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Wigan Family Law Blog

Maintenance payments after a marriage ends

When a couple dissolves their relationship or divorces, the courts may instruct the individual with the greater income to make a regular contribution to their former partner's living costs. Called a maintenance order, this contribution may have a time limit applied to it that sees payments continue until remarriage, a new civil partnership is entered into or until a specified date has been reached. Amendments can also be made if the financial circumstances of either individual change.

Often imposed as part of a couple's asset division, such family law problems considered by the courts will take into consideration the length of the union, any property or financial holdings, both party's ability to garner an income, the age of both parties, the standard of living experienced during the union and the individual roles of each party. That is to say, a judge will make their decision on any award or maintenance order based on the living circumstances and position as either primary carer for any offspring or breadwinner for the household.

CSA replacement service will charge parents

The Child Support Agency will be replaced with a service that charges parents an application fee if they seek help. The new service is set to completely replace the CSA by 2016, and any open cases dealing with such family law problems will be closed at that time.

The new Child Maintenance Service differs from the CSA in a number of ways. In particular, the organization will charge a fee to individuals who use it. It is hoped that the new charges will encourage former partners to reach voluntary agreements regarding maintenance payments, but many fear that reaching such an arrangement without intervention will be impossible if the relationship breakdown was acrimonious. However, the new regime allows those who have suffered domestic abuse from having to pay when seeking support.

Labour MP seeks to treat domestic violence as a serious crime

The Shadow Home Secretary is planning to state publicly that the police need to start treating domestic abuse as a serious crime instead of replacing legal prosecution with compensation and apologies. She said that two women each week are killed as a result of domestic violence, and that this would cause a 'national outcry" if it happened at football matches.

The Community Resolutions, which are currently used to conclude cases of violent family problems without going to court, were intended to be applied to minor offences, including petty theft and incidents of vandalism. The MP says that using them as a punishment for instances of domestic abuse serves only to show that the authorities simply do not take 'violence against women seriously".

British expatriate in Dubai ordered to pay divorce settlement

The High Court has ordered a man living in Dubai to pay his former wife, who now resides in the UK, a lump sum of £2.3 million in settlement or face a prison sentence. The man says that reports suggesting that he is disputing the settlement are untrue, but has told reporters that he cannot comply with the order in one payment and that his attempts to arrange a payment schedule have been rejected.

The couple finalized their divorce in 2006 and the man was awarded full custody of their son who is now 17 years old. The woman remained in the marital home in Dubai until she returned to the UK in 2009. The man said that his former wife and the judge who made the order were ignoring 'commercial realities" and had falsely accused him of living a lavish lifestyle.

Legal options for those considering the end of a relationship

Some couples who are seeking to end a marriage may face certain barriers when trying to divorce. Individuals might attempt to avoid divorce for a number of reasons, including religious beliefs and a desire to give the relationship time to work, and in some cases, a couple might be barred from applying for divorce. For example, couples that have been married for less than a year are not allowed to fully dissolve a marriage. Those couples might choose to pursue a judicial separation instead.

Although such arrangements can be made informally, separating couples gain an advantage if they document agreements concerning property interests, division of material possessions, support payments and childcare obligations, and submit the agreement to the courts. This allows both parties to understand their rights and obligations concerning their relationship more clearly, and a legal separation agreement can be amended later if circumstances change.

Domestic violence conviction rate reaches all-time high

Recent figures released by the Director of Public Prosecutions show that the rate of conviction in domestic abuse cases has reached an all-time high. The numbers demonstrate that nearly 11 percent of Crown Prosecution Service cases now deal with family problems. Referrals to the police increased over 17 percent compared with the year before during the period in question.

The director, who released the Violence Against Women and Girls report during the yearly Women's Aid event, said that the figures, when considered as a whole, showed that referrals, prosecutions and convictions were all up in number. Indeed, the CPS saw 6 percent of domestic violence cases in 2007 and 2008 and just under 9 percent in 2012 to 2013. The new ratio sat at 10.7 percent in the current year.

Divorced wife still to see a penny from £20 million settlement

A woman who spent nearly seven years fighting to prove that her ex-husband was hiding his assets in an effort to deny her a divorce settlement has still, despite a £20 million settlementobtained in 2013 and £1.3 million in arrears, not received any payment. The woman claimed that her estranged spouse was worth over £770 million, despite his claim that he was bankrupted by a failed property deal.The woman, who has two daughters aged 19 and 21 with her former husband, has been involved in a lengthy battle that has incurred legal fees of £6.5 million. During the course of the divorce proceedings her ex-husband was sentenced to six months in prison after consistently refusing to provide financial documentation. The judge ruled that he was 'not a penniless man of straw", supporting the woman's assertion that the money had been hidden, and charged him with contempt of court.The judge also ruled that the entrepreneur could be considered to have a net wealth of £40 million, awarding 50 percent to his former spouse. The woman told a newspaper that she knew that on the day of the settlement announcement 'I knew...he wouldn't pay". She now intends to chase her ex-husband through the insolvency courts, noting that she had secured a judgement order that makes her 'the largest creditor in his bankruptcy".Couples facing a high net worth divorce are required to disclose any and all assets that might influence an award or settlement. These might include any pension funds, property interests, stock portfolios, business holdings and any other marital assets.

Divorce settlement set to break records

While many residents of Manchester have experience with a tricky divorce, the assets involved will likely look puny next to the billions at stake in what likely be the largest divorce settlement figure in UK history. A formerly married couple who made their fortune in hedge funds are in dispute about the actual value of their assets, with the husband telling the Court of Appeal that the collective value of the commercial entities in question is just over £64 million whereas his former wife insists that the value of the assets should be listed as being worth up to £470 million.

During the divorce proceedings, the court has been told that, over the course of their marriage, the couple donated over £1 billion to charitable works. The court heard that the joint resources in dispute include pension pots of £50 million, real estate holdings worth £21 million, £17 million of investments as well as a £680 million hedge fund and a number of subsidiaries. The wife, a 49-year-old American-born woman, has asked for a 50 percent settlement of the assets whilst her former spouse has told the court that any settlement should amount to no more than 25 percent of the total value due to his "special contribution" to the collective pool.

$50 million in assets at stake in Banderas and Griffith divorce

An Oscar-winning actress recently initiated divorce proceedings with husband, sparking speculation about the division of marital assets. Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, who have been married for almost two decades, have reportedly accumulated a joint fortune in excess of $50 million dollars.

The couple, who have one child, both amassed considerable assets individually through their film careers but have also made significant investments in a variety of other industries. Banderas, who has a noted interest in business, owns several restaurants across the globe and a number of properties and commercial investments that have augmented his personal wealth, and some reports say that Griffith also has a number of investments outside of the entertainment industry.

Figures show spike in domestic incidents during World Cup

Figures published by an English university have shown that reported incidences of domestic abuse increase sharply over the duration of the World Cup. A criminologist at Bath University found evidence to indicate that an overall increase of nearly 40 percent of family problems was recorded during the 2010 games.

The violent incidents increased whether England won or lost, but the spike in London after a loss was 38 percent whilst the spike after a win was 26 percent. A separate study found that reports of domestic violence increased nationally by nearly 28 percent with a win and almost 32 percent with a loss. Essex police force has used the figures as an indicator of possible trouble, planning additional foot and car patrols during this year's event, as well as placing specialist teams in the control rooms.