Category: News and Events

According to a survey by Canada Life 51% of UK adults have not written a will and are not in the process of writing one, with 13% having no intention to write a will in the future.

If you are cohabiting, divorcing, or contemplating divorce you should make a will or, if you already have a will, you should update it. Otherwise, your estate may end up in unintended hands.

With so many people living together and not getting married, the importance of making and keeping wills up to date has become increasingly more important. For example, if you cohabit and die without making a will then, instead of your estate (and even your share of any house you have bought together), ending up with your partner as you might have intended, it could pass to some relative under the rules of intestacy, leaving a former long-term partner having to find a new home!

And, even if you have a will, when you get married or enter a civil partnership, an existing will automatically becomes revoked. Therefore, if an individual does not subsequently make another will before they die, their estate could be treated as if they don’t have a will and again that the ‘rules of intestacy’ will apply.

As before, these rules may not reflect their wishes and could mean that their loved ones aren’t provided for in the way they would like.

If you marry or have a civil partnership and then divorce or are contemplating divorce, making a new will means that your estate will be dealt with in the way that you want, including that your children and that any new spouse or partner will be provided for. A new will can help prevent potential claims against your estate under the Inheritance Act or by an ex-spouse who might make a financial claim.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If the above resonates or you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

The 2022 figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal there were 80,057 divorces in England and Wales down almost 30% from the 113,505 divorces in 2021. That is the lowest level of divorces since 1971.

We will have to wait for the 2023 figures to see if there is indeed a downward trend, but does this really mean that more marriages are succeeding? We suggest some of the reasons for the low figures: – The state of the economy has forced couples to stay together. More people are cohabiting, so there are less marriages and hence less divorces. The continued cultural shift towards more communication and therapy. Couples are now more likely to seek help and work through issues rather than immediately resorting to divorce. The new ‘no fault divorce’ law introduced in April 2022. We explain below why ‘no fault divorce’ may have skewed the 2022 figures.

The attraction of the new procedure is that it is no longer necessary to blame the other party for causing the divorce.

Accordingly, many of the people who were considering divorce in the back end of 2021, decided to wait until April 2022 when the law changed.

That was all very well but the new divorce procedure required a ‘cooling off’ period of some 20 weeks between the start of the divorce and the grant of the conditional order (previously known as the decree nisi), and then another 6 weeks before the final order (previously the decree absolute).

So, those applying for divorce in April 2022 may well have had to wait until 2023 before they were divorced thereby deflating the 2022 figures.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes.

We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions, lower the temperature and stop people wasting their money.

If you know of someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please tell them to contact me. We do not charge for an initial consultation.

With more people than ever getting married later in life (some for the second or third time), there are often situations where existing assets need to be protected from the possibility of a future divorce – particularly where there is ‘inequality’ in the parties’ respective financial positions.

For example, a divorcee ‘bringing assets or money from their previous divorce settlement into a new marriage; a person who before marrying has managed to buy a property of their own (with or without help from family); or someone who has inherited or due to inherit a significant amount of money.

With some 42% of marriages ending in divorce the question is ‘is it fair for a divorcee to claim a share of assets or money that were built up by their husband or wife before they got together’?

The answer is that in law they may be entitled to share in pre-acquired assets so, to protect those assets, one answer is for the parties to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement will set out the financial arrangements that will apply in the event of the parties divorcing.

As long as certain requirements are met, the divorce courts now take such agreements into account. The overriding requirement is the agreement must be fair. Also; there must be full disclosure by the parties of their world-wide assets and liabilities; each party must have obtained their own independent legal advice; and the agreement must be entered into a reasonable time before the marriage (to avoid the pressure of being asked to sign the day before the marriage takes place).

A prenuptial agreement can be simple or complicated. For example, it would be reasonable to assume that the settlement in a childless marriage of less than 5 years would be less than that for a 10 year marriage with 2 children, or even a 20 year marriage. Accordingly, prenuptial agreements can be long and with complicated provision for differing scenarios.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions, lower the temperature and stop people wasting their money.

If you know of someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please tell them to contact me. We do not charge for an initial consultation.

Over the last 15 years or so, the divorce process has changed enormously. Here are some of the key steps that can now be taken to save money on legal fees:

1. Since April 2022 and the introduction of ‘no fault divorce’, applying for divorce can be made online at the government website. The process is straightforward, and it is no longer necessary to pay a solicitor to do this.

2. The parties can also save money on legal fees by agreeing the financial settlement and children arrangements between themselves.

3. If the parties can’t agree between themselves, then the next best way to resolve matters is often through mediation. In this case a third party, a ‘mediator’ helps the parties reach agreement.

4. There are lots of mediators to choose from and the choice of mediator is very important. The parties should check the mediator’s credentials and experience. Before committing to them, the parties should individually have a conversation with the mediator to help judge that they feel comfortable with the mediator and that there is a ‘fit’.

5. To finalise and make any agreement binding (whether reached directly between the parties or in mediation), a court order is required. This is normally a rubber-stamping exercise dealt with remotely. Attendance at court is not necessary.

6. If the parties can’t reach agreement themselves or by mediation, then it is possible to save money by both parties instructing the same solicitor.

This is a recently introduced process called ‘one solicitor two clients’.

7. To help the parties understand the legal position, it is also possible for them to consult the same barrister. The barrister will evaluate the situation and express a view as to the likely outcome if their case were to be determined by a court. This is called a ‘neutral evaluation’.

8. If a party is going to end up in court, then they can save money by dispensing with a solicitor and just having a barrister. Not all cases or clients are suitable for this process, but it is worth considering. This is called ‘direct access’.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions, lower the temperature and stop people wasting their money.

If you know of someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please tell them to contact me. We do not charge for an initial consultation.

