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Uncategorized

Gun Laws: Can You Fight Illegal Possession?

gun-laws-possessionIllegal possession of a gun comes with stiff penalties that can put you in quite a predicament. Depending upon where you live, the gun laws you have to adhere to vary as well as what penalties you face for illegal gun possession. While a defense attorney can help you when you are facing an illegal gun charge, you should know the laws for your state.

Categories
Marriage Property issues

New online survey shows significant rise in popularity of Marital Property Agreements (MPAs)

With the Law Commission proposing that marital property agreements (MPAs), covering pre and post-nuptial agreements, should be legally binding only last month, it is a fitting time to publish the results of a survey that has been undertaken (by Alex Porter, who announced the statistics first in full here) which analysed the work of legal professionals involved with MPAs. This project is part of a major study led by Dr Laure Sauvé from the University of Essex, School of Law. Her project will analyse the latest report by the Law Commission using a comparative approach. She is currently exploring the differences between English and French laws.

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Uncategorized

Your Other Last Resorts – Things To Try Before Trying Divorce

Getting a divorce is an incredibly serious decision and should be treated as such. This is a last resort that will tear apart your family, destroy your dreams for the future and put an end to what’s probably the most important relationship in your life.

Of course though sometimes divorce can seem like the only resort if you are constantly arguing and if you’re making each other unhappy rather than happier, or if you just don’t feel the love that you used to for that person anymore.

Often though there are other options even though it might not feel that way – you just have to be willing to try anything. Here we will look at some of the other things to try before you give up on your relationships once and for all.

Counselling

Marriage counselling is something that can seem abhorrent to many people who maybe see it as potentially awkward, forced or embarrassing, or who perhaps lack faith in the whole concept.

Even if you don’t love the sounds of it though, you should always give counselling ago, just so that you can say you’ve tried everything. You may be surprised at just how insightful some counsellors can be, but more to the point you’ll find it sends an important message to your partner that you don’t want to give up.

You may also find that individual counselling can help. While you probably don’t see your dispute as your fault, it does take two to tango and if you aren’t happy in your relationship then this is going to come across in the way you deal with one another. Consider getting counselling then in order to deal with any issues that may be manifesting themselves in your relationships.

Time Apart

Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. If you wait until your divorce has gone through to realise this though then it’s of course going to be a little too late. Instead then, try spending some time apart from one another before you reach that point and see how much you find yourself missing your partner. At the same time, spending time on your own can help you to work through your problems and to gain perspective. Sometimes we just need some ‘space’ and some time to think, and going away for a few days can help us to come back with a new game plan, a new sense of perspective and a better idea of what you want from your relationship and from your partner.

Talking Frankly

On other occasions though, this is something you’ll need to talk through together. If there are things each of you are unhappy with, then simply raising your concerns with one another can make you more likely to come to a conclusion. Try listing the things you are unhappy with for instance, and explaining why you feel the way you do. Too many of us avoid honest, frank discussion because we don’t want it to turn into an argument, and ironically this will often mean that when those issues finally do come to the surface, they end up being much more intense and degenerating into a full blown argument where both parties lose their cool.

If you try to ‘re-draw’ the terms of your relationship, you can change things that you’re both unhappy with, or just introduce new rules and ideas to try and make things easier. Perhaps for the sake of your children, agreeing to maintain a friendly relationship but sleep in different rooms could be a workable solution and this could eventually lead to a rekindling.

The Other Issues

Sometimes a marriage or a relationship can be doomed by circumstances outside of your control. For instance, if you are both very stressed by your careers, your living arrangements, or illnesses in the family, then this might mean that you end up arguing and feeling very tense when actually you could have been perfectly happy together.

If you suspect this might be the case, then see if changing your circumstances can help to make your relationship easier again. Perhaps you could move somewhere new, or maybe you could address your careers. This is of course a lengthy process though, so to find out more quickly if this is indeed the cause of your problems, try taking time off to go on holiday together and see if you can re-find your rhythm.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.andertoons.com/dating/cartoon/5007/its-not-you-its-me-and-how-annoyed-i-am-by-you/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.andertoons.com/sports/cartoon/1607/its-only-way-i-can-keep-his-attention/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.andertoons.com/marriage/cartoon/4907/im-tired-of-fighting-but-by-all-means-you-go-on-ahead/
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Beatrice Mackenzie is a regular blogger. She gives relationship tips and advice on her blog. She says choosing a divorce law firm can be a overwhelming task but with little patience and guidance anything is possible.

Categories
Facebook

“FRAPED!” – Is it a grounds for divorce?

“Fraped”. Adj. the act of posting on someone else’s ‘Facebook’ page, often as a result of leaving your profile open or poor password protection

It’s been going on for ever. Childhood sweethearts reunited after many years apart rekindle an old relationship and cause pain and upset to their current partners, possibly leading to a separation or divorce. In the late 1990’s this issue became more prevalent in divorce cases with the advent of early social networking sites such as “Friends Reunited”. Dwarfed now by Twitter and Facebook, the involvement of social networking has been cited increasingly in divorce cases. Some recent surveys in US and UK show that Facebook is now referred to in some way in between a quarter and a third of cases.

Keep it private

It isn’t always old flames that cause problems on Facebook. Flirting with new friends and strangers on your laptop or handheld can cause ructions in relationships especially if your activity is not as private as you thought it might be. Failing to log out of your profile leaves it open for snooping and for others to post on your behalf. Known as “fraping”, this activity can be innocent and fun or dangerous and offensive.  Many examples of exposing the misdemeanours of others exist online. These are normally easy to spot but beware the imposter who can easily post on your behalf.

