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Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

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

5 Tips for Avoiding Divorce Disasters

Divorce Lawyer Chesterfield - 5 Tips for Avoiding Divorce DisastersThe breakdown of a marriage is a difficult and stressful time for all involved. Emotions may be running high and it’s common for even the most level-headed of us to feel like we’re losing control. With help, it is possible to deal with separation and divorce in a constructive, non-confrontational, and even cost-effective way. But, unfortunately, there are many mistakes possible to make. So, with that in mind, here are 5 useful tips for avoiding divorce disasters!

Plan for the Future

Taking the time to work out what the financial implications of your divorce are is key to your future wellbeing. For example, how much will you need to live comfortably on after you divorce? Planning for the future in this way will ensure your financial stability, so addressing financial planning head on at the start of the process will give you the best chance. Keep track of your income and outgoings, establish what assets belong to the family, and take the time to calculate exactly what you’ll need once the marriage is over.

Revenge is not so Sweet

A common mistake that inevitably ends in divorce disaster is trying to use the court as a way of getting revenge against their ex-partner. Whether it’s deliberately trying to prolong the process, intentional failure to compromise when it comes to financial matters, or fighting for assets for the sake of it, there are plenty of ways that divorcing partners can use the legal system to exact revenge. There are many reasons why this is not recommended; from increasing the legal costs involved, to impacting the lives of your shared children, not to mention your own peace of mind and wellbeing.

Avoid Hiding Assets

Although it may be tempting to minimise, or even hide assets you don’t want your ex-partner to have a share in, doing so is almost guaranteed to spell disaster. Non-disclosure of an asset or being dishonest about its true value will mean that any financial settlement you do receive will be open to challenges in the future. Even settlements already passed by the court that reveal non-disclosure afterwards could mean that your ex-partner can take you back to court. Failing to disclose your assets or income in full can even put you at risk of perjury action.

Don’t do it Yourself

In theory, DIY divorces require no lawyers, no trials, and all communication is carried out between the couple involved. This can work for some, but, in reality, it’s hardly ever that simple. There are also plenty of conditions. Your case must be considered as an ‘uncontested divorce’, meaning that both parties agree to the termination of the marriage and the reason for it. You must also have resolved all the issues surrounding shared children, how they are financially supported, and how any property, assets, or debt should be divided. You and your ex-partner must also have agreed to willingly participate in the process, have a complete understanding of each other’s financial positions, and be able to work together in an amicable way.

It might seem like an attractive option to find the quickest route out of a marriage and opt for a DIY divorce. It is possible for you to undertake the divorce process yourself and agree such things as child arrangements between you, but a solicitor will be required for the financial part of the divorce as they will need to draft the consent order. It is possible to go online to get a solicitor to draft your financial order, but this will include no advice as to whether or not you have included everything required or if the agreement you have come to is fair for both parties.

Consult a Solicitor

Not only can a qualified, experienced divorce solicitor guide and support you through what can be a stressful process, they’ll work their hardest to get you the best possible outcome from your divorce. There are many advantages to getting legal help to ensure that divorce proceedings move forward as smoothly as possible. So, if you want to avoid divorce disasters, professional, legal guidance is key.

If you are considering a separation or divorce, please do contact us on 01246 555610 for a free initial consultation.

By Vines Legal on 16 Apr 2021

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How Could a Divorce Affect My Business?

divorce lawyer chesterfield - how divorce could affect businessThere are many financial decisions to make when it comes to embarking on a divorce. In addition to dividing up property, savings, investments, and pensions, and perhaps considering child maintenance payments, there may also be business interest to take into account. Although this can undoubtedly feel overwhelming, here at Vines Legal, we have plenty of expertise, and experience in dealing with financial matters such as these. Although business interests are an added complexity, there’s no reason why they cannot be navigated smoothly with the correct support and advice. With that in mind, here are some key considerations when it comes to a divorce and the potential impact on your business.

Day to Day Disruption

The process of separation and divorce is undoubtedly a difficult time, and unfortunately can often impact the day to day running of a business, your management responsibilities, or even just your ability to concentrate on the day to day tasks. Finding the time to meet with your solicitor, schedule appointments around correspondence regarding the valuation of your business, tax returns, and so forth, can be challenging. Allow yourself to be guided by a legal professional, who will take you through the process step by step.

