authority Relate.

By Claire Clark on 2 Aug 2013

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KEY FEATURES OF THE SINGLE FAMILY COURT

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, and the HMCTS London region have released a joint statement in respect of the single Family Court.

England and Wales will continue to be divided into geographical areas judicially led and managed by the Designated Family Judge (subject as at present to the Family Division Liaison Judge and the President of the Family Division).

In the sense in which it is used here the single Family Court refers to the fact that, within the area for which the Designated Family Judge is responsible, the overarching principle will be that all the locations at which hearings take place will be managed and operated as a single Family Court. There will no longer be ‘care centres’ and ‘family hearing centres’.

The three key features of the local single Family Court are that:

  1. There will be one central location – the Designated Family Centre – where the Designated Family Judge will be based and which will be the principal location at which hearings take place. There may be one or more Hearing Centres attached to the Designated Family Centre at which hearings can also take place.
  2. There will be a ‘single point of entry’, located at the Designated Family Centre, for the issue of process for the entire local single Family Court.
  3. There will be a centralised and unified administration, principally based at the Designated Family Centre, for the entire local single Family Court. The key elements of this will be:
    1. a centralised ‘back office’;
    2. a centralised ‘gate-keeping and allocation team’ consisting of a legal adviser (justices’ clerk) and a District Judge: every new case will on receipt be allocated by the team (i) to the appropriate level of judge (judge for this purpose including Magistrate) and (ii) to the appropriate Hearing Centre if the case is not to be heard at the Designated Family Centre;
    3. centralised listing: a single listing system covering all judges and all cases, whether listed at the Designated Family Centre or at a Hearing Centre.

The principles in (2) and (3) will be subject to local variation where circumstances require, so long as the basic principles of the ‘single point of entry’ and a centralised and unified administration for the entire local single Family Court are not compromised.

The report can be read in full here

By Claire Clark on 29 Jul 2013

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DIVORCE ‘SOURING’ FOR BABY BOOMERS

Known as the "silver splitters", or grey divorcees, these are the ‘baby boomers’ of the post-war era, that despite years of happiness together are now looking to divorce.

Divorce rates show that the rate of separation between couples in their 50s and 60s continues to rise, by over a third in a decade, despite other age separations on the decline.

That is what is worrying Relate, which has produced data showing that people born in the post-war bubble between 1946 and 1964 will be the first generation for whom living alone in old age may be the norm, with all the troubling related issues of caring, loneliness and financial security.

Older couples will often spend a disproportionate amount of time arguing over something of sentimental rather than real value. "A collaborative agreement is almost always best in these cases" says representative from Vines Legal.

Relate has launched an online relationship-checker to help. A key issue is that fractured families can result in less support for older people.

Its research found that those who are married or living as a couple were more likely to be satisfied with life (82%) than those who are single, widowed, divorced or separated (71%).

If you are looking for support and guidance to depart your unhappy marriage, call the friendly team at Vines Legal on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 25 Jul 2013

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BRITISH PUBLIC BACK CHILD MAINTENANCE

Recent research published by the NatCen Social Research has found that the British public believes the Government should set and enforce child maintenance payments, and should require higher payments than are currently set by the CSA guidelines:

Vines Legal have addressed the issue in previous articles and blog posts about child maintenance and have covered both sides of the story, but there is always new debate about the legislation surrounding child maintenance with the majority of people in this survey expressing they think fathers should be made to pay more maintenance than current specification.

Key facts from the research include:

  • 60% say that the law should set a minimum amount for child maintenance, rather than leaving it to parents to decide.
  • Only 20% agree that the law should never force fathers who are not living with their children to pay child maintenance, compared with 59% who disagree.
  • Parents who have lived apart from their children are a little less likely than others to favour government involvement, still more of them support the government setting (45%)

The last four decades have seen a tripling in the proportion of single parent households, from 8% in 1971 to 21% in 2011 (Office for National Statistics, 2013). About one in three British children have experienced parental separation.

Teresa Williams, Director of Social Research and Policy, Nuffield Foundation said:

"Public opinion is particularly relevant in this instance both because such a large proportion of 'the public' are directly affected by child maintenance, and because the planned reforms to the child maintenance system will put more of the decision-making into their hands."

The full report can be found here.

By Claire Clark on 18 Jul 2013

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LEGAL AID FUNDING CUTS HARM THE UK

In a letter to Government lawyers, the Attorney General has raised concerns that legal aid cuts will "collapse the edifice" of the justice system.

In support to his comments, Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, has also expressed his concern, saying “any citizen should be able to take a case to Court no matter how small it may be.”

