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Nuptial Agreements: Where are we now?

Antonia Kirby
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You will be held to the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as long as it is fair. From the days of my studies though, and the early part of my career, I always had it drummed into my head that Nuptial Agreements were in no way enforceable, and...

National Surrogacy Week

Kim Lehal
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It’s National Surrogacy Week , raising awareness about modern families and about surrogacy. As this is a complex evolving area of law, it is therefore important that legal advice is sought as early as possible. Here is our legal guide to becoming a...

Am I a Cohabitee or a Common Law Spouse?

Katie Phillips
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The concept of a ‘Common Law’ spouse is not a new one, but over the years the term has gone out of fashion so, I had believed the misconception was finally disappearing. I was therefore surprised to see the BBC using the term in their article ...

Valentine's Fallout

Liz Headley
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Well it’s the morning of February 15th and you might be basking in the afterglow of a very romantic, loving evening where you were showered with compliments, good food and other gifts. You might be in a right old ‘strop’ because your...

Human Rights Act Claims - Guidance Given

Matthew Montanaro
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When things go wrong with children being looked after or under the watchful eye of the state, damages claims can sometimes be brought for breaches of their Human Rights. What can go wrong? Often it is simply that the local authority has delayed so long in...

The Christmas You Want

Liz Headley
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If this has been the year where a significant relationship has ended for you, you are probably approaching Christmas and New Year with some ambivalence. These mixed feelings are very normal and natural as you are probably facing circumstances that feel...

Sweeping reforms sought by The Times

Katie Phillips
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I was interested to see on the front page of The Times recently that they are calling for an end to “unjust” and “outdated” divorce laws, and have started a campaign to modernise family law. One of the calls by The Times has...

Divorce increases to highest level since 2009

Rachel Adams
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Figures released in the news last week show that the number of divorces last year in England and Wales have increased to their highest level since 2009. It is believed that the reason for higher divorce levels is due to ‘household debt’ and...

Shortlisted as Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year

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We are delighted to announce that Gemma Kelsey , an associate within the Family department at Brethertons, has been shortlisted for ‘Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year’ at the upcoming Family Law Awards . The family law awards, which...

Teacher's Bias

Liz Headley
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Well it’s that time of year again when a lot of young people will be embarking on the next stage of their journey through the education system. Depending on their exam results, either GCSEs or A Levels, they will now have a better idea of what the near...

Making the most of your time

Liz Headley
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Two very diverse events recently have prompted me to think about writing this blog, the first was something that my son showed me that had been shared on Facebook. It concerned a Professor lecturing a group of students in America, I’m not sure...

Permanently excluded from primary school

Liz Headley
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I watched a documentary last Wenesday evening about the rising number of primary school aged children who are being permanently excluded from mainstream education. This means that pupils as young as 5 years old are behaving in such an extreme way –...

Keeping Your Children Occupied

Liz Headley
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Are you a single parent with children? How are you feeling about the next six - seven weeks?  The long summer school holidays are stretching ahead of you and in all probability your kids will be really looking forward to the break and not having to go...

A Different Sort Of Holiday

Liz Headley
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You’ve sorted out the holiday wardrobe, you’ve bought a generous supply of sun creams, checked the passports and got your money supply sorted. The holiday reading is in the case sandwiched in between those exotic, glamorous garments that you...

Separated Family Holidays

Liz Headley
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As the long school summer holiday approaches I find myself having more and more frequent conversations with children and young people regarding their holidays with separated parents . Getting two holidays instead of one could be construed as one of the...

Can Anyone Measure Unhappiness?

Liz Headley
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How sad it was to read last week of a woman not being allowed to escape an unhappy relationship because the judge decreed her reasons for wanting to end the 39 year marriage didn’t fit with his idea of what would make someone feel miserable and unloved...

Above All Else Keep Talking

Liz Headley
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Before the New Year I read an article in Business Insider UK that describes the results of a survey undertaken by the University of Virginia over a period of 6 years. It looked at the frequency of divorce among a total of 3597 couple who were asked two...

