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: http://www.breezeandwyles.co.uk/index.php/form-family-divorce/


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 http://www.breezeandwyles.co.uk/index.php/form-family-divorce/

 


Sharp Blog Picture

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.


Brangelina Divorce – A Private Affair?

shock-in-hollywood

 

The tabloids are awash with the shocking news of the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have separated and that Angelina has applied to the courts in America for a divorce citing irreconcilable differences and has also sought an order that the couples 6 children live with her.

As one of Hollywood’s hottest couples it is hardly surprising that such unexpected news would be met with such a furore of press attention and intrigue. However, Brad and Angelina have historically been fairly guarded in respect of their private lives in comparison with other celebrity couples and more particularly have sought to shield their children. With the rumour mill working overtime with suggestions of a possible affair it is also unsurprising that the couple have requested that they are given space at this difficult time.

It is comforting to see that whatever has happened within their relationship to lead them to this point, both parties continue to have the children at the forefront of their thoughts and hopefully that will seek to deal with process as amicably as possible.

Whether the press will respect the plea for privacy we will have to wait and see. With the proceedings to take place in America, it will be the privacy rules there that will apply. However high profile divorces also happen in England and Wales and so divorcing couples here may also have concerns about publicity and privacy.

Since the 27th April 2009, accredited representatives of newsgathering and reporting organisations and any other unaccredited person whom the Court permits to be present may be present for hearings in all family proceedings except hearings conducted for the purpose of judicially assisted conciliation or negotiations. The rules also provide that the Court can exclude such representatives. Whilst the media are allowed to attend family proceedings; the Court will have power to restrict both attendances by them and what can be reported.

Whilst the majority of family court cases do not garner press intention, if you are concerned that this might be the case, it is really important that you ensure that your solicitors are aware of your concerns and can advise and act appropriately. Where this is a likely issue there should be full exploration of the alternative processes such as Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Solicitor Negotiations which by their nature are confidential and, where an agreement can not be reached, Family Arbitration offers an opportunity for parties to seek a decision within a process which is also confidential.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, our highly experienced and sympathetic team of family law solicitors can help and advise you on the full range of family law matters and divorce related issues. We are able to give you clear advice on the legal aspects of your situation, whether it is to assist you with a situation that has already arisen or whether to assist you in preventing a situation from arising in the future. We can also represent you whether by negotiating on your behalf, using the Collaborative Law process or in applications to the court or to arbitration. Karen Johnson is additionally a family law mediator and Olive McCarthy is a Family Arbitrator.

For more information, call our Family Department on 01992 558411


The Depps of Divorce

The Depps of Divorce

The Depps of DivorceJohnny Depp and Amber Heard have reportedly split after only 15 months of marriage. News reports today are suggesting the pair failed to enter into a pre-nuptial or post nuptial agreement, despite Mr Depp allegedly being worth $400 million. Ms Heard has issued divorce proceedings in the Los Angeles Superior Court and is seeking spousal support from her estranged husband.

At Breeze and Wyles Ltd we offer bespoke advice on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements as well as providing advice on how best to protect your interests whether you are intending to marry or are simply cohabiting including cohabitation agreements and declarations of trust. We also offer guidance and assistance in all aspects of divorce and the breakdown of relationships as well as providing advice on finances and children matters.

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.  

 

Website: www.breezeandwyles.co.uk

Email: lisa.honey@breezeandwyles.co.uk

Tel: 01992 558 411


Celebrity Divorces

Since the beginning of the year there has been a recent rise in celebrity splits and divorces. New websites have included details of the alleged breakdown of relationships of Drew Barrymore and Will Copelman, Rebecca Adlington and Harry Needs, Professor Green and Millie Mackintosh and Nick Knowles and Jessica Knowles to name but a few.

The process of divorce in England and Wales has become a paperwork exercise as long as it is undefended and is usually a straightforward process. The petitioner must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and will also rely on one of five facts; the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour, the respondent’s desertion, the respondent’s adultery, 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation. It should be noted that whilst the divorce process is usually straightforward, this does not deal with the finances of the parties which will need to be dealt with separately.

