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Separation

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What Are the 5 Grounds For Divorce?

If you are thinking about starting divorce proceedings you may have read that English divorce law is changing. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to wait before you start divorce proceedings or that it is in your best interests to do so. In this blog, Manchester divorce solicitor, Robin Charrot, looks at the current five grounds for divorce.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from separation to divorce proceedings,  child custody and contact arrangements and representation in financial settlements. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.The 5 grounds for divorce Strictly speaking, a divorce solicitor will tell you that there is actually only one ground for divorce in England and Wales, namely that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, you have to evidence the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage under current divorce law by proving one of five facts.  The five facts are: Adultery or Unreasonable behaviour or Two years separation and your husband or wife agrees to the divorce or Desertion or Five years separation – your husband or wife does not have to agree to the divorce if you have been separated for five years or more. How do you prove you have the grounds for a divorce? Many people are embarrassed at the thought of starting divorce proceedings and having to prove something like adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Equally, if you are on the receiving end of a divorce petition it isn’t nice to think that you have been accused of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. You may also worry about the effect of the divorce proceedings on your financial settlement or the childcare arrangements. Divorce solicitors say that proving that you have the grounds for divorce is normally not as complicated or as difficult as you may envisage. Gone are the days when you had to send a private investigator to a hotel to prove adultery. If you want to start divorce proceedings based on adultery then all you need to say in the divorce petition is that your husband or wife has committed adultery with a person whose identity you prefer not to reveal and that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. The respondent to the divorce petition just has to confirm that adultery took place, without the need to go into further details. Importantly, if you get divorced on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour the basis for the divorce proceedings is only ever relevant in any child arrangement order application or divorce financial settlement proceedings in very rare circumstances. For example, if divorce proceedings are started on unreasonable behaviour and one of the allegations is that the respondent to the divorce petition physically assaulted the child. This allegation would be relevant in any child custody case. However, just because an allegation is contained in the divorce petition that you don’t agree to, it doesn’t mean that you have to defend the divorce proceedings provided that you are in agreement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. When are divorce proceedings contested? As it is possible to agree to get divorced without accepting all the allegations of unreasonable behaviour or without going into a lot of detail about the adultery, most divorce proceedings are not contested. After all, it doesn’t make sense to most people to challenge divorce proceedings if they accept that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and understand that the contents of the divorce petition won't affect the financial settlement or the childcare arrangements. Why is it best to get divorce legal advice? As it is actually easier to get divorced under current law than many people think, divorce solicitors advise that it is best to take specialist legal advice so that: You don’t assume that you should not start divorce proceedings now and instead wait until you can start a no-fault divorce when the new law comes into force You protect yourself, if necessary, by starting divorce proceedings straight away. For example, if you fear that your husband or wife is hiding money from you or transferring assets to other family members or you are worried that your spouse is spending to excess or is at risk of bankruptcy You don’t assume that you need to contest divorce proceedings based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour because the petition is very unlikely to affect either the financial settlement or child care arrangements. In addition, you can preserve your right to challenge any false allegation in the financial settlement or child arrangement order court proceedings You understand your divorce options as, for example, even if your husband or wife has committed adultery you may not be able to start divorce proceedings on that basis if you lived together as a couple for six months or more after they committed adultery and you were made aware the adultery. Sometimes your divorce options may surprise you as you can get divorced on the basis of two years separation if you have lived together in the same family home for two years provided that you have lived ‘separate and apart’ within the same household and your husband or wife consents to a divorce You protect yourself, if necessary, by either not starting divorce proceedings straight away or deferring applying for the decree absolute of divorce You understand the impact of the divorce proceedings and pronouncement of your decree absolute. For example, the impact of your separation and divorce on your immigration status if you are in the UK on a family visa or the effect of your divorce on your tax status and the tax treatment of the transfer of assets between yourself and your former husband or wife. Most divorce solicitors say that it isn’t just navigating the divorce process that is important but also understanding how your divorce fits in with any financial settlement or childcare arrangement that you either agree or ask the court to determine.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors The friendly team of specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law can help you with your separation and divorce proceedings, child custody and contact and your financial settlement. For advice on your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
Robin Charrot
May 27, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Can I Pay Child Maintenance Direct to My Child?

Can I Pay Child Maintenance Direct to My Child?

