Skip to content

Divorce

A beautiful wife investigating her husband about hiding money.

My Ex is Hiding Assets in Divorce Proceedings

Do you suspect your ex is hiding assets from you in your divorce proceedings? If your ex is hiding assets there is a real risk you won't achieve a fair financial settlement. If you suspect your ex is hiding assets there is also a strong possibility that you won't be able to reach an agreed financial settlement because of your suspicions. That’s why if you think your ex is hiding assets in divorce proceedings it is best to get expert family law advice on your options. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. Is my ex hiding assets in divorce proceedings? Divorce solicitors will tell you that a husband and wife are under a duty to provide full and frank financial disclosure of their assets when negotiating a financial settlement. That’s the case whether you are negotiating through: Direct discussions Solicitor negotiations Family mediation Family arbitration Financial Court proceedings If things are amicable, or your finances are straight forward, you may not want to see reams of paperwork going back years but every family situation is different. You probably know if your ex has hidden stuff from you throughout your marriage or you may suspect that they started to do so when they met someone else or when the marriage got into difficulties and the relationship started to drift apart. If your ex is very keen to reach a financial settlement without providing any paperwork and wants to get an agreed clean break Financial Court Order as soon as possible this may raise a red flag for you or your divorce solicitor as you need some minimum paperwork to check things out. If you feel that you are being pressurised into accepting no or very limited financial disclosure documents, and into accepting your ex’s word for everything, talk to a financial settlement solicitor before agreeing to a division of assets. That’s because whilst your ex might be totally honest and just wanting to ‘cut to the chase’ and get an agreement, you are entitled to see supporting paperwork. It’s important to do so as any financial settlement you reach by agreement can't easily and quickly be unravelled if it turns out that you were right to have your suspicions about your ex hiding assets from you. [related_posts] Why is my ex hiding assets? There are many reasons why an ex may try to hide assets. Divorce solicitors come across these common excuses: It is inherited money It is savings from my income The new house is owned by my new partner so it isn’t really my asset even though the deposit came from me There is no need to get a business or pension or other asset valued as you can take my word for the value Money was owed to a family member and was not transferred to them to hide assets Cash that was put into additional bank accounts was forgotten Property owned abroad or owned before marriage doesn’t count towards the financial settlement so wasn’t disclosed as it isn’t relevant ( in the ex’s opinion) These are all excuses and should not be used as a reason to not provide full and frank financial disclosure. Sometimes an ex will try to hide money that might not be relevant to the financial settlement but you will both spend time and money arguing over the financial disclosure. However, if the asset had been disclosed at the outset your financial settlement solicitor could have advised you about its overall relevance to the financial settlement. For example, a pension accrued before a short marriage with a cash equivalent transfer value of £10,000 may not be of significance and your ex is wasting their time and money by trying to hide an asset that may be of limited relevance because of the duration of your marriage or your ages. However, by failing to disclose the pension, you and the Court may be far more sceptical about how honest their other financial disclosure is, such as, the extent of your ex’s declared self-employed income or the reason they have transferred money to a sibling or new partner. What can you do about an ex hiding assets? If you are separated or getting divorced and you believe your ex is hiding assets you may need urgent financial settlement and injunction representation. That’s because if your ex is hiding assets with the intention of reducing your financial settlement you may need an injunction order to stop them. Examples of when you may require a financial injunction include: Your ex is transferring money or property to a third party Your ex is putting their pension in payment and taking the maximum tax free cash sum to put the money out of your reach Your ex is syphoning money out of the family business by paying a family member for false invoices with a view to making sure the family business has a lower value placed on it as profits will be down Your ex is buying property overseas or transferring assets abroad Your ex is moving money out of joint bank accounts and putting it into cryptocurrency An injunction is a temporary measure to stop your ex from hiding or disposing of assets. It is best to consider a section 37 injunction application rather than assume that in financial settlement Court proceedings a new partner, parent or sibling can be joined into the financial application to try to unravel the transfer of assets. Whilst that is possible it is normally best to stop the transfer taking place in the first place by securing a freezing injunction. If you have not already done so, a divorce solicitor will also advise you to start financial Court proceedings for a Financial  Court Order. Within the financial settlement application, the Court can make financial disclosure orders that your ex will need to comply with. If your ex does not comply with the financial disclosure orders then you can ask the Court to enforce the disclosure orders against your ex or ask the Court to draw inferences. For example, if the Court ordered disclosure of historical bank statements to reveal what happened to the £100,000 after the sale of a buy to let property and your ex flouts the disclosure order you can ask the Court to draw inferences as to why and ask the Court to add back in the £100,000 so you get a greater share of the other family assets. Financial proceedings and ex hiding assets If you have started financial proceedings and you are not satisfied with your ex’s Form E financial disclosure then a specialist family solicitor can review the financial disclosure with you and draw up a list of additional questions and request for extra non-standard paperwork . For example, if your ex is the director and shareholder in a family business and you suspect they have been syphoning money off to their new partner by creative accounting or use of the director loan account, you can ask for a forensic accountant to value the business and look at your accounting concerns as well as asking for an order that your ex disclose statements for their DLA. Alternatively, you can ask the Court to make financial disclosure orders to help you investigate if: Your ex is self-employed and the family lifestyle does not match their declared earnings Your ex has withdrawn significant sums from a business or personal account and that is not their usual pattern of spending Your ex previously mentioned an asset that they said would be a rainy day asset or pension but there is no mention of the asset in their financial disclosure There are lots of ways a tenacious divorce solicitor can ‘get to the bottom’ of financial disclosure, with the assistance of your background information and knowledge of your ex, combined with seeking the right injunction, financial disclosure orders and valuations. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form
Robin Charrot
Jun 23, 2022   ·   7 minute read
Smiling woman talking with divorce coach

What is Divorce Coaching?

