Uncovering the Myths of Family Law – Why is it Important to Seek Legal Advice?

For many us of, when we are faced with an unknown situation and we are looking for a quick solution, our automatic reaction is to search online. However, with so much “fake news” out there, does our search engine provider always have the answer? Here, we look at the importance of obtaining initial legal advice to banish many misconceptions.

You may have seen the term ‘common law marriage’ used for those who have been in a cohabiting relationship for a long time but have never married. However, in England and Wales the law for cohabiting couples is very different to those who are married. Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples and their claims can be very limited. Most claims are dependent on whether property is held jointly and if held in one person’s name, financial contribution can be key to proving an interest. Obtaining legal advice is a must in this area of law!

Many newspapers and celebrity magazines will tell us of “quickie divorces”. There is also no such thing as a “quickie divorce” and the process is the same for everyone including the cost! We also see stories of couples divorcing based upon “irreconcilable differences”. Whilst this is true in some ways, most don’t realise you have to rely on 1 of 5 facts to prove irreconcilable differences! Also at this time, there is no provision for a ‘no fault divorce.’

You are likely to have many questions when it comes to dividing the finances when you are married “The house is in his sole name – do I have to leave?” “The mortgage is in joint names – do we both have to pay half?” I’ve paid for everything, my spouse never worked, am I entitled to receive more than them?” Generally, the answer to these questions is NO.  The law states that the starting point is 50:50 when dividing the finances & various factors are taken into consideration. We’ve also heard the phrase “we’ve only been married a short time, I should be able to keep everything I brought into the marriage!” but this is not necessarily the case. What may seem like a short marriage could in fact be a much longer ‘marriage’ than first thought once any period of cohabitation is added!

We have often heard the phrase “the Court will always favour the mother when it comes to where children live.” However, this is not the case & in most cases both parents have equal rights and responsibilities. The Court will consider what is in the best interests of the children and actively encourage the parents to work together to reach an agreement as to the arrangements.  

There is so much to consider when a relationship breaks down. Here at MBH Solicitors we offer a FREE 30 minute consultation to dispel those myths and provide advice and guidance during what can be one of the most difficult and stressful times of your life. Contact Gillian Lavelle or Megan Brookfield to arrange your free consultation today on 01942 206060 or e-mail us at mbh@wigansolicitors.com

Pets and Divorce – Who Should Keep the Family Pet?

More often than not, families have a furry friend which become a big part of their lives. But when relationships breakdown, it is not uncommon for arguments to arise as to who the pet shall live with.


How are pets viewed in the law?

In England and Wales, it is the law that pets are considered as “chattels”. A chattel is defined as an item of personal property or something which belongs to you, examples of which would be a chair or a washing machine.

There are a number of factors which would be taken into account when making a decision as to where the pet should live. Such factors include who purchased the pet, who the pet is registered to and who pays the pets insurance. Although it is not the law, the Court may be swayed as to what is in the pets best interests, should you make an application to Court. For example, should your spouse/ex-partner work 10 hours+ a day, whilst you work from home, the pet may be best placed to live with you.


What can I do if I have a pet dispute?

There are a number of things which you can do when you have a dispute over a pet, which are as follows:

  • Negotiate directly with the other person

This of course will be dependent on your relationship with your spouse/ex-partner, and whether the separation has been amicable. It is likely to be more difficult between parties when the pet is older and you have a significant bond with the animal.

  • Instruct a Solicitor

It may be more suitable to instruct a solicitor to draft written correspondence to your spouse/ex-partner, setting out why the pet would be best placed with you. This may be useful if the relationship between you and your spouse/ex-partner is less amicable. The letter should set out your position in detail, taking into account whether the pets chip is registered to you, whether you are the person who pays the vet bills and insurance etc. If you are not this person, your correspondence should rely upon what is in the best interests of the pet, i.e. you could raise the issue as to who has care of the children and whether it is in the pet’s best interests to remain with the children.