Handing over money to a former husband, wife, or ex-partner can be galling. That’s especially the case when you are paying child maintenance and you don’t think that your former spouse or ex-partner is spending the child maintenance on your child. In this article divorce settlement and child support solicitor, Robin Charrot, looks at whether you can pay child maintenance direct to your child.Financial settlement and child maintenance solicitors For legal help with a financial settlement or with child maintenance call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.Who do you have to pay child maintenance to? Child maintenance is normally paid to the parent who has primary care of the child. It isn’t paid to the child direct. Normally if child maintenance is paid after an assessment by the Child Maintenance Service, or after a financial court order is made in the family court, the Child Maintenance Service will encourage and the court will order that the child support is paid by direct debit to the receiving parent. If parents reach an agreement over child support, and there is no Child Maintenance Service or court involvement, then it is possible to agree to pay the child maintenance direct to the child. Is it best to pay child maintenance direct to a child? You may think that as child maintenance is financial support for the child that payment of the money should go direct to an older child. However, child support isn’t just about a clothing or an entertainment allowance for an older child. Child maintenance is also meant to contribute towards the main carer’s household bills and other items, such as: The mortgage or rent. Utility bills and other expenses that the child benefits from. For example, the broadband or Sky television package. Food and other essentials. The child’s clothing. The additional costs of looking after a child, such as presents, annual holiday , school trips etc. Whilst you may say that: Your former partner owns their home outright and so has no mortgage or Your former partner lives with a partner who pays all the household bills or You have no confidence that any of the money given to your former partner is spent on the child as the child is poorly clothed whilst your ex-partner has the latest technological gadget or designer clothing or is always off on a weekend away without the child. The bottom line is that most parents say that they want child maintenance to be handed over to them, rather than given direct to the child. That’s because a direct handover of money can: Make the child more aware of the parental conflict. Create anxiety in the child. Create conflict between child and main carer as the child sees all the child support as ‘their money’ to spend on themselves, rather than a contribution towards household expenses. Can you split child maintenance between a child and the parent with care of a child? If you are keen to pay child maintenance direct to your child you could have a conversation about whether you can pay some child maintenance by direct debit to your ex-partner and the balance direct to your child as a personal clothing or entertainment allowance. Does the Child Maintenance Service taken into account money paid direct to a child? If you pay money direct to a child and your ex-spouse or former partner then applies to the Child Maintenance Service for a child support assessment the Child Maintenance Service will carry out a calculation of your liability to pay child support. When calculating the amount of child support payable the Child Maintenance Service will look at your income rather than your outgoings and therefore won't take into account the payments made direct to your child.  Agreeing direct payments to a child If you are able to reach an agreement on paying child support direct to a child then it is best to record that, either in your separation agreement or in your financial court order, as part of the overall financial settlement. However, if financial  circumstances change, the parent with primary care could change their mind and ask for direct payments to be made. Child support and financial settlements If you have separated from a former partner or are in the midst of divorce proceedings with a husband or wife it is best to consider child support as part of your overall financial settlement, rather than look at it in isolation to other aspects such as payment of spousal maintenance and whether you will get to stay in the family home or if it will be sold or transferred to your partner.Financial settlement and child maintenance solicitors For legal help with a financial settlement or child maintenance call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, North Manchester but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call. Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Robin Charrot
May 16, 2021   ·   5 minute read
Who Pays For Mediation Costs in the UK?

Who Pays For Mediation Costs in the UK?

