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Protecting Your Loved Ones During Divorce

The results of a recent survey conducted by family law organisation Resolution show that 82% of young people would rather their parents split up than stay together for their sake. So if you and your partner do decide to divorce, how do you protect your children?

‘We must remember that our goal as parents is not to prevent our children from experiencing any stress, but to help make the stressors our children face moderate enough so they can tolerate and overcome them,’ says Diane M. Berry, author of Child Friendly Divorce.

With this in mind, how can we reduce the impact that divorce has on our children?

Trying mediation before considering the litigation route

With mediation now compulsory for most couples looking to resolve issues with finances or children issues, this is an excellent opportunity to try to keep the process as short and amicable as possible. Although this may not always be possible, it is a useful and facilitated way to try to reach decisions together.

Keep communication flowing

You may not be in a position to communicate effectively with your ex, but being able to talk to your children about the situation is key. They may not understand exactly what is happening and your reassurance and guidance through the process will be of great comfort to them.

Look after yourself

In order to look after others, you have to be in a place to do so yourself. Divorce is stressful and can take its toll on your health and well-being. It’s important to take some time out once in a while to relax and reboot.

Defend them from the drama

Suddenly having two different homes could seem strange at first, so creating warm and comfortable environments is essential. Try not to dwell or focus on the divorce or what is happening at your ex’s home and instead focus on activities and spending quality time together.

At Vines Legal, we have ample experience supporting families through divorce and separation. If you would like advice regarding divorce, separation or parental rights, book your free consultation on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 22 Dec 2015

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Ridiculous Reasons for Divorce from Around the World: Part Two

6. World of Warcraft

One woman made the fatal mistake of giving her husband of six years a World of Warcraft game for Christmas. He became so addicted that he stopped doing his chores and paying his bills so she divorced him!

7. Lies, lies, lies!

One Chinese woman told her future husband that she was 24, when really she was 30. He found out 10 years later and divorced her for deceiving him!

8. Poker face

During a game of poker in Russia, one man ran out of money to gamble with and so bet his wife and lost. Naturally, his wife was furious and divorced him. In a strange turn of events, she ended up marrying the man who had won her in the poker game!

9. 50 Shades of Divorce

One woman decided to file for divorce after her husband refused to try some moves from 50 Shades of Grey! He was outraged and so she decided she would rather be single!

10. Big, beautiful lie!

One Chinese man sued and eventually divorced his wife after he found out she had had major facial surgery to make her more attractive before they met. He only discovered this after they had a child together, which bore no resemblance to either of them!

By Claire Clark on 17 Dec 2015

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Ridiculous Reasons for Divorce from Around the World: Part One

1. Guantanamo

A woman in Saudi Arabia filed for divorce after discovering that her husband had her saved in his phone as ‘Guantanamo’.

2. Facebook status

A marriage as short as two months almost ended due to the husband’s busy work schedule leaving him no time to change his relationship status from ‘Single’ to ‘Married’. The Judge ordered the couple to try counselling before heading down the divorce route.

3. Mad about cats

One man in Israel filed for divorce after his wife adopted 550 cats. The pair lived happily with the cats for the first few months, but eventually, the husband couldn’t afford to pay for food due to the expenses he was paying in cat food and litter trays as well as the cats getting under his feet!

4. Mad about dogs

An elderly Romanian couple decided to call it a day after the husband continually spent their monthly pension on food for the stray dogs in the neighbourhood instead of food for the family.

5. Support Beijing Olympics!

One Chinese Olympic fanatic decided to run across China to show his support for the Beijing Olympics. He sold his flat to pay for a van decorated with ‘Support Beijing Olympics!’, to pay for supplies and to hire a team of six people to support him on his journey. He thought his wife was joking when she told him she would file for divorce if he went through with it, but sure enough, she did just that as soon as he had finished.

By Claire Clark on 15 Dec 2015

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Should Grandparents Play More of a Part in Child Arrangement Proceedings?

Often, one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is agreeing to child arrangements. The Courts encourage parents to try to make these arrangements between themselves in an attempt to keep things as amicable as possible. But in some cases, the relationship between the two parents has broken down so irretrievably that these decisions cannot be made independently or through mediation.

If this is the case, parents can automatically apply to the Courts to resolve the situation. This is not the case for grandparents, however. As grandparents do not have parental responsibility for the child or children in question, they must first ask the Court for permission to make an application for contact with the child (a Child Arrangements Order).

