New Leaf News

23

June
What happens to the children if we split up and we’re not married?

If you separate from your partner and are not married but do have children, it’s important to gain a detailed and accurate understanding of what your rights are as soon as possible.

Do you have parental responsibility?

In England and Wales, fathers have parental responsibility for their children if their name is on the birth certificate and the birth was registered after December 1st 2003. You will also have responsibility if there was no father listed before this date but you were added later, or if you have signed a Parental Responsibility Agreement. You may also be given a parental responsibility order by a court, or a Residence Order that says that the child can live with you. You will gain it if you go on to marry the mother, but you won’t automatically be given it if their mother dies and you are not married. If a civil partnership ends,. Continue reading

12

June
Can I Get Divorced from a Civil Partnership?

A divorce for civil partners is called a dissolution. For the process to be successful, there has to be no hope of reconciliation so if you believe this to be the case, please get in touch. You may be able to cut the cost of a dissolution by opting for a fixed fee service – this may be right for you if you don’t think there will be any objections from your former partner.

Fixed Fee Dissolution as the Petitioner

Are you the petitioner? Is your partner likely to consent to the dissolution and its content? If so, you may wish to opt for the Fixed Fee Dissolution as the Petitioner service. If you think your partner may object to the dissolution, this doesn’t mean we cannot help you – simply get in touch so we can talk to you about what to do next. We can complete all the Court paperwork. Continue reading

10

April
If your partner leaves you and stops paying the bills, what can you do?

Break-ups can be expensive, whether you’re married or cohabiting. If you’re unmarried and your partner has left home and stopped paying bills they have contributed to creating, chances are you’re in a state of panic and are wondering what to do next. One of the most important things to do in this situation is to find out exactly where you stand legally and see if there is anything you can do to resolve the problem. It’s always best to challenge any financial issues stemming from the end of a relationship immediately rather than waiting for your problems to worsen. Prioritise your debts If you don’t currently have the cash you need to pay all your bills, make a list and prioritise your debts. The most important debts usually include rent, mortgages, council tax, gas and electricity as these are the debts where non-payment or late payment could lead to the biggest consequences.. Continue reading

28

March
What is a living together agreement and why do you need one?

In essence, what a prenup is to getting married, a cohabitation or living together agreement is to living together. A living together agreement is as it sounds: a simple agreement that protects assets that were acquired before you began to live together. It also details how you will share any assets and debts acquired whilst living together, and often includes how you will share the costs of cohabiting.

Living together agreements can cover everything from physical property to financial assets, from child support to who gets to keep the cat. It isn't very romantic, but it can save a lot of heartache, not to mention a lot of money paying for a costly court case if it all goes wrong and you're totally unprepared.

What does a standard agreement say?

A standard living together agreement tends to specify the following:

* that pre-living together assets such as the home they share remain the. Continue reading

15

March
8 ways to make co-parenting work after divorce

There is no such thing as a typical divorce, any more than there's any such thing as a typical couple or a typical child, so there is no magical formula for making co-parenting work. There are, however, some general truths to which divorcing parents should adhere to give themselves and their children the best chance of getting through the split unscathed:

Be present for your children. This is the golden rule. Be there physically and be there emotionally. Build a routine around them and devote yourself to being actively engaged with them in the time that you're together. Be honest with your children. Show them that you understand that they're being affected by the divorce, they also need reassuring that they're still loved and won't be abandoned, either physically or emotionally. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. If you can do this together as a family, all the better. Be wary. Continue reading

28

February
What happens when a divorced or separated parent decides to relocate with their child?

If one parent wishes to relocate with their child, it can become particularly difficult for the parent left behind. When it comes to the law surrounding relocation following a divorce, the concept of Parental Responsibility is key.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental Responsibility is 'all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority' which a parent has in relation to their child. When a child is born, the mother is automatically accorded parental responsibility, as is the father if he is married to the mother at that time. In cases where the parents are not married, but the father is registered on the birth certificate and the child was born after December 1 2003, he will also automatically acquire parental responsibility. Otherwise it can only be acquired through agreement with the mother or by a court order.

Put simply, parental responsibility refers to the power of the parents to make decisions on behalf of. Continue reading

15

February
Why you shouldn’t just take divorce advice from family and friends

Although they clearly have your best interests at heart, there are a number of reasons why you shouldn't take the advice of those closest to you when it comes to the matter of your marriage and its break-up. It's important to remember that no two divorces are the same and what may have happened in your best friend's case may not apply to your own circumstances, even if your circumstances seem identical.

Here are the three most important reasons your friends and family might not know what's best for you:

They may not know everything

If you're particularly close to your family and friends, and even if you feel like you tell them everything that's going on, they really don't know everything. The only person who can possibly understand how your divorce feels for you is you. Your soon-to-be ex-partner comes a close second, but your family or friends have a very different. Continue reading

09

February
Client Testimonial

Another lovely testimonial from a recent client

"Service was tailored to individual client need with little/no jargon used.  Friendly, contactable and supportive throughout.  An absolute credit to the law profession.

After 30 years of marriage the word divorce sent shivers down my spine. The sheer worry of what to do and what's to come resulted in sleepless nights until a family member recommended Amanda Weaver at New Leaf Solicitors.  With my lack of knowledge around law Amanda took control of my situation and gave reassurance that there will be "light at the end of the tunnel".  Her communication was fluent and tailored to my level. Amanda has great determination to get the right results for her clients".