  • Attend Mediation

Should solicitor’s correspondence fail, the next option would be to attend Mediation. There are a number of Mediators who will specialise with pets during separation, and research should be done to consider the most appropriate Mediator, prior to attending such appointment. Mediation allows parties to sit down with one another, and discuss matters with the assistance of a Mediator, who is an impartial person. The Mediator can provide you with details of the law, however they cannot advise either party. The Mediator must remain fair and neutral.

  • Attend Court

Finally, you have the option to issue Court Proceedings, although this is rare and is questionable as to whether it is appropriate, taking into account the costs of making such application and the age of the pet.

What steps can you take to avoid such disputes?

Pet-nups, similar to pre-nuptial agreements, can be drafted at any point during the parties’ relationships, and can stipulate the following:

  • Where the pet lives
  • Who pays for the insurance
  • Who pays the vet bills
  • Who pays for the upkeep
  • Who makes decisions in relation to medical treatment
  • What happens should the relationship/marriage breakdown

Further information could also be drafted into the document, i.e. whether the other party can continue to take the pet out, or spend time with the pet, upon your separation.

It may be advisable for such document to be drafted as this avoids added animosity between you and your spouse/ex-partner upon separation. Of course, the older the pet, the more likely that discussions over the pet will become confrontational.

However, similar to pre-nups, pet-nups are not legally binding and the law does not recognise such agreements presently, although should the terms of such pet-nups be sensible, and within the best interests of the pet, certain factors may be upheld by the Court.

Should you be interested in drafting a pet-nup, or would like to obtain any further advice in relation to this topic, please contact the office on 01942 206060 or our Trainee Solicitor, Megan Brookfield at MeganBrookfield@wigansolicitors.com

STAMP DUTY & ADDITIONAL HOMES

For those of you buying a 2nd, 3rd or even 14th home you will probably know about the changes to the law that come into effect on Friday 1st April 2016.

From Friday, anyone buying an additional home for any purpose will pay more stamp duty land tax. It is understood that the higher rates will only apply to additional residential properties purchased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on or after 1 April 2016. The higher rates will be 3 percentage points above the current SDLT residential rates and they will be charged on the portion of the value of the property that falls into each band. See the table below:

Band     Existing residential SDLT rates New additional property SDLT rates
£0* – £125k     0% 3%
£125k – £250k     2% 5%
£250k – £925k     5% 8%
£925k – £1.5m     10% 13%
£1.5m +     12% 15%

This has led to our conveyancing department having an unprecedented amount of purchases due to complete before Friday’s deadline.

Our conveyancing partner, Caroline urges those people who are looking at buying a further home to carefully assess whether they can afford not only to buy it but whether they can afford the new stamp duty rates. Also, if you are in the process of buying a further home check with your solicitors whether completion will take place before Friday.

Unfortunately, the changes also affect jointly owned property and this also affects those people looking to buy another home with their partner even if one of them doesn’t own a property. It may also affect any divorce settlements.  Our family solicitor, Gillian would strongly advise those who have agreed or are thinking of agreeing to keep their name on a property following separation to assess whether these new changes will cause them any issues in the long term.

Contact Caroline Rooks to discuss your property or other legal requirements in confidence at:

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

CAN’T AFFORD LEGAL REPRESENTATION?

Nine out of 10 people who have gone through the family courts, suffer strain in their mental and physical health, working lives and finances, according to a report by Citizens Advice due out this week. This has also been reported by the guardian (see link below).

It seems since Legal Aid cuts have been implemented more and more people are finding access to legal assistance extremely difficult.

I have tried to tackle this at McCarthy Bennett Holland by offering fixed fees and payment plans.   Fixed fees at the outset can be discussed and agreed depending on the situation that is right for you.  Whether this is just sending an initial letter, acting on your behalf in a Divorce or representing you at Court in a children matter a fixed fee and payment plan can be arranged.  This ensures that there are no nasty surprise bills heading your way and also gives you time to budget how you will meet the cost of representation.

Some of my clients have monthly standing orders set up to meet payment of the agreed fees. This works well for my clients as they don’t have to worry about finding payment as bills fall due as the money has already been accounted for and held on account.