Financial Impact

Although it really does depend on the couple in question and the individual circumstances of the couple and the business involved, there are often financial implications on your business when embarking on a divorce. In short, the divorce court would have to assess and decide on whether your enterprise is a 'matrimonial asset’ which will need to be divided on divorce.  How this should be done is also a very important consideration.

Even if your business is classed as a non-matrimonial asset, your spouse may still be entitled to a financial share if it is deemed that their needs require.

There are many things to consider but asking yourself the following questions may be a good place to start:

  • Are you and your spouse both involved in the business?
  • Do you both wish to remain actively involved following the divorce?
  • Does your business only involve one of you, with the other lacking knowledge of the way it is run?
  • Was the business established before the marriage?
  • Is it a family business that has been inherited?

Whatever the circumstances, it’s absolutely essential that there is full disclosure of all assets including those jointly and solely owned. It’s often the case that the main income of either both, or one of the parties, is generated by the business. Careful consideration must be given, therefore, to the most financially viable way of handling the business in the divorce.

If you’d like advice on ensuring your business is valued fairly and accurately, guidance on how to remove your spouse from the business, or advice on dividing the business, we can help. Call now for your free initial, no obligation, consultation on 01246 555 610 for immediate, friendly and professional advice.

By Vines Legal on 29 Mar 2021

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What is a No-Fault Divorce?

divorce lawyer Chesterfield No Fault DivorceThere are, of course, many reasons why a marriage may break down and ultimately end in divorce. To establish that the marriage has broken down and grounds for divorce have been met, historically one of these five facts must be proven: Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour, Two years separation by consent of both partners, Separation for 5 years, or Desertion.

However, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which passed into law on 25 June 2020, has introduced what is referred to as a "No Fault" divorce in England and Wales. Although this new statutory framework has been approved, there are still a vast number of notes, procedures, and forms that will need to be implemented to ensure the changes run smoothly, as well as substantial changes to the IT system of the courts.  Unfortunately, there has been no formal announcement of a date by which the new law will come into force, but it is expected that the new legislation will apply from Autumn 2021.

Ending the Blame Game

The law as it currently stands requires elements of blame, in some cases, to be involved to initiate a divorce. Adultery and unreasonable behaviour need to be proven if the couple require an immediate divorce, which both rely on blame-based facts to prove that the marriage has broken down and is beyond repair. The other options include much longer timeframes, including waiting for at least two years (if both parties agree to the divorce) or five years (if one party does not agree to the divorce).

Obviously, forcing divorcing couples to assign blame in what is no doubt an already stressful situation can be extremely painful, and does nothing for keeping ex-spouses amicable for the future. This can be especially damaging where there are children involved, and good future co-parenting relationships are necessary for the future upbringing of those children.

Many agree that the No Fault divorce is much more in line with modern society and its changing attitudes towards marriage. This new law has, in fact, taken over 20 years to be accepted. As of the Autumn, the legal concept of a ‘No Fault divorce’ in the UK will finally match that of Scotland, the USA, and Australia.  

If you would like to find out more about current divorce proceedings, and the changes coming into force later in year, Vines Legal can help. We offer a first free consultation and can use that time to fully explain the options available to you now, and in the future. Get in touch today on 01246 555 610.

By Vines Legal on 8 Mar 2021

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How to Protect your Relationship from Lockdown-Related Breakdown

divorce lawyer Chesterfield avoid lockdown breakupThere’s no doubt that the last year has taken its toll on a great many aspects of our lives, including our relationships. Despite the good news that that there is now an end in sight to the UK lockdown, there are still several weeks to go before life begins to look more normal.

Sadly, the pandemic has put a huge strain on relationships with our partners and spouses. According to the International Association of Marriage and Family Counsellors, the number of couples seeking relationship counselling has dramatically increased during lockdown. The stresses of juggling work, home schooling, and domestic chores, as well as the ongoing worries surrounding health, job security, and the general effect the pandemic is having on the world as a whole, has equated to a perfect storm in many households, putting relationships to the test like never before. So, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to get through the next few weeks, keeping your relationship intact along the way.

Time Out

With fewer opportunities to leave the house and access that much needed me time away from your spouse or partner, it’s important to create space for yourself at home. Remember that you and your spouse or partner still need some time apart from time to time. That doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate one another or enjoy their company, it’s simply that spending every waking moment together just isn’t necessary in a healthy relationship. Spending some time alone will also keep the romance alive when you do spend time together.

Plan for the Future

It may seem like the current situation is never-ending and that the end of lockdown is still a long way away. But it will end, and making plans for when it does will help you to look to the future and get excited about all the things you’ll be able to do again. Keep in mind this is a temporary situation and putting plans in place for the future will remind you of this.