Mrs JP.

 

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31

January
‘No Fault’ divorces: should the law recognise that sometimes nobody is to blame?

Currently, in order to divorce one spouse, the Petitioner must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  The breakdown must be as a result of one of the following five reasons;

* adultery

* unreasonable behaviour

* desertion

* two years separation with consent to divorce

* five years separation

The law insists: someone is to blame...

The law as it stands states that if a couple have not been separated for two years then they can only divorce based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This can be incredibly upsetting for a couple that have agreed that they would be better off apart and that this is nobody's fault. In essence, the law insists that someone is to blame, when very often this is simply not the case.

If a couple is insistent that neither party is to blame for the breakdown of their marriage, they must wait for at least two years to start divorce proceedings.. Continue reading

23

January
Why more and more people are saying ‘Facebook ruined my marriage’

 

In the past five years, we have seen a remarkable increase in the number of instances in which Facebook, and other social media sites such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram, have been cited in divorce proceedings.

The fact is that use of social media is now such a large part of many of our lives that when a relationship is in trouble, online activity frequently becomes a bone of contention. One aspect of using social media which causes tension is keeping in contact with ex-partners.

There has also been a raft of recent research commissioned that has revealed some startling statistics. One particular survey of 2,000 married UK residents brought to light the following;

* 15% of those questioned believed that social media posed a danger to their marriage

* around 25% said they argued with their partner at least once a week because of social media use

* for 17%, such arguments were a. Continue reading

09

January
Six Steps to Follow to Ensure a Good Divorce

It's not true that there is no such thing as a good divorce. Although any separation is a cause for some sadness, it's also clear that when the couple in question is on friendly terms and doing everything in their power to base the divorce process on fairness and cooperation, then the experience can be tolerable, or even harmonious.

 1.  Commit at the outset to breaking up amicably. Essentially, any break-up is as amicable as both partners want it to be. Obviously, if the split is something that both partners want equally, then the chances of keeping it civil and cooperative are much, much higher. If one partner wants it less, then keeping everything on good terms becomes much harder. Just remember that you have nothing to gain by making things more difficult than they need be, and if you make things hard for your partner, you're also making them hard. Continue reading

19

December
Is it an urban myth or do divorce proceedings really increase in January?

At the beginning of every year you see the same old stories appearing in the media and declaring unequivocally that January is 'Divorce Month', when more divorces are filed than at any other time of year. But is there actually any truth in it? The short answer, unfortunately, is yes. Research carried out by various law firms has found much evidence to support it.

One found that 1 out of every 5 couples plan to separate following one final Christmas together as a family, whereas all solicitors report a rise in the number of divorce instructions in January compared to the rest of the year's monthly average, often an increase of between 25 and 30%.

What is it about Christmas that spells the end for so many couples?

Many people may be familiar with the strains that Christmas has on your average family. Even if you're the most content family unit and the. Continue reading

06

December
Client Testimonial

Thank you to another client for a lovely testimonial.....

"Thank you for your professional skills and personal manner over the last few months.  You came greatly recommended and I'm very glad I chose you to act on my behalf.  The whole matter was dealt with so efficiently; Your approach was second to none.

I have since recommended to you people who would benefit from your level of service and ability, and will continue to do so".

Mr W

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14

October
Client Testimonial

Amanda was absolutely brilliant and very clear throughout the whole process.  It really made a difference being able to talk and trust your solicitor when going through the divorce process.

Mrs B

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03

October
Client Testimonial

Another positive testimonial

Due to the other side's very slow responses it took nearly a year to get things moving.  During that time Amanda provided regular updates and pushed when it was needed in the end.  The rest of the process was as smooth and painless as could of hoped.  Amanda was considerate and patient and very consistent on updates and advice when needed.

Mr H

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15

July
Client Testimonial

Some kind words from a client:

Amanda, you were always so kind and I liked the fact that, even though you are very professional I found you easy to talk with and that you had a sense of humour.

Mrs H

 

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08

June
Client Testimonial

I found Amanda very easy to deal with throughout my divorce process.  She responded quickly to my requests and understood what I wanted.  She dealt with any correspondence from the other party efficiently and took my views into account wherever possible.  Very happy to recommend her.

IanM

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03

June
Client Testimonial

Another kind testimonial today;

I would like to thank you for the work you have performed on our behalf over the YEARS , all with a sense of humour, which was really needed at times, but with the necessary professionalism required in what is in reality a serious matter.  It was a real pleasure working with you despite the arduous nature of the "journey".  Many thanks.

Mr PW

 

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03

June
Client Testimonial

Very happy with all aspects of the service!  Would recommend New Leaf to anyone!  Thanks again Amanda for all your help.

Mr PG

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11

May
The First Meeting With Your Solicitor

You have decided that you need some legal advice as there are problems with your spouse or your partner. Here are some helpful hints to help you in making the best out of your first information gathering meeting.

1. Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Someone may have been recommended to you or you can search the Law Society's website under their Find a Solicitor page and this will detail the solicitor's years of experience, which areas they specialise in and whether they are accredited specialists such as being a member of the Family Law Accreditation Scheme.  Our Amanda Weaver is a member of the Family Law Accreditation Scheme.  You can also search the Resolution website which is an organisation of family lawyers.  http://www.resolution.org.uk/

2. Booking the appointment.   Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor.  There's little point booking an. Continue reading

07

April
Client Testimonial

Amanda Weaver the principal solicitor has a vast and in depth understanding of family law.  New Leaf Solicitors offer tremendous guidance in family law case proceedings.  In my experience they are therefore able to offer clients superb advice, guidance and direction in order to find resolutions in family disputes that may lead to court proceedings.

New Leaf Solicitors always worked quickly, efficiently and promptly on the case.  The advice and direction given and the work undertaken on my case was always of the highest standard.

I am very grateful to New Leaf Solicitors for the work they undertook over a long period of time to help to bring about a resolution concerning my family law dispute which ended in court proceedings.

Mr A

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16

March
Client Testimonial

Amanda Weaver was the most kindest person and very caring with my case.  She helped me out with my case all the way.  She was always there for me by phone or in person and I would recommend Amanda to anyone.

Mrs TH

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15

February
Client Testimonial

I wanted to say thank you for the professional way that you dealt with my recent divorce.  You were very helpful and supportive during a difficult time.

The divorce took just over 6 months from start to finish and you kept me up to date with every step of the way.  You gave me a quote and came in on budget which was very much appreciated.

I have recommended you already and will have no hesitation in doing so again.

Mrs M

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11

February
Client Testimonial

Amanda handled the details for my Divorce with such care and in such a professional manner that it made the whole process extremely easy.  She brought to my attention details that I had not yet considered and took my instruction with the utmost respect.  She kept me informed of every step and I felt completely comfortable leaving the whole process in her capable hands.

Thank you Amanda!

Mrs SC

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11

January
Client Testimonial

Amanda was great at explaining everything that was going on and taking me through the process in a step by step way. My divorce was handled in a thorough, timely and thoughtful way and I would thoroughly recommend New Leaf Solicitors

- Christian, Kingston upon Thames

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04

December
Client Testimonial

Another lovely testimonial received today

"Amanda was extremely helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.  I couldn't recommend her enough.  Made a very difficult time a lot easier knowing it was dealt with by someone very good at her job".

Mr NB

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17

June
Divorce is Not Bad for Your Health

There was an interesting article today about a study which reported that people who have been through a divorce are as healthy as couples in stable marriages.

The study by researchers from the University College London institute of education, London School of Economics and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine revealed that separation and divorce and remarriage might not be as bad for your health as previously thought.

Lead author Dr George Ploubidis, a population health scientist at the institute of education, admits he was surprised by the results. Previous studies have shown that relationship breakdowns can have a negative impact on health.  He said: “I think the results we found are very interesting. We expected that when you have a lot of transitions in life, you have worse health but actually transitions such as separation and divorce do not have a long-term effect.”

Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate said: “This. Continue reading

10

April
Recruiting Consultant Solicitor

We are looking to recruit an experienced family law solicitor on a fee sharing basis. Ideally you will have at least 10 years post qualification experience and be a member of Resolution or have accredited status through Resolution or the Law Society.

This is a great opportunity to be your own boss but have the support of a firm behind you to help with accounts and compliance. You can work here the hours that suit you and work from home.

If interested please send your cv and covering letter to Amanda Weaver at amandaweaver@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

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02

March
Client Testimonial

Another positive testimonial received from my client today

"Thank you so much Amanda for making a very difficult and emotional situation run so smoothly"

Mrs R. N.

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19

February
Pet Pre-Nups

I read an interesting and unusual article this week from the Law Society recommending couples who have pets to have a pet-nup, ie a pre-nup for their pet.

The leading pet charity Blue Cross conducted some research and found that over one in four divorces include a dispute over pets.  Dogs and cats are the most fought over pets followed by horses, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Law Society President Andrew Caplen said:

'Solicitors are usually the first port of call for people who are divorcing so perhaps we are a little on the cynical side – but we see the problems caused when relationships break down acrimoniously and it's usually costly, stressful and emotionally draining for both parties.

'Pets are part of the family so it makes sense to think about their welfare.'

Alyson Jones, rehoming development manager at Blue Cross, where many pets are rehomed following relationship breakdown, said:

'At our rehoming centres. Continue reading

06

February
Client Testimonial

A testimonial received from a client today;

“I found Amanda to be very approachable, she put things into layman’s terms so as to simplify the legal jargon.  Thank you for your help in settling my divorce.”  Mr Timms

 

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07

January
A Guide to the First Meeting With Your Solicitor

You have decided that you need some legal advice as there are problems with your spouse or your partner. Here are some helpful hints to help you in making the best out of your first information gathering meeting.

1. Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Someone may have been recommended to you or you can search the Law Society's website under their Find a Solicitor page and this will detail the solicitor's years of experience, which areas they specialise in and whether they are accredited specialists such as being a member of the Family Law Accreditation Scheme.  Our Amanda Weaver is a member of the Family Law Accreditation Scheme.  You can also search the Resolution website which is an organisation of family lawyers.  http://www.resolution.org.uk/

2. Booking the appointment.   Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor.  There's little point booking an. Continue reading

18

December
Client Testimonial

Another happy client;

"I was very pleased with the service Amanda provided me. I found her open, honest and very approachable.  She made the difficult experience of divorce matters that bit easier to go through.  I would highly recommend her to anyone"

Mrs M

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26

November
Fixed Fees for Divorce

It is Family Dispute Resolution week during 24 to 28 November and Resolution is promoting the benefit of fixed fees. Many of you may also know that legal aid is no longer available in divorce cases.  There are some exceptions such as there having been domestic violence but in the main those who would have previously been able to claim legal aid or Legal Help as it was called will no longer be able to do so.