An Alternative Christmas Tale

Liz Headley
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Leading up to the festive period, I have taken the time to reflect on many workshops which I have run looking at the issues of separation around Christmas and domestic abuse.  In doing so I have written a short story which if you are going through a...

Lonely This Christmas

Liz Headley
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It’s the time of year when you turn on the radio and within minutes you will probably be hearing one of the classic Christmas songs. It could be Mariah singing, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ or Slade with good old Noddy screaming out...

What is a 'No Fault' Divorce?

Melanie Tubbs
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There are only 5 grounds upon which you can prove to the court that your marriage has broken down. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years’ separation and 5 years’ separation.  Around 95% of my clients come to me...

Is there such a thing as a 'Good Divorce'?

Liz Headley
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This week 28 November to 2 December is ‘Good Divorce Week’, a national awareness campaign spearheaded by Resolution and I am fascinated by what is meant by a ‘good divorce’. Some may say that divorce can never be ‘good’...

Brethertons is judged Family Law Firm of the Year in the Midlands

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Last night at a glittering awards ceremony at the Bloomsbury Big Top, our Family Department were delighted to receive the award for Family Law Regional Firm of the Year in the Midlands. Hotly contested by other large legal services providers, Brethertons...

Brethertons is judged Family Law Firm of the Year in the Midlands

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Last night at a glittering awards ceremony at the Bloomsbury Big Top, our Family Department were delighted to receive the award for Family Law Regional Firm of the Year in the Midlands. Hotly contested by other large legal services providers, Brethertons...

Creating Christmas Memories

Liz Headley
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At this time of year we are surrounded by Christmas adverts on television and in magazines. Whatever version you see, there is usually some reference to happy family times with presents, fun, food and laughter. Generations of families are often seen enjoying...

Creating Christmas Memories for Children with Two Homes

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Most of us treasure fond memories of family Christmases but it is becoming more and more common for children to experience Christmas in two separate homes and managing this can add additional stress to what already can be quite a challenging time for...

Managing Your Child's Wedding Day as a Separated Parent

Liz Headley
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This topic is one very close to my heart as my youngest daughter is due to get married very soon. Her Dad and I separated over 17 years ago so we have had plenty of time to ‘let go of the past’ to use a cliché, however it is exactly this...

Could 'Facebragging' Influence the End of your Relationship?

Liz Headley
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I always knew this day would come, the day I would have to come out of the closet and officially announce that I am a Grumpy Old Woman and that in some ways I fervently dislike social media! There, it’s out now for all to see and in some cases no...

Obsession and Possession

Liz Headley
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After recently writing a blog about parental alienation (link here ) and wondering whether this was more likely if the parental relationship was abusive, I was drawn to think more about how often I have to say to clients that they are the victim of...

Creating your family an alternative way

Kim Lehal
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We were at the Alternative Parenting Show on Saturday and what a show it was! Fertility experts, surrogacy experts, fostering & adoption experts, legal experts, community networks, parents and celebrities all sharing their experiences under one roof for...

Alternative Family Week - Adopting

Kim Lehal
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This week is Alternative Family Week - a week dedicated to raising awareness about modern families and giving advice to everyone who would love to be parents. Here is our legal guide to becoming a parent through adoption. Adoption In order to adopt a...

Surrogacy in Alternative Family Week

Kim Lehal
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Alternative Family Week - your guide to surrogacy This week is Alternative Parenting Week - a week dedicated to raising awareness about modern families and giving advice to everyone who would love to be parents. Here is our legal guide to becoming a...

Parental Alienation

Liz Headley
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I was saddened to read in an article in The Guardian that Parental Alienation Syndrome in children was on the increase – saddened but not necessarily surprised. In my role as a consultant counsellor speaking to parents who are going through...

Domestic Abuse

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Domestic Abuse has historically been referred to as Domestic Violence. Domestic Abuse however, is not just physical violence against someone. Domestic Abuse also covers emotional and psychological abuse as well as coercive behaviour. Many people are often...

Child Maintenance - The Basics

Josh Russell
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Figures from the DWP published recently indicate that 26% of people who contacted the Child Maintenance Service (or CSA, as it used to be referred to) between February 2015 and January 2016 have set up a Family Based Arrangement. But many people do not...

