Signing a Surname

Husbands Who Take on their Wife's Surname

Signing documents


The BBC has this week issued a report on the increasing number of husbands who have chosen to take their wife’s surname rather than the wife taking the husband’s family name. Whilst there is no reason a husband should not be able to take his wife’s surname, it is often a more difficult process. If a wife chooses to take her husband’s surname, as is the tradition, all that is usually required as evidence of the name change is a copy of the marriage certificate. However, if the husband chooses to take his wife’s surname, the husband may need to execute a change of name deed to avoid any difficulties with the passport agency, banks or other professional institutions.


Our family department at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd offers a range of services, including the drafting and execution of change of name deeds. We also offer expert advice relating to protecting your interests upon marriage, including advice on co-ownership of property and nuptial agreements. We also specialise in separation, divorce, finances and children matters and can offer a personal service to meet your specific needs.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here:

Divorce Split who gets the dog?

Cheryl Cole Dismisses Reports of a Split

Divorce Header

Cheryl Cole this morning dismissed reports of a split from her partner and father of her son, Liam Payne, instead focussing on her new charity project.

It remains to be seen whether the rumours of a break up are true and how this will affect the arrangements for their son, Bear. It is rumoured Liam holds a £54m fortune, Cheryl has only been valued at £20m. Reportedly Liam has called in Lawyers in an attempt to protect his wealth, although the parties are not married.

Here at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd we offer expert advice on all matters relating to children, including advice on contact arrangements and financial provision for children.

Our experienced lawyers also provide advice on all aspects of separation whether the parties are married or not, including advice relating to finances and how best to protect your interests.

We also offer family mediation, collaborative law and family arbitration within our broad range of services.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here


Moving on

8th January 2018 AKA "DIVORCE DAY"



The beginning of the year always brings with it an increase in instructions as couples make the decision to separate. For some the stress over the festive period was simply too much for the relationship to bear; for others perhaps the decision was made towards the end of the last year but put on hold to allow for “one last Christmas”. Additionally, the New Year is generally a time when we are expected to take stock of our lives and make changes to tackle things that we are not happy with and it stands to reason that this applies just as much to problems with a relationship as with the other areas of our lives such as health or fitness.

A decision to separate is not one to be taken lightly. It has significant consequences for all concerned and especially children. Consideration should always be given to whether the relationship can be saved and in this respect marriage counselling can be of significant benefit. If however the breakdown is irretrievable, early advice from a specialist family solicitor will ensure that you are aware of your options going forward so that you know where you stand in relation to a divorce, the financial arrangements resulting from the separation and also the arrangements for the children.

Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are specialist family solicitors in Hertford, Enfield and Bishops Stortford, able to offer advice and support in relation to divorce and other family law matters. We are also one of only a few solicitors able to offer the full range of process options including mediation, collaborative law and Arbitration. More information of the services we are able to offer is available on our website , including details of our fixed fee services or alternatively call 01992 558411.

Divorce Split who gets the dog?

Fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £750 plus VAT plus Court fee

Here at Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Ltd, we offer a fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £750 plus VAT plus Court fee

Our service enables you to be fully represented, by a qualified family specialist Solicitor, throughout your straightforward and undefended divorce for a one-off fixed fee payment.

Our experienced and dedicated family Solicitors will fully explain the divorce process to you and deal with any concerns or queries you may have. They understand that it can be a stressful, difficult time and they will take responsibility for the preparation of all relevant forms and will also deal with the Court on your behalf throughout the entire matter to conclusion.

Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Ltd are also able to offer expert advice in respect of all issues surrounding divorce or a relationship break up, such as advice on financial settlements as well as matters relating to children. We are one of an elite few firms in Hertfordshire and North London to offer all of the alternatives to going to Court such as; Negotiation, Mediation, Collaborative Law and Family Law Arbitration.

Contact us at our head office on 01992 558 411 or email

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Name and Shame in Divorce and Adultery Cases

tug-ropeThe government has introduced a new form in England and Wales to apply for divorce which invites the applicant to name and shame adulterers.

Although there is no actual obligation to fill in this box, the new form gives the impression that this is not the case, unless you read the small print. Applicants will also fill it in because it is there. The new box is an opportunity for the injured party to punish their cheating spouse. The guidance notes on the form advise it “is not normally necessary to name the person your spouse committed adultery with; you should only consider doing so if the petition is likely to be disputed” but how many aggrieved spouses who actually read these notes are going to ignore them?

What applicant’s often don’t know is that if someone is named on the application as having committed adultery with your husband or wife, they usually become a party to the court proceedings. This can cause an increase in costs and a delay to proceedings.

The question solicitors will be asking themselves now is what is this going to do for the legal system? We advise our client’s to keep the divorce petition as neutral as possible in order to reach a swift and amicable settlement thus keeping costs down, yet this form is an opportunity for the applicant to seek revenge which will, no doubt, invite “defended” divorces and lengthy litigation.

At Breeze and Wyles, our expert family lawyers in Essex, Hertfordshire and North London can advise how best to proceed with your divorce application so you can move forward with your life. When applying for a divorce, you must give one of these reasons – adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, you have lived apart for more than two years and your spouse agrees to the divorce or you have lived apart from your spouse for at least 5 years (your spouse does not have to agree). We can help you work through which is the most suitable option for you.