The exposure of a partners fling or unreasonable behaviour – proper grounds for divorce – are increasingly taking place online. This practice is also rife on twitter where revelations involving celebrities activities have been the subject of debate for some time.

But my password is safe, isn’t it?

Taking good care of protecting your profile is one thing. But how safe is the information that you store? A judge in America recently ordered that a divorcing couple hand over their facebook passwords to each other’s lawyers as it was believed that the profiles contained information that was essential to the case. The injunction included an obligation on the spouses not to post on their former partners page. Despite contravening facebook’s own privacy policy, this sets an interesting precedent adding a whole new dimension to evidence gathering in divorce cases.

Don’t want to get caught. Don’t do it!

Controlling the flow of information is almost impossible in the instant messaging, micro blogging, always connected world that we now inhabit. The only way to stop your facebook page from being used against you in a divorce court is not to do it in the first place. If you don’t want to get caught with your trousers down don’t post it on your facebook page.

If you’re going to share any information on your facebook page, please do share this!

Categories
Divorce Law

Solve Your Divorce Issues by Choosing the Best Family Lawyer

Divorce and other family issues can get very frustrating and messy. Whether you are going through an uncontested or contested divorce, some matters will arise that will need an expert to resolve them. Some couples may consider representing themselves during the divorce proceedings, but the presence and services of a family lawyer can significantly reduce the stress and problems that might occur during the procedure.

Family lawyers can not only represent you in the court but also provide legal assistance and advice to both parties in order to settle divorce issues. Simply put, the services of a family lawyer can help ensure that all decisions pertaining to the divorce are made properly and with the acceptance of both parties.  Here are some ways in which family lawyers help:

Providing legal advice on annulments and divorce

A family lawyer can offer legal advice and explanations of the circumstances under which a couple may seek divorce after a separation. Some states have laws that require for the filing of annulment under certain situations and within a certain period of time after the marriage, and a family lawyer’s advice and services are needed to understand and follow these laws.

Making all the courthouse presentations and filings

There are various laws at federal, state, and municipal levels regarding divorce proceedings and filings, and a family lawyer can ensure that the necessary pleadings and documents are filed properly. They can also represent you in court and put in favorable light through beneficial evidence and testimony, as well as prevent your spouse from presenting irrelevant, false, or misleading information.

Assistance during property division proceedings

It helps to maintain separate debts and accounts as some amount of protection during a divorce, but it is not enough. There are several federal and state laws that define marital property and the separation of this property, and your family lawyer can not only explain these laws but also tell you how it applies to your particular situation.

Helping through child custody and visitation proceedings

Child custody and visitation issues are determined by the various laws and procedures in various states, and family lawyers can explain the procedure in your state, what the laws are, and what your parenting rights are after entering a court order.

Guiding you through child support issues

Once again, the rules and procedures for determining the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent can vary with each state. Your family lawyer can advise about the procedure in your state and the calculations used to determine child support obligations. He or she can also explain the additions and deductions that can be expected to your child support obligation.

About the author: Guest post from a family law blogger – find services of a family lawyer here

Categories
Finance

Some things you didn’t know about your finances during a divorce

Guest family law blog post regarding finances and divorce.

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time emotionally never mind debating who is going to get the house, the car and even the cat. One of the most argued elements of a divorce will always be the finances regardless of how much or how little that couple had. Here are some things you might not have known when it comes to divorce proceedings and your finances.

First steps and temporary agreements                                                                                                                      

Self-divorce, divorce legal adviceNormally before any divorce proceedings take place there will be a separation period for both partners. During this time it can be difficult to support yourself, especially if your partner was the one bringing home the majority of the household earnings. You can apply to the court for interim maintenance or maintenance pending suit if you were married or in a civil partnership. This can be quite costly and the legal costs may be more than you are awarded so it is always worth talking to a legal advisor before making a decision on this. It may be that your partner is willing to make some kind of arrangement for maintenance payments before divorce proceedings go through.

Financial settlements

One of the most cost effective way to agree on a financial settlement is to do it between you and your partner, as opposed to involving mediators, lawyers or even going to court. If this can be done then you will find the break up to be a lot easier and also save you plenty of money on legal aid. If you make an agreement between the two of you then it is not necessarily legally binding. There are some ways to ensure that your financial settlement is more formal and would therefore stand up in court. Make sure that you write down the agreements that you have made together and take this to a solicitor for their advice. The solicitor can then send this agreement to a county court judge who will make a decision based on how fair they feel it is. As long as the outcome is ‘fair’ to both of you and you both have had independent legal advice then it is much more likely to be accepted.                                                                                                           

Lump sums                                                                                                           

In most divorce casMoney and divorcees there will be a maintenance payment and perhaps a lump sum of money from one partner to another. This could be to share the assets more fairly between partners, to enable one partner to purchase a house to live in or a lump sum to replace ongoing maintenance payments. A capital lump sum will tend to be paid in one go and can enable a ‘clean break’ so that partners no longer have to communicate. The best thing to do with a lump sum settlement is talk to an accountant who will be able to advise you further on investing the money wisely.

Hopefully this article will have touched upon some points that may have been unclear when you first start divorce proceedings. Remember to ask for legal help when needed and also seek the advice of an accountant if large sums of money are involved.