At Breeze and Wyles we offer a fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £499.99 inclusive of VAT plus the Court fee of £550.00. Our service enables you to be fully represented by a qualified specialist lawyer throughout your straightforward undefended divorce for a one-off fixed fee payment. Our experienced family lawyers will fully explain the divorce process to you and deal with any concerns or queries you may have. They will take responsibility for the preparation of all relevant forms and will deal with the Court on your behalf throughout the entire matter.

Breeze and Wyles 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.

Lisa Honey is a family solicitor at Breeze and Wyles Ltd specializing 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.

Website: www.firstfordivorce.co.uk

Email: lisa.honey@breezeandwyles.co.uk

Tel: 01992 558 411


Rising costs of divorce encourage couples to ‘nest’ together

Splitting couples are facing a further rise in the cost of divorce with a big increase in court fees, and many are facing up to the challenge of asset-sharing and high property prices by turning to novel solutions to deal with the change.

One of the new approaches to parenting after divorce is what’s being called the bird’s nest approach, a shared custody arrangement where the children stay at home and parents move around them, as depicted recently by TV programmes The Affair and Transparent.

The emphasis in bird’s nesting is on parents doing the moving, and taking the inconvenience, rather than expecting children to do so.  Parents benefit by needing to have only one property large enough for the whole family.  The arrangements are often developed through mediation and are being supported by the Family Courts, reflecting the general shift in attitude away from sole custody to shared parenting.

Whether or not couples opt for family-friendly practices such as bird’s nesting, they will still be affected by the recent jump in the cost of applying to the courts for a divorce. The 34% rise from £410 to £550 has been introduced by the Ministry of Justice to help pay for the overall cost of administering justice.  And while many family lawyers have complained that the rise is unjustified, it’s just one of a series of changes that are pushing up the cost of getting divorced.

Director, Collaborative Lawyer and Family Law Arbitrator Olive McCarthy MCIarb of Hertford based solicitors Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Ltd explained: “This is a big jump in the cost of going to court for a divorce. That may be manageable for the majority of couples, but what is less easy to control is overall costs.  We’ve seen big cuts in legal aid for divorcing couples, and as a result some are trying to manage their own route through the courts, which they may find to be a major challenge.  Others may find it difficult to contain overall costs if an ex-spouse is set on fighting, rather than agreeing.  Obviously, the aim should be a fair and reasonable outcome and that usually involves finding some middle ground.”

“That’s where mediation can make a big difference,” she added. “Putting children first is the most important thing for any couple.  What is most important is being open to collaborative mediation, as that can help bring a couple together to achieve a positive outcome for everyone, through negotiation.”

In recent years, some divorcing couples have used up the bulk, or even all, of the assets under dispute due to the costs involved in their court battles. For example, in the case of Piglowska v Piglowski, the couple spent more than £128,000 fighting over a joint asset pot of £127,400; or the 2008 case of KSO v MJO & Ors, where costs consumed assets worth more than £800,000, forcing the husband to declare himself bankrupt.  In a more recent 2014 case, a couple spent nearly £1m fighting their case, representing almost a third of their joint assets of £3m, accumulated over an 18-year marriage.

The UK may also find itself following another US-led trend towards loan-funded divorce. Specialist lenders are increasingly being used to fund divorce proceedings, where one or both of the divorcing couple cannot realise assets to pay for the legal costs.  In the UK, some firms have already moved into the market, with lending currently being offered for up to around one third of the expected divorce settlement.

ENDS
Web site content note: 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Divorce Court fees to rise Monday 21st March 2016

From Monday 21st March 2016 the Court fee for divorce cases will rise from £410.00 to £550.00. What does this mean for individuals? For couples who have already received confirmation from the Court that their divorce petition has been issued, the increase should have no effect as the lower fee of £410.00 would have already been paid. However any party wishing to issue divorce proceedings from 21st March 2016 onwards will need to pay the increased Court fee of £550.00, an increase of £140.00. The proposals were first proposed in July 2015 but no date was set for the increase to take effect. However, Law firms began receiving correspondence over the last week advising that the increase will take effect from next Monday which leaves little time to notify clients. Although there is a possibility of applying for the fee to be waived if the applicant is on a low income, there is a concern that the increase in fees will result in the process of divorce becoming unaffordable to many.