When you're getting divorced you can come across a lot of legal jargon and terms you’re not familiar with. Many people feel embarrassed about asking their divorce solicitor questions ( they shouldn’t) but in this blog our divorce solicitors explain what a divorce coach is and how they can work with your divorce solicitor to help you.   For divorce advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.   What is divorce coaching?   Divorce coaching gives you the chance to think and make decisions about your separation or divorce as well as process your feelings in an impartial and non-judgemental setting. It allows you to express and work through all the fears, thoughts, and anxieties that you may not feel ready to talk to those around you about. It can help you navigate the divorce process, empowering you to make decisions and take the action that’s right for you.   It can also allow you to explore how you would like this next chapter of your life to be post-divorce, helping you to see the possibilities and feel confident, positive, and optimistic about the future.   Why do I need a divorce coach if I have a divorce solicitor?   You may have a great divorce solicitor that you trust and feel comfortable talking to but a divorce lawyer is there to give you legal advice and explain your legal options. However good their legal advice is and however supportive they are you can still feel overwhelmed by the decisions you have to make. For example, over the timing of your divorce proceedings, whether you should agree a proposed financial settlement or the proposed post separation parenting arrangements for your children.   A divorce coach works with you so you have more confidence in the divorce, financial and children decisions you are making. With greater confidence you are likely to be better able to either reach compromises or cope with the stress of financial or children law proceedings that may be necessary. For example, if your ex-spouse is refusing financial disclosure or your ex is refusing you contact with the children.   Working with a divorce coach   A divorce coach has a client-centric point of view and works with you, not you and your partner. Coaching sessions are one to one and are confidential. They are usually conducted either at the private office of the coach, or via a platform such as Zoom.   You are your own expert on your life and what is most important to you as you move forward. A divorce coach though can act as a thinking partner and sounding board for you, helping you to make sure you can communicate what you want clearly, whether that is to your ex, your family, your divorce solicitor or your family mediator.   A divorce coach helps you to explore your views about possible options, enabling you to consider different choices. In this self-discovery process you can sometimes discover that there are gaps in your knowledge or gaps in your skills. Together you and your coach can develop a plan on how to close these gaps so that you can be confident not only in the decisions and agreements you are making as part of your divorce. But also, beyond it to help you to build strong foundations for a life post-divorce filled with optimism, potential, security, and excitement.   What are the benefits of talking to a divorce coach?   There are many benefits of divorce coaching, such as:   Reducing feelings of turmoil - getting divorced requires a lot of paperwork and organization — tasks that can feel overwhelming when you’re going through emotional turmoil. A divorce coach help you make sure you have everything you need to get it done so that when you meet with your divorce solicitor you are ready and prepared, meaning your meetings can be as cost effective as possible. Saving you money - working with a divorce coach during your divorce can actually save you money by ensuring that your meetings with your divorce solicitor focus purely on the legal process and decisions that need to be made. It is completely understandable that you want to talk through how you are feeling and work through all your emotions about your divorce. But doing this every time you meet with your divorce solicitor may increase your legal fees without actually moving you forward emotionally. A divorce coach will help you manage your emotions so that you can make decisions that are not clouded by how you are feeling about your ex-partner.   What will a divorce coach talk to me about?   The following isn't an exhaustive list, but does give you a general overview of the sorts of things a coach can work with you on:   You're so fearful about your future that you can't make decisions You are feeling overwhelmed by all the paperwork getting divorced involves You have no idea what you're going to do when the divorce is final You're very angry and are trying to use your children to get revenge You're not familiar with the legal process and feel overwhelmed You're not thinking clearly and it's making it very hard to make any decisions You are struggling to figure out a parenting plan that's going to work You are struggling to figure out how you will co-parent [related_posts] What should I look for in a divorce coach?   When looking for a divorce coach your divorce solicitor will be able to help with a referral but you should be checking that any divorce coach you approach is:   Properly qualified with a recognised qualification in coaching A member of a recognised coaching body such as the Association for Coaching, or the International Coaching Federation. This confirms that they are committed to working ethically and responsibly with you and are appropriately qualified A good fit for you as coaching is a very personal experience and it’s important that you feel comfortable with your divorce coach and that you can work well together. So, check that any coach you contact offers a chance to have a free, no obligation 15- 30 minute consultation with them so that you can ensure they are the right person for you   Final thoughts on divorce coaching   Divorce can be a lonely, stressful, and unsettling time, having a coach to help you navigate through, be on your team and ultimately help you flourish after your divorce is complete is definitely something worth considering.   For divorce advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
May 19, 2022   ·   6 minute read
Boy learning to ride a bicycle with his father in park. Father teaching his son cycling at park.

