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Wigan Family Law Blog

Wife awarded £337 million may fight for more

The former wife of a financier has said that she is considering an appeal after being awarded what is thought to be the largest settlement in English divorce history. The couple, who were married for 15 years, were in dispute over £700 million of assets after separating in 2012. A High Court judge from the Family Division awarded the woman £337 million in a private divorce hearing, making her richer than the Queen.

The couple met when studying at Harvard University and have four children, including 12-year-old triplets. The assets being fought over included residences in the West Indies, the United States and England. The husband told the court that his estranged wife should receive one quarter of their collective fortune whilst the wife argued that she should get half as their wealth was amassed due to their partnership.

What you need to know about parental rights and responsibilities

'Parental responsibility' refers to the responsibilities and legal rights that all mothers and most fathers have as a parent. A mother will automatically have parental responsibility for a child from the time of its birth and a father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother of his child or if he is listed on the child's birth certificate. It should be noted that this is only applicable after a certain date, which depends upon where in the United Kingdom the child was born.

The most important tasks under the auspice of parental responsibility are to protect and maintain the child, and to provide a home for them. Although parental responsibility still exists for those who live apart from their child, this does not automatically give the right to contact. The parent who does live with the child, however, must still provide updates on the child's progress, well-being and circumstances.

Couple spends nearly a third of their assets during divorce

According to a High Court judge, a divorcing couple in a case over which he was presiding had spent nearly £1 million fighting over the division of their assets, which total less than £3 million. The couple had been married for 18 years prior to their separation in 2011.

The High Court judge said that more than £150,000 was earmarked for forensic accountants who valuated the 54-year-old husband's business assets. In reality, the division of assets in that divorce case had been easily settleable, according to the judge. Nevertheless, the divorcing couple spent nearly a third of their assets on the divorce, the judge said.

What amount of spousal maintenance can I get?

When legally separating from a spouse, if they refuse to contribute towards the bills or mortgage prior to the divorce hearing, it is possible to apply for ancillary relief and maintenance. It is often hoped that this application will encourage them to voluntarily reach an arrangement, but if they are still unwilling to offer a financial contribution, the court will schedule a hearing to determine maintenance pending the divorce proceedings. At this hearing, an estranged spouse may then be ordered to make immediate maintenance payments.

The level of spousal maintenance depends very much on circumstances. If an independent arrangement cannot be reached with an estranged spouse, the court can intervene and make a decision. Any decision will be based on eight main factors. The first two are based specifically on financial circumstances - the first considers respective present and future income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources; the second considers respective financial needs, obligations and responsibilities.

The difference between a legal separation and a divorce

A legal separation in Greater Manchester is a legal arrangement that allows for a separation from a spouse without the finality of a divorce or ending a civil partnership. A legal separation therefore enables both parties to live separate lives but remain married. Issues that can be addressed by a legal separation include the division of debts and assets, child support and child custody, visitation schedules and spousal support.

A petition for legal separation can be made for the same reasons that a divorce might be considered, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Unlike divorce, however, there is no need to show that the relationship has suffered irretrievable breakdown. A separation agreement can be used to protect the interests of both parties until reconciliation, or a divorce, is sought. In order to submit a judicial separation petition, it will be necessary to send two copies of the petition to a divorce court along with a certified copy of a civil partnership certificate or marriage certificate.

A definition and description of domestic abuses

Residents of Greater Manchester who are not familiar with domestic abuse may not realise that there are multiple types of abuse. To that end, it is important to define and describe the different types of domestic abuse that may be experienced as it is not necessarily a regular occurrence and does not only include physical violence.

Financial abuse can involve, yet not be restricted to, controlling attitudes towards bank accounts and finances, an insistence on an account and assessment of all expenditure, a refusal to allow enough money to make ends meet, a refusal to contribute towards household bills, the running up of debt in a partner's name, a refusal to permit study or work and a non-negotiable attitude towards how and when money is spent.

High-profile couple facing divorce battle over dogs

A singer and her estranged media-personality husband are facing a protracted fight over custody of their family pets. While the couple already has an agreement in place settling the matters of custody and parenting for their three-year-old twin children as well as a financial agreement regarding the divorce settlement for their collective assets, there is no preexisting agreement pertaining to their dogs.

The wife, a 44-year-old singer who has sold over 200 million records and has a string of chart hits to her name, has asked for sole custody of all eight dogs. Her husband, a 33-year-old media personality and reality TV host, has asked for sole custody of two of the animals, claiming that he has a special bond with them, as well as visitation rights for the other six.

Understanding the Child Maintenance Service

There are usually six stages that the Child Maintenance Service follows when calculating a weekly child maintenance award. The first involves calculating the gross annual income of the supporting parent. This calculation is made with information sourced from HMRC and does not include student loans, student grants or tax credits.

The next stage is to assess whether there are other financial responsibilities, like pension payments or other child maintenance payments, that might affect the level of annual income, and then the final figure is converted into a weekly amount. The third stage in the process is to assess which rate is applicable. There are five levels of maintenance rates that can be applied, and they are all dependent on this gross weekly income.

Homeware tycoon fights to have divorce heard in Malaysia

A high-profile couple is fighting over where their divorce should be heard with over £500 million at stake. The estranged husband, a 75-year-old homeware tycoon, wants the divorce proceedings to be considered in Malaysia where he is resident. His younger spouse is arguing that the case should be heard in England as that is where the family home is located.

The couple, who have been married for over 40 years and have raised five children, are expected to be party to the largest settlement in British history. The proceedings have already accumulated preliminary legal costs of over £2 million, which a judge earlier in 2014 described as a very high price to pay for arguments before a case is even heard.

Survey reveals information about domestic violence in the UK

A recent poll of over 2,000 women found that nearly 40 per cent of them had been a victim of domestic violence. The survey was undertaken as part of a domestic violence campaign that was launched by a television show in conjunction with a charity that supports victims of family law problems.

The figures reportedly revealed that 37 per cent of those surveyed had suffered abuse in a domestic setting, 35 per cent of those surveyed would want any abuse they suffered to remain private and 43 per cent felt that their experience was not serious enough to involve anyone else. Of those who took part in the poll, nearly 25 per cent said that they would not know how to help a victim of domestic violence or where to go for assistance and 14 per cent thought that such behaviours were to be expected in a relationship.