Images courtesy of:-

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Some things you didn’t know about your finances during a divorce

 

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time emotionally never mind debating who is going to get the house, the car and even the cat. One of the most argued elements of a divorce will always be the finances regardless of how much or how little that couple had. Here are some things you might not have known when it comes to divorce proceedings and your finances.

First steps and temporary agreements

Normally before any divorce proceedings take place there will be a separation period for both partners. During this time it can be difficult to support yourself, especially if your partner was the one bringing home the majority of the household earnings. You can apply to the court for interim maintenance or maintenance pending suit if you were married or in a civil partnership. This can be quite costly and the legal costs may be more than you are awarded so it is always worth talking to a legal advisor before making a decision on this. It may be that your partner is willing to make some kind of arrangement for maintenance payments before divorce proceedings go through.

Financial settlements

 

One of the most cost effective way to agree on a financial settlement is to do it between you and your partner, as opposed to involving mediators, lawyers or even going to court. If this can be done then you will find the break up to be a lot easier and also save you plenty of money on legal aid. If you make an agreement between the two of you then it is not necessarily legally binding. There are some ways to ensure that your financial settlement is more formal and would therefore stand up in court. Make sure that you write down the agreements that you have made together and take this to a solicitor for their advice. The solicitor can then send this agreement to a county court judge who will make a decision based on how fair they feel it is. As long as the outcome is ‘fair’ to both of you and you both have had independent legal advice then it is much more likely to be accepted.

                                                                                                           

Lump sums

                                                                                      

In most divorce cases there will be a maintenance payment and perhaps a lump sum of money from one partner to another. This could be to share the assets more fairly between partners, to enable one partner to purchase a house to live in or a lump sum to replace ongoing maintenance payments. A capital lump sum will tend to be paid in one go and can enable a ‘clean break’ so that partners no longer have to communicate. The best thing to do with a lump sum settlement is talk to an accountant who will be able to advise you further on investing the money wisely.

Hopefully this article will have touched upon some points that may have been unclear when you first start divorce proceedings. Remember to ask for legal help when needed and also seek the advice of an accountant if large sums of money are involved.

Categories
Executry & Probate

When is the right time to make a will?

Guest post regarding the best time to make a will.

Although it might seem morbid to think about details surrounding your own death, it is an important part of life to plan for dependents and loved ones who you would leave behind.

It can give you great peace of mind to know that family members will be looked after if the worst happens and this is why many people take out life insurance plans and other financial arrangements.

However, the most important thing that needs to be in place is something that many people neglect or feel is unnecessary.

Making a will is actually straightforward and something that everybody should have in place. If you die without a will it can complicate matters or delay proceedings at a time when loved ones are going through a period of extreme stress.

When is the right time to make a will?

The answer to that is quite simple – if you don’t already have one, now is the time to make a will.

Providing clear instructions as to what happens to your estate is essential in order to provide a smooth handover to those you leave behind, and in some cases to ensure that people who you do not wish to benefit are not able to take advantage of the situation.

Probate law

The area of law concerning what happens to someone’s belongings and assets after their demise is called probate. If the deceased person does not leave a will or there are assets that are not covered by the will, this means they are legally intestate.

Executor or Administrator

When a will exists it appoints an executor who can then validly dispose of the property and the estate then goes to probate. If no will is left or any existing one is deemed invalid, administrators are appointed instead.

Both perform similar roles but if there are no instructions to follow in a valid will the administrators are obliged to distribute the estate according to the rules laid down by statute.

Absence of Heirs and Next of Kin

In rare cases of intestacy where there is no heir or next of kin in the UK, the Crown has the right to property and land.

Under the rules for distribution of estates without a will where a child under 18 would be the sole beneficiary, the Court or District Probate Registry normally appoints a minimum of two administrators.

The above is a very simple explanation of the basics surrounding wills when it comes to UK law. Anyone thinking of making a will should take advice from Co-Op Wills Services who will be able to explain how the law affects their own individual set of circumstances.

Categories
Divorce Law

A Reputable Divorce Barrister Can Ease the Trauma of Separation

Guest blog post from a lawyer regarding the advantages of divorce barristers.

Divorce is a reality that many couples experiencing trouble in a marriage are staring at.

While it is always better, both emotionally and financially, to look at other means of resolving marital disputes, divorce remains a final solution that requires the services of a reputable divorce barrister.

Finding the Best Divorce Barrister

Divorce has become so common in the modern world that there are legal practitioners who are specialists in this form of judicial requirements. A reputable divorce barrister can even act as a mediator and help couples to arrive at solutions that need not have the finality of a divorce. Such barristers can also help to provide support from the emotional trauma that divorce can subject couples to.

It is always easy to go through the yellow pages or search over the Internet to find a good divorce barrister. However, it makes more sense to ask among friends and acquaintances that have gone through these actions as their personal experience will be something that can be easily related to. Legal advisors can also be a source of finding the best divorce barrister who can take a couple through the proceedings.

The experience of the chosen barrister can go a long way to easing the problems that come with divorce. Quite often, property, businesses and children can become the messy part of a divorce which needs extreme patience and time to sort out – and this is where an experienced lawyer will be of enormous help and will be able to steer you through the pitfalls and quagmire of divorce.

The divorce barrister you choose must be trained to practice so ensure that he or she has the right qualifications, certifications and licenses.

Ensuring You Get the Best from a Reputable Divorce Barrister

It is quite often necessary for both parties in a divorce suit to appoint their own lawyers or barristers. It is necessary to ensure that the chosen legal help has only your interest at heart and is in no way connected or known to the opposing parties. Discuss all aspects of the case with the barrister, especially those dealing with property division and child custody.