For those people who are on a tight budget they face two options, they either act for themselves or they pay a solicitor to act for them.

The divorce process can be a minefield and you should always get legal advice on what your options are and what is best for you. The divorce petition may look like a simple document but one mistake could be a very costly one.  You may not be saving yourself money. Continue reading

24

November
A Better Way to Divorce

A better way to divorce

Divorce is devastating. But it doesn't have to be. There is a better way for you, your family and your children, which family law organisation Resolution is highlighting as part of Family Dispute Resolution Week 24-28 November. www.resolution.org.uk

Please contact Amanda Weaver who is a member of Resolution for advice on any aspect of divorce or family law.

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07

October
Industrial Scale Fraud in Divorce Proceedings

I read an interesting and unusual article this week about 180 divorce petitions being dismissed in what has been called 'industrial scale' fraud.

It was only after an eagle eyed member of court staff noticed that two divorce petitions involving Italian parties gave the same address as their place of residence.  After a bit of detective work it transpired that this address was just a post office box and no one could actually reside there and yet 180 divorce petitions across the country had gave this address as their place of residence in England and thus they claimed habitual residence in this country enabling them to divorce here rather than in Italy. All the divorces were orchestrated by one person who charged quite hefty fees to deal with the proceedings.

It seems that the motive in claiming habitual residence in this country rather than divorce in Italy is because the divorce process is. Continue reading

09

September
How to Divorce in Style

I read an interesting article this week which featured how to get divorced whilst staying in a luxury spa or having a divorce party complete with a coffin cake or having a make over.  At New Leaf Solicitors we can't (unfortunately) offer you spa treatments or a cake but we can provide you with clear legal advice at a time that suits you and your budget so that you can save some pennies for a party or make over once the divorce process is over.  If you just want some initial advice come in for a meeting and we can discuss your options.

Full article -  www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/11077358/How-to-get-divorced-in-style.html

 

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25

July
Client Testimonial

"I chose New Leaf Solicitors primarily because they are a local company located in an easily accessible location with good free parking.  Their offices are located in a converted Victorian school which provides a good setting for meetings.

In the past I had dealt with large 'corporate' solicitors who can be impersonal, New Leaf Solicitors are the opposite and make you feel like a person, Amanda is very pleasant to deal with and explained the 'legal jargon' in a way that I could easily understand.   She is also very easy to contact via phone and email and kept me regularly updated on progress of the case.

I received a cost estimate after our initial meeting and was regularly updated with invoices as the case progressed to its conclusion.

I would definitely recommend New Leaf Solicitors".

M. Crozier.

Another lovely client testimonial.

 

 

 

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16

July
Representing Yourself in Court

More than half (58%) of all parents who attended Court in 2013/2014 represented themselves in the proceedings, ie they did not have a solicitor to represent them, according to a Freedom of Information request of the Court service.

The increase of parents representing themselves is due to the fact that legal aid is no longer available in most family law cases.  Over half of the litigants were mothers who represented themselves.

Family law is sophisticated in that one size does not fit all.  If you are experiencing problems regarding the contact or living arrangements for your children you should get some legal advice with a view to an agreement being reached without the need for court intervention. If Court proceedings are necessary then we can advise you on the process and help you prepare your case.  If you are on a tight budget and do not have the funds for representation in. Continue reading

04

July
Facebook and Marriage – A Happy Union?

I read an interesting article this week about a study conducted by Boston University on the link between those who use social media and in particular Facebook are more likely to leave their spouse.

This article had some resonance with me as I hear the word 'Facebook' mentioned quite often by clients when discussing potential options for a divorce.  I have learned that so many Facebook users have open profiles and so their comments and photos are available to anyone and they are not cautious about what they type.  Clients have discovered their spouses have cheated on them by doing a bit of detective work on Facebook and finding photos of nights out they didn't know about or comments by another which confirms their suspicions.

Some clients are unhappy because former partners or new partners are making derogatory comments about them which they can view as they still have permission to access. Continue reading

05

June
First Meeting With Your Solicitor – Helpful Hints

You have decided that you need some legal advice as there are problems with your spouse or your partner. Here are some helpful hints to help you in making the best out of your first information gathering meeting.

1. Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Someone may have been recommended to you or you can search the Law Society's website http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk under their Find a Solicitor page and this will detail the solicitor's years of experience, which areas they specialise in and whether they are accredited specialists such as being a member of the Family Law Panel.  Our Amanda Weaver is an accredited specialist in family law.  You can also search the Resolution website which is an organisation of family lawyers.  http://www.resolution.org.uk/

2. Booking the appointment.   Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor.  There's little point booking an appointment when you have. Continue reading

01

May
Client Testimonial

Another great testimonial;

Amanda was efficient and gave very good advice.  She dealt with my straight forward case well and was not pressurising but helped me to reach decisions in a sensible way.  Really impressed and would certainly recommend her.

