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Divorce and Family team

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Our divorce and separation team understands that the breakdown of a relationship, particularly if children are involved, can be a difficult and stressful time for all those involved. We listen to the needs of our clients and treat each client as an individual. This ensures we are able to tailor our advice and help guide you through the legal process. We can assist you to make important decisions at a time when you may feel unable to do so.

Melanie Loxley
 

Is COVID delaying couples from divorcing in the UK?

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I recently received an interesting email from a market research company. Following steady growth in 2019, it indicated that the family law sector in the UK struggled in the first half of 2020 but then slightly recovered in the second half of the year. ...

Dealing with legal costs in financial remedy proceedings

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Since 2006, it has been the general rule that in financial remedy proceedings , the court will make no order as to costs. This means that generally speaking, each party will have to bear their own legal fees. Prior to 2006, the court could and did...

Privacy in divorce proceedings

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In this case (Barclay v Barclay [2021]), heard by Cohen J on 5 May 2021, the Financial Remedy Application of the wife of a well-known public figure was attended by accredited media representatives, although they were subject to reporting...

Why should I deal with my divorce collaboratively?

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There are many advantages to dealing with a separation in a collaborative manner . Collaborative Law is always evolving. Birkett Long’s team of Collaborative Lawyers is excited by the introduction of a new Participation Agreement. This...

Divorce and separation - have you considered the pensions?

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Despite centuries of progress towards gender equality, the fact remains that where a couple decides to have children, there is usually one parent who makes sacrifices in their career in order to care for the children. This can have far-reaching effects, not...

Divorce - in a way that suits you

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Do I have to instruct a solicitor to get divorced? No. If your marriage has broken down irretrievably then you can start divorce proceedings through the Court’s online divorce portal. You currently need to rely on 1 of 5...

Is your relationship one of the casualties of lockdown?

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For most, life before lockdown involved seeing your partner for extended periods of time only when on holiday or over Christmas. 10 months since the first lockdown began, many couples have realised that spending all day, every day, under the same roof with...

What am I entitled to on divorce?

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This may be the first (and possibly for you the most important) question you have, if you are separating from your partner. In a nutshell, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:- 1. Property If your partner owns property...

The difference in separation between married & unmarried couples

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This case recently heard by the family court is a great example of how the approach the court takes to unmarried families differs to the approach it takes to those who are married. Here, the parties, who had never married, lived together with their two...

Can I get divorced during lockdown?

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The end of a relationship is generally a very difficult and upsetting time. For those who are in a failing relationship during lockdown, it must be even harder. If you find yourself in this situation then here are the answers to some questions you may...

The impact of Coronavirus on the family justice system

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The impact of the Coronavirus on our everyday lives is huge. Now that much of the UK is working from home or being unable to work, schools closed and our everyday routines and luxuries taken from us. One would be forgiven for thinking that the...

Is coronavirus going to cause a spike in divorces?

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We are hearing reports that coronavirus may be responsible for a spike in divorce rates in certain provinces in China. This could be a side effect of couples being quarantined and the stress associated with being isolated with a loved one for a...

FAQs on financial issues during divorce - part 2

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In the second of a 2 part series, Mel Loxley, who is a Solicitor and Partner in the Divorce and Separation team of Birkett Long and based in our Colchester office, answers a number of frequently asked questions by those who are facing divorce. Part 1...

FAQs on financial issues during divorce - Part 1

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In the first of a 2 part series, Mel Loxley, who is a Solicitor and Partner in the Divorce and Separation Team of Birkett Long and based in our Colchester office, answers a number of frequently asked questions by those who are facing divorce. Part 1 focuses...

Who is entitled to what on separation?

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Test your knowledge Lynn and Paul have been in a relationship for 30 years. They lived together over that time in a property owned in Paul’s sole name, which he bought a year before they met. They have two children together, who...

What happens at the first meeting with a divorce lawyer?

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If you are having problems in your relationship and have decided that you need to seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer, it is likely you have never been in that situation before and that you have some concerns about what that meeting will involve. ...

Is arbitration in family law a good alternative to court?

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Arbitration is an alternative way of resolving disputes outside of court proceedings. It is growing in popularity in family cases, largely, I would imagine, because of the expense, uncertainty and huge delays that we currently face in the family court...

Collaborative law: a better way...

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I have just completed my training to be a collaborative lawyer. I have to say it has shown me that there really IS a better way to deal with the breakdown of a relationship than the approach that family lawyers have traditionally taken. I have been a member...

No fault divorce is one step closer...

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The Bill to reform divorce law was introduced to the House of Commons yesterday, on 13 June 2019. The Bill, which proposes to overhaul our current divorce law and remove the requirement to rely on your spouse’s behaviour, adultery or a period of...

10 top tips on getting divorced amicably

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Getting divorced is rarely seen to be a positive thing. Ending a relationship is an extremely stressful life event. As a family law solicitor for the past 18 years, I have advised many people going through a relationship breakdown. Here are 10 top tips on...

6 years of disputing child arrangements after separation

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The case of G (Children: intractable dispute) [2019] EWCA Civ 548 was heard by the Court of Appeal on 21 March 2019. It involves 2 children, who at the date of the hearing were aged 8 and 11. Children Act proceedings were commenced by their mother. The...

In divorce, when does a marriage "start"?

