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Wigan Family Law Blog

Ex-wife allowed to seek spousal maintenance by courts

Greater Manchester residents may be interested in a case currently pending in London's family court. The ex-wife of a Slovenian multi-millionaire has filed requesting maintenance from him, even though the couple's divorce was finalized several years ago in Slovenia.

The Telegraph reports that the man's estimated worth is £48 million. His 30-year marriage to his ex-wife was dissolved in Slovenia in 2011. The couple, who had reportedly married in 1981 and have four adult children, made their money after fleeing Kosovo to Slovenia in the 1990s. In 2008, the wife and children moved to London after she withdrew £3.5 million from the couple's account. The man relocated to Dubai around then as well.

Children and domestic violence

Children who have witnessed or been the victim of domestic abuse and violence in the household are some of the most vulnerable in society. Greater Manchester residents may have heard of the charitable organisation Refuge, which provides support for the women and children who have been victims of this behaviour and helps them to build a secure and more positive life. It believes that children should not need to live in a fearful home environment and that abusive households pose a significant danger for children in the U.K.

According to Refuge, over 65 per cent of their residents are children, many of whom have shown a strength and resilience that has allowed them to come to terms with their experiences. The organisation has rejected the misplaced belief that children who have witnessed domestic violence will later in life necessarily exhibit violent tendencies themselves. It believes that by supporting them through a wide range of services, they will no longer need to live in an environment of fear and abuse.

People divorcing later in life, study finds

Not every divorce involves child custody negotiations, as many couples in England decide to get divorced after their children are all grown up. A new study on divorce in the United States found that the divorce rate among couples over the age of 50 is at a record high. Since 1990, the number of divorces between spouses over 50 years old has doubled as the overall divorce rate has fallen.

The U.S. divorce study was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Researchers found that one-fourth of all divorces involve people over 50. In 1990, only one in every 10 divorces was filed by someone over the age of 50.

Deciding where to get divorced

Couples in the Greater Manchester area may wish to reflect on the importance of a spouse's country of residence when beginning divorce proceedings. One couple has so far spent approximately £5 million pounds on legal bills in order to decide where the divorce proceedings should be held. The Court of Appeal in London has yet to make its decision, but the Malaysian Court of Appeal has ruled that, based on the husband's country of residence, it should be heard in Malaysia.

The 74-year-old multi-millionaire Malaysian businessman has been fighting to have the divorce settled in his country of residence and was granted a court order in Malaysia to that effect. When his wife took the case to the Court of Appeal in Malaysia, the judges upheld the decision based on the common law rule. This rule denies a wife the legal right to choose her own country of residence, instead, she is deemed to have the same residence as her husband.

Supreme Court rules on spouses hiding assets

A landmark ruling has been made by the Supreme Court that may affect divorce settlements in cases where a spouse has not revealed the full extent of his or her wealth. The decision could have a significant financial impact on a case that was being heard in the Family Division of the High Court and may also affect divorcing couples in the Greater Manchester area. The ruling will allow judges to put aside existing divorce settlements and implement new ones if a spouse has not been honest in disclosing all assets.

The case being heard in the High Court involved a millionaire property businessman who had stated that he was worth £20 million and who agreed to a divorce settlement based on this sum. His wife is now arguing that he had misrepresented his true value and that his assets were, in fact, worth much more. The couple is reported to have spent £1.7 million on legal fees to date, but the judge who reviewed her hearing said that she may now be entitled to a much larger settlement.

False allegations for a quick divorce

A report by Resolution, the family law association representing around 5,000 solicitors, has published a report showing that over 27 per cent of couples who claimed that a partner behaved unreasonably had, in fact, made false allegations in order to be granted a quick divorce by the courts. Couples in the Manchester area may be aware that unless a partner has behaved unreasonably or has committed adultery, the earliest a divorce can be granted is two years after the marriage has broken down.

A Conservative MP is using the Ten Minute Rule in order to bring a motion for "no fault divorce". He said that under current family law, couples seeking a timely divorce are forced to make accusations against each other and that the law should be changed to allow them to be granted a divorce by mutual agreement without the need to apportion blame. By demanding proof that a marriage had broken down, he said, the law encourages couples to make false allegations.

Nondisclosure of assets

A survey by Big Yellow Self Storage has exposed the fact that 47 per cent of people in the process of getting a divorce have sought to hide possessions from their spouses. Of the 53 per cent who were honest about disclosing all their assets, more than one in 10 admitted that they regretted doing so. In the face of these facts, people getting divorced in the Greater Manchester area might be advised to closely check their partner's asset disclosure document.

Apart from money, one of the most common items hidden away were photographs, with over one third of the people admitting they had done so. Another 25 per cent said that they had kept mementos and almost a fifth had tucked away family heirlooms. Divorce, however, can be a time when strong emotions run out of control, and approximately one fifth of people revealed that they had thrown away possessions with sentimental value out of anger.

Emotional abuse and coercive control

Domestic abuse in Greater Manchester does not always involve physical violence. Often, individuals who go on to physically abuse their spouses begin by emotionally abusing them with controlling, bullying behavior. Even when it doesn't lead to physical violence, emotional abuse can be very psychologically damaging to the spouse who is on the receiving end of it.

In 2006, a professor from Rutgers University in New York coined the term 'coercive control" to describe a type of domestic abuse in which one partner controls the other partner through verbal intimidation. Victims of coercive control may be isolated from their family and friends by a domineering partner who seeks to deprive them of their basic human rights. Many spouses who use coercive control restrict the victim's access to money, withhold the victim's phone and act excessively jealous.

Single parent barred from applying for parental order

Counsel representing the single father of a child that was born to a surrogate mother has argued that the legislation that forbids her client from being granted a parental order is discriminatory and against his human rights. Residents of the Greater Manchester area who have considered becoming a parent through surrogacy may be aware that current legislation requires the applicant of a parental order to be married or in another form of longstanding relationship.

The father argued that in the case of adoption, the law recognised that a single parent was a legitimate form of family unit and that Parliament, accepting that the structure of a family in the present day could take many forms, had revised the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to prevent discrimination against various models of the modern family. He said that denying a single parent the right to apply for a parental order was discrimination and went against the European Convention on Human Rights.

Reducing domestic violence and Clare's Law

The passage of Clare's Law has resulted in more than 300 women in Greater Manchester being warned that their partners have histories of abusing others in the past. This law was implemented after a woman named Clare was strangled and killed by her ex-boyfriend, a man that she met on Facebook.

Clare, the woman who was murdered, had no idea that her boyfriend had a history of violence against women, including kidnapping one girlfriend with a knife. After he killed Clare, the man then committed suicide. The law allows women to apply to see if their new partners have any history of domestic violence.