Mrs JP

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28

February
Matrimonial Needs, Property and Agreements – A New Approach

Law Commission’s Report on Matrimonial Needs, Property and Agreements

The much awaited Report has now been published and it includes a set of measures to make it easier for couples to manage their financial arrangements on divorce or at the end of a civil partnership.  The measures are

Guidance to help couples assess and agree financial needs, An assessment of the feasibility using formulae to help agree financial settlements and ‘Qualifying nuptial agreements’  to allow couples to decide how their assets should be shared if they separate.

The Report identified that there are regional differences to how the Courts approach orders for financial needs and this makes the outcome unpredictable.

The Law Commission recommends that there should be an authoritative guidance on financial needs which would enable couples to reach an agreement that recognises their financial obligations to each other.

The Law Commission also recommends that there should be a study into whether a workable non statutory. Continue reading

06

February
Divorce Rate Increased in 2012

According to the Office for National Statistics the number of divorces in England and Wales in 2012 was 118,140, an increase of 0.5% since 2011, when there were 117,558 divorces.

According to the report, the number of divorces declined between 2003 and 2009 from 153,065 to 113,949 followed by a 4.9% increase in 2010. The number of divorces has remained relatively stable since 2010, fluctuating just below the number recorded in 2010.

Further key findings include:

Divorce rates: In 2012, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married population, a decrease of 19% compared with 13.3 in 2002. Age at divorce: The number of divorces in 2012 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44. Duration of marriage: The median duration of marriage for divorces granted in 2012 was 11.5 years, which was the same as in 2011. This is an increase from 11.1 years in 2002. Marital status before marriage: In 2012, 19% of men. Continue reading

30

January
Millionaire Asks Ex Wife to be Housekeeper

A woman who married her wealthy husband in the 1970s and divorced him in the 1990s has been awarded £6 million, nearly half of his £13.6 million fortune.  Even after they divorced they carried on living together but he started a relationship with another woman five years ago and she and her 12 year old daughter moved into the former matrimonial home.

In the Family Division of the High Court, Mr Justice Bodey said that the couple had treated the divorce as ‘just a piece of paper' and carried on living together as if there was ‘no distinction' between their life before and after the divorce.

However, he asked that his ex-wife stay in the home ‘as some sort of housekeeper' which the former wife, in her 50's, found ‘very demeaning and upsetting.' The husband also threatened to commit suicide or go on hunger strike if the former wife took him to court. Continue reading

17

January
Family Law Q & A Session – Thursday 23rd January 12-2

Back by popular demand!  If you have any questions on a family law issue you can tweet @NewLeafSols on Thursday 23rd January between 12-2pm where I will be available to answer any questions.  You can send me a direct message if you prefer to keep your question private and I will reply directly to you.

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17

December
Same Sex Marriages from 29th March 2014

Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller has announced that the first same sex weddings in England and Wales will be able to take place from Saturday 29 March 2014.

Following the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 successfully completing its journey through Parliament in July 2013, the first same sex weddings can now happen several months earlier than anticipated, subject to Parliament's approval of various statutory instruments, to be laid in the new year.

Maria Miller said:

"Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.

"This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by. Continue reading

01

November
Common Law Marriage Myth

A survey of Members of Parliament has revealed that 69% agree there is a mistaken belief in the existence of ‘common law marriage’ and that 57% believe the law needs to be changed to provide greater protection for unmarried couples upon separation.

The survey was commissioned by Resolution and it reveals that cohabitation is the fastest growing family type in the UK, yet there is little or no protection for couples should they separate. In 2012, there were 5.9m people cohabiting in the UK, double the 1996 figure.  Responding to the survey's findings, Steve Kirwan, who leads Resolution's work on cohabitation, said:

"This poll of MPs confirms the findings of a public survey in 2008, in which 51% of respondents believed, incorrectly, that cohabitants had the same rights as married couples"

For advice on Living Together Agreements or your potential claims upon separation from your partner please contact Amanda Weaver by email or telephone.

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15

October
Civil Partnership Dissolutions Rise in 2012
According to the Office for National Statistics the provisional number of civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2012 was 794, an increase of 20% since 2011.

The average age of men forming a civil partnership in the UK in 2012 was 40 years, while for women the average age was 37.6 years. These figures represent a small decrease in average ages in comparison to 2011.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that same-sex female couples are more likely to dissolve civil partnerships than men.  This is borne out in divorce proceedings, with more women than men filing for divorce.

For advice on dissolution or divorce proceedings please contact Amanda Weaver on amandaweaver@newleafsolicitors.co.uk or 01788 555042.

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05

September
Women Happier After Their Divorce Concludes Research Study

Research undertaken by Kingston University in London has found that women become much more happy and satisfied with their lives after their divorce.

The study published in the journal Economica showed that women are significantly more content than usual for up to five years following their divorce, even more so than their own average level of happiness throughout their lives.

The study surveyed 10 000 people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 60. The participants were asked to rate their happiness after major milestones in their lives.  Men also felt happier after their divorce but the increase was not so marked.

The Director of the study Professor Yannis Georgellis commented "One possible explanation could be that women who enter into an unhappy marriage feel much more liberated after divorce than their male counterparts".

For advice on divorce or separation please contact Amanda Weaver on 01788 555042 or amandaweaver@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

 

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30

August
Family Law Q & A Session on Twitter – Thursday 5th September 2013 12-2pm

Back by popular demand!  If you have any questions on a family law issue you can tweet @NewLeafSols on Thursday 5th September 2013 between 12-2pm where I will be available to answer any questions.  You can send me a direct message if you prefer to keep your question private and I will reply directly to you.