Child Arrangement Orders – Your Questions Answered

Child arrangement orders have been around a long time but we still get lots of questions from worried parents who are in the midst of a separation or divorce about their child custody rights or asking questions about residence and contact or access orders. In this article, children law expert Louise Halford answers your frequently asked questions on child arrangement orders. For expert Divorce and Children Law advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. What is a child arrangement order? A child arrangement order is a Court order that sets out parenting arrangements for children when there is a dispute between parents. The order is a combined order as it will set out where the children will live ( this used to be referred to as a custody order or residence order) and the contact arrangements (this used to be referred to as an access order or contact order). Do I need a child arrangement order? You only need a child arrangement order if you can't agree on the parenting arrangements for your children. If you can't reach an agreement direct then your children law solicitor can help you sort things out by negotiation or by providing legal support during family mediation. The Court will not routinely make a child arrangement order just to record what you have agreed unless there is a history of dispute or a real reason for the order. Will a child arrangement order let me take my children abroad? If you are named as the residential parent in a child arrangement order you can take your children abroad on holiday for up to four weeks without needing the other parent’s agreement. However, even with a child arrangement order, you can't move overseas with your children without the other parent’s agreement or Court order. If the other parent won't agree to your plans to relocate overseas with the children, then you need to apply for a relocation order. Can you change a child arrangement order? A child arrangement order can be changed either by both parents recording that they agree the parenting change or by applying back to Court to vary the child arrangement order. For example, if you agree that the children should be returned home at 6pm rather than at the old time of 5pm, the agreement to the change could be recorded in a text or email without needing to go to the expense of a Court application. However, if your child wants to move to live with you and the other parent won't agree then you will need to apply to Court to vary the child arrangement order. You should not change the child arrangement order without taking advice as you do not want to be accused of breaching the Court order. Does a child arrangement order include child support payments? A child arrangement order does not say if child support should be paid by one parent to the other parent. If you can't agree on what child support should be paid the Court has limited powers to make a child support order but the Child Maintenance Service can be asked to carry out an assessment of child support liability and can arrange payment. [related_posts] Shared care and child arrangement orders A child arrangement order can specify the parent the children will live with and set out the contact arrangements with the other parent. Alternatively, a child arrangement order can say that parenting is shared and specify how the shared parenting works. It does not necessarily have to be a fifty per cent split of each week. Ideally a child arrangement order will also set out how holiday contact will be arranged. For example, that parents will have alternate year Christmas day contact or that school holiday contact will be divided equally on dates to be agreed between the parents. With a child arrangement order can you make all important decisions? If you have a child arrangement order it does not allow you to make all the important decisions for your child, such as choice of school or faith. The other parent is likely to have parental responsibility for your child so you both have equal rights and responsibilities over major decision making. That means if you can't reach an agreement over an aspect of parenting then either you or the other parent will need to the Court for a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order. The Court will make a decision based on what the judge believes to be in the child’s best interests. Who can apply for a child arrangement order? It isn’t just parents who can apply to court for a child arrangement order. There are others who have an automatic right to apply for a child arrangement order such as step parents, a relative if the child have been living with the relative for twelve months or anyone who has looked after the child for three years or more. In addition to those with an automatic right to apply for a child arrangement order, others can apply for permission to apply for a child arrangement order. This typically covers the situation where a grandparent wants an order to have contact with a grandchild. If you need help with a child arrangement order application our specialist children law solicitors are here to help you. For expert Divorce and Children Law advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Catherine Hazeldine
Apr 28, 2022   ·   5 minute read
Confident focused businesswoman, teacher or mentor coach speaking to business people at negotiations, woman leader speaker applicant talking at meeting or convincing hr during job interview concept