Changes in the legal aid system, which took place from April this year, meant a raft of cases are no longer eligible for public funds, including divorce, employment, family issues, clinical negligence and housing problems.

The Government hopes this move will save £400m from the annual £2 billion legal aid budget but has met fierce criticism from legal and civil liberty groups.

In a lecture in London on Wednesday evening, Lord Neuberger said not everyone affected by the changes would be able to use no win no fee lawyers to take their claims forward because they will be too small.

He warned: “And there are plenty of claims which are small and important to the citizen concerned, and there are even quite a few claims which are small but important to society.

“In a sense, every genuine claim is important, because every citizen should be able to bring his or her case to Court, and without legal aid many people are prevented from doing so, or seriously disadvantaged when they do so.

“I appreciate that pressures on government finances are very great, but access to justice is of the essence in a civilised society.”

The Telegraph covers legal aid funding in detail, articles can be sourced here.

By Claire Clark on 16 Jul 2013

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SOCIAL MEDIA SINS – THE LAW

Social Media is here to stay, new technology is changing the way news and stories are seen by the ability technology creates to post immediate, live newsfeeds and up to the second information for everyone to see.

Social media news does however, have its draw backs, people being charged through the Courts of Law for not having a clear grasp on the Law applicable online is a huge topic at the moment for discussion.

Recently, a number of high-profile legal cases have exposed this issue further, namely with the case of Lord McAlpine falsely accused on Twitter which is an offence of libel.

Other issues arising from Social Media include:

  • Reporting Sex Offences
  • Breaking Court Orders
  • Contempt of Court
  • Threats
  • Offensive comments
  • Injunctions
  • Defamation

Recent analysis shows that a total of 653 people faced criminal charges in England and Wales last year in connection with comments on Twitter or Facebook.

At Vines Legal, we can work with you to dispel the myths of social media usage from a legal perspective, come and talk to the team today on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 11 Jul 2013

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BRITAIN’S MOST HIGH-PROFILE DIVORCE

Some of Britain’s most influential business leaders, including Sir Philip Green, Harold Tillman and Richard Caring, face being called to give evidence under oath at the climax of Britain’s most high-profile divorce, says the Independent newspaper who covered the story live last week.

The divorce battle between Scot Young, a property and telecoms mogul and his ex-wife Michelle Young, a former fashion buyer has lasted a bitter seven years.

Michelle says her husband squirrelled away his huge fortune in tax havens around the globe just before the couple split in 2006 and his “friends are, in fact, a conduit for his secreted wealth”.

Mr Young, 51, who claims he lost all his money in a disastrous Moscow property venture, has failed for four years to comply with Court Orders forcing him to disclose documentary evidence of the payments from his powerful and rich friends.

The UK has been captivated with interest by the story of Mr Young, who rose from a Scottish council flat to own a £14m mansion in Oxfordshire, known widely for his elaborate spending.

Despite repeated Court appearances, Scot Young owes his wife nearly £1m in maintenance and £1.28m in unpaid tax.

The original article was published on the Independent website, and can be read here.

By Claire Clark on 9 Jul 2013

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THE SINS OF COHABITATION

Cohabitation versus Marriage is a debate raised often, particularly from a legal standpoint. While both have their benefits, couples often choose to avoid marriage and instead chose to cohabit instead.

Cohabitation is a complex area of family law and one that doesn’t have a clear position from a legal perspective as each aspect is treated differently.

Property ownership for example, means that often cohabitating couples do not hold equal rights to the property, with traditionally, only one of the party completing the legal ownership.

When couples first make the decision to move in together, we encourage you to be clear you both understand who is buying/renting and whether you are paying one or other rent or splitting equally down the middle. Joint rental and mortgage agreements are great, but you must ensure you draw up an agreement detailing what happens if you split. If you aren’t co-owners or both named occupiers on your rental agreement then you have no rights to stay in that property, or to any money from the sale if you split.

Inheritance is another problem area, with hundreds of horror stories printed through the press. Just because couples live together doesn’t mean they are legally entitled to any inheritance when one passes away, in fact often the settlement is sent directly to blood relatives. We encourage everyone to seriously consider the impact of this and draw up provisions in a will.

Money problems are the biggest cause of arguments in any relationship – Cohabitation often facilitates this when joint responsibility of bills and living expenses come into effect. We recommend you have separate accounts for personal money, and anything joint will require both parties signatures to initiate closure of the account as the best resolve in this situation.

At Vines Legal, we often work with couples cohabiting and can advise you before you take the leap to come and discuss your requirements to put the right legal agreements in place to safeguard you both, come and talk to the team today on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 4 Jul 2013

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