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27 April 2018

Sir James Munby, the outgoing President of the Family Division, has had a number of divorce cases brought to his attention. It appears that a number of Decree Nisis and Absolutes have been incorrectly granted, as they did not meet the required time limits.

There are strict timeframes for when a petitioner can submit a divorce petition; couples must have been married for an entire year before being able to submit a petition. It appears that, in some cases, a full year had not passed before the petitions were sent to the divorce centres. In other cases, divorces were processed despite there not being the full required separation period of either 2 years or 5 years.

Since the introduction of regional divorce centres in 2015, the paperwork is routinely handled and processed by legal advisers who are supervised by Judges. As the legal advisers are not necessarily legally trained, it is perhaps not surprising that there have been some errors in the processing of legal documentation and applications.

24 April 2018

There have been renewed calls by family lawyers, Resolution and Baroness Hale for the introduction of no-fault divorce. These calls come as we near the much-anticipated Supreme Court hearing of Owens V Owens on 17th May 2018.

Baroness Hale recently created history by becoming the first female President of the Supreme Court. At the annual Resolution conference in Bristol, she said, “It may seem paradoxical to suggest that no-fault divorce is aimed at strengthening responsibility, but I believe that it is. The contents of the [divorce] petition can trigger or exacerbate family conflict entirely unnecessarily. Respondents are encouraged by their lawyers to ‘suck it up’ even though the allegations are unfair. There is no evidence at all that having to give a reason for the breakdown makes people think twice.”

06 March 2018

The 2018 wedding season is just around the corner and has an extra buzz with the prospect of two royal ceremonies. If you are tying the knot this year, then you probably have most plans in place already. But have you considered adding a pre-nuptial agreement to your to-do list? Understandably, some couples do not want to contemplate what happens if their marriage does not have a fairy-tale ending.

A pre-nuptial agreement is a legal document that is designed to make things easier to sort out if the marriage breaks down and can, in fact, strengthen your marriage by:

  • Protecting any pre-existing fortune from being split
  • Protecting a spouse from their partner’s debt
  • Providing for children from a previous relationship
  • Keeping family property within the family
  • Helping prevent solicitor fees from mounting up

26 February 2018

Divorce solicitors are increasingly dealing with cases involving arguments over the division of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

If difficulties in tracing and recording such assets were not already enough, these divorce cases are further complicated by the wild volatility of such currencies, making it very difficult to value them correctly in time for final divorce settlements.

In fact, it has been reported that in the UK there have been numerous challenges in this area in recent months. For example, law firm Royds Withy King has spoken of a spate of divorce disputes involving Bitcoin, with one recent case worth £600,000 – however, just a couple of months ago the same amount of Bitcoin was valued at £1 million, and only one year before that £80,000.

05 January 2018

The start of the year can be a stressful, difficult time for many. The post-Christmas period often means poor weather, financial troubles, increased tension in the household from too much time spent together over the holidays, and the longing for a fresh start.

It follows that, January is a time when law firms often notice an influx of divorce inquiries. But divorce is not a process to be rushed into. Of course, if you feel your marriage has irretrievably broken down, you will be eager to start anew, but there perhaps there are a few things you should get to grips with first.

Every marriage is different, and so it follows, that there's not one clear set of guidelines for every divorce. However, there are a few items of essential advice that will apply to most couples and these should help ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible for all parties involved.

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