Treatment of Family Loans in Divorce and Financial Settlement Proceedings

Getting divorced and reaching a financial settlement can be hard, even where there are only two of you involved in reaching a financial settlement and securing a Financial Court Order. It can be even harder when family members have given or loaned money, with disputes over whether the money was a gift or a loan and how the loan should be treated in the divorce and financial settlement proceedings. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. The recent financial settlement Court case of P v Q (Financial Remedies) [2022] EWFC B9 (10 February 2022) has confirmed how the Courts should treat family loans in a divorce. The case emphasises the importance of extended family members taking legal advice if they intend the transfer of money to be a loan or want a gift to be ring-fenced in the case of separation or divorce. Family loans in financial settlement proceedings If a member of the extended family gives money to a husband or wife during their relationship then undoubtedly at the time of the gift or loan the money is very welcome. When a couple split up, family loans can complicate things where there is a dispute about: Whether the money was a gift or loan. Whether the gift was to the husband or wife or to the couple jointly. If the money was a loan, the repayment terms. If the money was a loan, whether the debt should be included as a debt in the asset schedule. If the money has been repaid to the extended family member because of the divorce, whether the money transferred to the relative should be added back into the asset schedule. Whether the extended family member should intervene in the financial settlement Court proceedings. Things can get very acrimonious when family money is in issue, with one party saying the money was a gift and the other a loan. Expert divorce and financial settlement solicitors say it is best to: Get help from an experienced divorce and financial settlement solicitor. They will give you an unbiased view on whether the family Court will say the money is a gift or a loan. Whilst you may not like their opinion about the treatment of the family money, you don’t want to waste time or money on an argument that you are not likely to win. Look at the cost of arguing whether the family money was a gift or loan as you don’t want to spend more in legal costs arguing the point if the costs will be more than the amount to be gained in your likely financial settlement. [related_posts] The case of P v Q (Financial Remedies) [2022] EWFC B9 The case of P v Q involved an international family based in the UK and Germany. The wife was German, living in England. The husband was English, living in Germany with the couple’s two children. The case had many unusual points, including the value and liquidity of company shares, particularly as the case was heard at a time when Russian forces were massing at the Ukraine border and there were expectations of share price volatility because the shares were held in an energy company. Divorce and financial settlement proceedings were started in the UK. The wife said the husband had given his mother £150,000 to reduce the amount the wife would receive as a financial settlement. The husband said he had given his mother the £150,000 to repay a loan and that the money should not be added back into the asset schedule. The judge acknowledged he had to consider the factors set out in Section 25 and Section 25A Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 together with any relevant case law when deciding how to split the assets and how to treat the family loan money. Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 broadly says it is the duty of the Court when making a Financial Court Order to have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of eighteen. Amongst other things, and of particular relevance to family money and loans, the Court should have particular regard to: The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the Court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future. In the case of P and Q , the husband’s mother gave each of her three children the sum of £150,000 to help them with housing. No loan documentation was drawn up. There was no evidence that the husband's mother had gifted the money as part of an estate planning strategy. No demand was ever made for repayment of the £150,000 and there was no discussion about the circumstances when repayment was required. In evidence the mother said she hoped the family would repay the money to her if she was in need. The husband repaid the £150,000 to his mother without his mother asking for the money. The wife argued the transfer was a device to remove £150,000 from the asset schedule so she lost out, using the sharing principle of a 50:50 split, of £75,000. The judge had to consider if the £150,000 (and other family monies) were gifts or loans. The judge held that for money to amount to a gift there must be an intention to give away – with no expectation of repayment. Accordingly, the £150,000 was a loan. The arguments didn’t stop there as the judge, using case law, then had to go on to consider the nature of the hard or soft loan to determine if the £150,000 should be added back into the asset schedule. When looking at the treatment of loans in financial settlement proceedings, the judge said the family Court needs to consider: If a judge concludes there is a contractually binding obligation by a party to the marriage towards a third party, the Court should then consider whether the obligation is a hard obligation debt or a soft debt. There is no set test to decide if a loan amounts to a hard or soft debt. A common feature of family loan analysis in financial settlement proceedings is to consider if the obligation to repay will be enforced. Factors pointing to a hard loan include that the terms of the obligation feel like a normal commercial arrangement, there is a written loan agreement and a written demand for payment, a threat of litigation or intervention in the financial settlement proceedings, there hasn’t been a delay in enforcing the debt and the amount of money owed is such that it would be less likely for a creditor to waive the obligation to pay. Factors pointing to a soft loan include that the debt is owed to a friend or family member who remains on good terms, the loan is informal without a commercial arrangement feel to the loan, there has been no written demand for payment despite the loan repayment date having passed, there has been a delay in enforcing repayment, and the amount of the money is such that it would be more likely for the creditor to be likely to waive the obligation to repay. Using these principles and looking at the facts of the husband's loan from his mother, the judge concluded the loan fell into the ‘soft’ category of loan. For the financial settlement, that meant the loan monies were added back into the asset schedule, thus increasing the amount to be shared between the husband and wife by £150,000. Divorce and private client considerations when making or receiving family loans If you are thinking about making a gift or loan to a family member, it is sensible to take private client advice to try to ensure your gift is either tax efficient for inheritance tax purposes or ring fenced and protected in case of divorce through the use of a loan document, preferably combined with a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Apr 14, 2022   ·   8 minute read
Worried young woman sitting on sofa at home and ignoring her partner who is sitting next to her

