September is traditionally a time of new beginnings, with children off to school or university and parents back to work, but for many couples, the end of summer can spell the end of marriage.
Lawyers often talk about ‘divorce day’ in January and report a similar surge when summer holidays are over, and research looking at the timing of divorce petitions bears this out, with peaks after the summer and winter holidays. The researchers suggest that while troubled couples may view holidays as a time to stand together for children and an opportunity to mend relationships, the reality is that proximity exacerbates tensions and may be the final straw for many.
When Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in 2016, it followed a family disagreement on board a private jet taking the couple and their six children back to the United States from the South of France. Despite Jolie submitting the petition immediately the couple separated, two years down the line it has yet to be heard in court, with financial submissions taking a back seat while the couple continue to battle over custody, according to recent news reports.
In the UK, no-fault divorce has come a step closer with the news that the Government is planning to overhaul the law, but even in situations where everyone agrees, reaching a final outcome can take much longer than couples ever imagine, so the advice is to focus on the practicalities, which can be far-reaching.
Family law expert Jane Wheeler of Portsmouth-based solicitors Verisona Law said: “Thinking clearly, setting aside high running emotions and avoiding point-scoring can make the difference if the worst happens. You also need to look at the bigger picture and consider how the relationship impacts on every aspect of your life.
“Something often overlooked is getting an up to date will in place. If you have an existing will that leaves everything to your spouse, it will remain valid until the decree absolute is confirmed, even if you have separated or received your decree nisi. Equally, if you do not have a will and something were to happen to you before the divorce is completed then the intestacy rules would apply. These govern what happens when someone dies without a will, and, again, the spouse you are divorcing would benefit.
“Updating or making a will ensures that your estate reflects the outcome that you want, which is important if you have children or if you have moved into a new relationship.”
Recently, a new partner had to make a legal challenge to secure provision for her infant children when their father died before the divorce to his former wife was complete. Bianca Corrado had a long-term affair with Malkiat Singh Ubbi, but his will had not provided for the children, aged three and six months, meaning the only route open to Corrado was to bring a claim on their behalf under the Inheritance Act for provision as dependents. In Ubbi v Ubbi, the High Court awarded almost £400,000 to the children from the £3.5m estate, and the case is likely to be used as future guidance for similar Inheritance Act claims on behalf of infant children in the future.
She added: “In this case the court had to make a reasoned decision, but it may well be that the children’s father would have been more generous if he had made provision in his will. This was a positive outcome for the children, but taking a case to the High Court is not an option for many people. Many people don’t like to deal with making a will, for all sorts of reasons, but the fallout for those left behind is worth keeping in mind.”
We have set out below a full list of the services our Family Department can provide whatever your circumstances. If you do however have a query which does not relate to any matter detailed below, please do contact our Family team who will endeavour to assist you.
Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution
Whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent within proceedings or whether you are simply contemplating the same we can provide guidance throughout the entire process. We can assist with:
- Drafting of documents
- Negotiations with the other party
- Correspondence with third parties such as the Court
- Advice face to face, by telephone, by email.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Whether you are planning to marry or indeed have now married and wish to formalise arrangements in the event of separation we can advise and assist with the following:
- Drafting agreements
- Negotiating settlement
- Corresponding with all parties
Whether you are married or living together and in the event you decide to go your separate ways we can assist in formally documenting terms of separation. We can assist in the following ways:
- Drafting Separation Agreements whether in contemplation of divorce or whether to simply record the split of a cohabiting couple
- Negotiations with third parties
- Providing you with advice whether face to face, by telephone or by email.
Arbitration is an alternative to resolving disputes through the Court. At Verisona Law we can assist in a number of ways either by assisting you through the Arbitration or by referring matters to our in house Arbitrator. We offer competitive arbitration rates and a member of our team will be happy to assist with any queries in this regard. Please see our current articles on Arbitration for more details about the process.
If you have chosen not to marry but wish to live together you may wish to formalise the arrangements and details for doing so. We can assist in the following:
- Drafting cohabitation agreements/living together agreements
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising you in person, by telephone or email as appropriate.
Divorce where Business are involved
We have extensive experience in dealing with breakdown of marriage where one or both parties are owners of businesses or indeed it may be the family business. We have experience in providing you with advice and signposting for business valuations and will ensure that the business as an asset is dealt with appropriately within any proceedings.
In addition to being able to provide specialised advice in relation to Public Sector pensions our team at Verisona Law has vast knowledge concerning all pension arrangements and can ensure that they are dealt with appropriately within any divorce proceedings. Please seek advice from a member of our team.
We are able to advise on all aspects of Parental Responsibility including:
- Agreements / Orders
- Exercising your Parental Responsibility rights and duties where appropriate
- Arising out of Parental Responsibility we can advise on applications for a Specific Issue Order to the Court if appropriate.
If you have any queries concerning Parental Responsibility and its impact on you or indeed whether you have Parental Responsibility for your children, please seek advice from a member of our team.
Assisting through Mediation
Whilst we do direct a number of matters through Mediation, this does not mean that you cannot have legal advice throughout the process. We can advise and assist you through the Mediation process and arrange thereafter to draw up formally any agreement reached be this by way of a Consent Order in divorce proceedings or simply to record in an open document the agreement you have reached at Mediation concerning the subject of your dispute.
Whether you are married or otherwise, or indeed simply have an interest in a property owned by another we can provide you with advice and assistance including;
- Applications to the Court
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising and assisting you face to face, by telephone or by email.
This is an alternative way to resolve family disputes without the involvement of the Court. The Collaborative process requires both parties to have a Collaborative Lawyer and endeavours to resolve any disputes by way of four way meetings. We at Verisona Law can assist you through the Collaborative process. If this is an avenue of resolving dispute that you would be interested in, please contact a member of our team.
We at Verisona Law can provide you with advice and guidance concerning any disputes you may have relating to your child. This may be with whom the child lives, with whom the child spends time with, a specific issue concerning a child or steps that you wish to take to prevent something happening (Prohibited Steps Order). We can also advise you in relation to maintenance disputes with a third party guidance with dealing with the Child Maintenance Service. If you have a query with any issue concerning your child please contact a member of our team.
Change of Name
Please contact a member of our team if you are interested in changing your first or surname to discuss the drafting of a Change of Name Deed. We offer a fixed price for a Change of Name and we can provide you with further information upon request.
I went to Verisona Law because I had been unsatisfied with two previous attempts with other firms. Verisona gave that real sense of service, made.me feel like a client they were happy to assist at all times and ultimately gave the BEST advice and guidance. Dont waste money; go to Verisona FIRST!