The strongest advice I can give anyone is to obtain representation at Court. I have had a number of clients come to me after a first Court hearing and state that they didn’t feel like they had done a good job or felt intimidated by the proceedings which has caused them to back down on their position.  This can cause difficulties then moving forward to try and overturn concessions already made.

If you would like to discuss our fixed fee and payment plan services why not arrange an appointment with me? I offer 30 minute FREE no obligation initial advice appointments.

I am available on 01942 206060 or by e-mail to: GillianLavelle@wigansolicitors.com

 About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD Twitter: @MBHSolicitors Find Gillian on Facebook: “McCarthy Bennett Holland – family solicitor”

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/mar/26/legal-aid-cuts-put-strain-on-divorcees?utm_content=buffer6a02c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

What costs are involved in divorce proceedings?

Q: My estranged husband and I are considering divorce but I am worried that I won’t be able to afford the process. What costs should I expect?

The divorce process doesn’t need to be costly; if you are prepared to discuss and settle matters between you and obtain effective legal advice, the financial impact can be kept to a minimum.

Court fees

The government has recently announced that court fees to start a divorce are to increase by £140 later this year, from £410 to £550. Some assistance is offered by the courts; if you are in receipt of benefits or on a low income, you can apply for a fee remission which will exempt you from, or reduce your payment of, the fees. If you are considering seeking a divorce, you may wish to start proceedings now before the fees are increased.

Legal fees

McCarthy Bennett Holland offers a fixed-fee divorce service, provided that the divorce is not contested by your spouse. We keep the costs for a petitioner, ie. if you are the party commencing divorce proceedings, in the region of £500 + VAT and for respondents fees are around £200 + VAT.

Financial settlement

Many of the costs involved in the divorce process stem from negotiating the financial settlement between you. Financial disputes differ greatly and costs can range significantly, from around £500 to £5,000 + VAT – and more. If matters can be discussed and resolved between you and legal representatives’ involvement kept to a minimum, you will reduce your costs to a much more manageable level. If you intend to negotiate your own financial settlement, ensure that you are both aware of all assets owned by each of you and jointly beforehand.

Where the financial settlement has been agreed between the parties beforehand, whether in private or through a mediation process, solicitors can prepare the ‘Clean Break Order’ on a fixed fee basis. MBH can deal with a Clean Break Order for fees of around £400 + VAT, plus the Court fee of £50 which is usually shared between the parties.

The Order ensures that no further financial claims can be brought in future by either party and you can move on knowing that all matters are finalised and settled. Without a Clean Break Order, one spouse could make a claim many years down the line for financial support; in one case which made the headlines this year, a former wife successfully pursued her millionaire ex-husband for substantial financial support after it emerged that, whilst they had divorced, they had never concluded their financial agreement.

If you are unable to reach agreement between yourselves, solicitors will deal with reaching financial settlement through negotiation and voluntary disclosure, requiring both parties to exchange all financial information including bank statements, asset values and so on.

As a last resort, the Court can make an order in respect of the financial agreement; this usually proves considerably more costly. The Court will order that information is disclosed between the parties and, generally, a minimum of two hearings will follow. In most cases, matters are agreed after the second hearing at which the Judge will direct how the case should settle. Occasionally, a third hearing is required at which both parties give evidence to the Court and the Judge makes a final Order.

Mediation

It is now compulsory for parties to enter into mediation before any application can be made to the Court for a financial Order in a divorce. The mediation process enables both parties to either meet face-to-face or in separate rooms to discuss and reach a decision with the assistance of a trained mediator. Public funding (‘Legal Aid’) is still available for mediation where parties are in receipt of low incomes or benefits. Whether you are entitled to Legal Aid or not, mediation often proves a cheaper and quicker resolution to reaching a financial settlement than negotiation through solicitors or the Court.

Children

Throughout the divorce process, both parties must take their children into consideration and ensure that sufficient provision is made for them. The Child Maintenance Service’s online calculator is a useful tool to provide an indication as to how much child support you or your spouse should pay. Child maintenance is dealt with separately from the main divorce or financial proceedings.