A Guide to No-Fault Divorce

A look at all you need to know about no-fault divorce Divorce law is changing. It is a big deal to divorce solicitors as they are interested in divorce law but, if you are thinking about a  divorce, you don’t want to know all about the old divorce law, the rationale for divorce reform, and the interesting quirks in the new divorce legislation. You just want to know if you can get divorced and, just as importantly, if you can get custody or contact with the children and what will happen to the house and other assets. For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. At Evolve Family Law, our divorce solicitors believe in keeping things simple, so divorce and financial settlement solicitor, Robin Charrot, provides a quick guide to no-fault divorce. Your divorce questions answered on: What is no-fault divorce? What are the grounds for a no-fault divorce? Who can apply for a no-fault divorce? The no-fault divorce Court process How long does a no-fault divorce take? No-fault divorce and child custody and contact No-fault divorce and financial settlements What is no-fault divorce? No-fault divorce is the name for the new divorce law. As you can probably guess from the name, fault has been removed from divorce proceedings so you can no longer start divorce proceedings based on your husband or wife's adultery or unreasonable behaviour. What are the grounds for a no-fault divorce? To apply for a no-fault divorce, you need to file a divorce application and state that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You do not need to say why and you don’t need to have been separated for a specified period. As the grounds are simplified it is no longer possible to contest or oppose a divorce other than in very unusual circumstances. Who can apply for a no-fault divorce? With a no-fault divorce application, you have three options: You and your spouse can apply jointly for a no-fault divorce or You can apply on your own for the divorce or Your husband or wife can make the divorce application Whether you apply jointly or individually, it is a similar divorce process. If you apply together you are referred to as applicant one and applicant two. If you make the application, you will be the applicant and your husband or wife will be the respondent. From a divorce solicitor perspective, we would probably prefer you to either make the application jointly or to make the application yourself, just so you are in control of the divorce process and so that it does not get stalled if you want to get your no-fault divorce as quickly as possible. [related_posts] The no-fault divorce Court process The no-fault divorce process consists of four steps: You apply for a divorce – this could be a joint application or an application made by one of you. The applicant confirms they want to go ahead with the divorce. The Court makes a conditional Order – this used to be called the decree nisi of divorce. After a wait of six weeks, the applicant can apply for the final Order – this used to be called the decree absolute of divorce. In between steps one and two there needs to be a twenty week wait. That period can't be shortened as it is part of the new no-fault divorce law. How long does a no-fault divorce take? Divorce solicitors say no-fault divorces will take about six months from start of the divorce proceedings to final divorce Order but the timescales could be a bit longer if there are delays between the four stages. For example, because you want extra time to reflect or because you don’t want to progress the divorce proceedings over the Christmas period. A no-fault divorce is therefore not a quickie divorce but it does have advantages. For example, as there is no need to blame your husband or wife for the marriage breakdown, a no-fault divorce may reduce acrimony and help you reach an agreement on child custody and contact or the financial settlement. No-fault divorce and child custody and contact In a no-fault divorce, the Court is not asked to decide on the residence and contact arrangements for your children after your divorce. Ideally you will be able to agree the parenting arrangements either direct, through help from family law solicitors, or in family mediation. If you can't do so then either you or your husband or wife can make a separate application for a child arrangement Order. This Order will say if the care of the children is shared and will specify the residence and contact arrangements. If you are concerned about child abduction or you want to move overseas with your children after your divorce then you can apply to Court for a prohibited steps Order or relocation Order. No-fault divorce and financial settlements In a no-fault divorce the Court is not asked to decide who gets what assets in a financial settlement unless either you or your husband or wife ask the Court to do so. If you are able to reach a financial settlement by agreement you can jointly ask the Court to approve a financial consent Order. If you can't reach a financial settlement by agreement either one of you can file a document, called a form A, to start financial proceedings. There is then a series of Court hearings to ensure that financial disclosure takes place and assets are valued before a judge holds a final hearing to decide on the financial settlement and make a financial court Order. At any stage in the financial  proceedings, you can reach an agreement and ask the Court to approve a financial consent Order. The fact that divorce proceedings are based on no fault will not affect the amount you receive as a financial settlement because if a husband or wife has behaved very badly you can refer to this in the financial  proceedings. However, behaviour has to be very extreme to affect a financial settlement and the behaviour needs to be linked to financial matters. For example, allegations of domestic violence may be relevant to the financial settlement if the victim of domestic abuse cannot work and needs spousal maintenance for a period of time because of the physical or emotional impact of the domestic violence on their ability to work. If you have questions about the no-fault divorce Court process or need advice on children or financial settlement issues the divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law are here to help.     For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Apr 06, 2022   ·   6 minute read
Woman meeting notary for advice

Talking to a Family Lawyer

We all fear some appointments, whether it is an appointment with a doctor or dentist, or meeting your family lawyer for the first time. In this blog, family law solicitor, Louise Halford, looks at how to get the most out of your first meeting with your family lawyer. For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. In this article we look at: Choosing your family law solicitor Timing your appointment Company at your appointment Preparing for your appointment Talking to your family solicitor Choosing your family law solicitor Before your initial consultation with your family law solicitor, it is best to do some research on whether your family lawyer and the firm are the right fit for you. Just because a friend found a family solicitor wonderful in their divorce, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily be right for you, or that they are experts in the area of family law you need advice on. At Evolve Family Law, we believe in being proactive in helping you choose the right family solicitor for you. That’s why we publish information about the lawyers and our fee guide on our website. We will also speak to you to try and make sure there you are seeing the best solicitor for you at your initial consultation. That’s because family lawyers, just like consultants and surgeons, specialise in different areas of family law. If you need urgent advice about child abduction fears and child relocation orders you don’t want to see a solicitor who has a particular interest in international prenuptial agreements when the firm has expert children law and child abduction lawyers. Timing your appointment It is never too early to have an initial consultation. It can be helpful for you to learn about likely children or financial settlement options should you go ahead with a planned separation. That way you can make informed choices. Taking family law legal advice does not commit you to starting children law or financial court proceedings but it does help you work out the best options for you, through having the information you need to make informed decisions. [related_posts] Company at your appointment If you want to bring a friend or a family member to your appointment that should be fine with your family solicitor. Bringing someone with you can be really helpful as they can make sure that you are asking the questions you want answers to. They can also discuss the advice you received with you after the meeting. All family solicitors ask of you is; to choose the person who comes with you with care. That is because you may be discussing personal issues at your appointment. Your solicitor will not want you to feel inhibited and unable to be totally open about the reasons why you need help and legal advice. Also, a family friend or relative needs to be there as a support, rather than to take over the appointment to discuss their own family law problems or their own views on your relationship or family law issue. If they do that, it is frustrating for both you and your family lawyer solicitor as we both need to focus on you. Therefore, if you want company at your appointment, think about who will provide the best support to help you to get the most out of your consultation. Preparing for your appointment Whilst you are welcome to just turn up to your phone, zoom or office appointment, it can help some people to prepare for the appointment. We don’t mean anything ‘too heavy’ by this. Just have a think about why you need advice and the background. For example, your family solicitor may want to know the date of your marriage or date of separation or when your children were born or the approximate date of when an incident occurred . It is surprising how easy it is to forget dates or to only remember the questions you wanted to ask your solicitor after your consultation. Lawyers like questions, so do bring a list of questions with you. Whilst a family lawyer may not be able to fully answer all your questions at a first meeting, they will be able to tell you what information they need to gather to fully answer your queries. Talking to your family solicitor An initial consultation with a family solicitor is a ‘two-way street’; your family lawyer needs to know a bit about you and about your family law query as well as your goals. Armed with that information a family solicitor can help you get the best out of an initial consultation. Consultations work best when you have the confidence to ask your questions. You therefore should not worry about whether your questions are too basic or whether your solicitor will think you should know the answers. Likewise, your lawyer may need to ask you some questions that you don’t think are very relevant to your family solicitor answering your questions. However, there are some questions that will help your lawyer understand the circumstances so your legal advisor can then work out how best to answer your questions as accurately and as thoroughly as possible. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Louise Halford
Mar 17, 2022   ·   5 minute read
No-Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce

Divorce solicitors have campaigned for years for divorce law reform and it is finally happening. Whilst that is great news, in this article we take a look at what the reforms mean and whether you should wait to apply for a no-fault divorce and the potential benefits of not waiting when you can apply for a divorce now. For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. In this article, divorce and financial settlement solicitor, Robin Charrot answers your questions on your divorce options and the importance of getting the timing of your divorce right. Your divorce questions answered on: What is no-fault divorce? When is divorce law changing? Can you get a no-fault divorce now? Do the ground for your divorce matter? Should you wait for divorce law change or divorce now? What is no-fault divorce? No-fault divorce is when you get a divorce without having to blame your husband or wife for the marriage breakdown in the divorce petition. It is possible to get a no-fault divorce now, but no-fault divorce will become the norm when the law changes. Even if you do not have the grounds to get a no-fault divorce now, you may be able to divorce amicably and quickly without having to wait for the no-fault divorce law to come into force. The timing of your divorce can have long term financial and other implications for you, so it is best to talk to a divorce solicitor about when to start divorce proceedings. When is divorce law changing? The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reforms divorce law in England and Wales with the introduction of no-fault divorce. Couples will be able to apply for a no-fault divorce under the new law from the 6th April 2022. However, if you don’t want to wait for the change in divorce law, you may be able to get a no-fault divorce now or get divorced amicably. Can you get a no-fault divorce now? Under current divorce law you have to file a petition for divorce that says your marriage has irretrievably broken down and cite one of five facts. Two of those facts can give you a no-fault divorce now. They are: Separation for two years or more and your husband or wife agrees to a divorce or Separation for five years or more, in which case you don’t need your husband or wife's consent to the divorce. There are three points to make about divorce based on separation: You do not need to have lived in a separate house to your husband or wife for the two or five years provided that you have lived separate and apart in the same household. A divorce solicitor can explain what this means and if this fits with your circumstances. Even if you have not been separated for long enough to get a divorce using the current divorce law on separation, you can still reach an agreement about your future divorce by signing a separation agreement and parenting plan. This will make things easier for you when you do start divorce. proceedings and you can start to implement your financial settlement now. For example, by arranging for the family home to go on the market for sale or starting the ball rolling with getting the house and mortgage transferred from joint names to one name. If you have not been separated for long enough to get a divorce using the current law on separation and divorce, you can probably still get an amicable divorce without having to go to court to get your decree absolute. [related_posts] Do the grounds for your divorce matter? If you want to get divorced now, and you have not been separated from your husband or wife for at least two years, you can still start divorce proceedings now if your marriage has irretrievably broken down and your husband or wife has: Committed adultery or Behaved unreasonably or Deserted you. There are six points to make about ‘fault divorce’: You do not need to name a third party in the divorce proceedings based on adultery. A divorce on one of these three reasons takes the same time for the divorce court to process the divorce as a divorce based on separation. Divorce solicitors can normally agree the allegations of unreasonable behaviour so they don’t cause upset to your husband or wife. You will not have to go to a court hearing for your divorce if your husband or wife agrees to the divorce. The fact that you have started divorce proceedings using adultery or unreasonable behaviour or desertion will not affect the financial settlement or the children arrangements. There may be reasons why it is best, in your circumstances, to get divorced now rather than wait. A divorce solicitor can explore why it may be better for you to get divorced straight away rather than wait until after the 6 April 2022. Should you wait for divorce law change or divorce now? There are many reasons why it may be in your best interests to start divorce proceedings now rather than wait. Every family situation is different so speak to a divorce solicitor about what is best for you in your individual circumstances. Some reasons why it may be best to start divorce proceedings now are: Emotionally you can't wait and you want to get on with your divorce. Your husband or wife doesn’t mind unreasonable behaviour or adultery divorce proceedings being started as they know the divorce petition is a ‘means to an end’ and they can't see a reason to wait. Your children feel as if they are in limbo or think that you and your spouse will get back together as you are not getting divorced straight away. Your husband or wife won't agree to the sale of the family home or other assets and you can only apply for a financial court order if there is a divorce petition filed at court. You want to remarry as soon as possible because you are expecting a child with your new partner or your new partner is in poor health. The tax consequences of divorce and financial settlements mean that in your financial circumstances it is better not to wait until the new tax year. You are in an abusive relationship. You are in need of urgent financial support and spousal maintenance as your husband or wife won't pay towards the mortgage or household bills. You fear child abduction or have other urgent children law related worries. You think that you husband or wife will sell or transfer assets to their family or friends to try to reduce your financial settlement by continuing to hide assets or syphon money. You are concerned that your husband or wife could start divorce proceedings in another country and the financial settlement that you would receive from a court in the other country would not be fair or meet your needs. There are special considerations if your family has overseas connections and you need international divorce You are worried about the consequences of delay as your husband or wife is running up debts and you fear they may be made the subject of a bankruptcy petition. You husband or wife is due to get their cash free lump sum pension payment and you are concerned that they will not preserve the money so you won't get a fair financial settlement. There are special considerations for divorce in retirement. There are many other reasons why you may want to divorce now. Our divorce solicitors will talk to you about your family and financial circumstances and work out which approach is best for you. For expert Divorce, Children and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Mar 10, 2022   ·   7 minute read
shareholders agreement

