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Wigan Family Law Blog

Domestic violence victims suffering from legal aid regulations

Each year across the U.K. more than 1.2 million women are the subject of domestic violence. According to Rights of Women, the domestic violence charitable organisation, more than half of those who responded to a survey said that they did not begin legal proceedings because they could not claim legal aid. The charity has brought a case to the Court of Appeal to challenge the rules that could be preventing many Greater Manchester women from accessing family law legal aid.

After the government changed the regulations to remove legal aid for many types of family law cases, in recognition of the issues of domestic violence, it implemented amendments in order to allow the victims of abuse in the home to still access legal aid. However, Rights of Women has shown that 40 per cent of these victims are unable to provide the stipulated evidence that would enable them to be eligible for the support.

Sheik claims diplomatic immunity in divorce case

The former wife of a Saudi billionaire has taken her case to London's High Court in a bid to receive a legally binding divorce settlement. The former Pirelli model left her husband in 2012 when she discovered that her husband had secretly taken a second wife. Couples in the Greater Manchester area may be aware that Islamic law permits men to take more than one wife, but they may be interested to note that it apparently also enabled the sheik to divorce his first wife by repeating "I divorce you" three times.

The case that is being heard centres around the man's claim that his diplomatic immunity prevents him from being legally compelled to pay a divorce settlement to his wife. A Conservative Member of Parliament criticised the use of diplomatic privileges for the purposes of suborning the justice system. The billionaire's claim is further complicated due to the circumstances surrounding his acquisition of diplomatic status.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in second divorce

Some 18 months after getting married for the second time, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is reported to have filed for a divorce. Her net worth is currently in the region of £20 million, most of which she had earned before her current marriage. Celebrity watchers in the Greater Manchester area may have seen the picture of her £275,000 engagement ring that she posted on social media when she announced her engagement.

Her first marriage to the footballer Ashley Cole ended in 2010 after several women announced in the press that he had been cheating on his wife with them. She is now seeking a divorce for her second marriage on the grounds of irreconcilable differences between her and her husband. The couple dated for only three months before they got married, and the court could take the view that, in light of the short length of their relationship, she may be entitled to keep the majority of her assets.

Millionaire's wife wins ruling to have divorce in England

The former beauty queen wife of a millionaire Malaysian businessman has been seeking to have the couple's divorce hearings held in the U.K. so that she will receive a larger share of his assets, according to her husband. Shoppers in the Greater Manchester will have heard of the Laura Ashley chain, the fashion house where the Malaysian millionaire is the non-executive chairman. His wife has secured a ruling from the appeal court that their divorce should be heard in England.

The couple have been married for 43 years, since shortly after she was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1969. They have five children and, according to her husband, their family home was in Malaysia where he was based. The legal battle over whether the divorce should take place under Malaysian or U.K. law has run for three years and was finally decided when a judge in the U.K. granted a decree nisi.

Bankrupt property tycoon in divorce battle

A property billionaire who lost almost all of his wealth following his bankruptcy has been involved in a previously undisclosed divorce battle with his wife since 2013. At its height, his assets were estimated to be worth £3 billion and he was listed as the 14th richest man in England. Residents of the Greater Manchester area may have heard of some of his business interests which included the Shard, the Naval and Military Club in London and the former ancestral seat of the Rothschild family, Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire.

The Syrian-born property tycoon began investing in property after his father left him an inheritance, and by 2007 had become the 194th richest billionaire in the world, according to Forbes. The same year, however, the failure of a chain of fitness centres that he owned cost him in the region of £120 million and signalled the beginning of his rapid fall from grace. In April of 2010, after failing to pay £56 million in loans, he was forced into bankruptcy. Details of his divorce came to light after a court hearing in Jersey regarding family trusts.

More marriages surviving beyond 5 years

Research by the Marriage Foundation has shown that the divorce rates within the first five years of a marriage have fallen since the 1980's. Greater Manchester residents may appreciate that, according to the organisation, the decline in the figures is largely attributable to the changing attitudes of men entering into a marriage. These changes have resulted in husbands being more committed to the relationship, leading to fewer wives filing for divorce.

According to researchers, the high divorce rates 30 years ago may be a result of the increasing expectations of equality by women. They were searching for a fairer partnership in the home and no longer content to be the homemaker. As men have changed their attitudes to relationships and come to accept more domestic responsibilities, the increased satisfaction levels may have contributed to the falling divorce rates.

Critical error discovered in online divorce form

Many couples that get divorced in Greater Manchester use an online form to record financial information. Form E on the Ministry of Justice website is used to calculate the difference between a couple's assets and liabilities so that a judge can determine an appropriate divorce settlement amount. Recently, a mistake was discovered on that online form that could have led to thousands of unfair divorce settlements.

The online form was undercounting liabilities, resulting in an inflated picture of a spouse's wealth. The error was spotted by a McKenzie friend and corrected in early December. After discovering the error, the woman said that she was very surprised that no solicitor, barrister or judge had noticed it before her.

£2 million divorce of charity founder couple

A couple who founded a charitable organisation to save an endangered species of tiger is embroiled in a divorce battle that has so far cost them £2 million. The London-based couple may be known to Greater Manchester residents for their role in the Save China's Tiger charity project that is based in South Africa. The couple, who met in 1990, shared a love of the endangered animal and together founded the organisation in a bid to prevent its extinction.

The husband put £25 million into the project whose goal was to release into the wild tigers that were bred in captivity. The aims of the charity are now in danger as its assets have now become embroiled in the divorce. Although he earned millions during his time at Deutsche Bank, his wife claimed that the ex-banker had used funds from the charity to pay for the couple's luxurious lifestyle. Therefore, she said, she was also entitled to receive a share of the charity's funds as part of the divorce settlement.

Rise in unmarried couples cohabiting

Divorces in the U.K. have fallen to their lowest rates since 1975 according to Office for National Statistics figures. This comes at a time when the number of unmarried couples choosing to live together has risen to its highest level, with an increase over the last 10 years of 30 per cent. The statistics suggest that couples in the Greater Manchester area who have married after 2000 are less likely to divorce than their parents.

The trend was highlighted by records of younger couples who remained married past the seven-year mark. Of those who married in 1976, 20 per cent were divorced before the eighth anniversary of their wedding, but for couples who married in 2005, that figure had fallen to 16 per cent. In contrast to the falling divorce rates for younger people, the number of divorces for couples aged over 50 has increased to historically high levels, rapidly increasing by 11 per cent in just 10 years.

Bannatyne hid assets during his divorce

Duncan Ballantyne's travails may continue even after his time on the show "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" is over. In a petition at the High Court in Manchester, his former CEO has described how the multi-millionaire deliberately falsified records in order to reduce the value of his assets during the divorce proceedings from his second wife. The former Dragon's Den member may face an investigation on his return to the U.K.

The ex-employee has made a number of claims concerning the entrepreneur's finances saying that his boss had implied on one occasion that he had hidden assets and monies from the business and personal accounts in order to avoid having them included in the settlement calculations. He also referred to another conversation concerning a transfer of funds from a bank in Monaco that he believed was in relation to a hidden account. The Scotsman is estimated to be worth in the region of £175 million.