Whilst we have given an indication of our fees for dealing with your divorce, a tailored quote based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case will be supplied once you have formally instructed us.

McCarthy Bennett Holland offers FREE 30-minute, no-obligation, initial appointments for all family and matrimonial cases. To arrange yours, contact family & matrimonial specialist Gillian Lavelle on 01942 206060.

 

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors
Find Gillian on Facebook:
McCarthy Bennett Holland family solicitor

Thinking about getting divorced? Act now! Court fees are on the rise!

The government has recently announced that they intend to increase the Divorce Petition fee later this year from £410 to £550 (a rise of £140).  Fee remissions are still available for those who qualify and will be entitled to the fee free or at a reduced rate.  However, for the majority this will not apply.

MBH Solicitors offer fixed fees for uncontested divorces.  If you are thinking about getting divorced I would strongly advise that you petition sooner rather than later.  No set date has been given yet but it is understood it will be sometime this year.

MBH offers FREE 30-minute initial advice appointments.  So what do you have to lose?  Contact our specialist solicitor, Gillian Lavelle on 01942 206060 or email GillianLavelle@wigansolicitors.com

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

 Find Gillian on Facebook: “McCarthy Bennett Holland – family solicitor”

Divorce and Irreconcilable Differences

I have many clients come to see me stating that the marriage has broken down and they wish to divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”. It seems that there is a lot of confusion regarding the divorce procedure.

To obtain a divorce you need to prove that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. To show this you have to rely on one of five facts. The facts you can rely on are:

  1. Adultery i.e. your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person;
  2. Unreasonable behaviour i.e. that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse due to their behaviour which is….;
  3. That you have been separated for 2 years and you both consent to the divorce;
  4. That your spouse has deserted you for over 2 years;
  5. That you have been separated for 5 years.

Unless you can show one of the above you are not entitled to a divorce, regardless of whether or not your marriage has broken down. Unfortunately, as is shown above “irreconcilable differences” is not a factor in divorce proceedings.

Need any help determining whether you are entitled to a divorce? Contact our specialist solicitor, Gillian Lavelle now on 01942 206060 or email GillianLavelle@wigansolicitors.com.

Gillian also offers FREE 30 MINUTE FAMILY ADVICE appointments.

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors
Find Gillian on Facebook: “McCarthy Bennett Holland – family solicitor”

 

Explaining Occupation Orders

Protecting your family in times of difficulty

Under the Family Law Act 1996, the Court can make an Order to state who has the right to occupy the family home or, if necessary, who is to be excluded from it. Occupation Orders are often used in urgent situations such as where children are at risk of having nowhere to live or where one partner is abusive towards the other.

What does an Occupation Order contain and how does it work?

The Order will be sought by one party who wishes or needs to occupy the former family home, often with the children. It can only be made in respect of a property which is, or was, the family home. The Order will not alter the structure of the legal ownership of the home, but will merely set out who is able to live in it. Where you are joint owners of the property, legally you are both entitled to enjoy occupation of it so a Court Order is required if one party seeks to exclude the other.

They are intended as a short-term measure and many last between 6 and 12 months; however, it is possible to extend an Order if necessary.

Common terms that an Occupation Order may contain include (but are not limited to):

  • an enforced, Court-Ordered right to remain in the family home;
  • a right to return to the property if one party has been locked out unfairly;
  • an order to exclude one party, regardless of their legal rights;
  • orders as to who is to assume responsibility for rents or mortgage payments and general maintenance of the property.

Because of the power to exclude one party from entering or living in the home, Occupation Orders are often used as a tool in domestic abuse cases. They can help to bring a level of stability to a situation, particularly where children also need to be protected and cared for.

Applications for Occupation Orders are made by way of a Court Claim Form. Applicants will need to compile a witness statement setting out their circumstances and arguments for occupation.