It is necessary that the attorney who has taken up your case is completely aware of all the facts of the case. This will enable the barrister to draw up ways to fight the case and also be sure that he or she is fully aware of the likely defence of the opposing counsel.

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Keith Cronin is a lawyer with a passion for sharing his knowledge. Keith has contributed this guest article on behalf of Stobart Barristers.

Categories
Children

Ruling Ignoring the Safety of the Family?

Guest post from family law solicitors. 

The Government is planning on protecting the rights of divorced parents to see their children, which is putting victims of domestic violence in danger; not to mention, their children too. With shared parenting as a priority, the welfare of domestic violence victims is routinely ignored. The failings of the family court system are such that vulnerable men and women are frequently placed in unsafe environments where they’re open to intimidation from their violent ex-partners.

52% of women who’ve suffered from an abusive relationship are subject to cross-examination from their violent exes, who have chosen to represent themselves in court. Obviously this can be an emotionally traumatic experience for many people women and men who’ve previously been bullied and intimidated by their ex-partner.

Extortionate Costs

In fact, it can be equally as distressing to be the cross-examiner of previous abusive partners, and with the heady costs of hiring a lawyer hanging over their heads, can victims of domestic violence afford legal fees, especially if they’re struggling to raise a child? With coalition plans to reduce the amount of court benefits low-earners receive, this could mean many abuse victims are forced to represent themselves in court, with absolutely no legal training.

Severe Lack of Protection

There have been cases of abuse victims being intimidated with prolonged staring in the waiting room, as well as being forced to attend mediation sessions with ex-partners that are under restraining orders. When there are protective measures in place, why are they being ignored in a court of family law?

Many domestic violence victims complain of their concerns being sidelined and ignored by the court, dismissed as inconsequential when it comes to shared parenting, even though the children are the best weapons an abuser has to ensure access to his or her previous victims. Also, a violent or abusive person is not an ideal candidate for mother or father of the year, and it seems likely that the child’s welfare would also be in jeopardy.

Fathers’ Rights Groups

Yet Fathers’ Rights Groups have been protesting against the hostility towards protected shared parenting, calling it ‘scaremongering’ and insisting that false accusations keep fathers away from their children. Unless the accusations have been proven by court, there should be no reason to listen to abuse charges.

With 93% of residencies awarded to mothers, Fathers’ Rights Groups need all the help they can get. However, fathers stand to gain by abuse protection in the family court too, as more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male. If you can, please do contact a divorce solicitor in Liverpool, as they could make or break your case.

There have been cases where parents on the sex offender’s list have been allowed to enter a family court of law to argue their case for the custody of children. In this situation a husband had raped and duct taped a 14 year old girl and had been charged with an assault against his ex-partner. For years, he stalked his partner, before taking her to court, and it took a social services independent report to eventually deem the man as ‘dangerous to children!’ He is still free to reapply to the courts for child custody.

Produced by Denver working with Hughes Carlisle divorce solicitors who specialise in a range of other legal disciplines, providing an opinion on current topics which are affecting families throughout the country.

Categories
Family Law

Is Alimony Still a Reasonable Concept?

Guest post from US family law bloggers.

Despite the salary inequalities that still persist between men and women, many modern-day wives are working alongside their husbands. Some women even earn more. You might wonder why we still have alimony, where the ex-husband pays a monthly sum to the ex-wife. Some people argue that alimony should be a thing of the past, while others feel that it’s still an valid law.

An important point that can’t be overlooked when discussing the relevancy of alimony in today’s culture is that it is not necessarily the responsibility of the husband. Alimony is a court-ordered duty of the top earner in the marriage. The difference in the earnings of the two spouses has to be significant for alimony to be decreed. However, both historically and traditionally, the male has been the one to pay the alimony bills. Judges have consistently awarded alimony to the female, even in cases where both ex-spouses had jobs during the marriage.

Today, many family court justices are working on adapting the law so that alimony isn’t set up as an unfair burden on men, but as a fair distribution of martial property.

How did alimony come to be? In the past, women were not allowed to own property. Thus, in a marriage, all the land and property were owned solely by the husband and never the wife. And in cases of divorce, the ex-husband would keep everything and the ex-wife would be left with nothing. Alimony was established as a way for the ex-wife to be able to survive after divorce.

Obviously, the circumstances have changed today. Martial property is usually divided equally between two parties in a divorce and if there are children, the home is often given to the ex-wife on the grounds that it would be less traumatic for the kids. The more you look at it, the more it seems like alimony should become obsolete.

On the other hand, you could argue that women are still at a disadvantage after a divorce. Even today, many wives choose to leave the workforce in order to stay home and raise children. Some of them move across the country when their husband gets a new job and leave their career behind. After years and years of contributing to the marriage through raising kids, taking care of the home, and managing the finances, should these women be left with no career prospects and no monthly income when divorce happens? Alimony helps level the playing field and allows these women to continue living on as they have before.

What about husbands who took on the stay-at-home role? They probably would benefit from alimony payments from their ex-wives as much as a woman would.

An important issue to consider is whether the ex-husband should be legally required to pay alimony for the rest of his life. Should the sentence of alimony be reduced to a certain amount of years instead, with the purpose of providing support to the women until she is able to enter the workforce and earn enough money to maintain her lifestyle?

Alimony will become a much more acceptable and fair concept if it truly becomes an equal opportunity responsibility.