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02

August
New Child Maintenance Service

I read an interesting article today from Family Law Week that I thought I would share with you.  The full article can be found at http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed115455

An extract of the article "The new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has opened to new applicants with two or more children.  The government is investing up to £20m into support services for separated families, after over half of those surveyed in the CSA said they could come to their own arrangements with the right help and support. The CMS is designed to target the most difficult cases. It will be able to use new enforcement fines to encourage parents to pay what they owe".

If you are having problems regarding child maintenance payments or contact with your children please contact Amanda Weaver on 01788 555042 or amandaweaver@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

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30

July
Your First Meeting with a Solicitor – Top Tips

You have decided that you need some legal advice as there are problems with your spouse or your partner. Here are some top tips to help you in making the best out of your first information gathering meeting.

1. Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Someone may have been recommended to you or you can search the Law Society's website http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor/view=solsearch.law  under their Find a Solicitor page and this will detail the solicitor's years of experience, which areas they specialise in and whether they are accredited specialists such as being a member of the Family Law Panel.   You can also search the Resolution website which is an organisation of family lawyers.  http://www.resolution.org.uk/

2. Booking the appointment.   Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor.  There's little point booking an appointment when you have to dash off after 20 minutes to pick the. Continue reading

24

July
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Receives Royal Assent

On the 17th July 2013 The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received royal assent and this means it has now become law.  It is predicted that the first same sex marriage will take place in summer 2014.

This legislation will introduce civil marriage for same sex couples, and enable religious organisations to opt in to conduct same sex marriages if they wish to do so.

The Act will also enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and would enable married transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender without having to end their marriage. However this will follow later than summer 2014 as it will take government departments longer to implement all the necessary processes.

 

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01

July
Increase in Divorce Rates for ‘Silver Splitters’

The rate of separations between couples in their 50s and 60s the so called 'silver splitters' has increased, according to a report by the charity Relate.

The Report, Will you still love me when I'm 64?  shows that people born post war between 1946 and 1964 will be the first generation where the norm will be living alone.  The number of over 60's getting divorced is increasing each year; 15275 in 2011, 13554 in 2010.

Relate's Chief Executive Ruth Sutherland said "Retiring is a good time to think about your relationship, is it ready for the changes that later life can bring?  People often don't seek help until things are going badly wrong in their relationship and we're encouraging people to invest early to get the most out of their old age.  This report shows us that there are three pillars to a good later life, health, financial security and good personal relationships, yet relationships are largely missing. Continue reading

12

June
Company Held Assets – Supreme Court Decision

In October last year I posted an article regarding the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others v Prest and Others [2012] EWCA Civ 1395 that held that properties owned by a company of which the husband owned did not 'belong' to him and therefore his wife had no claim against them in their divorce proceedings.

The wife appealed to the Supreme Court and their judgment has been delivered today.  The question of the appeal is whether the Court has power to order the transfer of these properties to the wife given that they legally belong not to the husband but to his companies.  The Court held that the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 confers a distinct power to disregard the corporate veil in matrimonial cases.  The properties were held by the husband's companies on a resulting trust for the husband and were accordingly "property to which. Continue reading

07

June
Q & A Session on Twitter – Thursday 13th June 12-2pm

If you have any questions on a family law issue you can tweet @NewLeafSols on Thursday 13th June 2013 between 12-2pm where I will be available to answer any questions.  You can send me a direct message if you prefer to keep your question private and I will reply directly to you.

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15

May
Q & A Session on Twitter – Thursday 23 May 12-2

If you have any questions on a family law issue you can tweet @NewLeafSols on Thursday 23rd May 2013 between 12-2 where I will be available to answer any questions.  You can send me a direct message if you prefer to keep your question private and I will reply directly to you.

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26

April
An Initial Meeting – The Best Way to Get Some Advice

If you are thinking about divorce or separation an initial meeting to discuss your options can really help put your mind at ease.  You should know what options are available to you and what your potential claims regarding money will be so that when you and your partner or spouse discuss ending the relationship you will know what you are entitled to and how best to proceed.

We can see you outside of office hours, if you wish as we understand that you may not be able or want to take time off work during the day.  If you want an appointment at the weekend we can book you in.

We also have Skype so you can have a face to face meeting without the need to travel to our office.

Our office is in Rugby and we are ideally situated for clients who live in Daventry or Coventry or in the surrounding villages.

An. Continue reading

17

April
Q & A session on family law issues – 18th April 2013

If you have any questions on a family law issue you can tweet @NewLeafSols on Thursday 18th April 2013 between 12-2 where I will be available to answer any questions.  You can send me a direct message if you prefer to keep your question private and I will reply directly to you.

 

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21

March
Budget Friendly Fixed Fee Divorce

From 1 April 2013 legal aid will no longer be available in divorce cases.  There are some exceptions such as there having been domestic violence but in the main those who would have previously been able to claim legal aid or Legal Help as it was called will no longer be able to do so.

For those people who are on a tight budget they face two options, they either act for themselves or they pay a solicitor to act for them.