I'm Getting Divorced - Why Do I Need To Make a Will?

Sally Clark
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The short answer is that everyone should have an up to date Will to ensure that their wishes are put into effect after their death. However, it is particularly important to check whether you need to make, or amend a Will when you are going through any...

Exam Results - Am I Good Enough?

Liz Headley
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Well today is the day that A Level students will find out whether they have attained the required grades to progress on their chosen path, next Thursday GCSE students will face the same situation. There will no doubt be tears, tantrums and celebrations and...

The Torment of Not Being Part of Your Child's Holiday

Liz Headley
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I have just been reading an article in the Guardian on how to survive your ex taking your children on holiday and it has brought home to me how many of the people that I speak to struggle with a myriad of emotions when they have to face this. It would be...

Reasons for separation and divorce

Liz Headley
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I was interested to read some research by Co-op Legal Services around the reasons why couples choose to divorce in the UK. I wasn’t unduly surprised that top of the list was “An inappropriate relationship with someone else” but quite what...

Should separated parents be friends for the sake of their kids?

Liz Headley
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If separated parents try to maintain an overly friendly relationship with each other it can be very confusing for the children, especially the younger ones.    If the kids have been given a clear, firm message that Mummy and Daddy no longer love...

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday...

Liz Headley
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If you’re as ancient as me you will remember Cliff Richard extolling the joys of a Summer holiday – “fun and laughter for a week or two” - well, for some couples the very idea of spending two long weeks together with their children...

Maintaining Strong Family Links after Divorce

Liz Headley
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One of the sad repercussions of family breakdown is the potential dismantling of the extended family. If children predominantly live with one parent it can sometimes be difficult for the non resident parent to find the time and opportunity to make sure a...

The Hidden Wounds of Domestic Abuse

Liz Headley
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Recently,  Linda Jones brought our attention to Operation Encompass; a scheme whereby schools are informed if there has been an incident of domestic abuse in a child’s home to which the child has been witness. This feels like a big step...

Helping children through their parents' separation

Liz Headley
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Some interesting news has recently appeared on the BBC website about how “a leading public health expert” has expressed a view that UK parents should receive government funded lessons on parenting children.  Divorce through the eyes of a...

What Court Orders can I apply for in relation to my children?

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Following separation it is often difficult to make arrangements for the children to spend time with both parents and is often the biggest disagreement that continues for years following. What is always important to consider is what is best for the...

International Marriages - can I get divorced in the UK?

Simon Craddock
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With many people relocating to different countries around the world and couples choosing to marry abroad now, this can sometimes cause confusion as to where people can legally start divorce proceedings if their marriage breaks down. It is not as simple as...

Bird's Nest Custody - Children Come First

Josh Russell
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Separation or divorce is always an incredibly emotional and stressful time for anyone involved, especially for children. Parents are always advised to communicate effectively with one another for the benefit of the children but a number of separating...

Gary Lineker on Divorce - Deadly Strike or Own Goal?

Simon Craddock
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When – arguably - England’s greatest ever football striker, excellent TV football pundit and advertiser of a well known crisp company, Gary Lineker, speaks, people listen! His latest foray is an attack on the divorce system. Gary, having...

Divorce and Inheritance - do they have a claim?

Josh Russell
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An area that is often taken for granted in separating couples is the question of whether they are entitled to their spouse’s inheritance. The common theme seems to be that people assume they have an entitlement to anything held in their spouse’s...

Court fee on Divorce increases by 34%

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Yes you have read that correctly, this week the Court fee to start Divorce Proceedings has increased from £410 to £550! This increase has been in discussions for a long time, with the Ministry of Justice running a consultation from 22nd July...

Are you going on holiday this summer?

Melanie Tubbs
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If you have recently separated from your partner, you may not know what your rights and responsibilities are in respect of your children . It is not just the day to day arrangements that need to be sorted out but also the school holidays.   Holiday...

Child Abduction - it's no holiday!

