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15 July 2019

Divorce is at its worst when it becomes acrimonious, undermines feelings of security and has the ability to dominate and adversely affect the ongoing lives of those involved. As such, any area of family law which increases the potential for the above needs examining.

28 May 2019

There's no denying it, divorce and separation creates a raft of consequences. With the breaking up of familiar relationships children immediately have their lives rearranged, as one parent, typically the father, leaves the family home.

When it comes to who cares for a child, the mother automatically has parental responsibility from birth. Fathers will have parental responsibility if they are either married to the child's mother or are named on the birth certificate. Having parental responsibility typically affords you the right to maintain a relationship with children (as long as there are no injunctions or prohibitive orders in place to prevent contact) and separating parents are encouraged to reach an amicable agreement for child arrangements. These could include living arrangements, visiting schedules and other factors such as religious upbringing, schooling and contact at sensitive times such as birthdays and major holidays such as Christmas, Easter and the school holidays. Of course, it's not always as easy as that, and the difficulties faced by many parents are well documented.

24 May 2019

Last month Mr Justice Moor, sitting in the English family court, reached an important decision in the divorce case of Pierburg v Pierburg – between Gisela Pierburg, "the Wife" and Jurgen Pierburg, "the Husband".

The so-called "Eurostar" divorce case concerned a dispute about whether the divorce should be resolved in England or Germany and indeed whether England had jurisdiction to hear the divorce petition.

The Wife, believing that she had met the necessary habitual residency test, submitted an English divorce petition on 12 January 2018. Exactly one month later, the Husband issued his German divorce petition in the Berlin-Schoneberg District Court. He claimed that as both he and his wife were German citizens, Germany was the correct jurisdiction.

26 April 2019

Blame is seldom a useful emotional response. Yes, it can be used to apportion responsibility and to mete out accountability for certain criminal actions, but within the context of relationships and, specifically, marriage and divorce, it serves little to no practical purpose, can be counterproductive and furthermore, when children are involved, is only likely to increase the impact of emotional trauma.

The futility of the blame game is just one reason why it is such a relief to learn that the government will be changing divorce laws in England and Wales to ensure that no divorcing spouse will ever again have to prove their partner is at fault because of adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour.

It will also end the absurd two-year stasis (stipulated time of separation as one of the Five Facts) faced by many couples whose marriages have proved unworkable but who don't wish to apportion blame; five years in the case of couples where one spouse opposes the divorce.

21 February 2019

A number of recent cases involving divorce solicitors, particularly in London, have attracted attention over the issue of contentious litigation and accompanying disproportionate costs. For example, during a recent divorce case, Daga v Bangur [2018] EWFC 91, Justice Holman spoke of the ill effects of "destructive litigation" and its power to diminish the assets of divorcing parties.

The case focused on a husband's claim for a lump sum financial settlement worth between £1 million and £1.5 million.

The judge described it as "tragic" that the divorcing parties had spent more than £1 million on legal costs: around £380,000 on litigation related to child arrangements and a further £650,000 spent on litigation relating to the divorce financial settlement.

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