When parents divorce, it can be equally as challenging and frustrating for the grandparents as it can be for the children. Parents can make it more difficult for grandparents to have contact with children, which is regrettable, as grandparents often have close relationships with their grandchildren. This is especially true in a time when it is common for both parents to work full-time, often leaving grandparents to care for or babysit their children. Should grandparents’ custodial rights be considered more when making child arrangements?

At Vines Legal, we understand the important role that each family member plays in a child’s life and that the child’s or children’s needs are paramount. If you would like to discuss a child arrangement case with us, call 01246 555 610 to make a free initial consultation.

By Claire Clark on 3 Dec 2015

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The ‘Quickie Divorce’ Myth Busted

The divorce of Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson has sparked a lot of attention over the past few weeks due to the fact that, according to the media, his divorce supposedly took 65 seconds. However, regardless of your social status or your bank balance, divorcing in 65 seconds is a legal impossibility.

Of course, the time each divorce takes to be completed depends on various different factors and therefore all vary in length, but to comply with English law, there are procedures that everyone must adhere to. These procedures include filing a Divorce Petition, applying for Decree Nisi and finally, applying for Decree Absolute 6 weeks and 1 day after Decree Nisi has been pronounced. These stages must be completed by each and every person filing for divorce in England and will invariably be longer if you have finances to sort out.

The “65 seconds” the media are referring to is simply the moment when the Judge pronounced Decree Nisi; this does not mean that they are officially divorced as there is still the final stage of Decree Absolute.

Divorce can become complicated, especially when there are disputes over how to divide your finances and assets. Therefore, having representation that you can trust and depend upon to guide you through each stage of divorce, no matter how complicated, is key. At Vines Legal, we will aid and advise from start to finish. To discuss any legal family matter with us, call 01246 555 610 to book a free initial consultation.

By Claire Clark on 1 Dec 2015

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The Risks of Cohabitation

Recent data from the National Office of Statistics has shown the rising popularity in cohabitation; since 1996 the number of unwed couples raising children together has risen to 1.3 million – an increase of 132%. According to the Marriage Foundation, it is expected that more than half of the 20-year-olds in the UK will never marry. And it is not only in the UK, the trend is also rising similarly across Europe.

This evidence shows us that perhaps we are living in a society where couples are contented in their relationships and feel secure enough not to need to formalise their relationships, religiously or legally. Albeit admirable in many people’s opinion, cohabitees have virtually no financial rights if the relationship breaks down.

“Common-law marriage” is an absolute myth and there is still a huge misconception that living long-term with your partner offers similar rights to marriage. In the eyes of the law, cohabitees are practically treated like strangers and nothing is enforceable as a result of their relationship.

Therefore, individuals making financial sacrifices, presuming they would be taken care of in the eventuality of a break up, could be in for a nasty shock. What you accumulate during your married life e.g. properties, savings etc. is seen as marital property and would generally be split 50%/50% if you divorce. This does not apply for those couples who remain unwed.

Although it may be considered somewhat unromantic, it is advisable that cohabitees gather as much information about their rights in the event of a separation as possible and use this knowledge to draw together plans that would soften the financial impact.

There are many ways to safeguard your future if you don’t want to marry and want to continue cohabiting with your partner. Cohabitation agreements can be drawn up, outlining both of your rights, as well as arranging property ownership to keep both parties safe should the worst occur.

At Vines Legal, we understand that every couple is different and not everyone wants to marry, but we also value the importance of safeguarding your future. If you would like to discuss cohabitation agreements or are having issues with an ex-partner and would like to discuss your rights, call us on 01246 555 610 for a free initial consultation.

By Claire Clark on 26 Nov 2015

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Father’s solicitor ordered to pay a portion of mother’s costs in cross-Atlantic custody battle

Recently, the solicitor representing a father in a custody battle was ordered to pay the mother £1,250 or 25% of the costs she had incurred to attend the custody hearing.

The hearing took place after year-long legal proceedings in both the UK and the United States. Mother and son moved across the Atlantic in 2013, after the mother remarried an American man. In July 2015, the father decided to end the legal proceedings in the UK and instead proceed in the American Courts. However, this information was not clearly communicated to the Court and a three-day hearing was held the week before last. It was only then that the Courts were made aware that the father had decided to withdraw from the process.

Neither the father nor the mother were correctly prepared for the hearing; the father had not filed his final evidence; the Court was only made aware of the situation on the first day of the hearing and the Court had not received all the necessary documents from his solicitors.