You may have read in the news that if you are getting divorced you may be eligible to receive a £500 mediation voucher to help pay for family mediation. In this article, our divorce expert, Robin Charrot, answers your questions on the new mediation voucher scheme and looks at the importance of legal mediation support. ​Divorce and Family Law Solicitors For legal help with your divorce and mediation support for your financial settlement or childcare arrangements call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.The family mediation voucher scheme The Ministry of Justice has announced that it has allocated one million pounds to enable up to 2,000 separating or divorcing couples to receive a £500 mediation voucher to help towards the costs of family mediation. Divorce solicitors say that competition for the £500 vouchers may be fierce as the Ministry of Justice says that the vouchers will be allocated on a ‘ first-come first-serve’ basis, rather than on a points or any other type of allocation system. What does the family mediation voucher scheme cover? The mediation voucher scheme covers family mediation on a range of family law issues, such as: Child custody. Child contact. Child maintenance. Financial settlement after a separation or divorce where there is also a dispute over children and either ongoing or potential children law proceedings. Why has the family mediation scheme been introduced? The family mediation voucher scheme has been introduced at this stage to help reduce court applications and to encourage the use of family mediation. That’s because the government believes that family mediation is a better, quicker and cheaper option than separating and divorcing couples starting family court proceedings to resolve child custody and contact issues or to secure a financial settlement. When will the family mediation voucher scheme operate from? The scheme was introduced on the 26 March 2021 under Practice Direction 36V (Family Mediation Voucher Scheme). The practice direction will expire after a year and the mediation vouchers will only be available whilst funding lasts. Does the voucher scheme cover the cost of attending a MIAM? The family mediation voucher scheme doesn’t cover the cost of attending the mediation information and assessment meeting (referred to as a MIAM). This initial meeting with a mediator is designed to check that mediation is suitable before family mediation is commenced. To be eligible for the voucher, both parties to the family mediation must have attended a MIAM on or after the 26 March 2021. One can't have attended the MIAM before the 26 March 2021 and the other after the 26th. Can both parties to the family mediation receive a voucher? The £500 mediation voucher is per family and may not cover the total cost of the mediation sessions as your mediation costs will depend on your choice of family mediator and the number of mediation  sessions that you require. The voucher is paid direct to the mediator, rather than given to either party to the mediation to use to pay the mediator’s bill. The £500 mediation voucher is inclusive of vat.   Is there a financial eligibility cap for the mediation voucher? There are no financial eligibility criteria for the family mediation voucher. Anyone who meets the MIAM date and mediation subject criteria may be able to secure a £500 mediation voucher to cover or contribute towards their mediation costs. Who pays for family mediation if a mediation voucher isn’t available? If you can't secure a family mediation voucher because: One of you attended a MIAM before the 26 March 2021 or You are mediating on a financial settlement only and there are no childcare issues to mediate or The mediation voucher scheme runs out of funds or For any other reason. Then the usually the mediator will check if either one of you is eligible for legal aid to cover the cost of mediation. If neither of you are eligible for mediation legal aid then you will need to agree on how the mediation sessions will be funded. You can either agree to share the mediation costs equally or come to another agreement, such as that one of you will pay for the mediation sessions or that the mediation sessions will be paid for out of your joint savings account. Even if you do secure a £500 mediation voucher, if you go to a number of mediation sessions the voucher may not the total mediation cost. That’s why it is best to agree on how you will share any mediation cost in excess of the £500 voucher. Does the mediation voucher cover the cost of mediation support? The mediation voucher doesn’t cover the cost of mediation support from a divorce solicitor. However, mediation support can be very cost effective. Taking legal advice before and/or after mediation sessions can help you understand: Your legal options, such as the type of court application that you could commence or your former partner could start. The likely range of orders that a court could make if you or your former partner started court proceedings. The potential costs of applying for a court order or responding to a court application and the timescale for completion of the court proceedings. The impact of any issues raised in mediation. For example, financial disclosure issues raised during the mediation process where you are trying to reach a financial settlement. Whether proposals put forward in mediation are within the range of orders that a family court would be likely to make if either you or your ex-partner were to start family law court proceedings. Legal advice on any aspects that are making it hard to reach a compromise in mediation. For example, if one of you believes that you have a legal right to equal parenting or one of you believes that an inheritance or a pension isn’t relevant to any financial settlement discussions. The legal process to sort out your divorce or to draft a separation agreement or to secure a financial court order or draw up a parenting plan and the legal status of a financial court order or parenting plan.   By receiving mediation support and getting the legal advice you need during the mediation process you may be more likely to have the confidence to reach a mediated agreement. Evolve Family Law can help you with independent specialist family law advice before and after mediation to support and guide you, including advice on any of the post-mediation documentation that may be necessary.Divorce and family law solicitors For legal help with your divorce and mediation support for your financial settlement or childcare arrangements call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, North Manchester but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Divorce & Separation Blog:
Robin Charrot
May 13, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Sweet moments of fatherhood concept, happy father hold embrace cute little child daughter, smiling black family daddy and small kid hugging cuddling enjoying time together at home

How Often Can a Father See His Child?