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I was interested to read the recent case of IX v IY [2018] which considered the question ‘when does a marriage ‘start’?’ in the context of calculating the length of a marriage for the purposes of the divorce. When a marriage breaks...

Martin v Martin 2018 - the business and assets in their divorce

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The case of Martin v Martin 2018, which was reported at the beginning of this year, gave some helpful tips on how the court approaches cases involving wealth that is tied up in a business and also wealth that partially pre-dates the marriage. The Court of...

Divorce myth 7: It is impossible to bring a financial claim once you have got divorced

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Mel Loxley considers the myth that it is impossible to bring a financial claim once divorced. Is it impossible to bring a financial claim once you have got divorced? No, it is possible to bring a financial claim against...

Divorce in decline?

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I was interested to read in a tabloid newspaper recently that there are presently fewer divorces than at any time since 1971, which was the last time our divorce laws were reformed. This statistic however is focused on the number of...

Owens v Owens

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Following my blog back in March “Parliament may wish to consider whether to replace a law which denies Mrs Owens any present entitlement to a divorce...” This must surely be the stand-out statement in the judgment handed down by the...

The 14th annual Essex Pride

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The 14th annual Essex Pride is fast approaching this Saturday in Central Park, Chelmsford. It comes not long after the Genderquake season on Channel 4, where a series of programmes explored gender fluidity and continued to educate and enlighten the...

Diving into Mediation

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It has been revealed by the Ministry of Justice that the number of cases starting mediation in the period October to December 2017 were 15% lower than for the same period in 2016 and that new mediation cases are at their lowest number since the Legal Aid...

What constitutes "needs" in financial divorce cases?

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Needs are one of the factors that is taken into account by the divorce court when determining how to divide the assets of a marriage between the parties. In smaller money cases, needs are often the paramount and sometimes the only factor the court will use...

Matrimonial Survey 2017

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Global Accountancy firm, Grant Thornton LLP have produced a matrimonial survey for 2017 in which they canvassed opinions from 80 of the UK’s leading family lawyers on current issues facing family law. The survey highlights some interesting results and...

Common law marriage myth

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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) published statistics in November which show that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type and also the second most common family type, accounting for 3.3 million families in the UK. This is worrying when...

The cost of disagreements in Children Act proceedings

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In a recent relocation case entitled S v S, the parties managed to incur legal fees of £938,000. The Judge was rather scathing of the way the case had been conducted and, most unusually for Children Act proceedings, ordered the father to pay some of...

No fault divorce - the saga continues

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It seems that efforts to get the Conservative Party on board with the idea of no-fault divorce have bombed at a recent Conservative Party conference. Over two thirds of the delegates present indicated that they favoured the status quo over the prospect...

Divorce and separation: timing is everything...?

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So, the summer is (sadly) over and already Christmas is looming. For a couple in crisis, unfortunately there is never the perfect time to instigate a separation, whether this is on a trial basis or something more permanent. There seem to be key points...

Same Sex Couples - the end of pension inequality

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In Walker v Innospec Limited and others [2017] the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that legislation which allows employers to exclude same sex partners from spousal benefits paid into pension funds prior to December 2005 is discriminatory. This...

Financial Remedy

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Roxar v Jaledoust (2017) is a financial remedy case where the husband sought to vary or bring an end to a maintenance order made back in 2010. The order provided for him to pay global maintenance (i.e. maintenance for his wife and children) at a rate of...

Relocating a child - in or out?

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In the recent case of Re R (a child) it was argued that if a parent relocated with their child within the UK, without the consent of the other parent, the law should provide for that child’s summary return to their usual home, just as it does in...

Flout Orders made by the Family Court at your own peril

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…as Mr Assoun in the case of Assoun v Assoun [2017] EWCA Civ 21 discovered. In 2013 the English Court made a maintenance order against Mr Assoun in favour of his wife. Mr Assoun failed to make the payments ordered of him and in 2015, he...

Legal battle against a court's refusal for divorce

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Last week we heard that the Court of Appeal had reserved its decision on whether HHJ Tolson QC was right to refuse to grant Mrs Owens divorce petition based on her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. This case, which has attracted lots of recent...

Cohabiting couples - what rights do you have?

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The fastest growing family type in the 20 years leading up to 2016 were cohabiting couple families, which more than doubled from 1.5 million to 1996, to 3.3 million in 2016. Cohabiting couple families now account for 17% of families in the UK. ...

Have you protected yourself from future claims from your spouse?

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It shocked me to read recently that HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service) data from 2014 shows that in that year, only 26.4% of divorce cases started had a financial remedy order made. Married couples have claims against one another...

Protect your family wealth

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In the past few years, prenuptial agreements have become increasingly popular in the UK. The growth of second, third (not to mention fourth and fifth) marriages and the rising age of those who marry, means that couples are entering into marriage with, quite...

Parental alienation 'I was manipulated by my father'

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It is heart breaking to hear the story of “Emma” (14) in the media today and her experience of parental alienation by her father. Sadly, her experience is likely to be shared by many children in the UK, where parents simply cannot put...

Should opposite sex couples have the right to become Civil Partners?

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This is the question with which the Court of Appeal will grapple later this week. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan wish to enter into a Civil Partnership as they believe “It’s a modern social contract that doesn’t have the...