Gestures of Love

During the stressful, anxious time that the pandemic has created, the simplest thing you can do is to show your partner or spouse how much you care about them. This might be cooking a nice meal, scheduling in some quality time with your spouse or partner, or perhaps a gift. Whatever it is, make sure its heart felt and speaks to your other half.

Here at Vines Legal, we’re experts in helping our clients through the process of separation and divorce. Our first job, however, is always to establish whether a relationship can be saved. A legal separation process should really only be seen as a last resort, but if you are considering a separation, or going through a divorce, please do contact us on 01246 555610 and we can offer our advice and support in a free initial consultation.

By Vines Legal on 1 Mar 2021

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How to Protect your Pension During a Divorce

divorce lawyer Chesterfield protect your pensions during divorceIf you’ve decided to begin the process of divorce, you’ll no doubt be overwhelmed with everything that you have to consider and may have some anxiety about the tasks ahead of you. Here at Vines Legal, it’s our job to guide people through the process, and we’ve got plenty of experience in making sure our clients have ticked all the necessary boxes during what can be a painful and confusing time.

Often, a large part of reaching a divorce settlement revolves around finances. Understandably, both parties will be keen to ensure that their futures are financially secure when they go on to lead their separate lives. One of the most important financial considerations in this instance is your pension, which should be included in your settlement. Despite this, it’s commonly overlooked. Pensions can often be a person’s single biggest asset, so protecting it in the event of a divorce is a must.

Is my Ex-Spouse Entitled to a Share of my Pension?

Assets that you and your spouse have acquired during the course of your marriage will be divided in a divorce, and this includes pensions.

How Much is my Pension Worth?

Before a couple can establish exactly how much they will each receive from a split pension, a valuation is necessary. Valuing a pension is a complex process, which is why we always recommend support in this area. Investing in an independent pension sharing report has its costs, but can be helpful for managing expectations and a necessary document for lawyers when considering complex pension schemes.

Pension Options Upon Divorce

There are three main options when it comes to dealing with pensions in a divorce: pension offsetting, pension sharing orders and pension attachment orders. It’s worth noting that seeking legal advice from a matrimonial solicitor before deciding upon an option is a must.

Here at Vines Legal, we know that receiving good advice at this stage is key to your future financial security. If you are in the process of a divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and support on how best to arrange your finances, including your pension. For a free initial consultation with our specialist family lawyers, please contact us on 01246 555610.

By Vines Legal on 7 Feb 2021

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Navigating Pre-Nuptial Agreements

family lawyer Chesterfield prenuptial agreementsWhilst few people enter into a marriage with the expectation that it will end, sometimes we just don’t know what direction our life is going to take. Circumstances can change and unexpected things do happen. If a divorce were to happen, Pre-Nuptial Agreements provide both parties with much greater certainty and peace of mind. These agreements simply mean that your assets would have a much better chance of being divided in a way that is considered fair for both parties in the event of a divorce or separation.

What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a contract entered into both freely and voluntary by a couple before marriage, civil partnership, or same-sex marriage. In the event of a divorce or separation, a Pre-Nuptial Agreement would decide what were to happen should the couple separate or divorce.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements are assessed by the Court on a case by case basis, and are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the contract. Contracts drawn up by family law solicitors are considered much more legally sound provided certain criteria are met, so proper legal advice is very important to ensure that the right precautions are taken.

Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements legally binding in the UK?

Although Pre-Nuptial Agreements are not actually legally binding in the UK, the terms of these Agreements are often decisive in the event of a dispute that is dealt with by the court, unless the effect of the agreement is deemed to be unfair. Recent case law has shown that judges are prepared to give these agreements substantial weight, and therefore uphold them; providing they are drafted correctly, and that certain precautionary steps were taken when the Agreement was drawn up and signed.

If you are looking for advice and expertise surrounding Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Vines Legal can help. For a free initial consultation with our specialist family lawyers, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01246 555610.

By Vines Legal on 24 Jan 2021

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How to Protect Yourself as Part of an Unmarried Cohabiting Couple

family lawyer Chesterfield cohabitation agreementsIt’s increasingly common these days for couples to live together and not marry. As people’s priorities, and their preferences on marriage have changed in recent years, it’s not surprising that couples choose to live together, or ‘cohabit’, without tying the knot. Cohabitation can be described as two people who are not married, and not in a civil partnership, living together in a long-term relationship.