At Breeze and Wyles we offer a fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £499.99 inclusive of VAT plus the Court fee of £550.00. Our service enables you to be fully represented by a qualified specialist lawyer throughout your straightforward undefended divorce for a one-off fixed fee payment. Our experienced family lawyers will fully explain the divorce process to you and deal with any concerns or queries you may have. They will take responsibility for the preparation of all relevant forms and will deal with the Court on your behalf throughout the entire matter.

Breeze and Wyles 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.

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.    

Website: www.firstfordivorce.co.uk

Email: lisa.honey@breezeandwyles.co.uk

Tel: 01992 558 411


MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO

In June 2015, the Court of Appeal in Re M’P-P (Children) 2015 EWCA Civ 584 overturned a decision made by a trial judge which held that two young children should be removed from their foster carer’s care in the UK to live with their paternal Aunt in Belgium.

The facts of the case involve two young children, a boy (A) who is 3 years old and a girl (B) who is 2 years old. Both children have been in the care of a foster carer for most of their lives. Although, the biological parents of A and B could not care for the children, the children still have contact with both their mother and father as well as their other siblings, who are also in foster care with different foster parents. The foster carer of A and B had expressed their wish to become the children’s adopted parents. However, the children’s paternal aunt (who the children had had contact with on one occasion and is resident in Belgium), then came forward to offer herself as a long term carer for the children under a ‘Special Guardianship Order’.

The original trial judge, HHJ Atkins, held that A and B should live with their paternal aunt in Belgium. In making his decision, the judge took into consideration the impact of his decision on A and B. It was held that by placing A and B with their paternal aunt that this would allow the children to remain with close family and enjoy continued contact with their parents and siblings. The judge felt that any short term problems in the transition stage of relocating to Belgium were far outweighed by the long term benefits of remaining with close family.

An Appeal was made by the foster carer, on the basis (amongst other grounds) that HHJ Atkins had failed to maintain the ‘Status Quo’ in his decision. In maintaining the Status Quo, a Court will be reluctant to remove a child from their current home without good reason for doing so.

The Appeal was allowed on the basis that they found the trial judge’s analysis of the case to be flawed, in that he had not given any regard to the effect on the children of removing them from the care of their primary career who was their ‘mother figure’. The Court of Appeal found that the choice was between the life the children had already established with their foster parents who were not related to them or a life with a close relative who they had only met once and who lived in circumstances very different from those with which they were already familiar.

The Appeal by the foster carer was allowed and the case was reheard by a different trial Judge, HHJ Carol Atkinson in Re B and E (children) [2015] EWFC B203. HHJ Atkinson stated that the options and the issues she must consider were whether; the children should be separated, whether they should be placed with their parents, the paternal aunt in Belgium under a special guardianship order or remain with the foster parents and if the latter then should the placement with the foster parent be under a special guardianship order or under an adoption order?

The Judge was clear that the children should not be separated from one another and that their relationship as siblings should not be disrupted. It was also held that the children should not be returned to their parents due to the high risk of harm. The Judge therefore considered whether the children should be remain with the foster parent or if they should be placed with their paternal aunt. It was held that placing the children with the paternal aunt would have the benefits of maintaining family ties but it would also have the disadvantage of causing a severe trauma in severing their attachment with their current primary carer with whom the children were very settled and had a very close bond. The Judge therefore held that the children should remain with the foster parent as this would cause the least disruption to the children’s lives. The Judge further held that the eldest child (A) would be subject to an adoption order in favour of the foster parent whilst the youngest child (B) would for the moment be subject to a care order and a placement order in favour of the foster parent. HHJ Atkinson was of the view that (B) would in due course also be adopted by the foster parent.