The Court’s decision

When deciding whether or not to grant an Occupation Order, the Court will look at both parties’ financial situations as well as the potential outcomes of either party losing their occupational rights and how this may affect the parties’ physical or mental health. They will always assess the needs of children, ensuring that they have somewhere safe and secure to live. There are also additional factors considered by the Court which are dependent on whether you were married to the other party, cohabitating or in a civil partnership. In addition, the Court must look at the behaviour of each party and it may make a judgment based on a ‘balance of harm’ test:

“what is the likelihood of significant harm being caused to either partner and your children if an Occupation Order is granted, balanced against the likelihood of significant harm being caused if an Occupation Order is not made”

If an Occupation Order is granted, you are able to change the locks on the property

Who can apply?

You don’t need to own a property to gain an Occupation Order; the Court can grant an Order over a rented property or over another property in which the applicant, their spouse, partner or civil partner has a financial interest.

Where a property is rented, the Court will grant ‘home rights’ to a spouse or civil partner where that person is not listed as a tenant on the tenancy agreement. Home rights include the right to remain in the property and to pay the rent on it. However, ‘home rights’ are not available where the parties were only cohabitating.

 

Other related Orders

Occupation Orders are often used in conjunction with other proceedings. For example, if a divorce is ongoing, once the Decree Absolute has been granted, an Eviction Order can be served if an Occupation Order is not already in existence to permanently remove the non-residing partner from the property if they refuse to vacate voluntarily. Non-Molestation Orders (otherwise known as injunctions) can also be issued alongside Occupation Orders where one party has been suffering abuse at the hands of their partner, spouse or civil partner.

Our family and matrimonial specialist Gillian Lavelle is pleased to offer a free initial 30-minute appointment for all new cases.

To arrange your meeting, call 01942 206060 today.

 

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors
Find Gillian on Facebook: “McCarthy Bennett Holland – family solicitor”

Making sense of Separation Agreements

Q: My wife and I have recently separated. How can I make sure that I still see the children and that we each have access to money to enable us to find new homes?

On separation, it is certainly sensible to document formally any arrangements made between yourself and your wife; not only will it avoid disagreement down the line about access to children and so on, but the terms you agree can later form the basis of divorce proceedings.

Separation Agreements

Separation Agreements may be entered into by both married and unmarried couples who have chosen to stop living together. Setting out these issues, and any other terms you wish, in writing allows both parties to move on with the reassurance that important matters have been negotiated and settled, and a document signed to record the details.

Your solicitor may advise you to enter into a Separation Agreement. Both you and your wife should take independent legal advice before signing up to this and you must both fully disclose to the other all relevant financial and other information. You may wish to discuss and agree terms such as:

  • Who the children are to live with;
  • When and how the other party will see the children;
  • What is to happen to the family home;
  • How you will separate joint assets such as your bank accounts;
  • Who is to assume responsibility for any mortgage on the family home and whether any contributions are to be made by the other party;
  • How other joint assets are to be shared.

Is the Separation Agreement legally binding?

Whilst the Agreement is not legally binding, insofar as it has not been issued by a Court under a Court Order, the Courts do consider seriously the terms of any Separation Agreement when making decisions in any future disputes between the parties and as part of divorce proceedings.

Separation Agreements are particularly beneficial in dealing with a couple’s financial matters early on in their separation. Many divorces are protracted as a result of disagreement when trying to reach financial settlement but if these issues are already agreed the divorce can be finalised much more quickly and painlessly.

Do we need to take part in mediation?

Whilst there is no legal requirement for you to partake in mediation prior to entering into a Separation Agreement (unlike financial proceedings, where a mediation session is mandatory), the terms of the Separation Agreement will need to be discussed and agreed between you and your wife. You may choose to do this directly between yourselves, through negotiation between solicitors or by way of mediation.

Negotiation between solicitors will likely prove more costly and time-consuming than an effective and professionally-led mediation session; if you are struggling to reach agreement on any matters yourselves, you may find it helpful to arrange a meeting and talk it through. A family mediator is completely impartial and their role is purely to allow you to resolve your differences satisfactorily to both of your wishes.

