Unreasonable behaviour and your divorce

In order to become divorced in England and Wales, a party must demonstrate to the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is demonstrated by evidencing the breakdown by one of five facts to the court, with the most common being their spouse’s unreasonable behaviour. There does not have to be a direct link between the fact claimed and …

Enforcement of a child arrangements order

Frequently, the enforcement of a child arrangements order (CAO), providing for a child to spend time with a non-resident parent, is always challenging if the parents with day-to-day care of the child is adamant that contact will not proceed, in breach of the child arrangements order. Under the Family Law Act 1986, the court has general powers of enforcement, although …

Child’s surname – How to Change it and Things to Consider

If there is a child arrangements order (CAO) in force, it will require the written consent of all parties with parental responsibility, or a court order, to enable the change of a child’s surname. Increasingly, the courts have taken the view that in circumstances where no CAO is in place or the father does not hold parental responsibility, his permission should …

Annulment and legal separation – alternatives to divorce

Although divorce remains the most common form of ending a marriage, there are alternatives such as annulment and legal separation which are not so readily discussed and which many people are not aware of. In this blog we will consider the various alternatives to divorce. Legal Separation Legal separation is sometimes known as judicial separation. The procedure is very similar …

MIAM – Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting

Since 2014, all applications to court for family proceedings relating to children or finances, are to be preceded by an information meeting about family mediation and other forms on alternative dispute resolution. This meeting is known as a mediation information and assessment meeting, or more informally as a MIAM. The Family Procedure Rules do not require an individual to undertake …

Clean break – is it the right outcome for you?

Many clients will instinctively want a “clean break” following the breakdown of their marriage, without always fully understanding if it is right for them. The premise behind this clean break principle is to once and for settle the parties’ financial relationship, interdependence and responsibilities with one another. Put simply, it is an opportunity to put the past behind them and …

Duxbury calculation – what is it and how is it used?

In some finance cases involving married couples, family practitioners use a method of calculation called the “Duxbury Calculation” which attempts to quantify the needs of a financially dependent party. This calculation takes into account the sex, age and amount needed each year to produce a figure which is intended to provide a single lump sum to meet a party’s needs, usually for …

Consent Order – Securing an agreement

Following disclosure and negotiations over the matrimonial finances, details of any agreement reached should be drawn up in a consent order. The consent order should be submitted to the court, together with a Statement of Information and the court fee. This statement sets out an estimate of the capital and income resources of the parties, in addition to details of the family’s children …

Inheritance – how do the court deal with it?

Following on from our blog about non-matrimonial assets here, the topic of inheritance warrants a separate blog given its complexity. As we explained in the case of White v White [2000] UKHL 54, inheritance is considered entirely differently to all other property in the marriage. Such property can be received before, during or after the marriage and can include an interest …

Non-matrimonial property – how do the courts deal with it?

The overall ‘pot’ of assets for separating spouses can be divided into matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets. The distinction can be difficult to draw, particularly when the marriage is long and the assets which were acquired prior to the marriage have since been mingled with matrimonial assets. Non-matrimonial property can be property which has been brought into the marriage by one …