About the author

This piece was written by Trevor Patterson, a freelance writer and blogger based in the greater metro area of Las Vegas, Nevada. Patterson focuses on law, politics, economics and real estate. Legal needs come in various forms; for those with needs in the area of Pedestrian Accidents be sure to consult a professional with sufficient expertise in this subfield.

Categories
Family Law

Treat kinship carers like foster carers, says survey

Guest post from family lawyers based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Almost three-quarters of adults agree that kinship carers – grandparents and other family members who are bringing up a child because their parents cannot look after them – should receive similar support to foster carers, says a new nationwide poll.

Boost for kinship carers

The YouGov survey has been welcomed by charities Grandparents Plus, the Family and Parenting Institute and Family Lives, as a massive boost for the estimated 200,000 kinship carers in the UK.

It reveals that:

  • 76% of those surveyed agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive practical help from the local authority;
  • 67% agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive a financial allowance;
  • 78% agree or strongly agree that kinship carers should receive a financial allowance if they are on a low income; and
  • 60% agree or agree strongly that kinship carers should be entitled to a period of paid leave from work.

Wider family networks

The charities commissioned the poll in the wake of new welfare reform proposals, which they fear could impact on families who have taken on additional caring responsibilities.

“The poll findings demonstrate clear public support for a diversity of family forms in the UK and the importance of drawing on wider family networks in times of strain. Even in austere times, there is public support for valuing the enormous contribution that kinship carers make in bringing up vulnerable children,” said Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute.

Flexible working

The positive poll ratings have been followed by more good news for kinship carers, in the form of the announcement earlier this month that the Government will extend the right to request flexible working to all.

A report by Grandparents Plus last year found that 47% of kinship carers give up work when they take on the care of a child. Forty-one percent are then dependent on welfare benefits, while 60,000 have dropped out of the labour market entirely.

Flexible leave entitlements

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, welcomed the move.

“This is something that we have been calling for for some time,” she said. “Grandparents who are trying to juggle work and caring for their grandchildren are one of the key groups who will benefit.  One in four working mums rely on them for childcare.”

“The next step is to make it possible for parents to transfer unused periods of parental leave to grandparents, if that’s what families want to do,” she argued. “And to create leave entitlements for those grandparents and other family members who step into the parenting role, keeping children out of care.”

Contact Family Law Solicitors

For specialist advice, contact FLE, family lawyers based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Categories
Finance

Talking finance – and inheritance: post from family lawyers

Guest post regarding finance and inheritance from family lawyers.

Financial conversations are important, but not easy. New research reveals not only the peace of mind created when parents and children discuss inheritance, care needs and retirement planning, but also the struggle to have the conversation in the first place.

According to an Intra- Family Generational Finance Study from Fidelity Investments, the fault lies on both sides. It reveals that while more than nine in 10 (94%) US adult children and their parents agree it is important to have frank conversations about wills and estate planning, care needs or covering retirement expenses, there are significant barriers to even starting these discussions within families.

Why people don’t talk

The top barrier, noted by 30% of parents, is they don’t want their adult children to overly rely on a potential inheritance. And for adult children, 40% say that the top barrier is that they feel it is none of their business to ask their parents about these topics.

The timing of these discussions is also a barrier, reveals the study. In fact, only one in three (34%) parents and their children agree on the best time. Parents are more likely to cite when they near or enter retirement (37%) as the right time, while children indicate that they’d like to have a conversation before their parents retire or have health issues (37%).

Financial miscommunication

Highlighting a vast disconnect between parents and children, the study reveals that 97% of parents and children disagree on whether a child will take care of his or her parents if they become ill.

Major miscommunication also exists when discussing inheritance and estate planning. In fact, children are underestimating the value of their parent’s estate by more than $100,000, on average. Additionally, neither side is effectively communicating about retirement readiness. As a result, one-quarter (24%) of children believe they will have to help their parents financially in retirement, while nearly all (97%) of parents say they will not need help.

The impact of the disconnect

The lack of discussion is having a big impact on families, according to Kathleen A. Murphy, president of Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments.

“Given the economic pressures facing families today, it’s troubling that detailed conversations are not happening, especially among those in the sandwich generation who may be grappling with competing financial priorities ranging from planning for their own retirement and paying for a child’s college education to dealing with eldercare, estate planning and retirement challenges with their parents,” she said.

“Whether it’s a parent facing a shortfall in retirement income or an adult child weighing the tax implications of an inheritance, too often discussing these issues is considered taboo within families, but real emotional and financial consequences emerge when such conversations don’t happen or lack sufficient depth,” she warned.

Benefits of talking about the future

According to Fidelity, conversations about estate planning have an overwhelmingly positive impact. The study found that the peace of mind of parents jumps from 61% to 91% when comparing those parents who have not had detailed conversations with their adult children versus those who have.

On top of this, parents who have had detailed conversations with their adult children feel significantly more at ease about their children’s financial future – 68% compared to only 30% among those who have not had detailed conversations.

This guest post is courtesy of Gibson Kerr Family Law Solicitors in Edinburgh: http://www.gibsonkerr.co.uk/. Contact Fiona Rasmusen and their other solicitors for expert family law and estate planning advice.

Categories
Divorce Law

How to Help your Kids through Divorce

(Guest post outlining some tips to help your kids through divorce)

A family breakup is never an easy situation and it’s often the children who are worst affected. If you’re going through divorce then take a look at these top tips that will help your kids cope.

Talking is Essential

Divorce can be a long process so it’s essential to talk to your kids honestly and openly throughout.

