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How to Make Your Divorce Less Stressful: Part One

How to make your divorce less stressful

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. Set targets and goals for the future

Trying to stay positive during a divorce will undoubtedly be a challenge, but envisaging a bright and happy future full of positive changes will make the process a lot easier. Divorce is a huge change in itself, but it is a great opportunity to re-evaluate the things that you want from life. Setting goals and making plans is a great way to keep positive and make the most of a new start.

2. Try to keep communication effective

Divorces are complicated and difficult, meaning that tensions often run high. If communication with your ex-spouse is challenging, ensure that you think carefully about what you want to achieve from your conversations. Maintain calmness, try not to get angry and stay focused on the outcome of the exchange – this way you can avoid being drawn into old arguments or disputes.

3. Deal with financial issues and practical matters

It is important to consider your financial situation going forward. After divorce, it is bound to change so creating a budget will help you to see what your new outgoings/incomings will be. This can help avoid any financial difficulties further down the road.

It is also a good idea to think about practical matters, such as household tasks and maintaining your property. If your ex-spouse did the majority of the cooking, learning to cook would be a prudent idea. Equally, if they dealt with problems with the car or house, it would be a good idea to invest some time in learning about these issues and their solutions.

4. Allow your family and friends to help

Identify who your support network are and let them be there for you. Don’t shy away from help or support. Although some friendships may become more complicated post-divorce (mutual friends, for example), it may also be the perfect time to make new friends or reconnect with old ones.

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 11 Nov 2015

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The World's Top 7 Most Bizarre Prenuptial Agreements

1. Who gets the dog?

In today’s society, man’s best friend is becoming a more and more frequent addition to prenup clauses. This can include custody and visitation rights should the couple split.

2. Who gets the nanny?

With good help so hard to find, deciding who will keep which employee after a break-up is now becoming a trend. You get the gardener; I get the nanny!

3. The in-laws

One prenuptial agreement barred in-laws from staying the night. Another saw one man having to pay $10,000 (£6,550) each time he was rude to his wife’s parents and in yet another bizarre in-law related clause, one man capped the amount of time he and his wife would spend with their in-laws to a maximum of 2 consecutive days.

4. The football

One football-hating wife limited her husband to watching 1 football match with friends per week.

5. Weight watching

One wife’s prenuptial agreement limited her weight to a maximum of 8½ stone. The penalty for gaining weight is forfeiting $100,000 (£615,515) worth of her separate property.

6. High infidelity

Not unlike many celebrity couples, Catherine Zeta-Jones is rumoured to have an infidelity clause included in her prenup. This would mean compensation of several million pounds should husband Michael Douglas be unfaithful.

7. The kids

Some prenups include specifics such as whether their children will be raised vegetarian or what school they will attend. In some multi-faith marriages, couples dictate religious upbringings in advance. Some prenups even stipulate that the couple will never have children!

Are you considering putting a prenuptial agreement into place? Contact Vines Legal to book a free consultation on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 4 Nov 2015

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Preparing for Christmas – putting in place a Parent Plan

Christmas can be a difficult time after a separation, which is why National Family Mediation are urging separated parents to begin putting Parent Plans into place to avoid stress and confusion during the festive season.

Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation, said: ‘For separated families, far from being a time of joy, Christmas can heap tension upon tension. Reminders that Christmas is fast approaching are all around us, but many separated families are dreading December, and with good reason.

Christmas places huge pressures on families, and it’s a time when separated couples often find settlements imposed by divorce courts don’t work.

As a result, the child is caught helplessly in the middle, leading to a thoroughly miserable Christmas.’

A Parenting Plan can be as basic or as intricate as you wish, but should always reflect what is best for the children involved. By planning in advance, you can ensure that their needs and wishes are put first and that the result is manageable and clear to everyone.

At Vines Legal, we understand the difficulties of separation and the impact it can have on family life. To further discuss separation with us, book a free consultation with us on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 29 Oct 2015

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The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…………

For those who have been dishonest in their divorce and financial proceedings involving their spouse there may be reason to panic after the recent Judgment made at the Supreme Court this week.

Two woman won their cases after being deprived of what was rightly theirs during divorce proceedings. The Sharland case significantly highlights the fact that Courts will take a “zero tolerance stance” from husbands or wives who attempt to deliberately deceive their spouses and lie to the Court about their finances and assets.

Charles Sharland, it appears, was far from transparent during his financial hearing. Firstly, about the actual value of shares in his company and secondly, about the timing of the sale of those shares. This impacted significantly upon the financial award made to his wife. The true value was actually ten times higher than Mr Sharland had originally claimed.

Many spouses who have deliberately misled the Courts recently and not disclosed their true financial worth have knowingly deprived the other spouse and possibly their children of what is rightly theirs. These individuals may well be sitting uneasy right now as this Court Judgment has now enabled recently divorced individuals to potentially have the case re-opened when they suspect such dishonesty has taken place and will enable them to pursue what they are entitled to. Each case will be considered on its own facts.

