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There are many important considerations when going through divorce, but four out of five Brits believe that putting children’s interests first is right at the top of the list. Next comes avoiding conflict, according to a recent survey by family law association Resolution.

The group has launched a new advice guide, ’Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce,’ designed to help separating couples understand and explore non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the breakdown of a relationship.

“People have good intentions to prioritise the well-being of children and to avoid conflict during separation, but this can often be derailed by a lack of knowledge of non-court based options and an exposure to the adversarial nature of courts. Something is going very wrong, and often the result is emotionally and financially drained parents and deeply distressed children,” said Jo Edwards, Vice Chair of Resolution.

“However, there is another way. We’ve launched this guide because we want separating couples to know about non-confrontational alternatives to court. These methods can help prevent separation and divorce from being needlessly adversarial, and often can benefit the whole family through fairer settlements and by prioritising the interests of children,” he added.

 

The Law Commission has published a supplementary consultation paper on needs and non-matrimonial property.

The consultation is seeking views on two specific aspects of the law relating to financial provision on divorce:

  • to what extent one spouse should be required to meet the other’s financial needs, and what exactly is meant by needs; and
  • what happens to property that one of the partners owned before the relationship or acquired during the course of it.

Launching the consultation, Law Commissioner Professor Elizabeth Cooke said:

“When two people bring their marriage or civil partnership to an end it is vital that the law is able to help them resolve their financial arrangements as quickly and fairly as possible. The current law creates too much potential for uncertainty and inconsistency. We are seeking consultees’ views on a range of short- and long-term reforms, with the aim of bringing as much certainty as possible to this difficult area of law.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

Posted by on in Divorce

A recent study has found that disputes over household chores comes closely after infidelity and drifting apart in the list of reasons why UK couples get divorced, reports the Daily Mail.

The research, carried out by Vileda, found that 56% of people polled thought disputes over normal domestic chores played a major part in their decision to separate. Items left lying around the house was the most common cause of argument (26%), followed by partners 'not pulling their weight' and not doing the washing up.

Lindsey Taylor, brand manager for Vileda, said: 'There may be another major reason behind a break-up, such as money worries or drifting apart, but it can be the little rows over things like washing up that can help tip rowing couples over the edge,' reports the Daily Mail.

A recent study from America has found that modern technology such as email, texts or social media can be an effective method of communication for separating or divorcing couples, but can also be open to abuse.

Researchers at the University of Missouri interviewed divorced parents about the state of their relationship with their ex-partner. They found that parents whose relationship was generally cooperative found communication technology a useful way of sharing information about their children. However, couples that had a hostile relationship used the technology to manipulate their ex-partner, for example by pretending not to have received emails.

“Parents who are hostile need to set their feelings aside and understand that they need to communicate effectively in order to protect the emotional well-being of their children,” said Lawrence Ganong, a professor of human development and family studies at MU. “Email is a great resource for hostile parents who can’t talk face-to-face. They can communicate essential information while editing what they say to avoid conflict. Also, the parents have a record of what was agreed upon.”

Posted by on in Divorce

Recent research has revealed that 21.6 million Brits have held onto photographs of former partners following a break-up.

The research, from Friends Reunited, also found that women are more sentimental than men, with 61% claiming they keep the photos as they highlight a part of their life they don't want to forget, versus 56% of men.

However, men may be hiding more from their partners than their other halves realise. One in five men (20%) in a current relationship who have photos of their ex-partners say they have hidden photos of an ex fearing disapproval from their new partner, compared to only 9% of women.

Corinne Sweet, behavioral psychologist said:

"The point at which people are able to put an ex-partner's photo away (after a split, divorce or death) is usually the time they are emotionally ready to move on. Yet, it is totally understandable for people to keep photos to remind them of previous loves, as, indeed, these images do form part of our life stories - whether for better or for worse."

The Government has announced the establishment of a new fund, worth up to £14 million over two years, to develop effective and innovative support services for separated and separating families.

The new services will help parents to foster collaborative relationships with each other after separation, including agreeing child maintenance.

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said:

“If separation is unavoidable then having both parents actively involved in their lives is the best way for children to develop. So this is a challenge for organisations and individuals to suggest how we can make this important investment in families really count.”

The announcement reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to shared parenting which also includes changes to the family justice system and an overhaul of the child maintenance system to see parents supported to make their own, family-based, child maintenance arrangements whenever possible.

The Child Support Agency currently costs the taxpayer approximately £0.5 billion per annum. Department for Work and Pensions research has suggested that the majority of separated parents currently using the CSA believe they would be likely to make their own maintenance arrangements with the right help and support.

A recent poll of divorce lawyers in America has revealed a growth in the number of women paying alimony and child support over the past three years.

The survey, by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), found that 56% of respondents reported seeing an increase in the number of mothers paying child support, while 47% also note a rise in women being responsible for alimony following divorce.

Ken Altshuler, president of the AAML, commented:

"The court system always ends up reflecting changes in our society and this is certainly the case with issues regarding who pays child support and alimony. As more women achieve success on their career paths, they are also finding themselves increasingly responsible for financial obligations during and after the divorce process."

Speaking at the 24th Resolution annual conference in Leeds, the President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall gave a strong backing to Resolution’s position that there should be legal provision for no fault divorce.