Be Truthful

Your kids have the right to know why their parents are splitting; so be honest and open. Avoid giving long and complex explanations which could be confusing. Instead explain that you and your partner can no longer get along but that doesn’t mean that either of you love your children any less.

Always say ‘I Love You’

Realising that their parents no longer love each other can be traumatic for kids, mostly because they end up feeling that they are no longer loved either. Make sure you tell and show your children that you love them every day.

Explain Changes

Divorce leads to upheaval, but big changes are made much more manageable if your kids are fully aware of them before they happen. If you’re planning a move or a big change then give your kids plenty of time to get used to the idea before you act.

Avoid Blame

In many divorce situations both parents are angry with each other and may have resentment and a lot of bad feeling. Whatever you do, always avoid criticising your partner in front of your children as it may colour their view of their parent and lead to further strife.

Be United

Most parents only want the best for their children so even if it’s very difficult try to present a united front and sit down with your children together to discuss the situation. With both parents’ support, your children are far more likely to cope effectively with your breakup.

Understand your Rights

Seek advice from a family law solicitor London so you can give your children a clear idea of what’s likely to happen during divorce proceedings, how long the divorce will take and how family access will be organised.

Categories
Divorce Law

The Rising Number of Children Forced to Take Sides in Bitter Divorce Feuds

Guest post regarding the rising number of children forced to take sides with divorces.

Divorce is never an easy process to digest for parents who have one or more children. The battle for custody can sometimes lead to aggressive behavioural patterns coming from the parents who twist the arm of their children to win them on their side. The common tactics consists of “buying off” the love and attention of children by a technique of offering them hip technical devices like cell phones, lavish holidays or trendy garments.

The main focus of each parent within the development of custody battle is often to poison the heart and mind of the children in the favour of one of them and they do so by badmouthing the other parent. This process of influencing the children for personal interest is not something that courts prefer. The solicitors who deal with harsh divorce issues know best to what extent one parent would go to denigrate the other one in order to obtain primary custody of the children.

When you are faced with the imminence of a divorce it is best to recur to certified solicitors. They can explain all that a divorce can entail and can teach you how to speak to your children about an obvious dramatic change in their lives without attempting to “brainwash” their minds and to influence them more than necessary.

Divorce is never an easy problem to deal with. Children are susceptible to adult opinions and many times they express their adhesion to the one who tried best to win them over. Statistics show that the strong actions and influence of one parent can succeed to make the child more loyal to him or her in the detriment of the other spouse.

There are documented undertakings of parents who influence especially the younger children to their benefit and this approach is very much noticed by court representatives and blamed. The number of young impressionable children who are dominated by one of their parents is rising and that can be seen in the increasing number of claims.

Divorce is often seen as a competition between parents, amidst which children are the wounded persons and can suffer the severe blows of a separation with no helmet on. Practically, this idea of influencing the children leads to a reaction coming from court officials who notice the dangerous practice of gaining the trust and love of children through somewhat abusive manners.

It is very important as parent to focus on creating a stable environment for the children and to put their best interests first as hard as that may sound. Their feelings are not a negligible matter and the main idea is to protect them and not to govern their feelings and emotions and not to poison them with regard to the other parenting partner.

In the fight involved in the divorce custody wars it is best to recur to solicitors who are specialised in a wide range of cases. They certainly can guide you through the process offering legal support, a reliable shoulder to cry on as well as pointers in how to approach your children in the attempt of being fair to them and to yourself. Divorce is imminent when the two marriage partners no longer see eye to eye, therefore, it is best to shield the children from possible conflicts and keep a normal and unbiased environment for them.

Categories
Claims

Will the Government raise the small claims limit for personal injury?

Accident and personal injury lawyers are awaiting a Government consultation paper on raising the small claims limit for personal injury (PI) with interest.

The controversial proposal first came to light in May, after a Whitehall ‘whiplash’ summit with the motor insurance industry. The Government then said that raising the limit from £1,000 to £5,000 would make it “easier for insurers to defend spurious or exaggerated claims by ending the situation whereby it is easier and cheaper to settle claims than it is to fight them”.

At the time, then Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly stated: “It’s totally unacceptable that we are seeing a disproportionate rise in whiplash claims when road traffic accidents are falling every year.”

It now seems the Government has back peddled, at least temporarily. In September Djanogly said that no decision had been taken on the issue and that none would be until, “all responses to the consultation document and other stakeholder submissions have been considered.”

So what has given the Government pause for thought? It’s possible the Government has been made aware of an independent report commissioned by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), which found that claims for whiplash injury compensation have actually fallen in the last 12 months.

In fact, figures from the Government’s own Compensation Recovery Unit show that whiplash claims have reduced by nearly 24,000 in a year. The APIL report went on to show that the vast majority of whiplash claims were neither “spurious” nor “exaggerated”.

But the proposals won’t just affect whiplash claims. Lawyers fear that, should the Government go ahead with its proposals, thousands of people with many different kinds of personal injury claims such as head injury claim will be unable to seek appropriate compensation.

“The small claims court is for minor consumer disputes not for injury claims up to £5k where liability and loss will need to be proved, using expert medical evidence, to the satisfaction of insurers and their lawyers,” says Stuart Kightley, head of accident claims at Osbornes Solicitors in London.

“If the Government goes ahead and raises the limit a claimant with, for example, a broken leg and loss of earnings will have to bring the claim himself or pay lawyers privately.”

Categories
Divorce Law

Divorce Q&A – Family Law Guidance from the Experts

Guest family law Q&A blog post which answers various frequently asked questions, based on family law in England & Wales and general legal guidance.