Gemma Kelsey
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Madonna and Guy Ritchie have been in the news recently about their court case concerning their son Rocco. Reports are that Madonna has applied to withdraw her case under the “Hague Convention” or more informally referred to as ‘ child...

Do I have to divorce in order to gain financial stability?

Josh Russell
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Many people in the UK remain in volatile or unsuccessful marriages for many reasons and I am frequently told by prospective clients that they do not wish to seek a divorce ‘because of the children’ or because of ‘religious beliefs.’ A...

Separation Agreements - what are they?

Sally Clark
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In the UK, the amount of married couples separating is on the rise year after year. I often get asked if it is possible to resolve financial matters before deciding to formally end a marriage and start divorce proceedings. The answer is yes, a separation...

Domestic Violence

Josh Russell
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Domestic violence is unfortunately becoming increasingly common within England and Wales but thankfully measures are already in place to protect vulnerable spouses, partners and others affected. BBC News announced this morning that a new programme is...

A relationship is not just for Valentine's Day!

Liz Headley
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When I was young, a long, long time ago, Valentine's Day was just about letting someone know via a card that you were interested in them (aka fancied the pants off them!). Oh the excitement when you heard the rattle of the letterbox on February 14th, the...

Am I a common law husband or wife?

Sally Clark
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The very short answer to this question is “no”. Legally there is no such thing as a common law husband or wife. It is a very common misconception that if you live with another person for a period of time that you acquire rights in relation to...

Divorce - what you need to know

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With Newspapers and gossip magazines printing that Celebrities are getting 'quickie' divorces based on 'irreconcilable differences', it can be difficult to understand the real process of a divorce and how it works. To set the record...

Cheryl Fernandez Versini divorces JB!

Liz Headley
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Well speaking of January divorces none would appear to be quite as public as Cheryl Fernandez Versini’s! The decision to divorce from short term husband Jean-Bernard has obviously grabbed the attention of the tableaux newspapers and social media, all...

A January tale

Liz Headley
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Well, it’s all over now, the sparkle and gloss have disappeared, any manufactured energy and enthusiasm have visibly waned and the inevitable recognition that it’s finally finished has been accepted.   No I’m not talking about...

Do I have to move out?

Josh Russell
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When any relationship breaks down, whether it is a marriage, civil partnership or cohabiting relationship, there are often a few questions which are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. “Do I have to move out?” is one of the most common....

The darker side of Christmas

Liz Headley
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The media announced today that reports of ‘Domestic Violence and Anti Social behaviour’ (DVA) have risen by over 30% in the last 12 months in the UK. This could be perceived as encouraging, with possibly victims finding the courage to disclose...

All you need to know about mediation

Simon Craddock
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Over the last year as Legal Aid has been cut for many people, the Government and the Court have emphasised the route of mediation instead of costly Court proceedings. There are very limited circumstances where someone will now be eligible for Legal Aid and...

Should I stay or should I go?

Liz Headley
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As divorce rates rise in the Britain to make them some of the highest in Europe, individuals ask themselves this question more and more frequently. There is no easy answer, no set of tick box questions that will come up with the ‘right’ decision...

Peace and goodwill to all men... and women

Liz Headley
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Christmas, a time of peace and goodwill to all men (and women), or is it? For some separating or separated parents it can be a time that invites animosity and negative feelings toward each other, leaving their children in the middle of their conflict. There...

Consent Orders & financial remedy cases

Josh Russell
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In previous blogs , I have touched on different aspects of financial cases such as maintenance or the importance of obtaining a clean break . In these blogs, I stressed the importance, within any divorce, of obtaining a Consent Order dealing with all the...

Divorce after retirement: Too late to separate?

Liz Headley
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As the number of people reaching post-retirement age increases hopefully we can all look forward to a longer retirement. Will it be a happier time though? Can we look forward to making some of our dreams a reality with a partner we love? For some there will...

Divorce - Is it time for a change?

Josh Russell
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An area covered widely in the press recently is the question of an “amicable divorce .” The concept might seem peculiar in context when talking about the breakdown of a marriage, but the reality is that there are a large number of married...