In terms of contact the Judge did not make any orders as it was felt this would place too much pressure on the foster parent. Instead, the Judge recommended the children have contact with their parents twice a year and with the paternal aunt 2-4 times a year.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd we offer advice on children matters including general advice, assisting with contact arrangements and representing client’s in Court proceedings. We are also able to offer other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation and collaborative law.

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.


New Year’s Resolution

As family solicitors, we often receive an increase in divorce instructions from clients in the first few weeks of the New Year.

It is the unfortunate case that parties have often spent so much time with one another in close proximity over the Christmas period that tempers are at breaking point and as a result they decide they no longer wish to continue with their marriage. Another reason parties may delay matters until after the Christmas break is the effect a divorce may have on any children and parties are therefore willing to put in the effort to spend ‘one last Christmas’ together as a family before instigating divorce proceedings.

It is now the case that divorce is simply a ‘paperwork exercise’ and it is relatively straightforward to obtain a divorce provided the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the Applicant, i.e. the party starting the process, can show one of the five facts of divorce which are 1) 5 years separation 2) two years separation with the other party’s consent 3) desertion by one party 4) adultery or 5) unreasonable behaviour.

In the case of two years separation with consent and adultery it is necessary that the other party cooperates and agrees to the divorce based on that fact. It is often the case that emotions are high and the other party does not want to agree to a divorce or admit their alleged adultery. In those circumstances the most appropriate fact for divorce would be the other party’s unreasonable behaviour in which the Applicant will provide 4-5 examples of such behaviour.

The first stage of the divorce process is to send the divorce petition to the Court together with the Court fee and original marriage certificate. Provided the Court is happy with the content of the petition, the Court will then issue the petition to the other side together with an acknowledgement of service. It is then necessary for the other party to sign and return the acknowledgement of service to the Court to confirm they have received the petition. At that stage the Applicant will be invited to apply for Decree Nisi and the Court will then provide a certificate of entitlement confirming the date on which the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, the parties must wait a minimum period of 6 weeks and 1 day before being able to apply for the final stage of the divorce, the Decree Absolute. The period in between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute is provided in case either party changes their mind or if there is any other reason not to grant the final divorce.

It is important to note that the divorce process is completely separate from financial matters. If an agreement can be reached between the parties in terms of the finances, that agreement should be recorded in a Consent Order and it is the period between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute that any Consent Order should be submitted to the Court for approval. It is only once the Consent Order has been sealed by the Court that it becomes binding. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then it may be necessary to consider mediation, negotiations through solicitors, collaborative law, family arbitration or Court proceedings.

It is advisable that divorcing couples settle the finances before applying for Decree Absolute as once the Decree Absolute has been issued, the parties will lose any benefits they may have acquired as a ‘spouse’ such as any pension rights. The finances will remain ‘open’ until a Consent Order has been agreed or a Court has made a final Order and there is no time limit on when an ex spouse can make a financial application in the future. This was illustrated in the recent case of Wyatt v Vince 2015 where the wife was awarded a large lump sum nearly 20 years after the grant of Decree Absolute, following her ex husband becoming a millionaire.

Once the period of 6 weeks and 1 day from Decree Nisi has lapsed and once the finances have been resolved by way of a Consent Order or final Order sealed by the Court then the Applicant is free to apply for the Decree Absolute. If the Applicant fails to apply for the Decree Absolute, the Respondent may do so after 3 months. The granting of the Decree Absolute is the final stage and the parties will then be divorced.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, we offer a fixed fee package in relation to divorce which includes dealing with the divorce up until the grant of the decree absolute together with 1 ½ hours of legal advice. Our current fixed fee is £499.99 inclusive of VAT plus the Court fee and any other disbursements. We also offer expert advice and assistance in all aspects of financial matters and can assist in negotiations or by other means of resolution such as mediation, collaborative law or family arbitration. We also represent parties in the event Court proceedings are issued.

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.