1. What is the legal status of prenuptial agreements looking ahead to 2013? Are they worth considering?

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Radmacher v Granatino {2010} UKSC 42 and the review by the Law Commission, prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular. The enforceability and legal status of a pre-nuptial agreement however, still remains in doubt.

Pre-nuptial agreements are not binding in the UK however; the case of Radmacher did take a significant step towards that possibility. The Judges decided that nuptial agreements should be given considerable weight if they were freely entered into by each party with full appreciation of its implications unless the surrounding circumstances deem it unfair to hold the parties to their agreement.

For a pre-nuptial agreement to be enforceable the contents of the agreement must therefore be fair.

The current position in the UK remains that it is the Court, and not the prior agreement of the parties, that will dictate what will happen to the parties’ financial arrangements upon Divorce.

Ultimately the legal status of prenuptial agreements is still debatable however. Divorce solicitors will advise clients on the basis of each case, but the Court is very likely to uphold a prenuptial agreement if the following is satisfied:

  • Each party has received legal advice and there has been full disclosure of assets;
  • There has been no undue pressure or exploitation and the agreement has been freely entered into;
  • The agreement meets the needs of the party who is in a weaker financial position;
  • The reasonable  needs of any children are met; and
  • The agreement has been carefully reviewed each time there has been a change in circumstances during the marriage.

Pre – nuptial agreements can therefore be very useful documents and it is anticipated will often reduce litigation. The agreements are worth considering if you have accumulated a significant amount of assets prior to marriage, you are to receive a significant inheritance or there are business assets that you wish to preserve. Pre-nuptial agreements are proving to be popular amongst people contemplating their second marriages.

2. How long does it usually take to get a divorce?

An undefended Divorce will take approximately six months to reach the Decree Absolute stage, which is the final Decree of Divorce.

If there are complicating factors such as the Respondent is defending proceedings, there is a disagreement regarding the Petition or financial arrangements have not been agreed etc, this can prolong the length of time and therefore, it can take up to a year or even longer if the financial issues are really complicated.

3. Can you get the other side to pay the divorce costs?

Divorces which are based on the Respondent’s fault namely the Respondent’s unreasonable behaviour or adultery; it is normal practice for the Petitioner to seek for the Divorce costs they have incurred to be paid by the Respondent.

As long as the Petitioner has requested in the prayer section of the Divorce Petition for the Respondent to pay the costs of the Divorce, the Court will normally order the Respondent to pay.

If your Divorce is based on a non – fault ground such as 2 or 5 year separation, the Petitioner can always still request that the Respondent should pay the costs but it may result in the Respondent refusing to grant his consent and thereby the resulting in the Petition being unsuccessful. Therefore in these circumstances it is up to the parties to reach their own agreement. More often than not in these circumstances the parties agree to share the costs equally.

4. What advice would you give to someone considering getting a ‘quickie’ online divorce?

There is no such thing as a ‘quickie’ divorce. It is a term which is incorrectly but frequently used by the media. Whether you instruct family solicitors, act in person or use an online service, the same Court procedure is used and the Divorce process will not be any quicker.

Online Divorce services tend to use generic Divorce petitions which are not tailored to individual needs and therefore, it enables some internet based companies to offer discounts. As the saying goes, “You Get What You Pay For”. We would never advise anyone to go for the cheaper option as cheap is not always good. Divorce can be a very stressful period. Therefore, face to face advice and support can prove to be critical.  Good solicitors place strong emphasis on providing an individually client focused, sympathetic, and understanding service which simply would not be available from anyone offering a ‘quickie’ divorce.

It is also worth noting that it can cost a significant amount to correct an improperly drawn Petition once it has been issued, in most case more than the fixed fee which can be offered at the beginning of the matter.

5. Is mediation worth considering to avoid the courts?

Since the 6th April 2011 it has been compulsory for couples to undergo mediation to resolve any disputes before resorting to the Courts, save for cases where there is domestic violence. In light of this, in the majority of cases the parties will have to consider mediation.

Mediation can be more cost effective than the Court procedure and is useful when both parties are willing to negotiate and there has been a full disclosure of assets. If one party is being deliberately uncooperative, mediation will do little to help the parties reach a resolution and the assistance of the Court may be required.

This article was written by Manak Solicitors, a leading firm of family and divorce solicitors in Kent. All our family & matrimonial solicitors are members of “Resolution” panel and the family & matrimonial partner at Manak Solicitors LLP is a member of “Law Society Family Law Advanced” panel both of which are accreditation schemes which places strong emphasis on mediation.

Categories
Divorce Law

Divorce and Facebook

The following is a guest post regarding divorce and social networks such as Facebook. For specialist advice from divorce lawyers in Edinburgh, see http://www.familylawedinburgh.co.uk/.

Whilst the Internet and social media are becoming useful tool for dating and relationships (it is estimated that 17% of recently married couples met online) there is a dark side to the Internet’s impact on relationships and it is called Facebook. Research has shown that the world’s largest social media website was implicated in a third of last year’s divorce filings. In fact Facebook has such a stronghold over relationships in general that it is not uncommon for one half of a couple to find out that the relationship is over via Facebook, usually by the other half changing his or her relationship status.

Whilst blaming Facebook for divorce automatically gives the impression of infidelity, this is not necessarily the case. Many of those who filed for divorce are not getting divorced because of Facebook, it may simply be the case that Facebook is sighted in a divorce filing to show the bad behaviour of a spouse for example as evidence of rude or offensive messages. What is certain though is that Facebook and social media as a whole are playing a bigger role in divorce proceedings, either as a cause or as a form of evidence.