If you are wanting to divorce your spouse or formally separate from your civil partner, contact the family team on 01992 558 411 for help and advice.

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Husband left with less than 1/3 of assets after short marriage!

The Court of Appeal left solicitors with more questions than answers recently after ruling that factors such as a dual-career/income, separate finances, no children and a short marriage can be ample evidence to depart from the long standing principle of equal sharing on divorce.

The duration of Mr and Mrs Sharp’s marriage was approximately 6 years (including the initial period of cohabitation). The couple had similar incomes of roughly £100,000 per annum, however, Mrs Sharp received bonuses totalling approximately £10.5m during the course of the marriage. The couple kept their finances separate and even split their outgoings. Mr Sharp was not aware of the amount of bonus his wife received. Mr Sharp was deemed not to have contributed either in a domestic or business sense to his wife’s bonus and as a result received a settlement of £2m; just under a third of the parties’ total assets.Sharp Blog Picture

The decision in Sharp v Sharp suggests you may not have to share all assets accrued during your marriage with your spouse/civil partner. Of course such a decision perhaps leaves more questions than it answers; how long is a short marriage? Would the decision have been different if Mrs Sharp shared her bonuses?  As with all cases, the decision here is fact specific.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, our expert family lawyers in Essex, Hertfordshire and North London can advise how best to protect your assets at the outset with a pre-nuptial agreement and/or post nuptial agreement. In the event you face a divorce without such an agreement, we are able to guide you through the process at every step towards a fair settlement.

If you are arranging your finances with your spouse, civil partner or ex-partner, contact the family team on 01992 558 411 for help and advice.

Domestic Abuse Convention to be followed in UK.

On the 27th April 2017 The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 received royal assent.

The purpose of this act was to ratify (make official) the UK’s agreement to comply with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence which is also known as the Istanbul Convention.  

Violence in any form is unacceptable and although domestic abuse is perpetrated against men and women, statistics show that the majority of victims are female. The convention is based upon the understanding that Domestic Abuse is committed by men against women because they are women and as a way to sustain male power and control. The convention places an obligation upon the state to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. It is stated that there can be no real equality between men and women if women experience gender based violence and that states that turn a blind eye and do not actively take steps to tackle these issues are complicit.

Countries that ratify the convention are obliged to raise awareness and educate and encourage people to challenge gender stereotypes, harmful traditional practices and misogynistic attitudes, establish shelters, hotlines, medical services, counselling, legal aid, criminalise and actively prosecute all forms of domestic abuse whilst ensuring that culture, tradition or so called honour are not regarded as a defence. The convention also requires countries to give an annual progress report until they are able to say that they are compliant with the convention.

For current victims of domestic abuse there is support available and it is important to get quick, reliable and easy to understand advice to know what your options are. Our family department is able to offer advice in relation to the full range of family law issues including domestic abuse, finances, divorce and children. Karen Johnson, one of the directors at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd is a Resolution Accredited domestic abuse specialist and Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are also members of the East Herts and Broxbourne Domestic Abuse Forum.

For more information and support contact us on 01992 558411 or complete our online enquiry form.


Sexting - Flirty Gertie or Dirty Bertie?

horny devil

Sexting – harmless fun or adultery?! Depends who you ask and its not just confined to stars of our favourite soaps! Whether you are the sextor or the sextee this can be a deal breaker in a marriage. Perhaps it is just harmless fun but to your spouse it may be the ultimate betrayal! What then if you decide the marriage is over and you want to divorce; is it adultery? The answer is no unless it is accompanied by sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. What then is the recourse to the spouse who feels betrayed? – they are able to proceed with a divorce citing the behaviour of the other as unreasonable. Everyone’s tolerance is different but the majority may find that sexting someone other than your spouse is unreasonable.

If you have found yourself in Dyer circumstances then our specialist team of solicitors are able to offer you sympathetic and straight forward advice in relation to your options. Contact us by calling 01992 558411 or alternatively complete our online enquiry form.

Olive McCarthy MCIArb–(Director and Head of Family Department) – Olive joined the firm in 2000 and was appointed as a Partner and Head of the Family Law Department in the old firm in 2004. Olive has had panel accreditation with the Law Society as a Family Law Specialist since 2003 and has been a Collaborative Lawyer since early 2009.  She is also accredited with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators as a Family Law Arbitrator since early 2013, a prestigious accolade that few have achieved in the UK.

Olive specialises in dealing with complex finance cases, particularly high net worth cases.






Hide and Seek


The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has last month ruled that the ongoing obligation of full and frank financial disclosure relating to financial matters in divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership continues to apply even following the death of one of the parties.

There are strict rules which apply to financial matters related to divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, which obliges each party to be honest and open about the true extent of their financial positions when trying to reach an agreement. If it is later found that one party has failed to disclose assets, or has been dishonest about their financial position, any agreement reached between the parties or Court Order made can be overturned.