The divorce process can be a minefield and you should always get legal advice on what your options are and what is best for you. The divorce petition may look like a simple document but one mistake could be a very costly one.  You may not be saving yourself money in the long run if you don't seek advice at the outset.

We offer a budget friendly fixed fee service for a. Continue reading

25

January
Cohabitation – The Risks and How to Avoid Them.

More and more couples are choosing to live together rather than getting married. The problem though is upon separation cohabiting unmarried couples do not have the same claims against each other as married couples do. For some this may be the appeal as they do not want their partner to have any claims against their assets should the relationship fail but for others they may THINK they have similar claims to married couples when they don't.

If you own your home in your sole name and your partner moves in with you it would be sensible to have a Living Together Agreement drawn up and this puts the financial arrangements on a more formal footing.  The Agreement will set out who is responsible for paying the mortgage and household bills and sets out what happens to the property in the event of a separation - does the non legal owner have a share in. Continue reading

20

December
A Simple Guide to Divorce Proceedings

A divorce is the process of dissolving a marriage.   A dissolution is dissolving a civil partnership (same sex marriage).

The person starting the divorce is called the Petitioner and the spouse or partner is referred to as the Respondent.

The Petitioner must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, ie there is no hope of reconciliation.  The Petitioner must show the irretrievable breakdown by one of five ways.  They are

 The Respondent has committed adultery and you cannot tolerate to live with him. (This option is not avaibable to civil partners seeking a dissolution) The Respondent's behaviour is so unreasonable you cannot be reasonably expected to live with him. The Respondent has deserted you. You have lived apart for 2 years and the Respondent consents to the divorce You have lived apart for 5 years.

The Petitioner or we as your solicitor will complete the divorce petition setting out the reason for the divorce.  If there are children of the family a Statement. Continue reading

06

December
Pre Nups – Are They Legally Binding?

There is a long standing principle that pre nuptial agreements are not binding in England & Wales.  However there has been a shift in the Courts attitude to pre nuptial agreements and in the case of  Radmacher v Granatino one Judge commented "the old rule that agreements providing for future separation are contrary to public policy is obsolete and should be swept away".

In the judgment for this case the Judges commented on what factors would give greater weight to a pre nuptial agreement.  They are;

Has it been freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications? There is no rule that full disclosure of financial information has taken place, nor that both parties received legal advice, but is there a material lack of disclosure, information or advice? Duress, fraud or misrepresentation will negate the terms of the agreement.  Factors such as whether one party has exploited their dominant position. Continue reading

12

November
Children’s Residence – Is Shared Parenting the Way Forward

Edward Timpson the Children's Minister has announced the Government's response to a consultation on amending the Children Act 1989 to a presumption of 'shared parenting'.

The consultation invited views on the Government's plans to introduce legislation that sent 'a clear signal' on the importance of shared parenting and the options for strengthening the enforcement measures available to the courts in dealing with breaches of Court Orders concerning children.

One option proposed is that the court's starting point in making decisions about children's care is that a child's welfare is likely to be furthered through involvement with both parents.

Mr Timpson wrote to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee stating that "the system is too adversarial, with courts seen as creating 'winners' and 'losers'.  It is vital that both mothers and fathers feel confident that the court will consider fully the benefits of their involvement."

The Law Society responded that the Government's intention to. Continue reading

31

October
Company Held Assets – Not Matrimonial Assets?

The Court of Appeal has given judgment in the case of Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others v Prest and Others [2012] EWCA Civ 1395 with a decision that many family solicitors have found disappointing.

When the case was first heard the Judge ordered the husband to transfer to his wife as part of the divorce proceedings, several properties in London.  The Judge found that the London properties were 'property' to which the husband was entitled to as the assets held within the companies were effectively the husbands property.

The Court of Appeal did not share the same view as the first Judge and allowed the husbands appeal.  The Court of Appeal held that the fact that the husband was nearly a 100% shareholder in the companies did not mean that the companies' property belonged to him.  One judge Rimer LJ stated that it is not open to the Family Division Judges to make an. Continue reading

30

October
Client Testimonial

To Amanda

You were really helpful to me and I like your approach.  I want to thank you and let you know how genuinely grateful we are that you came to my aid in such a ridiculously short space of time!  Thank you Amanda I would not have made it through court without you.

Miss Smith

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12

October
Cohabitation Rather Than Marriage

According to the Office for National Statistics there is a significant increase, 34% in the number of cohabiting couples with dependent children in the ten years to 2011.  The Report says that the number of cohabiting families with dependent children increased by 292,000 whilst married couples with dependant children fell by 319,000 in this 10 year period.

The Report suggests that rather than cohabitation being a 'trial run' before marriage it is a replacement for marriage.

The research shows a shift in attitude from the more traditional view that couples should be married before having children.

The Report also acknowledged that cohabiting couple families appear to be less stable than married couple families as there is a higher proportion of all family breakdowns involving young children from unmarried parents.

Those participating in the survey were also asked about their understanding of legal rights of cohabiting couples compared to married couples.  Over a quarter questioned. Continue reading

01

October
Client Testimonial

Thank you to New Leaf Solicitors.