One of the most emotive topics after a separation or divorce is whether the children should live with their mother or father. Other key questions are whether the care of the children should be shared equally, and if the children are going to live with their mother, how often can the father see his child or children. In this blog, children law solicitor Louise Halford examines the law on child contact after a separation or divorce and answers your question ‘how often can a father see his child?’ ​Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation, divorce and children law matters. For help with contact and childcare arrangements after your separation or for representation in a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law has offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Do children always stay with their mothers after a separation or divorce? It used to be the case that after a separation or divorce most children lived with their mother and the father had contact. In many families that remains the position. However, instead of it always being assumed that a child will live with their mother nowadays all options are on the table, including the child living with his or her father and the child having contact with the mother or a shared care arrangement. It isn’t so much that the law has changed but societal attitudes and working practices have changed. For a long time, the court has focussed on what children law order is in the best interests of the child when determining child custody and contact applications. When, in the past, a father traditionally went out to work and the mother was a housewife or worked part-time, it was often thought best that a child should continue to live with the primary care giver or the parent who was available to meet their day-to-day needs. With both parents now often working full-time or with a father being able to work from home, the best interests of the child may be best served by the child living with their father or a shared care arrangement. Is a father entitled to shared care if he wants to co-parent his child after a separation or divorce?  Although much is written in the media about shared parenting being the norm or ideal, neither a mother or father is ‘entitled’ to share the care of their child after a separation or divorce. That’s because if parents can't agree on the childcare arrangements for their child and the court is asked to make a child arrangement order, the court will assess what order is in the child’s best interests.  Shared care (whether that is an exactly equal split of time or a sixty-forty split of time or other percentage) may be the best option for the child but not necessarily. For example, shared care may not be likely to work if: Parents don’t live, or are not intending to live, relatively close to one another to ensure that the child is able to get to school from both homes. The child prefers to have one home base, rather than moving between homes. One parent’s work commitments mean that if parenting was shared the reality is that the child would be looked after during that parent’s parenting time by professional carers or through use of school clubs. The parents don’t get on at all and won't cooperate over parenting, making frequent handovers for the child disruptive and distressing. Shared care can be the ideal but it isn’t practical for every family and therefore it is not in the best interests of every child whose parents separate or divorce. When looking at childcare arrangements it is best not to think of ‘entitlement’ but what arrangements are likely to meet your child’s needs. Most children experts say that spending an equal amount of time with a child isn’t the key to successful parenting but ensuring that the time you do spend with your children is ‘quality ’ time. For time to be quality time it doesn’t have to be expensive outings, but being able to set aside time to read with younger children, help with homework, or transport to football practice or ballet club or just talking and taking an interest in what your children are doing at school or when they are with their other parent. How often can a father see his child? Fathers often want to know the worst-case and best-case scenarios of how often they will be able to see their child after a separation or divorce. So much depends on your personal circumstances.  For example, contact will be restricted if a mother successfully applies for a relocation order to enable her to move overseas with the child or contact will be more limited if a father has to move to a new area in the UK because of his work commitments. Many parents agree to split the week so children get to spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent. For other families, the better option is for a child to live with one parent during the week and have midweek and alternate weekend contact. Contact with the child every weekend would mean that the residential parent of a school age child would not get to spend any quality time with the child. There is therefore no set rule about how often a father can see his child. That can be frustrating for some fathers who want certainty after a separation or divorce but not having set rules means that parents can work out what child contact arrangements or co-parenting works best for their family or the court can be asked to make a child arrangement order after assessing what is best for your child rather than following a fixed formula.    Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors If you need help with your separation or divorce or representation in a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Apr 29, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Serious sad woman thinking over a problem

Can You Be Legally Separated and Live in the Same House?