In a speech to over 300 delegates, Sir Nicholas said: “My position is very simple. I am a strong believer in marriage. But I see no good arguments against no fault divorce.”

He went on to say, “In the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth, divorce was a matter of social status – it mattered whether you were divorced or not, and if you were, it was important to demonstrate that you were the “innocent” party. All that, I think, has gone.”

He also expressed concern that Mediation and Information Assessment Meetings are not working, observing that the government had introduced the process without making them compulsory, as this was felt inconsistent with the voluntary nature of mediation. He acknowledged that in some areas, judges are not following rules requiring them to encourage attendance at mediation. In concluding, he told practitioners that their aim “must be to encourage the court to make proper use of these powers".

A recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics has presented provisional annual statistics on marriages that took place in England and Wales during 2010.

Key findings of the bulletin include:

  • The provisional number of marriages in England and Wales in 2010 increased by 3.7% to 241,100.
  • The highest number of marriages were for men and women aged 25 to 29.
  • The largest percentage increase in numbers from 2009 to 2010 were for men aged 45 to 49 and women aged 30 to 34, both rising by 6%.


Over the past 20 years, there has been a rise in the number of cohabiting adults in England and Wales. The number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families increased significantly between 2001 and 2011, from 2.1 million to 2.9 million (Families and Households, 2011). Attitudes towards cohabitation have also changed. The 2006 British Social Attitudes survey found two thirds of respondents thought there was ‘little difference socially between being married and living together as a couple’ (Beaujouan and Bhrolcháin, 2011).

The Divorces in England and Wales, 2010 release showed that the percentage of marriages ending in divorce has generally increased for those marrying between the 1970s and the early 1990s. For example, 22% of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33% of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time. However, there is some evidence that the proportion of marriages ending in divorce had levelled off for couples married in the most recent years.

New research from dating site, ThePicnicProject.com, has found a growing number of women would rather date a mature divorced man than someone younger than themselves.

According to the survey:

  • 12% of single women would rather date a divorcee than someone younger, which amounts to an estimated 655,000 single women.
  • An estimated 48,000 single women in the UK admit they are actively looking for a divorced man to date.
  • Around 2% of respondents (892,000) said they have recently broken up with their partner, or are in the process of breaking up with their partner.

Women cite better relationship experience as the main attraction to divorced men (12%), along with an increased likelihood that they'll be sensitive to their partner's needs (8%) and the fact they've demonstrated serious commitment in the past (7%).

A quarter of women also admit they would not be deterred by children from another relationship.

 

A recent survey of divorce lawyers in America has found that people's reliance on their smart phone to organise most aspects of their life has led to the phones becoming a source of evidence to be used in the divorce court.

Around 92% of lawyers questioned said they have seen an increase in the number of cases using evidence taken from iPhones, Droids, and other smart phones during the past three years.

The survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) also found that 94% of respondents have cited an overall rise in the use of text messages as evidence during the same time period. Only 8% of lawyers said they had seen no change in the use of evidence taken from smart phones during the past three years.

As far as the most common forms of evidence taken from smart phones, text messages hold the top spot at 62%, e-mails follow at 23%, phone numbers and call histories at 13%, with GPS and Internet search histories each sharing 1%.

A woman from Long Island appears to have made legal history by being the first person in the state to be granted a contested no-fault divorce, reports the New York Post.

Previously, in a contested divorce, the partner seeking the divorce had to claim that the breakdown of the marriage was the fault of the other partner e.g. on the grounds of adultery. A legal amendment introduced just over a year ago added a no-fault provision in an attempt to make the divorce process less acrimonious. Under this change, only one partner needed to claim that the marriage had been irretrievably broken for at least six months.

Until now, the provision had only been used in non-contested divorces, however in the case in question, a 79-year-old woman wanted to end her marriage, but her husband didn't. Based on the evidence presented, the judge agreed with the woman that the marriage was irretrievably over, and granted her the divorce despite the objections of her husband.

Posted by on in Divorce

The relationship support charity, Relate, has seen a 116% increase since December in the number of people calling its helpline for relationship support.

Analysis of the calls received has shown that the biggest issues causing relationship breakdown were:

  • Arguments  36%
  • Affairs  20%
  • Sex    9%
  • Stress   9%
  • Money   7%

The charity has also seen a 60% increase in visitors to their website.

Relate conducted a survey before Christmas and found the most common causes of fireworks over the Christmas period were identified as personality clashes (14%) and not agreeing on what to do over the break (10%). The survey also revealed that people are most likely to argue with their partner (29%) or their children (13%).

Posted by on in Divorce

A recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics presents annual statistics on divorces that took place in 2010 following court orders, in England and Wales. The figures show that there were 119,589 divorces in England and Wales in 2010, an increase of 4.9%.

Posted by on in Divorce

Authorities in China have introduced an unusual measure to help married couples survive the “seven year itch,” reports the Telegraph.

Posted by on in Divorce

The latest annual matrimonial survey carried out by financial and business advisors Grant Thornton has found that, for the first time in the survey's eight year history, extra-marital affairs are no longer the most common reason for divorce.

Posted by on in Divorce

Going through a divorce can be a stressful situation at any time, but the recession has made the situation even more difficult for middle income couples, reports the Independent.

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