Generally speaking there are five grounds for divorce: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion without consent for more than two years, desertion with consent for more than two years and separation for more than five years. When looking at these grounds it is easy to see how Facebook could be responsible for at least two of the grounds: adultery and unreasonable behaviour.

Why is this so? There are a number of hypotheses and the simplest reason is that Facebook makes communication so easy. For example, what could start out as an innocent conversation with an ex could lead to something not so innocent and this ties in nicely with another reason – Facebook makes it easier to give in to temptation. Whilst it may not seem fair to blame Facebook for temptation, particularly as it does not force you to do anything, it does nevertheless make it easier to do things you know you should not be doing.

Another reason is that Facebook can change people. The ability to connect and see information so effortlessly can make ordinary people paranoid and this in turn leads to many relationship problems. The problem with Facebook and in fact most social media is that what is said and done is often just a snapshot and taken out of contexts something quite innocent can be taken completely the wrong way.  Arguably the most common reason is that Facebook leaves a trail. Once something is said or done on Facebook there is an ever present risk of it being placed in the public domain.

In fact Facebook has become such a big problem for relationships that it is not uncommon for couples to deactivate their Facebook accounts to save their relationships. When you really think about it, what may seem like a drastic step could actually be quite sensible and could in fact save many a relationship.

Even if the relationship cannot be saved, Facebook can help with other matters such as maintenance and child custody. Any behaviour on Facebook could be used against one spouse to show what their behaviour in general is like which may be used to determine parenting skills or whether the lifestyle of the spouse is (or is not) suitable for children.

If you are considering divorce proceedings because of something you have seen on Facebook (or otherwise) then you should speak to a divorce solicitor who can advise you on the legitimate grounds for divorce. Divorce can be both emotionally and financially taxing and can result in a number of ancillary issues and therefore it is important to ensure that you appoint an experienced divorce solicitor to represent you.

Once piece of advice any divorce lawyer is almost certain to give you is to refrain from messaging your ex partner or saying anything about them on Facebook during divorce proceedings. Whilst people will be used to sharing their feelings online, once in the public domain this information cannot be recalled. This on its own could make the simplest and most amicable of divorces into the most complicated, contentious and expensive.

Categories
Family Law

Married couples to become a minority

Guest post from family lawyers and psychological strategists, GE Law http://www.gelaw.co.uk/

Families headed by married couples will be in a minority by 2050, according to a new report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). The report also finds that marriage is increasingly the preserve of the middle and upper classes.

According to the independent think tank, only about 50% of new parents on low income are married. This rises to nearly 80% for couples on £21,000 to £31,000 a year and to nearly 90% for those earning over £50,000 a year.

The report concedes that there have been some “promising” moves by Ministers to promote family stability, such as the publication of their Social Justice Strategy and the release of public money to provide relationship support. But overall the CSJ is deeply dismayed by the lack of progress since the Coalition was formed in 2010, warning that official efforts to promote stable families are “dwarfed by the scale and cost of family breakdown”.

The CSJ study draws on new data from the 2011 census and the Millennium Cohort Study to chart the decline of the married family.

The proportion of families headed by a married couple has dropped by 5% over the last decade while there has been a % rise in cohabiting couple families and a 2% rise in lone parent families.

The rise in cohabitation is actually fuelling lone parenthood because cohabiting couples with children are far less stable than those who are married, says the CSJ.

The report calculates that on current trends, by 2031 only 57% of families will be headed by married couples. By 2047, 35 years from now, families headed by a married couple would be a minority – 49.5% of all families.

Categories
Children

Launch of The Care Inquiry in the UK

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) has announced that it is taking part in The Care Inquiry, which it describes as a timely and important opportunity to consider how the care system is working for children in care (and for those on the edge of care). It is a chance to think together about recent trends, current challenges and opportunities and future strategy.

The Inquiry has a vital focus on the achievement of stability and a positive sense of identity and belonging for children in care and for those raised by family members as an alternative to care. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our collective understanding of these issues, to build on recent, welcome reforms and to inform future policy development.

BAAF believes that every child has a right to loving and secure family relationships and that secure attachments to carers are essential to children’s mental health and psychological development. It believes that every effort should be made to enable children to live in their own birth families and kinship network, providing that this is consistent with the child’s welfare.

BAAF believes that where it is not in the best interests of children to live within their family of origin, an alternative family should be found which can provide continuous care, stability and life-long commitment. And it believes that children have a right to have their needs understood, assessed and reviewed so that where it is necessary for them to live away from home, their placements can be planned and their needs met.

Further reading:- http://www.baaf.org.uk/media/releases/launch-care-inquiry

Categories
Children Divorce Law

Children should come first in divorce

The overwhelming majority of Britons believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors when going through divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national family law association.

Four out of five (78%) say that putting children’s interests first would be their most or second most important consideration in a divorce, while 53% would prioritise making the divorce as conflict-free as possible.

Despite this, over four-fifths of people (81%) believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 40% believe that divorces can never be without conflict – a figure that rises to nearly half (47%) of those who are currently divorced themselves. Nearly half (45%) think that most divorces involve a visit to court, despite the increasing availability of non-court alternatives,

In stark contrast to some of the high-profile divorce cases in recent years, financial factors are not seen as particularly important, with only 1% saying that being financially better off than their partner would be the most important consideration should they divorce.