Although there’s no actual legal definition of a cohabitee in law in England and Wales, the persons involved are still considered as individuals in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, this can be problematic for cohabitees who decide to part ways, only to find that they don’t have the same rights as couples who are married or who are in civil partnerships.

What Rights do Cohabiting Couples Have?

Unmarried couples have no legal rights at all, regardless of how long they have been in a relationship and how long they have lived together. Despite the familiarity of the phrase, there is no such thing as a ‘common-law’ wife or husband. Unfortunately, unmarried couples simply do not have the same rights as married couples, including an absence of maintenance rights, rights to their partner’s pension, and automatic inheritance.  Instead, they have to rely on Trusts Law which in today’s society can be viewed as archaic and unfair.

How Can I Protect Myself as Part of an Unmarried Cohabiting Couple?

As experts in matrimonial and family law, we’re well-versed in guiding couples through the process of protecting themselves when they choose to live together, but not marry. Here at Vines Legal, we’ve helped many couples and individuals protect their rights as part of unmarried cohabiting couples. In this instance, a Cohabitation Agreement is the most sensible solution.

Cohabitation Agreements can be drawn up to cover the financial aspects of a couple’s relationship whilst they are cohabiting. For example, this increasingly common legal document can be useful for a couple who choosing to buy a property and intend to formalise who will pay certain bills or debts, or when drawing up what shares in the property the individuals will hold. Cohabitation Agreements are also a sensible idea if the couple chooses to have children. And, in the event of a separation, Cohabitation Agreements are a good way to protect both parties.

As experts in Cohabitation Agreements, Vines Legal can provide expert advice and expertise on the matter. For a free initial consultation with our specialist family lawyers, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01246 555610.

By Vines Legal on 11 Jan 2021

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Complying with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders During the Pandemic

Family lawyer Chesterfield - Child Arrangement Orders During The PandemicThe last few months have been a troubling time for everyone whilst dealing with the chaotic situation that the pandemic has inflicted on families across the world. For some, however, there is another complication to consider when it comes to keeping safe and complying with the rules that have resulted from the pandemic. For separated families with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders in place, careful navigation of the rules and regulations is essential. But don’t worry; here at Vines Legal, we’ve answered some of the most common questions we’ve been asked about complying with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders during the pandemic.

Can Children Move Between the Homes of Separated Parents in the UK?

The Stay at Home Rules were issued on 23rd March. Alongside this, the Government offered guidance which dealt specifically with child contact arrangements. It says: “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”

Obviously, this establishes an exception to the mandatory ‘stay at home’ requirement. But it doesn’t mean that children must be moved between homes. In order to make a decision about whether a child is to move between parental homes, the child’s parents should make a sensible assessment of the circumstances, including the child’s present health, the risk of infection and the presence of any recognised vulnerable individuals in one household or the other.

Since the original guidance in March, local restriction tier guidance for England was issued on 2nd December 2020, and states that “exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers” include that for the purposes of “arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians”. This includes moving between tiers for the same purpose.

How Should Parents Comply with Court Orders for Contact in the UK?

In order to ensure compliance with Child Arrangement Orders, the President of the Family Division of the High Court has issued national guidance for parents whose children are the subject of Child Arrangement Orders made by the Family Court. This guidance states that parents, acting in agreement, are free to decide that the arrangements set out in a Child Arrangements Order should be temporarily varied. There is further guidance regarding situations where parents do not agree, however, which goes into arrangements in more detail.

The “key message”, the guidance states, should be that “where Coronavirus restrictions cause the letter of a court order to be varied, the spirit of the order should nevertheless be delivered by making safe alternative arrangements for the child”.

Guidance for Parents with Family Court Child Arrangement Orders During Covid

As you can see, the pandemic has resulted in some variations to Family Court Child Arrangement Orders that can cause confusion if not properly researched and implemented. Here at Vines Legal, we’ve got extensive knowledge of Child Arrangements Orders, and can help to support families navigating arrangements throughout the pandemic. For guidance and advice, please contact us on 01246 555610 for a free initial consultation.

By Vines Legal on 28 Dec 2020

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5 Ways to Make the Christmas Holidays go Smoothly

family lawyer Chesterfield - 5 ways to make the Christmas holidays go smoothlyAs Christmas approaches, it’s no secret that this year’s celebrations are likely to be a bit different to those you’ve enjoyed in the past. Navigating relationships over the festive season can be testing at the best of times; adding a global pandemic into the mix, with plenty of restrictions on what you can and can’t do is bound to add another layer of potential tension to the next few weeks.