Amanda not only explained every step she would take in a straight forward way that I could understand, she kept me regularly updated on what was happening. Her manner is not only highly professional and efficient but she is friendly and extremely sensitive to the stress that legal cases can cause to the individual. I really believe that you have made the whole situation so much easier. I would highly recommend Amanda to anyone needing an excellent solicitor. Mrs Harrison

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28

September
Contact With Your Children – Looking Ahead to Christmas

Christmas may seem a long way away but if you have not yet made the arrangments with your ex partner for contact with your children you should start to discuss the arrangements now.

Many separated couples are able to agree the arrangements for the absent parent to have contact with their children on a regular basis throughout the year and the specific arrangements for contact over the Christmas and New Year period.

Unfortunately some separated parents are unable to agree the pattern of contact and if you are one who has yet to firm up the arrangements over Christmas you must start thinking about it now.  Leaving it to December can be too late especially if court proceedings are necessary.

If you want contact with your children over Christmas and your ex partner says no or is offering less contact than you would like you should seek legal advice.

The first step is always. Continue reading

24

September
Matrimonial Property – A Much Welcomed Review

Following its 2012 consultation on marital property agreements ("pre nups") The Law Commission has launched a supplementary consultation paper examining the different aspects of law relating to the financial consequences of divorce and of the dissolution of a civil partnership.

The consultation will consider the law relating to what extent one spouse should be required to meet the other's financial needs, and what exactly is meant by needs; and what happens to property that one of the partners owned before the relationship or acquired during the course of it.

The recent reforms to legal aid will inevitably mean that there will be more litigants in person and therefore the Law Commission is looking at ways to simplify the process of dividing a couples assets and income.

The consultation paper also asks  "whether financial support should continue to be determined by the court, at the judge's discretion, or whether it should be calculated by reference to a formula,. Continue reading

17

September
Common Law Wife – A Common Mistake

There is an interesting article in The Telegraph that I thought I'd share with you.  A 'lifestyle guru' to celebrities is being sued by his ex partner who claimed to be his 'common law wife' for a payout following the breakdown of their relationship.

Their relationship lasted 15 years and they had a son together.  The guru Mr Brown owned the home they shared in his sole name and he also had a collection of Jaguar cars and earned royalties from two of his books.  They never married but Ms Brown his ex partner claims to be his 'common law wife'.  She said Mr Brown told her that she need not worry as she was protected as a common law wife and that they both owned 50 per cent of the property and other assets they went on to purchase.  Mr Brown claims he never referred to Ms Brown as his common law wife and. Continue reading

24

August
Your First Meeting With a Divorce Solicitor – How to Prepare and What to Expect

You have decided that you need some legal advice as there are problems with your spouse or your partner. Here are some top tips to help you in making the best out of your first information gathering meeting.

1. Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Someone may have been recommended to you or you can search the Law Society's website http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor/view=solsearch.law  under their Find a Solicitor page and this will detail the solicitors years of experience, which areas they specialise in and whether they are accredited specialists such as being a member of the Family Law Panel.   You can also search the Resolution website which is an organisation of family lawyers.  http://www.resolution.org.uk/

2. Booking the appointment.   Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor.  There's little point booking an appointment when you have to dash off after 20 minutes to pick the. Continue reading

17

August
Fixed Fee Online Divorce – Is it Right for You?

The divorce process can be a minefield and you should always get legal advice on what your options are and what is best for you. The divorce petition may look like a simple document but one mistake could be a very costly one.

For some couples they both accept that the marriage is over and they both want to divorce. In other words neither objects to there being a divorce in the first place and there is no argument on what is said within the divorce paperwork.  For these couples a fixed fee divorce available online may be suitable.

If you are considering divorce but are not sure and want some advice an initial meeting would explain all the options available to you.  We would tell you whether the fixed fee is right for you or not.  If your ex partner is not in agreement to there being a divorce and there. Continue reading

13

August
Civil Partnerships on the Increase

Since the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005 same sex partners can form a civil partnership. The number of civil partnerships registered in the UK in 2011 was 6,795, according to a provisional bulletin issued by The Office for National Statistics. This is an increase of 6.4 per cent since 2010.

If civil partners want to end their partnership they can peition for a dissolution, similar to divorce proceedings for married couples. The number of dissolutions in 2011 in the UK has also increased, an increase of 28.7 per cent since 2010.

For advice on civil partnership dissolutions please contact Amanda Weaver by email or phone.

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August
Divorce, Separation, Children- Resolving Conflict in a Productive Way

Resolution is an organisation of family solicitors committed to the constructive resolution of disputes.  This means that we seek to resolve disputes in a non confrontational way as this is better for you and your family in the long run.  It will also keep your costs down as its not about point scoring and sending confrontational letters back and forth its about focusing on what you as the client and your family needs without unnecessary conflict.  Our Amanda Weaver is a member of Resolution and understands the difficulties a client may face and adopts a problem solving approach to deal with the issues at hand.

www.resolution.org.uk

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July
Welcome to New Leaf Solicitors!

Hello this is our first blog post and so this is just a little introduction of who we are what we do and where you can find us.

We are a newly established firm in Rugby specialising if family law and this includes advice on divorce, separation, children and financial issues.

Over the summer months its fair to say that family solicitors are quieter than ususal as many people are going off on their holidays but come early September the number of new enquiries for advice on divorce or separation increases. So for some, a holiday can be a make or break situation. If you are one of those people and want some advice on what a divorce entails and what your options are please come in and see us.

Our offices are at Eastlands Court, St Peters Road, Rugby and here's a picture of our building to help you find us.

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