For those who have decided to separate or divorce, either because of COVID-19 related pressures or the global pandemic has reinforced the decision to go your separate ways, the next step is for one of you to move out of the family home. You should not permanently leave the family home without first taking legal advice. However, as Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries where neither the husband nor wife can easily move out of the family home. Enquirers want to know if they can be legally separated and live in the same house as their estranged spouse. ​Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors   Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from your separation to divorce proceedings, agreeing child custody and contact arrangements and financial settlements to representation in financial and children law proceedings. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call. ​What is a legal separation? A legal separation is where a husband and wife obtain a decree of judicial separation from the family court. If you haven’t heard of judicial separation it isn’t surprising as applications for judicial separation are rare because: If you obtain a judicial separation you will still need to get divorced at a later stage, for example, if you want to remarry or if you want a clean break financial court order preventing any further financial claims between husband and wife. You don’t need a legal separation for official purposes. You can just tell agencies, such as the Inland Revenue or the Local Authority, that you are separated. Do I need a legal separation? People often assume that they need a legal separation or judicial separation decree, but they don’t unless they have a religious or cultural objection to a divorce and want to formalise their separation. If you plan to get divorced later, you don’t need a judicial separation first as you can sort out your financial affairs by signing a separation agreement. Can you separate and live in the same house? You can separate or even divorce and still live in the same house. Some couples think that if they continue to live together, they can't get divorced but that isn’t correct. Under current English divorce law, you can get divorced if you have lived ‘separate and apart’ for two years provided your husband or wife consents to the divorce. It is best to take some legal advice about the grounds for divorce proceedings as you may not need to wait two years before being able to start divorce proceedings. Living separate and apart in the same household, for the purposes of divorce proceedings, means that there must be a degree of separation between husband and wife. For example, you can't cook for one another or do the other person’s laundry or ironing or shopping. Separating and your spouse won't leave the family home. If you have taken the decision to separate and your husband or wife won't leave the family home then if things become impossible in the one house there are options, such as: An application for an injunction order – an occupation order can give you the right to occupy the family home to the exclusion of your partner until long term ownership or sale of the property is determined by agreement between you or by the court in divorce and financial settlement proceedings. An application for spousal maintenance so that you can afford to leave the family home and rent somewhere until long term ownership or sale of the family home is decided. It is best to take specialist legal advice from a divorce solicitor before leaving the family home and moving into rented accommodation. Separating and can't sell the family home. Most people would agree that it is a tricky housing market so whilst you may have decided to separate or divorce you may not be able to sell the family home. You can be separated or divorced and still be living at the family home though for some it won't be a very comfortable experience. Even in the best situations where you are splitting up amicably it can still feel as if you are in limbo with your life suspended until you can achieve the sale of the family home. One thing that can reduce the stress of waiting for the sale of the family home is to have a financial agreement in place so you know who will get what when the property does sell. Although you may have concerns about having to drop the sale price on the family home, a fair financial settlement can still be reached if you don’t agree to accept a fixed amount from the sale proceeds but instead you each agree to receive a percentage of the net proceeds of sale. That way you are both protected, whether house values move up or down. In divorce proceedings a financial settlement can be reached by agreement or after financial settlement proceedings but in either scenario you should obtain a financial court order that records how all your assets will be divided, including the equity in the family home, savings, and pension provision. If you are separated but don’t want to start divorce proceedings yet it is still best to record the financial settlement that you have agreed to avoid one of you changing your mind about how much you should get from the sale proceeds when you have found a buyer for the house. A document, called a separation agreement, should be prepared to formalise the agreement reached.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors The team of specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law can help you with your separation and divorce proceedings, as well as child custody and contact and your financial settlement. For advice on your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.   The Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.Latest From Our Wills & Probate Blog:
Robin Charrot
Apr 22, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Can My Ex Take My Child?

Can My Ex Take My Child?

If parents are honest about their fears surrounding coming out of a bad relationship one of their biggest worries is whether their ex can take their child. Sometimes it is just a fear as your ex has no interest in seeing the child or providing child support. In other family scenarios your ex-husband, wife or partner may want to take the child as they know that is the one thing that will really devastate you or they may genuinely want to look after the child as much as you do but the two of you can't agree on the child care arrangements. In this blog our specialist children solicitor looks at whether your ex can take your child and your options.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and children law matters. For help with concerns about childcare arrangements after separation or for representation in child arrangements order proceedings call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Will the police help if my ex takes my child? If your child is taken your first thought may be to call the police and, in any situation, where you fear that your child is at risk of harm then that is the best thing to do. Risk of harm is always a balancing act so whilst you may think that your child is being harmed by staying with their other parent the police may not think so unless there is some evidence that the child is at risk.   The police won’t remove a child from a parent’s care to police a family court order over child care arrangements if there is no apparent risk of immediate harm as generally the police will say that other than in an emergency situation family and children law matters should be sorted out by the family court. That should not stop you from calling them though in situations where you do have genuine welfare concerns, such as a parent with anger management issues where there were domestic violence issues in the relationship or a parent who appears under the influence of drink or drugs and incapable of safely caring for the child.   There are some family scenarios where it is best to get a family court order so that you can show the order to the police. For example, if you fear that your ex-partner will take your child overseas without your agreement you can make an application to the family court for a prohibited steps order to prevent the child being taken abroad. If you are concerned that you or your child is at risk of domestic violence then you can apply to the court for an injunction order. If you are worried about the safety of contact you can ask the court to make a child arrangements order. A child arrangements order can stop direct contact or say that contact should only take place if supervised or can set limits and conditions to the contact.  Take legal advice if you are worried that your ex may take your child As every family situation is different it is best to take legal advice on your circumstances and best options for your family. For example, you may be worried about your ex-husband or ex-wife planning to move within the UK for work reasons and taking your child with them, thus preventing regular contact visits. Alternatively, you may fear that your ex-partner wants to return overseas to their country of origin or where relatives are already based, taking the children with them so at best you can only get to see the children once a year.   Children law solicitors say that if you are worried about your ex taking your child it is best to take specialist legal advice as quickly as possible because: A children solicitor will be able to tell you where you stand legally and often knowing what your rights are can help manage your worries It may be necessary to apply for an urgent court order, such as an injunction order or action to prevent child abduction to an overseas country with the making of a prohibited steps order A solicitor’s letter to your ex-partner or an application for a child arrangements order may be needed to formalise the child care arrangements and ensure that your ex-partner is aware of the consequences of breaching your agreement or the child arrangements order.   What happens if a parent breaches a court order and takes a child? If a parent breaches a family court order, such as a child arrangements order, prohibited steps order or specific issue order, enforcement action can be taken. It can be tempting to apply straight to court to enforce an order but it is best to take children law legal advice before doing so. For example, if a parent has returned a child home late on one occasion starting enforcement action for a breach of a child arrangements order may not be appropriate. However, if the late return on a Sunday night is affecting schooling and is a regular occurrence despite requests and letters, it may be appropriate to take action.   Children solicitors say that if an order is breached you may need to take speedy action. For example, if a parent keeps a child after a contact visit was due to end you don’t want to leave things so that the other parent can then argue that the status quo of the child living with you has changed and that the child is now happy and settled with them. In cases where child abduction overseas is feared then it is vital that speedy action is taken to avoid the child being taken abroad. That is because if the child is taken to a country that isn’t a signatory to the Hague Convention it may be hard to get an order for the child’s immediate return to the UK.   Whatever the nature of the breach of court order, the court can enforce the order and impose penalties on the parent who breached the court order. The penalties will depend on the court’s view about the circumstances of the breach of court order as well as the severity and frequency of the breach. The court can: Impose a community service order and order a parent in breach of a child arrangement order to carry out up to 200 hours of community service Fine the parent in breach of the court order In rare cases a prison sentence can be imposed on the parent in breach of the court order Order a parent to pay the other parent compensation if the breach of the court order led to loss, such as unpaid time off work.   As every breach of a court order has a different impact on a family it is best to take legal advice before applying to enforce an order as it may, for example, be preferable, to apply back to court to vary the existing child arrangements order or other type of children order.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and children law matters. If you are worried about your ex taking your child or need representation in child arrangements order proceedings call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Apr 09, 2021   ·   7 minute read
Couple with divorce contract and ring on desk. Divorce