The case, Roocroft v Ball [2016] EWCA Civ 1009, involved the civil partnership of Helen Roocroft and Carole Ainscow. The parties dissolved their civil partnership in 2009 and an agreement was reached in respect of the finances. Ms Ainscrow later died 3 years later and it then emerged that she had misled the Court as to the true extent of her financial position, claiming to have lost large amounts of her assets in the 2008 property market crash. Ms Roocroft then sought to reopen financial matters against Ms Ainscrow’s estate in an attempt to overturn the original agreement reached. The lower Courts refused to allow Ms Roocroft’s appeal, claiming that any non disclosure would need to be material to warrant overturning the original agreement reached. However, this was before the landmark decisions of the Supreme Court in Sharland and Gohil in which the Court found in favour of the wives in those cases who had been deceived by their husbands.

Ms Roocroft launched an appeal and the Court of Appeal found in her favour, reiterating the continuing duty of full and frank financial disclosure. Ms Roocroft is now able to take her case back to the Family Court to renegotiate the financial settlement with Ms Ainscrow’s personal representatives.

Here at Breeze and Wyles Ltd we offer expert advice on all matters relating to divorce and financial settlements as well as separation following the breakdown of a relationship.

Lisa Honey is a family solicitor at Breeze and Wyles Ltd specialising in family law and deals with matters covering a range of issues including divorce and financial settlements, separation following the breakdown of a relationship, children matters and declarations of trust. Lisa is also an honorary solicitor providing advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Cheshunt and Ware.

For more information on how we can help you please do not hesitate to call our team on 01992 558411 or alternatively complete our online enquiry form.

For Richer, For Poorer, Till Death Do You Part?


Trinny Woodall is facing a fresh legal battle in relation to the estate of her ex husband Johnny Elichaoff. The couple married in 1999 and had a child together but later divorced in 2009 whilst remaining on reportedly good terms.

Johnny Elichaoff died in 2014 after falling from a car park roof. An Inquest in 2015 heard that he had battled an addiction to painkillers for 20 years and had taken his own life after ‘losing everything’ in a series of failed investments.

As part of the divorce proceedings, the couple reached an agreement in relation to the financial aspects of the separation which included provision for Mr Elichaoff to pay maintenance of £24,000 per annum and to repay £1.4 million that Ms Woodall had lent to him. However, despite this agreement, Ms Woodall did not actually receive anything.

Following the making of that order, it later emerged that Mr Elichaoff had been declared bankrupt prior to the agreement having been reached. Neither Ms Woodall, nor the judge approving the order had been made aware of this.

When a person is bankrupt, their property immediately transfers to their Trustee in Bankruptcy. This meant that Mr Elichaoff was unable to agree a settlement with regards to the finances and the court was unable to approve any order without the agreement of the Trustee in Bankruptcy. This meant that the order was void and this was confirmed earlier this year.

Mr Elichaoff died owing hundreds of thousands of pounds to his creditors and at the time that the order was set aside the Trustee in Bankruptcy sought to persuade the court that he should be able to take the place of Mr Elichaoff and seek a revised order to obtain a lump sum sufficient to pay off the creditors and legal costs. The court refused and now the Trustee of Bankruptcy is pursuing an appeal in the High Court.

This is a bizarre and unprecedented case with a potential to have far reaching consequences. The Trustee is suggesting that Mr Elichaoff would have been entitled to received a substantial settlement from Ms Woodall and that following the bankruptcy the right to pursue that claim passed to the Trustee.

Ms Woodall defends the application on the basis that such a right is personal to Mr Elichaoff and the court ability to consider such a claim ended in any event when Mr Elichaoff died.

It is correct that when a person is made bankrupt the right to bring certain claims transfers to a trustee in bankruptcy. However, solely personal claims such as for personal injury or slander are not included.

The insolvency service’s own technical manual states;
“The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) allows a spouse to seek financial relief following divorce. Such a right does not constitute property (and even if it did, it would be property personal to the bankrupt) and cannot, therefore, form part of a bankrupt’s estate or vest in the official receiver, as trustee.
Generally speaking, any right arising from a marriage would not vest in a trustee in bankruptcy. In short, the trustee is not party to a marriage and cannot, therefore, be party to any rights arising in relation to the marriage.”

In the event that the Trustee is successful in his appeal this will give rise to a potential for claims to be bought by a Trustee within divorce proceedings or even many years later to seek to obtain a financial order to secure money to pay off the creditors. This is because parties rights to bring claims against each other do not automatically terminate when the divorce is finalised. My personal view is that this can not be correct. A spouse or ex spouse can not be forced to pay debts that are not in their name and there is no provision for a court within financial proceedings to consider the right of creditors except for the purpose of identifying the assets available and to establish the parties needs.

We await the decision with baited breath.

Karen Johnson is Director and Family Mediator of Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd. Karen is a highly skilled and experienced Family Solicitor with in excess of 15 years experience of working in Family Law. She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the fields of Domestic Abuse and Financial Matters. Karen is additionally a Family Mediator trained by and a member of the Family Mediators Association (The FMA). For more information on how Karen or a member of our specialist team can help you please call 01992 558411 or complete our online enquiry form.