For those individuals who are attempting to conduct their financial case during divorce in a dishonest fashion this decision is a big wake up call. Basically you will not get away with it!

If you are looking to pursue divorce proceedings and resolve your financial affairs in light of separation we encourage you to contact Vines Legal in the first instance to discuss how we can support you through the process in the most cost-effective manner, call our office today on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 16 Oct 2015

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The simple things can now grant you a divorce in some parts of the world!

For many years Courts have been insistent on being provided with very serious and in-depth reasons as to why a marriage should come to an end, before a divorce is granted. However, things seem to be changing and more bizarre reasons are being accepted in certain Courts across the world.

One of the stranger cases to date is one that was heard by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court where one party was granted a divorce on the grounds of their spouse having a “low” IQ!

During the case both a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist stood before the Court and stated that they believed it is difficult to lead a happily married life with someone who’s IQ is under 70!

If you are looking to begin divorce proceedings, whatever the reason for the relationship breakdown, we encourage you to seek professional advice as soon as you are able. Contact Vines Legal today on 01246 555 610 to arrange your free 30 minute consultation.

By Claire Clark on 24 Sep 2015

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Short marriages and financial settlements

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 section 25 identifies some of the factors the Court must give regard to when determining the division of assets. These factors enable the Court to have a wide spectrum of discretion to ensure a fair distribution takes place when formulating financial settlements for divorce cases – consideration of the full circumstances must be given.

A marriage that lasts up to five years is commonly accepted as a short marriage, a marriage that lasts for ten years or more is commonly classed as a long marriage. It is important to bear in mind that the period of time that a couple have cohabited prior to the marriage may be included as part of the duration of the marriage. The point where a couple who are in a stable relationship start cohabiting can now be treated as the start date for the duration.

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which continues to govern divorce law originally made the resolution of finances for short marriages very straightforward in that the the party who was less economically sound be awarded sufficient funds in order to enable them to re-establish themselves moving forward.

Things then became less straightforward in 2001 after the memorable case of White v White (2001) whereby the Court reached a decision based on the “Yardstick of Equality”. However, the ruling in this case did not mean that there would be an equal division. In Foster v Foster (2003) both parties where returned to their positions before they were married and anything gained during the marriage was shared equally. The wife received a higher proportion of the assets than her husband as her premarital contribution was far greater than his.

After the outcome of the case of Miller v Miller (2006) things changed again. After a two and three quarter year childless marriage Mrs Miller famously received a £5M settlement which was approximately 25% of her husband’s assets. This shocked many legal professionals and the general consensus was that the ruling was over generous. Since this case a broader approach has been adopted.

A clean break may be applied when there has been a short marriage with no children. The Court would require the couple to undertake a financial clean break order so that neither party to the divorce has any further financial interest in the other parties’ affairs. Usually where there are no children in the marriage the spouses are essentially expected to the leave the marriage with whatever they brought in. The Court will however give consideration to whether sacrifices have been made by either party, for example giving up their home or career, in which case it is likely that the Court with be more generous when awarding provisions to that spouse.

If you are looking to pursue divorce proceedings. We encourage you to contact Vines Legal in the first instance to discuss how we can support you through your separation process in the most cost-effective manner, call our office today on 01246 555 610

By Claire Clark on 7 Sep 2015

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A Divorce settlement case has hit the headlines after the husband has been ordered to pay £334,000 in legal costs!!

Case: Joy v Joy-Morancho & Ors

Divorce proceedings have come to a bitter end for husband, Clive Joy-Morancho after he has been ordered to pay £334,000 in legal costs, within fourteen days! This amount includes all of his estranged wife’s costs for the financial proceedings since May 2013.

The High Court Judge, Sir Peter Singer stated “the husband’s explanation of his finances amounted to blatant dishonesty” and that “such conduct unravels all and can and should, in an extreme case where the conclusions are clear, have clear costs condemnation meted out as the Court’s response”

The husband had set out to deceive the Court in regard to his finances by being, as the Judge said “unbelievably dishonest” as he had deliberately attempted to obscure the truth about his true financial circumstances.

Whilst the Judge accepted that cases such as this are few and far between, it is hoped that the costs award in this case should act as deterrent to those who are considering deceiving the Court!

The husband had sought to reach a resolution which only involved him paying a nominal maintenance award to his ex-wife, but he has ended up having to pay £334,000 in costs, periodical payments of £120,000 and his ex-wife’s capital claims have been adjourned.

If you are looking to pursue divorce proceedings; we encourage you to contact Vines Legal in the first instance to discuss how we can support you through the process in the most cost-effective manner, call our office today on 01246 555 610

By Claire Clark on 2 Sep 2015

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Wide- spread shock and major concerns raised as Court of Appeal DISMISS Husband’s appeal against 100% DIVORCE.

The Court of Appeal caused widespread concern last week after dismissing a husband’s appeal against a Judgment which was handed down last July. The Judgment ruled that the £550,000 estate of the family should be given, almost in its entirety to the wife. Major concerns are being expressed due to this being the first 100% divorce and the major impact this may have in the future for other husbands across England and Wales.