Our new family and matrimonial specialist Gillian is pleased to offer a free initial 30-minute appointment for all new cases.

Paul Aynsley is a qualified family mediator and member of the Family Mediators Association. Initial mediation meetings are offered at a cost of £50 + VAT at McCarthy Bennett Holland.

To arrange your meeting with Gillian or Paul, call 01942 206060 today.

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Gillian Lavelle, solicitor at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your family & matrimonial requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors
Find Gillian on Facebook: “McCarthy Bennett Holland – family solicitor”

Team MBH: A Growing Wigan Business

McCarthy Bennett Holland is delighted to welcome family and matrimonial lawyer Gillian Lavelle to the fast-growing firm.

Gillian, dual-qualified as both a Solicitor and a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, brings with her over ten years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of family issues. Here, she speaks about her move to MBH and the services she can offer.

Gillian, has your career always focused on family and matrimonial matters?

Yes; my early experience was gained as a paralegal within a litigation team but I concentrated primarily on disputes relating to unmarried, cohabiting couples. I continued to build on this, moving into more general family matters, including those relating to children, and subsequently to develop my expertise in dealing with divorce. I now deal with cases across the full breadth of family and matrimonial separations and disputes.

What prompted your move to MBH?

McCarthy Bennett Holland is a long-established, well-regarded and growing firm in an area within which I have worked for some time. When the opportunity to join the team arose, I jumped at the chance; I’ve worked with MBH on a professional level before and so I knew the quality of the work that the firm does and I was keen to continue to develop my career here.

What will you be offering clients of the firm?

We always offer family and matrimonial clients a free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss their case and agree a way forward. We will discuss costs and potential outcomes so clients are fully aware of what to expect. MBH is also able to offer mediation services, ensuring a full service to separating and divorcing couples is available.

Family law and financial settlements in particular have featured heavily in the news recently; how has the law been affected?

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court stresses the importance of reaching and concluding a financial settlement as part of divorce proceedings. A former wife, who split from her husband some 20 years ago, is pursuing her former husband for a substantial financial sum. Following their split, he went on to have a successful career which led to him accruing considerable wealth.

The case has many different strands to it but central is the fact that, when the divorce was finalised, the former couple’s financial matters were not. No agreement was agreed or signed and no ‘clean break’ achieved which would have drawn to a close any claims that either husband or wife had against the other. As a result, even 20 years on, the Court has ruled that the wife is able to lodge a claim against her former husband’s estate.

What lessons can be learned from the case? 

There are two strands to divorce proceedings; concluding the divorce itself in order to bring the marriage to an end, and reaching agreement on financial issues. Couples going through a divorce must ensure that they not only receive their Decree Absolute but conclude a full and final settlement dealing with all financial matters, setting out what each party will receive from the couple’s assets.

 

  • Together with Gillian’s appointment, MBH has promoted two colleagues to Partner status. Conveyancers Caroline Rooks and John Petrie join the partnership at the firm and will continue to grow the busy residential conveyancing department.

Of the recent appointments, Senior Partner Mark Boon comments, “McCarthy Bennett Holland has experienced significant growth in recent months and we are pleased to be able to announce these latest appointments and promotions.

Gillian’s all-round expertise in family and matrimonial cases, and her particular specialism in managing cohabitation disputes, will serve our clients well and she brings with her new ideas to develop the family team.

Promoting Caroline and John to the partnership is an exciting step for MBH and recognition of the significant contributions they have made to the firm. We are proud to be able to offer these opportunities to valuable members of our team and look forward to continued growth in the coming months and years.”

Are you a Commercial or Commercial Property solicitor looking for a new opportunity with a growing local firm? McCarthy Bennett Holland’s commercial team is expanding and we are looking to recruit solicitors from newly qualified to 3 years PQE to join our respected and ambitious practice. Please contact Mark Boon at MBH for more information; details below.

About MBH

McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.

Contact Mark Boon, partner at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your property or other legal requirements in confidence at:

www.wigansolicitors.com
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD
Twitter: @MBHSolicitors