PERSONAL LEGAL FAMILY LAW
News & ArticlesUnmarried couples have no automatic right to each other's property
In the absence of clear agreement about the proportions in which they share interests in family homes and businesses, unmarried couples in England and Wales who separate rarely have a legal claim to assets registered in each other's name.
Inherited wealth made available to meet spouse's reasonable needs on divorce
A husband with inherited wealth could not rely on the usual rule that those assets should not be included in the matrimonial property to be shared with his spouse on divorce, as she would be left with insufficient means to meet her reasonable needs, the court has recently ruled.
Assets of husband's wholly-owned companies not available to wife on divorce
A wealthy husband has successfully argued that assets held by limited companies should not be available to his wife in divorce proceedings, even though he wholly owned and controlled those companies, as they are separate legal entities.
The Do's and Don'ts of Divorce/Dissolutions
The breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership is a stressful time for all involved. Here are our top tips for making the divorce/ dissolution process as smooth as possible.
Novel factor in valuation of business for divorce purposes creates uncertainty, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Divorcing couples whose matrimonial assets include a business will not welcome a recent decision in which the court increased the value of a husband's business as at his marriage date to take into account its 'latent potential', reducing the wife's share of the matrimonial assets by several million pounds.
Step forward in the right diection? Reform of assets division on divorce/ dissolution of civil partnership
Following the relatively recent Law Commission’s consultation on pre- and post-nuptial agreements in January 2011, the Law Commission has proposed a fundamental reform of assets division on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
Historically pre-nuptial agreements have not been legally binding in England and Wales. Whilst this is still generally the case, in 2010 there was a test case in the Supreme Court between a German heiress, Radmancher and a Frenchman, Granatino, which indicated that such agreements can “in the right case” have decisive weight in a divorce settlement.
Court confirms that trust assets 'likely' to be available should be taken into account on divorce
Spouses who are 'likely' to have access to trust funds, even if they will only become beneficiaries of the trust in the future, and even if funds are only paid out at the discretion of the trustees, should be aware those funds will be taken into account in any divorce proceedings.
Pre-marriage inherited wealth, and wealth derived from pre-marriage business, treated differently by Court of Appeal on divorce
Spouses who inherited wealth or set up their business before their marriage should consider two Court of Appeal decisions on whether and how such assets are to be treated when dividing up assets on divorce.
Children's best interests paramount when parent brings them to UK against other parent's wishes
Children's best interests under the Hague Convention trumped a mother's rights to respect for her family life under the Human Rights Convention, so she had to return them after taking them away from their father in Norway, in a recent UK Supreme Court decision.
Mediation compulsory before couples can divorce in court
From 5 April divorcing couples must attend mediation before they are allowed to use the courts, under new Ministry of Justice rules.
Automatic Assistance for Separating Couples to End
The Ministry of Justice has announced that from 6th April 2011 there will no longer be an automatic right for those separating to apply to court for assistance with issues relating to children or finances.
Over 150,000 people currently divorce every year in the UK. There is an alternative to the courts called collaborative law, the central feature is a pledge by the couple to resolve issues in a dignified and civilised manner without going to court.
Supreme Court boosts pre-nuptial agreements in England and Wales
The Supreme Court has given a boost to the effectiveness of pre-nuptial agreements - agreements signed before marriage that set out what the financial consequences will be if the couple subsequently divorce.
Spouses may be asked to disclose affair when mortgaging home
A wife who was not told of her husband's affair when consenting to a remortgage of the family home has successfully stopped repossession proceedings following their split, on the basis he should have told her at the time.
When your children can work
Children of different ages have very different rights and restrictions when it comes to holiday or other work. Read our guide to the rules.
Supreme Court grants "top-up" financial provision in England following foreign divorce
A wife has won additional financial provision in the Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) after only a limited award in divorce proceedings concluded overseas.
Court of Appeal clarifies spouses' duties of disclosure
Evidence of a spouse's financial position is admissible in divorce proceedings, even if wrongly obtained, according to comments in a recent Court of Appeal application.
Court clarifies how it will treat factors affecting divorce awards
A recent application to vary maintenance payments following a divorce has clarified the court's approach to future pensions, post-separation earnings, bad behaviour and family wealth.
The fate of a family business after a divorce
When a couple decides to divorce, it can have serious repercussions on an existing family business. The family courts have extensive discretionary powers to deal with the division of matrimonial assets, under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, based on the circumstances of each individual case. However, since the leading case of White v White in 2001, the principles adopted by the courts have largely been shaped by case law.