When international clients are involved, and there is a choice of where proceedings can be issued, the choice of jurisdiction can be all important.

The reason for this is that, in many countries, women are not awarded as much as they are by the English courts. Therefore, it is not uncommon for international men to seek to issue proceedings abroad and for international women to want to issue proceedings in England before their husband issue proceedings abroad.

Whilst there may be a dispute over who issued proceedings first or whether the issuing party qualifies to issue the proceedings in another country, the general rule is that, where the proceedings are commenced first, will normally be the jurisdiction that will apply, and the English courts will not then interfere.

Even where one party has contributed financially and the other domestically, England and Wales are two of the few countries that view marriage as a partnership.

For a long marriage our courts divide marital assets equally between the breadwinner and the housewife/househusband. This is often of particular significance to high, and ultra-high-net-worth families.

English courts also tend to scrutinise the parties’ financial resources more than most, and even indirect assets can be examined through trust and company structures. Our courts are known for being corruption-free and fair, even when powerful people are involved.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

Neutral Evaluation is a little-known process that can save both parties spending fortunes appointing their own lawyers to fight on their behalf.

Unlike mediation, the way a Neutral Evaluation works is that a single lawyer, normally an experienced barrister, will be provided with a brief prepared by or on behalf of both parties detailing the background, including their financial situation and other relevant facts. In response, the Neutral Evaluator will provide a reasoned opinion as to the likely outcome if the case was to be determined by a court.

The parties are not bound by the Neutral Evaluation and can still negotiate their own settlement with or without involving lawyers.

However, having been given the guidelines of how a court would view their case, the parties would be foolish to then ignore that advice and embark on their own expensive litigious jaunt.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

Although a radicle change in the law ‘no fault divorce’ seems to have slipped under most people’s radar.

No fault divorce means that the applicant is no longer required to allege bad behaviour or adultery against the other party. Now, there is only one ground for divorce – namely that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Either party can apply, or they can apply jointly, it doesn’t make a difference.

Applications for divorce online should be made at the government website https://www.gov.uk/divorce/file- for-divorce and not through one of the many agencies that charge for the service.

The online form is straightforward so there is no need to waste money on lawyers. A court fee of £595 is payable and it is necessary to upload a copy of the marriage certificate. Also, the terms ‘decree nisi’ and ‘decree absolute’ have been replaced with more modern language ‘conditional order’ and ‘final order’.

However, it should be noted that whilst applying for divorce is straightforward, resolving the finances and any issues regarding children remain as difficult as ever.

It is therefore so easy for the unwary to waste money when they involve lawyers with those aspects. That is why people consult us.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

Clients often say that they want to be reasonable in reaching a settlement and don’t want to end up in court and waste money on lawyers. They ask, ‘What is the best way to divorce?’

Obviously, the best way, is if the parties can reach agreement ‘across the kitchen table’, but not many people are able to do that.

If the ‘kitchen table’ route doesn’t work then, in our view, the next best way is mediation (where the parties appoint a third party, a mediator, to help them reach a settlement.

However, other divorce processes are also available but so often people are unaware of or not informed that there are alternatives.

We mention three of those alternative processes here but please note that there are others

  1.  Collaborative Law (involving round table meetings to agree matters or at least narrow the issues in dispute), or
  2.  An Early Neutral Evaluation (a barrister advising both parties on how the matter is likely be settled if it came to court, thereby enabling the parties to take a view on the outcome and avoid having a lengthy and costly dispute in finding that out), or
  3.  Direct Access (where, as mentioned in our June bulletin, you avoid the duplication and expense of having both a solicitor and a barrister and just have a barrister to advise and represent you).

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze, consider the alternative processes, and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to look at the options and find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If the above resonates or you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

Earlier this year (see our April bulletin), we drew attention to some
really excellent resources that are freely available to people who don’t know where to turn when faced with divorce.

In this month’s newsletter, we would like to highlight that most people’s notion of domestic abuse is that there has been some physical abuse. However, since October 2021, economic abuse has been included in the definition of abuse in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Economic abuse occurs when one partner has control over the other
partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the
victim’s capacity to support themselves and forces them to depend on the perpetrator financially.

It also includes the control of someone’s present or future earning
potential by preventing them from obtaining a job or education. In either of the above cases, often people are not aware of their rights.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If the above resonates or you know someone who may benefit from speaking to us, please do contact me. We don’t charge for an initial consultation.

In our opinion the best way to divorce is for the divorcing couple to agree everything ‘across the kitchen table’.

But we appreciate that not many people are able to do that and, although mediation is often then next best alternative, it doesn’t
work for everyone.

The normal route of instructing both a solicitor and a barrister is hugely expensive so what’s left?

One option, and there are others, is where a little-known process called ‘Direct Access’ is available: With Direct Access, instead of involving both a solicitor and a barrister, you only have a barrister.

This is revolutionising the way individuals navigate their legal matters with efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

By eliminating the duplication of having both a solicitor and a
barrister, and with barrister’s charges generally being cheaper than solicitors, Direct Access offers significant cost savings, ensuring that financial resources can be allocated where they are most needed, such as supporting children or rebuilding lives post-divorce.

At Divorce Solutions, we look at all the alternative ways of dealing with disputes and, wherever possible favour the barrister only, Direct Access, route.

We have found that the direct engagement with barristers promotes transparency and empowers individuals to actively participate in their own legal strategy, fostering a sense of control and confidence throughout the divorce journey.

We are a team of 5 experienced lawyers but, what makes us different to a firm of solicitors, is that we are acting as divorce consultants. We help people navigate the legal maze and stop them making expensive mistakes. We use our experience of the divorce process to find solutions to lower the temperature and save money.

If your marriage isn’t working.
What should you do?

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If you are separating or divorcing
How we can help

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If you are ready to proceed
What happens now?

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