Financial disclosure

Josh Russell
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Within any divorce, it is necessary to consider the need for a Court Order dealing with the family finances and ensuring you achieve a ‘Clean Break’ if possible.  In order to reach an agreement in respect of the matrimonial finances, it...

Maintenance - What is it? Am I entitled to it?

Josh Russell
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‘Maintenance’ is a topic that I am frequently asked to advise on. Whether this is in relation to entitlement, enforcement or variation, it is a topic which has a multitude of ambiguities.    So what is maintenance?   Strictly...

Maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents

Liz Headley
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In an ideal world, families would stay together and children would experience a healthy, balanced, loving relationship with both their parents whilst living in the same home. In reality this isn’t always possible and sometimes it is in everyone’s...

Flying the nest

Liz Headley
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September is the time of year when parents can suddenly be faced with an ‘empty nest’. It may be that the youngest child is off to university, going travelling or just wanting to live independently, leaving Mum and Dad on their own, having to...

International Surrogacy - are we the child's legal parents?

Kim Lehal
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In my experience, this is perhaps the most important but very rarely asked question. The first question is almost always - how can we bring our baby home? This is not surprising, given that creating life through surrogacy , often in cases where parents have...

The grandparent trap

Gemma Kelsey
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When relationships and marriages sadly breakdown, there is often such a focus on organising where the children are going to live and how much they will see the other parent, that grandparents can quite often get forgotten or overlooked.  Particularly...

Ashley Madison leak sparks rise in divorce

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Hitting the headlines last week was the news that international infidelity website, Ashley Madison, has been exposed to hackers after the personal details of millions of registered users were revealed in a devastating act of subterfuge. The scandal has...

Is yours a healthy relationship?

Liz Headley
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It’s a sad fact that some people remain in very unhealthy relationships and become completely diminished by them. Emotional abuse is often insidious and can be extremely difficult to recognise if it has always been part of a long term relationship....

The rules on taking children abroad - holidays and relocation

Sally Clark
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It might not be as simple as you think taking your children on holiday. Do not fall into the traps that many parents face when taking their children on a holiday abroad. What many parents don’t realise is that whether it is for a short period for a...

Valuing pensions

Linda Jones
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How do I value my pensions on divorce? Pension sharing upon divorce or dissolution is an area that often causes the most animosity in any case given that pension capital can sometimes be the largest asset. How Pensions are valued The value of pension...

How will my children react to news of my divorce?

Liz Headley
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In my last blog post I looked at the ideal way in which parents should break the news of their divorce to their children. In this post I consider how children might react. There could be a whole range of reactions to the news of the split and if parents...

Pre-nuptial agreements: Are they necessary?

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With the news of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s divorce hitting the headlines this week, the gossip columns are full of tales of woe from people going through a split that failed to sign a pre-nuptial agreement before their wedding. But what...

Clean Break - What is it? Do I need one? Why is it important?

Josh Russell
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There has been a lot of coverage in the news recently regarding divorcees coming back after several years of divorce to make financial claims against their ex-husband or wife. You may be familiar with the case of Dale Vince and his ex-wife Kathleen Wyatt. If...

How do I break the news of our divorce to my children?

Liz Headley
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Every year no fewer than 240,000 children in the UK experience the separation of their parents - more than one in three of them before their sixteenth birthday. An often overlooked factor of any divorce is the physical and emotional impact the breakdown of a...

Parental Responsibility: What does it mean and who is entitled to it?

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I have many people asking me what is parental responsibility and do I have it? It can be a scary situation when you are separating or divorcing from the mother or father of your children. What does it mean for the children? What rights and responsibilities...

Getting divorced? Protect yourself with a Financial Court Order

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A high profile case in the Supreme Court has hit the headlines this week. The case (Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC14) highlights the importance of getting your finances in order when going through divorce. 22 years after their divorce in 1992 and following a...

New beginnings: the next chapter

Liz Headley
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Guilt, anger, grief… Whether you’ve been married for two years or twenty, the emotions experienced after the break up of a relationship can be intense. We all know it’s good to talk, but to whom? Your family are caught in the middle, you...