Shareholder Disputes and Divorce

It’s bad enough to separate or divorce but even harder to going through a shareholder dispute as well. Northwest divorce financial settlement solicitors recognise that if you are in business with your husband or wife you may be facing a shareholder dispute in addition to court proceedings over your family law financial settlement. In this article, divorce and financial settlement solicitor, Robin Charrot answers your questions on shareholder disputes with your former partner when you are going through divorce proceedings and trying to reach a financial agreement over how your family assets are divided. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. Your divorce shareholder dispute questions answered on: Are business assets relevant to divorce proceedings? What happens when spouses are shareholders in a family business? Can a divorced couple agree to continue in business together? Can I ringfence business assets so they aren’t relevant to divorce proceedings? Role of a shareholder agreement in divorce proceedings Valuing a business in a shareholder dispute or divorce proceedings Are business assets relevant to divorce proceedings? Business assets are potentially relevant to divorce proceedings and will need to be disclosed as part of your financial disclosure. That’s the case whatever the length of your marriage. However, when the family court makes a financial court order the family law judge will take a range of factors into account, including your respective needs, the length of your marriage and whether you owned the family business before your marriage. The weight given to these and other factors will depend on your personal and financial circumstances. Business assets are relevant to divorce proceedings if you are a shareholder or a partner in a business or sole trader. The fact that your husband or wife or civil partner has played no role in the business doesn’t mean that the family court won't say that your business is a family asset. Even if the court concludes your business isn’t a family asset, in the divorce proceedings a court can still use the value of a non-family asset in the financial settlement where there is a need to share non-family assets to meet needs. It’s best to not get too tied up into arguing over whether your business is a family asset or not and instead take get some expert help on the likely overall financial settlement and on how the impact of the financial settlement on the business can be minimised. What happens when spouses are shareholders in a family business? If you and your husband or wife are both shareholders in a family business then you need to make sure both corporate and family law is followed. Divorce financial settlement solicitors say family law trumps company or corporate law because even if company law says your husband or wife owns fifty percent of the business, in the divorce financial settlement proceedings the family court has the power to order the sale or transfer of shares. If you are getting divorced and you are in business together it can be particularly tough when you both work in the same environment. It’s best to try and keep business and private stuff separate, if you can, so the business isn’t affected by your separation as it’s unlikely to be in either of your interests for the business to suffer because you are struggling to work together until a financial settlement is reached. If you can't work together, even on a temporary basis, then you need to look at whether one of you working from home or other strategies can help you both remain in the business whilst you sort out the divorce financial settlement. [related_posts] Can a divorced couple agree to continue in business together? A divorcing couple can decide to remain in business together after their divorce. A financial court order should set out post-divorce ownership of the business and a shareholder agreement should be drawn up so there is agreed procedure on important points, such as dividend policies or share voting rights. Can I ringfence business assets so they aren’t relevant to divorce proceedings? You can try to ringfence your business assets so they aren’t relevant to the divorce proceedings by either signing a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. The weight given to this type of agreement will depend on a variety of factors, including whether there was financial disclosure as part of the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement process. Role of a shareholder agreement in divorce proceedings The fact that you have a shareholder agreement that says your husband or wife must transfer their shares to you for one pound if you separate or divorce doesn’t mean that your spouse won't get a fair financial settlement or even a share in the value of the business assets. However, it is still sensible to have a shareholder agreement but it’s important to understand it won't totally protect you from business related financial claims on divorce. Valuing a business in a shareholder dispute or divorce proceedings Valuing a business in a shareholder dispute or financial settlement divorce proceedings normally involves a valuation by a forensic accountant so there is an accurate assessment of the share value, the net value after tax, and the potential income stream if you continue to hold shares in the business. The fact that a family court orders a valuation doesn’t mean that the court will order that the shares are sold but the court will want to know the net value of the shares so the court has an idea of the total extent of the family assets and any non-family assets. The court can then use that information to make a financial court order, after having weighed up all the statutory factors to reach what the court considers is a fair financial settlement. For expert Divorce and Financial Settlement advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Mar 03, 2022   ·   6 minute read
Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans

A children law solicitor's perspective on parenting plans   If you have separated from your partner or you are in the midst of divorce proceedings the most important thing to sort out are the child care arrangements for your children. In other words, whether the children will be co-parented or parallel parented or if one parent will be the primary parent looking after the children full time with the other parent having some contact. Whatever child care arrangement you come to, a parenting plan can help both parents understand the ground rules and reduce the risk of fall outs and  court applications for child arrangement orders. We are North West and Online Children Law Solicitors: For specialist family law help call us or complete our online enquiry form. Children law solicitor, Louise Halford, answers your frequently asked questions on parenting plans: What is a parenting plan? How do I agree a parenting plan? What should go into a parenting plan? How do you change a parenting plan? What is a parenting plan? A parenting plan is a document drawn up by parents to record the parenting arrangements for a child or children after a separation or divorce. A parenting plan can be agreed by parents or can be made after children court proceedings for a: Child arrangement order. Specific issue order. Prohibited steps order. Relocation order. How do I agree a parenting plan? There are many ways that parents can agree a parenting plan. You can use a template and prepare one yourself. Sometimes, that is a bad idea as ‘going it alone’ may make you end up arguing with your ex-partner and polarise your positions. With the help of a children law solicitor or family mediation you may be able to discuss child care arrangements and reach a compromise. What should go into a parenting plan? Every child and family are different so your parenting plan should  be individual to you and your child’s needs. The fact that a family member or a neighbour or friend has a parenting plan should not influence what should go into your parenting plan. That is because your parenting plan needs to set out the best agreement for your family, taking into account your family and personal circumstances and individual preferences. For example, some parents share care of their children with the children spending an equal amount of time with each parent. Other parents prefer their children to have one home base during the week and to share quality weekend and school holiday time. Neither option is the ‘best’ or the right one as so much depends on your family and each parent’s work commitments and the distance between the two homes. Every parenting plan should consider including what has been agreed on topics such as: Home base - unless parenting is to be shared equally. Contact or shared parenting arrangements such as the agreed times for collection and return and drop off points and who will do the collections and returns. The practical points on shared care and regular contact, such as the washing and return of school uniforms or the supervision of homework or who is responsible for clothes and shoes shopping or haircuts. Whether phone contact is to take place between parent and child and, if so, frequency so phone calls do not become too restrictive or intrusive for a parent with the care of a younger child. Special contact (child and parents birthdays and mother’s day and father’s day as well as Christmas and religious observance days) and holidays. Best method of communication between parents if contact or other arrangements need to be changed. For example, mobile, text or email. Communication could be over the need to cancel a visit or to agree a coordinated approach to the buying of birthday presents. Who is responsible for medical and dental appointments and communication about appointments or to say if a child is ill or hospitalised. How you will deal with parent evenings at school or attendance at school plays or sports days. How will you address the introduction of new partners and their children and communication of the information to your ex-partner. This sort of information is helpful so the other parent does not find out about new relationships or remarriage via the child. Whilst you may not want to communicate this type of personal information or receive the news about your ex-partner’s new relationship, a major reason for child care arrangement breakdown is non-communication over adult issues that also affect your child. Holiday plans - if you plan to go on holiday during your holiday contact time, is it agreed that you need to inform the other parent about your planned trips overseas or to a destination in the UK and give agreed key information such as flight times and numbers and hotel details and who else who will be accompanying the child on holiday. For example, a new partner and their children. Parenting plan changes - how you will agree to make changes to the parenting plan. How do you change a parenting plan? Children and their wants and needs do not stay the same. What are appropriate parenting arrangements for a two-year-old who is not in school may be completely different for an eleven-year-old. By the time a child is in their teenage years the arrangements will need to change again. Add to the mix that your circumstances may change with a new job, house or relationship and the arrival of additional children or step-children. Likewise, your ex-partner’s circumstances are likely to change resulting in a need to review the parenting plan. The fact that a parenting plan needs changing should not be a sign of defeat. For example, your five-year-old may not be able to cope with equal co-parenting, even if their cousin or other children in their class do so. Some children are just more adaptable than others. Alternatively, a parenting plan may need changing or tweaking because the only reason that a child is struggling with co-parenting or parallel parenting is different parenting regimes in the two households and two parenting styles that are confusing to the child because as soon as a child has got used to one routine they move to their other parent’s home. A parenting plan can be changed by email or you may prefer a meeting or to even set up an annual chat to review how things are working. The best thing is that if anything over the child care arrangements is ‘bugging you’ that you do not let things fester so things get acrimonious or even lead to children law court proceedings. Instead, it is preferable to agree to review the parenting plan, perhaps with the help of a children law solicitor or family mediator, before the arrangements break down or positions are polarised. It is also helpful to remember that as children get older, they will want to have a say in the parenting plan. For example, the ten o’clock Saturday contact start time may work for you but your teenager may want to stay in bed until noon or go out with their mates on a Saturday night. The key point with a parenting plan is that it should grow with you and your family and just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the best thing for your child or your ex-partner now. How can a children law solicitor at Evolve Family Law help? If you are struggling to agree child care arrangements after your separation or divorce ,or you want to change your parenting plan and your ex-partner is resisting, Evolve Family Law can help you to reach an agreement or secure a child arrangement order. We are North West and Online Children Law Solicitors: For expert family law advice call us now or complete our online enquiry form.
Louise Halford
Feb 09, 2022   ·   7 minute read