It’s normal to feel stressed at Christmas time, but there are plenty of things you can do to help the holidays go smoothly. As experts in matrimonial and family law, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to make sure the festive period is as relaxing as possible.

Let Go of Perfect

Dissatisfaction at this time of year can stem from the expectation that the festive season is ‘supposed’ to be filled with non-stop joy and laughter. Try to be more realistic about the days over Christmas; no one can be cheerful 24/7 and it’s perfectly normal to experience fluctuations in mood. It’s been a tough year for many, so go easy on yourself and each other.

Schedule in Some ‘Me Time’

There’s no need to be in each other’s pockets for the whole of Christmas. Although there may be restrictions on socialising this year due to the pandemic, there are ways you can seek out your own space and enjoy some me time. Even if that’s a simple walk, or a hot bubble bath, taking time for yourself is important. If you’re calm and relaxed, then it’s much more likely that people around you will be too.

Don’t Bottle it Up!

Got something playing on your mind? Make an effort to get it off your chest, talk about how you’re feeling, and focus on meaningful communication. Brushing things under the carpet means your feelings are more likely to creep out at a later date. Deal with them now and avoid future meltdowns.

Plan for the Year Ahead

Making plans for 2021 can be a great way to look to the future and get excited about all the things you really want to do next year. Why not block out some time in the calendar for trips and holidays, days out and fun activities? This will give you, your spouse, and your children, something to look forward to in the New Year.

Practice Gratitude

Yes, it’s been a challenging year for many, many families. Take the time to find a quiet spot and try think of something you’re grateful for. It might only be something small, but practising gratitude is a sure fire way to lift your mood and put things into perspective.

Here at Vines Legal, we’re experts in helping our clients through the process of separation and divorce. That being said, our first job is always to establish whether a relationship can be saved. A legal separation process should only be seen as a last resort, but if you are considering a separation, or going through a divorce, please do contact us on 01246 555610 for a free initial consultation.

By Vines Legal on 14 Dec 2020

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My Spouse Just Asked for a Divorce. What do I do Now?

My spouse just asked for a divorce, what do I do nowThe breakdown of a marriage is undoubtedly a stressful and difficult time for all involved. Sometimes, the decision to divorce is mutual, and both parties agree that separation is the best course of action. Other times, one spouse may initiate the divorce. If your husband or wife has asked you for a divorce, your next question will most likely be – What do I do now?

Once you have discussed your spouses’ divorce request, you may want to look into mediation. The process of mediation can help you both to communicate in a respectable environment. Despite it being an upsetting and stressful time, mediation can really help to maintain communication between you and your spouse.

Grounds for Divorce

To establish whether your spouses’ divorce request is valid, grounds for divorce must be considered. The only ground for divorce that needs to be established is that the marriage has broken down and cannot be saved. You’ll need to establish one of 5 facts to prove this: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years of separation with the consent of both partners, separation of five years even if one partner does not agree or has refused to cooperate, or desertion.

If one of these grounds can be met, your spouse can then file for divorce. In order to do so, you must firstly have been married for at least one year, and secondly, your marriage must be recognised as valid in the UK. Your spouse’s solicitor will then complete the divorce petition form, and ensure that it is filed with the court. You’ll then receive the completed petition form as well as the notice of proceedings form (which will contain your case number and details of what to do next), along with the acknowledgement of service form.

Seeking Advice on Divorce Petitions

You’ll then need to respond to the divorce petition, and it’s highly recommended that you take advice from a solicitor from this point. Adequate legal representation is essential as errors at any stage can be costly.

If you choose to agree with the divorce petition, you’ll need to fill out the acknowledgement of service form and return it to the court within 8 days. However, if you don’t agree, you’ll need to fill out the acknowledgement of service form, including the part of the form which specifies that you are defending the divorce. You must respond to this within 21 days, and a court hearing will follow which allows both parties to put across their arguments, via their solicitors.

If you have been asked for a divorce by your spouse, it’s understandable that you’ll have lots of questions. Here at Vines Legal, we’re experts in matrimonial and family law and can assist you at every stage to help guide you through what can be a confusing and distressing time. For a free initial, no obligation consultation, please call us on 01246 555610 for immediate, friendly and professional advice.

By Vines Legal on 2 Dec 2020

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