A toolkit for family breakdown in the lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds.  For couples who are struggling in their relationship, or trying to manage co-parenting, anxiety levels are likely to be heightened if it seems there is nowhere to turn, while personal movements are restricted and even the family courts are working remotely.  "For myself, and my colleagues across the country, being a family lawyer means being there for all the challenges, not just the day in court, and at this…

When the end of summer spells the end of marriage

September is traditionally a time of new beginnings, with children off to school or university and parents back to work, but for many couples, the end of summer can spell the end of marriage. Lawyers often talk about ‘divorce day’ in January and report a similar surge when summer holidays are over, and research1 looking at the timing of divorce petitions bears this out, with peaks after the summer and winter holidays.  The researchers suggest that while troubled couples may view holidays as a time to stand together for children…

Your rights as a step-parent after a divorce

If you’re a recently divorced step-parent and are wondering what rights you have in regard to seeing your step-children, there’s a number of things you need to know. Here, we take a look at what happens after a divorce, what measures a step-parent can take in order to gain access to a step-child, and whether there any financial obligations that needs to be met. A legal definition of a 'step-parent' In order to work out what legal rights and responsibilities are shouldered by step-parents after a divorce, we first need…

How to behave yourself in front of the kids during a divorce

During a divorce, the priority has to be the kid’s welfare and wellbeing. Using them as a weapon against your partner in a messy breakup is cruel in the extreme. It’s important to recognise from the outset that children react to stressful situations in very different ways to adults. They have no frame of reference to work from, so to them the feelings of abandonment, confusion, loneliness and even anger are new and often completely overwhelming. Often, children will blame themselves for the break-up of their parents’ relationship, and it…

When to unravel the web of deceit in divorce

Unhappy ex-spouses hoping to get their divorce settlements reviewed following a landmark judgment are being urged to check their facts first. It was predicted that the Supreme Court rulings in the cases of Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil would open the floodgates to thousands of couples wanting to revisit agreements made under a financial consent order, where one party had deliberately concealed their true financial worth during divorce proceedings. In both cases - Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil - the Supreme Court gave the former wives the right…

No fault divorces

On 13 October 2015, Richard Bacon MP introduced a Bill to Parliament proposing an amendment to family law which could enable couples to say that there was no fault for the break up and to apply for a "no fault divorce". This would involve both parties making a separate declaration that the marriage or civil partnership had “irretrievably broken down” which is the ground that needs to be satisfied to enable a person to be able to petition for divorce. The other requirement being that the parties have to have…

Impending changes to the divorce process

The way divorce petitions are processed is changing, following a consultation by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). There will now be designated divorce centres which will be the only points of entry across the single family court for the issuing of divorce petitions and financial remedy applications. All divorce petitions will be sent by post to one of the centres unless there is an urgent reason to seek to issue at the counter. The application process will remain unchanged but all uncontested petitions will be prepared and made…

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