The man in question, Dr Essam Aly a hospital consultant, aged 54 was married to his wife Enas for nine years and they had two children together. In 2011 the relationship broke down and Essam left the family home; within a year he had moved to Bahrain, remarried and went on to have his third child.

Enas attempted to bring enforcement proceedings against Essam in Bahrain due to him refusing to pay any maintenance for their children since 2012, however, this was unsuccessful. Therefore, Enas obtained a “Freezing Order” over those of her husband’s assets which were considered by the Court as being part of the matrimonial estate. Most of the assets were awarded to Enas by the Family Court.

It is well known that generally a marriage of this length equates to the capital being divided fifty fifty. However, the Court can and will deviate from this when necessary in order to secure an outcome where both parties can be adequately rehoused. When considering the appropriateness of a financial resolution the child/children’s welfare is paramount and will have a significant impact upon the resolution of the case.

During the hearing in the Court of Appeal Essam expressed his views which were that he felt the 100% Judgment was greatly unfair. The Court ascertained that despite Essam’s financially “well off” status there was no indication that Essam had any intention of paying towards the children of his first marriage and with this being taken into consideration the Court of Appeal were of the mind that Enas should receive the vast majority of the estate and if not all of the assets. This was to ensure that Enas and the children were able to live in appropriate accommodation and to ensure that she was able to provide for the children until they reach adulthood.

It is believed that the Court of Appeal made the “rare” judgment due to the fact that Essam proved he cannot be trusted not to default if he was ordered to make regular maintenance payments to Enas and the children. Although the Court were clearly unimpressed with the behaviour of Essam, it is felt the Judgment was not punitive, it was practical. The Court made the Judgment to ensure that maintenance was available as and when the mother and her children needed it, as a direct result of Essam’s very clear avoidance of paying maintenance in the past.

Although some may say that this ruling was extreme, in such circumstances the Judge has a duty to ensure that fair and appropriate provisions for families are secured especially when one party refuses to accept their responsibilities and act accordingly. If you are currently considering separation or are going through a divorce then please contact Vines Legal today on 01246 555 610 to speak with one of our qualified and experienced professionals.      

By Claire Clark on 6 Aug 2015

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A divorce means that my ex can’t make a financial claim against me … right?

Wrong!!

A divorce by itself does not mean that an ex-spouse cannot make a financial claim against the other party provided he/she has not remarried before making the claim. The key to preventing such a claim, post-divorce, is to obtain a financial clean break from the Court. This should be done at the time of the divorce, if at all possible. If the parties agree then this can be done in the form of a Consent Order, otherwise the Court can impose a clean break order upon the parties, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

It is understandable that people who are going through the trauma of separation and divorce want to breathe a sigh of relief when they get their Decree Absolute and think to themselves “I’ll just leave the finances for a bit” if there is nothing immediate, like a house or pension, to sort out. However, be warned, the Supreme Court recently allowed an ex-wife to claim against her millionaire ex-husband some 23 years after divorce. In that case neither party sought a clean break at the time of the divorce meaning that the ex-wife could pursue her claim, despite the long period of time that had elapsed. In that case the Court must still decide on the level of the ex-wife’s financial award (which will doubtless take into account the delay), however the cost, stress and aggravation for all concerned is no doubt taking its toll and could have been prevented.

So the clear message from this is act now, belt and braces, then move on with confidence that your affairs are in order.

If you are currently going through a divorce or are thinking about a separation, Vines Legal are here to help. Please contact us today on 01246 555 610 to take advantage of our free 30 minute consultation with one our experienced legal professionals.  

By Claire Clark on 16 Mar 2015

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Considering a Pre-Nuptial agreement?

At present a pre-nuptial agreement is not legally binding. However, the attitude of the Court towards them has changed considerably over the years; more weight is now being given to them and in light of this it is becoming more common for people to enter into such an agreement.

In trying to determine a division of the matrimonial assets the Court's usual starting point for such a division is 50:50 unless there are good reasons to depart from this equal split.

We would all like to think that when we marry it is for the long haul and that we will remain together “til death us do part” however the reality of marriage breakdown is ever increasing.

Many people entering into a marriage already have assets in their own name which they would wish to protect in the event of a marriage breakdown – these could include a property, business assets, investments, pension provision and even any future inheritance.

On divorce, the Court has extensive powers to potentially distribute all of your assets including pre-marital assets, those which are inherited or held in trust. This can make the Court process uncertain, stressful and expensive.

If challenged, a pre-nuptial agreement is more likely to be upheld if it was properly made and entered into without any undue influence and will not lead to one parties’ hardship.

Before entering into a pre-nuptial agreement both parties should seek independent legal advice from a family lawyer. The Court will not uphold an agreement which it sees is unfair to one of the parties.

If you are considering a pre-nuptial agreement and would like further information please contact Vines Legal today on 01246 555 610 to speak with one of our qualified and experienced professionals.

By Claire Clark on 6 Jan 2015

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