The Impact of Divorce on Your Income

When you take the decision to separate you may not realise just how big an impact your divorce may have on your future income. The financial services company, Legal and General has revealed that women’s income falls by a third and men’s income by 18% on divorce.  In this blog we look at the impact of divorce on your income.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements . For help call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law have offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call. The divorce statistics You may be shocked by the divorce statistics and question why a woman’s income on divorce should reduce by more than men’s income.   The Legal and General research suggests that there are several factors behind the statistics, such as: The reality is that many women earn less than their male counterparts during the marriage because of career choices and childcare In divorce financial settlements women are more likely to ask her for and get a financial settlement that includes the family home or more than half the equity in the sale proceeds of the family home. If you get a greater share or all the equity in the property, then you are less likely to be awarded spousal maintenance or to receive a share of their husband's pension fund and the making of a pension sharing order.   Will a divorce impact on my income? When a couple separate it is usual to go from a two-income household to a one-income household with a consequent reduction in income.   If a reduced income means that you can’t manage to pay your reasonable outgoings, the court can make an order that the other party to the marriage pay spousal maintenance. The payment of spousal maintenance can continue indefinitely until terminated by death, re-marriage of the receiving party or further order. Alternatively, the court can order that spousal maintenance is paid on a time limited basis.   What amounts to reasonable outgoings will depend on the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as well as the affordability of the current outgoings considering: The ability of one spouse to afford to pay spousal maintenance and still meet their own reasonable outgoings and The ability of the other party to the marriage to either find work or increase their earnings capacity so they can meet all or a greater proportion of their own reasonable outgoings.   Divorce solicitors will tell you that when it comes to income on divorce and whether your respective incomes will be shared (through a spousal maintenance order) comes down to a range of factors, such as: Whether you have young children to support and whether the care of children impacts on your earnings capacity Whether any disability or age impacts on your ability to seek employment or increase your income Your income and earnings capacity The extent of your reasonable outgoings The length of the marriage Other factors, such as the existence of a prenuptial agreement that sets out whether and how long spousal maintenance should be payable on separation and divorce.   Perhaps, just as importantly, parity of income on divorce can come down to a question of priorities. You may want to forgo a pension sharing order on divorce as your priority isn’t income on retirement but instead getting the equity in the family home so you can rehouse yourself without a mortgage. Alternatively, you may want the capitalisation of your spousal maintenance payments so that you get a cash lump sum instead of ongoing monthly payments.     Whatever your priorities it is best on separation or divorce to take legal advice from a specialist divorce solicitor so you can understand the range of options for your financial settlement and work out which one is best for you and your family. Without expert legal and financial advice, you may not appreciate the value of the pension fund belonging to your spouse and how a pension sharing order could be to your financial advantage.   The divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law will not only look at your financial settlement options but they will also reality test them with you. For example, if your priority is to keep the family home and you are willing to forgo a pension sharing order or spousal maintenance to keep the property then this may not be a realistic or best option if you can’t afford to pay your reasonable outgoings on the property as you aren’t getting spousal maintenance or a pension sharing order. Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements .Call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form for expert legal advice with your financial settlement. Evolve Family Law have offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call. Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
Robin Charrot
Mar 25, 2021   ·   5 minute read
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How to Divorce a Narcissist

As Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors we are asked ‘how can I divorce a narcissist?’ and the equally valid question ‘can I divorce a narcissist?’. When you are married to a narcissist it can feel as if there isn’t a way out of the relationship. There is always a way out and, in this blog, we look at your best options if you want to divorce a narcissist.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors Getting divorced is never easy, especially when you are married to a narcissist. For specialist divorce, children law and financial settlement advice speak to the divorce experts at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or contact us online. We are available for all your family law needs and for representation in court proceedings and offer appointments by phone and video call.  Can I Divorce a Narcissist? When you are married to a narcissist and subject to constant belittlement it can be hard to contemplate feeling empowered enough to start divorce proceedings, especially if you are told by your husband, wife or civil partner that you can't leave and you can't get divorced.   Often the question isn’t about whether you have the grounds to start divorce proceedings against a narcissist but whether their threats that you will ‘walk away with nothing’ or ‘you won't see the children again’ are realistic. As divorce solicitors we find that many people who are married to spouses with narcissistic personality disorders wait a long time before taking legal advice because  their partners have told them that divorce proceedings will result in them losing custody of their children or not having enough money to look after themselves and the children. That is very rarely true but it is hard to believe that your divorce solicitor is right when the person you are married to is so adamant in their beliefs.   The first steps in divorcing a narcissist are: Recognising the problem – that is harder than you may think if you have been subject to demeaning comments for years and lost a lot of your confidence Get help – that can be from your GP, a counsellor, friend or family member – it is important to have emotional and practical help if you are getting divorced and especially if you are divorcing a narcissist Take legal advice – a specialist divorce solicitor can help reassure you about your legal rights and give you an idea of the likely financial settlement and child care arrangements so that you have the confidence to decide whether you want to start divorce proceedings Focus on what is important to you – if you have been living with a narcissist it is hard to gather the confidence and determination to start divorce proceedings. That’s why it is important to focus on why you are doing it. For example, your motivation may be not wanting your children to be affected by your partner’s narcissistic personality disorder or you not wanting to be in the same position in ten or more years’ time. Remember, that it is what is important to you that’s the crucial point. That means you should not substitute the views of friends or family for the control imposed on you by your narcissistic partner as you need to look at what’s best for you.     How to divorce a narcissist   If you are married to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder it can be a worry about whether to mention the full extent of your partner’s behaviour to your divorce solicitor. If you don’t live with a narcissist then someone’s reluctance to open up about their partner’s narcissistic personality traits can be surprising. However, a reluctance to be fully open with your divorce solicitor can be down to: Embarrassment Fear that you won't be believed Worry that you will be thought to be the one with the ‘problem’ Concern that your partner will react badly if they think that you have said things about them Thinking that it is pointless to say anything about your partner’s behaviour as it won't make any difference.   All of those are very valid reasons why you may be concerned about talking about narcissistic personality disorder traits, such as: Your partner’s belief that they are brilliant and exceptional and, of course, always in the right Your partner’s belief that you are in the wrong and worthless in comparison to them so your views and feelings don’t count Extreme reactions if you or anyone else questions your partner’s sense of self-importance or entitlement.   A narcissist is a challenge for anyone who lives with them as well as for divorce solicitors and the family court. That’s why it is important that you instruct a divorce solicitor with experience of dealing with those with narcissistic personality disorders and that you tell your divorce solicitor about the extent of the issues you’ve faced so they can help you.   You may not think that it matters whether or not your divorce solicitor knows about your partner’s narcissistic personality disorder traits but it is important. Examples of why it’s important are: If you have children then your partner’s narcissistic personality may be affecting the children and even influencing how they treat you as they are so used to seeing you belittled by your partner. That may influence your solicitor’s advice on the best child care arrangements to suit you and your circumstances and to reduce ongoing emotional harm to your children If your partner is a narcissistic person then family mediation is unlikely to be a sensible option to try to resolve financial or child care matters as your partner won't listen to anyone’s views other than their own so you’d be better using either family arbitration or court proceedings to reach an enforceable decision If your partner exerts coercive and controlling behaviour then you may want to minimise future financial links with them. This could, for example, involve agreeing a clean break financial settlement rather than ongoing spousal maintenance so you get more capital rather than having to rely on your former partner paying regular spousal maintenance payments to you If your partner is abusive you may need the protection of an injunction order or a child arrangement order to best protect you and the children.     How can Evolve Family Law help me?   At Evolve Family Law our divorce solicitors will be very honest with you and tell you that they know, from experience, that starting divorce proceedings against someone with a narcissistic personality disorder is hard. You’ll therefore need all the help and expert support you can get. A narcissistic person needs to feel that they are in control and the winner. That may mean you have to start financial court proceedings to get financial disclosure from your partner  and get a fair financial court order or mean you need a child arrangement order to restrict their contact with the children or an injunction order to stop the coercion and domestic abuse.   Our specialist divorce solicitors are not only experienced in securing these types of orders but are also adept at finding a way through divorce proceedings involving a partner with narcissistic personality traits.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors For specialist divorce, children law and financial settlement advice speak to the divorce experts at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or contact us here. We are available for all your family law needs and for representation in court proceedings and offer appointments by phone and video call. Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
Louise Halford
Feb 10, 2021   ·   7 minute read
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How Long Does it Take to Get a Child Arrangement Order?