Although the Court believed that both parties were completely unprepared for the hearing, they ultimately ruled that the father’s solicitors should provide a written reason as to why they had not fulfilled all the necessary requirements. The written response from the solicitor in question was unsatisfactory and the Judge ruled that the solicitors ‘had failed to act on the present occasion with the competence reasonably to be expected of ordinary members of the profession’ and ordered them to compensate the mother with either £1,250 or 25% of the costs she had incurred, whichever was a lower sum.

This case shows the importance of finding competent and trustworthy representation. At Vines Legal we understand the severity and significance of child custody cases and represent our clients with professionalism and the knowledge required to achieve the best possible outcome. To discuss your situation with us, book a free initial consultation on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 24 Nov 2015

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5 of the Most Bizarre Marital Laws from Around the World

Marriages can break down for a number of reasons, but in some parts of the world divorce laws can be imposed for the strangest reasons. Here are our top 5:

1. Saudi Arabia

A woman has legal grounds for divorce if her husband fails to bring her fresh coffee every morning.

2. Samoa

In Samoa, it is technically legal for a woman to file for divorce if her spouse forgets her birthday.

3. Colorado

In the state of Colorado, an old law states that a man can be thrown into jail for scowling at his wife on a Sunday.

4. Australia

Traditionally, if an Aboriginal woman in Australia wanted to separate from her husband, she could try to persuade him – or she could just go right ahead and wed another man to immediately end her marriage.

5. Utah

Old laws in Utah state that when a man is with his wife, he is legally responsible for her actions.

By Claire Clark on 19 Nov 2015

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How to Make Your Divorce Less Stressful: Part Two

Divorce can cause problems such as stress and anxiety. These problems can lead to a lack of sleep, causing a lack of energy and concentration. Here are a few tips to try and make the process easier, to minimise any impact upon your health.

1. Develop strategies to help you grow stronger

Identify what your strengths and weaknesses are, for example, if you know that you are going to feel lonely, think realistically about how you are going to cope with this. Put a strategy into place. This will help build your confidence, self-esteem and managing your emotions.

2. Managing emotions

The divorce process is difficult and can trigger strong emotions such as grief, fear, anger, resentment, doubt, regret and guilt. Giving yourself the time and space to manage these emotions, along with help and support from family and friends, is essential to moving forward.

3. Accept the reality of the situation

As difficult as it may be, being realistic with yourself is something that will help you achieve a more positive outlook, sooner rather than later. Although it may be painful to accept harsh realities, continuing down a path of denial will only lengthen the recovery process.

4. Have the right people on your side

Divorce is a challenge; mentally, physically and emotionally. One of the most important things you can do, is ensure that you are happy with the people that represent you throughout the process.

At Vines Legal, we have a combined total of 21 years’ experience and we appreciate that every situation is unique; we provide a bespoke service which is tailored to the individual needs of each case. Being confident that your legal support will guide and advise you properly, through each and every stage, can be a great relief and comfort. Call us today on 01246 555 610 for a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.

By Claire Clark on 18 Nov 2015

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The Claws Are Out in Chinese Tiger Charity Divorce Settlement Dispute

Former banker, William Bray, and ex-wife, Li Quan, have made the headlines this week over disputes regarding the charity they set up to save the endangered Chinese Tiger. It was the love of animals that brought them together, but ironically, what eventually tore them apart, as they separated due to “disagreements over the future policy and precise presentation of the (tiger) project”.

Miss Quan claims that Mr Bray invested £25 million into the South African-based project and insists that this should be counted as marital property. On the contrary, however, Mr Bray claims that his entire fortune, less just over £1 million, went into the project and believes that it should not be divided as part of the divorce.

Last October, High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge stated that he could see “no evidence of past, present or future benefit to either the wife or the husband”, but now Lord Justice Briggs and Lady Justice King have granted Miss Quan permission to appeal this finding. Her QC Richard Todd claims Mr Bray has “spirited away tens of millions of pounds and left the wife bereft’.

Mr Bray has chosen to represent himself and told the Appeal Court judges that “this is a dispute over the running of a charity, not a family dispute”. He also claimed that Miss Quan was “seeking to destroy” the charity work they had done for the Chinese Tigers, although outside Court she denied any such allegation. The judges will now decide whether the case will have a full Appeal Court hearing or whether it will be considered further by the High Court.

If you would like advice about your divorce or divorce settlement, do not hesitate to make a free initial consultation on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 12 Nov 2015

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