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Wigan Family Law Blog

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.

High-asset divorces cases have impact on family law

A tycoon who claimed that he had been bankrupted by a failed real estate deal was jailed for six months for refusing to disclose financial data during his divorce proceedings. A judge stated that the man was not poor but had instead moved his assets offshore in an effort to hide them from his estranged spouse. Although his ex-wife was awarded a £20 million divorce settlement, she still has not received any payments, and the dispute has now reached its sixth year.

The case is one of many high-profile divorces that has seen one spouse attempt to prevent the other from receiving an equitable settlement by concealing assets. In another divorce that involved a Nigerian oil magnate who was thought to be worth more than £48 million, the man was ordered to hand over a substantial property portfolio to his former wife even though the property was technically owned by a foreign company. In both cases, a judge imposed a ruling after deciding that an attempt had been made to misrepresent the financial position of one of the parties involved in the dispute.

Child maintenance system is going through changes

The abolition of the CSA and its replacement with the Child Maintenance Service has led to fears that the new process will cause families to lose support payments. The government began rolling out the Child Maintenance Service in 2012 after releasing a statement that the CSA IT systems were "totally inadequate and notoriously riddled with defects" and was therefore financially unviable with the operating costs alone running to £74 million a year.

The CSA system was designed to help those with family problems seek maintenance payments from their former partner, but it only involved the invitation of one parent. The new system forces parents to voluntarily make agreements or face financial penalties. Under these rules, the parent who is making child support payments will be subject to a 20 percent charge in addition to the support payment whilst the parent who is receiving child support payments will have to pay a 4 percent fee to recover the money. Those who cannot reach agreement without CMS intervention will be subject to a £20 registration fee.

Online abuse now investigated as domestic violence

New guidelines regarding the investigation of domestic violence will now allow incidents of online abuse to be considered during criminal prosecution. The move is part of an attempt by the Crown Prosecution Service to modernise the legal system's dealings with abuse cases and includes language discussing online social media. Additional rules regarding abuse against older victims is also included. The new guidance has be met with support from the Chief Executive of Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse.

Individuals who are typically targets of online abuse are generally teenagers, and a report suggests that they may not realise that the online behaviour could legally constitute abuse. The Director of Public Prosecutions said that even though some victims may not think that the abuse is a criminal action if there is no physical violence, it is necessary for such evidence to be considered.

Crime survey shows 700,000 male domestic violence victims

A survey has released figures showing that nearly 40 per-cent of domestic violence victims in 2013 were men. The British Crime Survey, an investigative document measuring self-reported crimes rather than those occasions where the police responded to a scene, found that an estimated 700,000 victims of domestic violence were men.

Parity, a men's rights organisation, has cited embarrassment and 'public indifference" as the reason that many men do not seek the help or protection that they might need. A spokesperson for the group said that this indifference, combined with a certain attitude from the police and other social agencies, leads to disbelief and ridicule if they officially report such family problems.

TV presenter set to lose half his £30 million fortune

A high-profile television presenter may lose up to £15 million of his accumulated wealth after his second wife filed for divorce. The couple, who have been married for 21 years and have three children, own an Oxfordshire mansion, a London apartment in Fitzrovia, a converted Isle of Man lighthouse accommodation and at least 12 cars, which include an Aston Martin and a Lamborghini.

The husband has amassed an estimated £30 million fortune, of which his wife will be entitled to half in a divorce, after earning, in 2012 alone, a collective £14 million from his salary, dividends and as a stakeholder of the company that produces his television show. He also continues to earn over £20,000 per evening as an after-dinner speaker. The couple married in 1993, nearly four years after the man's first wife left him for one of his closest friends, but they have been rumoured to have been living apart for the last three years.