Cheshire children law solicitors are often asked ‘how long does it take to get a child arrangements order?’ It is an understandable question as any parent is naturally anxious about starting children law court proceedings and wants to have a good idea about the likely timescales for getting a child arrangements order as well as the cost and prospects of success. In this blog children law solicitor Louise Halford looks at how long it takes to get a child arrangements order.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors For advice about children law or making a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law solicitors, based in Holmes Chapel Cheshire and Whitefield North Manchester, on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment.What is a child arrangements order? Not everyone knows what a UK child arrangements order is. That’s because unlike the old child custody orders the name isn’t particularly clear but child custody and child access orders were relabelled as child residence and child contact orders and the latest renaming is the ‘child arrangements order’.   A child arrangements order can combine both custody and contact as the order can say where the child lives (there could be a primary carer or a shared carer arrangement) and with whom the child should have contact with. The contact could be regular overnight contact, mid-week contact, holiday contact or even indirect contact.     Does a court automatically make a child arrangements order if parent’s separate or divorce?       UK children law says that the court should not make a child arrangements order unless the order is necessary because there is a dispute between separated parents that they can't resolve by agreement or family mediation. If parents can't agree on the appropriate and best childcare arrangements for their child after a separation or divorce either parent, whether you are an unmarried or married parent, can apply to the family court for a child arrangements order.   How long does it take to get a child arrangements order? It is difficult to answer the question ‘how long does it take to get a child arrangements order?’ as much depends on the family circumstances. Experienced children law solicitors have been known to secure an urgent child arrangements order in a matter of hours. For example, if a parent is worried that the other parent is under the influence of drink or drugs and it is unsafe to return a young child to them but the parent won't accept that or get help or agree to the child staying with the other parent until they are capable of looking after the child again.   When the court is asked to make an urgent child arrangements order it will normally last for a short period of time until the court can assess what long term child arrangements order is in the child’s long term best interests.   In other child arrangements order applications it can take months to secure a child arrangements order. For example, if one parent says that a child won't see the other parent or that the parent has emotionally or physically abused the child the court may want to carry out detailed investigations and order reports before making a decision on contact and what child arrangements order is best for the child. That sort of extended timescale can be very frustrating for a parent, especially where false allegations have been made against them or they fear parental alienation is taking place. The court proceedings can take a long time to determine as the family judge may want to hold a series of interim court hearings (for example, a finding of fact hearing to determine if the parent’s allegations of abuse are true) or to order an independent assessment by a CAFCASS officer or a report by a child psychologist.   If you can't reach an agreement on the arrangements for your child then it is best to speak to an experienced children law solicitor on the likely timescale to get a child arrangements order as they will listen to why you need a child arrangements order and your concerns, discuss any complexities, and then be able to give you a realistic timescale for the court proceedings and the prospects of the court making interim child arrangements orders until the final hearing of the court application.            Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors   At North Manchester and Cheshire based Evolve Family Law we recognise that not being able to agree on child care arrangements and applying for a child arrangements order can be a stressful experience. For pragmatic specialist children law advice from friendly and approachable children law solicitors call Evolve Family Law to discuss how we can help you with your child arrangements order application or to discuss the potential legal costs of going to court for a child custody order. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment so you can speak to an experienced Cheshire children law solicitor. ​Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Feb 04, 2021   ·   5 minute read