Divorce can be a fairly straightforward process if both parties accept that their marriage has come to an end and they wish to formalise their separation. In this blog we explore whether you can claim divorce costs, or get help with them.
Fault Based Petition
Under the present law, a “fault-based” divorce is one which cites either unreasonable behaviour or adultery as the reason for the breakdown of the marriage (as opposed to a period of separation, for example). With a fault-based petition comes the ability for the petitioner to seek some or all of their costs from the other party. This may include the court fee (presently £550) as well as a solicitor’s costs for preparing the paperwork (which are usually fixed at a set amount).
However, in many of the cases we deal with, the separating couple is able to work collaboratively to agree the wording in the petition and how the costs are to be dealt with.
Where you have a situation which is far from amicable, the petitioner may seek all of their divorce costs. Unless an agreement is reached at a later date, it is likely that the court will order the respondent to reimburse the petitioner’s costs. These costs relate solely to the divorce and do not include the costs of addressing any associated financial issues (for which each party is usually responsible for their own solicitor’s costs).
Help with divorce costs
If you are the petitioner and are struggling to pay the fee for your divorce, there is help available. See further guidance on help with court fees on the government website.
No Fault Divorce
It is anticipated that by autumn 2021 the new “no fault” divorce system will have been implemented which is likely to remove the ability for the court to apportion blame through the use of costs orders. This is to be welcomed.
How we can help
If you are filing for a divorce or you are in receipt of divorce papers and would like further advice, our expert team are here to help.
Please call us on 0161 969 3131, or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.
In this episode we’re joined by solicitors in the family team, Mark Heptinstall, Head of Family, and Partners Patricia Robinson and Phillip Rhodes.
In this podcast we’ll be discussing child arrangements, uncovering what the rights are for parents who are separated in seeing their children.
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As we enter a more modern world, we are seeing many more outdated legislations being completely disregarded. One area which is subject to current focus by the government is the change to marriage requirements.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Lord Chancellor David Gauke have worked hard as part of a two year effort to urge the Law Commission to review the laws governing where and how weddings take place with a view to creating more freedom.
The initiative that was announced on Saturday 29th June could potentially mean that civil ceremonies can take place at sea, in private homes or even at military bases for those who are on duty and are unable to get married elsewhere.
When asked about the government’s motivations behind the potential change, David Gauke stated; “people from all walks of life should be able to express their vows in a way that is meaningful to them.”
Although there is now a big push towards more marriages in the UK, sadly there is also a longer than ever waiting list for those who are getting divorced. In this respect, the proposed bill aimed at reforming divorce law in England and Wales by allowing couples to part without finding fault, recently received its second reading in parliament.
What is the issue?
If you take your child (under 16) out of the country without the permission of the other parent, then you are at risk of committing an offence under the Child Abduction Act 1984. This includes taking your child on a holiday abroad. Where your child is going on a school trip abroad then it is also necessary that you and your child’s other parent both provide your consent.
If you are named as the parent that your child lives with in a child arrangements order made by the Family Court, then you are allowed to take your child out of the country for a period of less than one month. However, in any other circumstances, it is vital to obtain the written consent of the other parent.
What if the other parent won’t consent?
The other parent should not unreasonably refuse consent, however in the event that the other parent won’t consent to you taking your child on a holiday abroad, the most appropriate course of action will almost always be an application to the Family Court. This is because of the seriousness in law of taking children out of the country without the appropriate consent.
Applications to the Family Court in these situations should be made for a specific issue order, and the key factor will be what is in your child’s best interests.
If you are considering gifting or loaning money to your married son or daughter on an informal basis, then you should be aware of the real risk that their spouse or civil partner may receive all (or a substantial amount) of that money in the event of a breakdown in the relationship.
This is because in financial proceedings following divorce, the Family Court will generally view such monies as forming part of the assets that can be distributed, and informal loans will likely be dismissed as being ‘soft loans’ and not repayable. In order to minimise the risk of these situations arising, it is vital that:
- Where you are gifting the money, that the gift is suitably ring-fenced within the terms of a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement
- Where the money is a loan, that this is documented in a formal loan agreement and ideally a legal charge (mortgage) for security on any property owned.
Following substantial changes to this area of family law in the past decade, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements (provided they are properly drafted and freely entered into, with full financial disclosure) will, generally speaking, be given effect by the Family Court as part of the discretionary exercise it undertakes, provided there are no circumstances which would mean that it would not be fair to hold the parties to the agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, such agreements cannot exclude the Family Court’s jurisdiction.
Please note that there may be tax implications in relation to any gift or loan. If you are considering making a gift or loan to your son or daughter, you should always seek specialist legal and tax advice in respect of your options.