Monday, 27 November 2017

Cohabitation Awareness Week


This week Resolution announced Cohabitation Awareness week.

The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled to 3.3 million over the past twenty years. Unfortunately despite the fact that more and more people are choosing to live together rather than marry or enter into a civil partnership the law has not caught up.

Couples who live together often assume they have the same legal protection as married couples particularly if they have lived together for a number of years or have children together but this is not the case under the current law.

Indeed you may well be surprised to learn that if you stay at home to care for the children you cannot make any claims in your own right for property, maintenance or pension sharing and cohabiting couples are not legally obliged to support each other financially. Also if one of you dies, the survivor will not automatically inherit anything unless a Will was made or the parties owned property jointly.

Nigel Shepherd, Resolution Chairman, is campaigning for the Government to listen to the public, legal professionals and a growing number of politicians to reform the law so as to provide basic rights to cohabiting couples should they separate.

If you require any advice as to your rights as a cohabitee please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist family lawyers. We are able to offer an initial half hour interview free of charge to discuss your situation. Please contact us for further advice using the Call Back Section at the bottom of the Family Law section of our website.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Face to Face Family Law Advice via Skype

At Rees Page we have always offered an initial diagnostic interview, completely free of charge and with no obligation, to provide those looking for help with a family law matter with some initial advice as to how our specialist family law solicitors can help.

Even though the appointment is free of charge we understand that there may be reasons why you can't visit us at our office, whether because of difficulties with child care arrangements or taking time off work or simply because there are too many other demands on your time, so we're now pleased to be able to offer you the option of meeting with one of expert family lawyers via our Skype service.


As long as you have Skype on your computer, tablet, television, phone or other device Rees Page can now help to resolve your family law problems, wherever you may be.

We specialise in:

·       Resolving disputes relating to Children

·       Separation
·       Divorce
·       Financial issues including property and pensions
·       Pre-Nuptial Agreements
·       Domestic violence

To arrange a Skype call with one of our family solicitors please contact Parvinder Hammonds on 01902 577723 or Pat Gregory on 01902 577779 to make a convenient appointment or email family@reespage.co.uk with your Skype address and details of your enquiry and preferred time for your call.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Law Society Annual Dinner

Last year Solicitors joined colleagues including accountants, estate agents, bankers and financial advisors and enjoyed a spectacular night out at the Molineux for the annual Wolverhampton Society dinner.

There were several awards handed out to deserving members of the legal, accountancy and financial professions.

The food and drink was excellent and the entertainment for the night was the comedian Rob Woodward who was very well received.

This year’s Law Society Annual Dinner takes place on the 24th November 2017 at Molineux Stadium and this year will be joined by guest speaker Dennis Taylor.

Nominations are open until the 13th October 2017 and the categories are

1.      Junior Professional of the Year
2.      Professional of the Year
3.      Professional Services Business of the Year
4.      Community (Professional Services) Champion of the Year

If you would like to nominate a worthy candidate then please email m.monnesthomas@fbcmb.co.uk with the details of your nomination.

Tickets are still available for the event itself but are fast running out. Tickets cost £60.00 per person and can be obtained from Michelle Monnes-Thomas, Wolverhampton Law Society, c/o FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, 6 -10 George Street, Snow Hill, Wolverhampton.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Divorce or Separation and Wills




When you are going through a Separation or Divorce making a new Will is likely to be low on your list of priorities but it is essential this is considered in order to ensure your Estate passes in accordance with your wishes

 

Separation

 

Separation has no effect on a Will, and so if  your Will made provision for your spouse he or she would still inherit under your Will, no matter how long you have been apart.

If you have no Will, your spouse would still inherit from you under the intestacy rules.

In both cases a Will should be prepared that reflects your wishes.

 

Divorce

 

Many married couples appoint each other as the executors and beneficiaries of a Will. Divorce has the effect of removing the former spouse from the Will.

If the former spouse was given the larger part, or all, of the estate, and no substitute provisions are made in the Will, then after divorce there is no one to inherit this property and the intestacy rules will apply to the assets remaining.

Updating your Will ensures that your estate passes in accordance with your wishes rather than relying on the intestacy rules.

 

The Family Home

 

If you own the family home jointly it is important to check if this is held as joint tenants or tenants in common. Most married couples tend to hold their interest in property as joint tenants. This means that if one of you dies then the deceased’s share will pass to the survivor in accordance with the Survivorship Rule irrespective of any provision made in a Will to the contrary. It is important therefore to consider severing the joint tenancy so that you hold as tenants in common and then make a Will expressing how you wish your share to pass.

 

 

 
Guardianship

 

If you have separated or divorced, both parents should ensure that there is someone to take care of their children in their place. This can be provided for by the appointment of a Guardian in a Will.

 

 

Getting Advice

 

At the initial meeting with one of our specialist FamilyTeam we will always discuss the importance of making a Will as part of our discussions with you. If requested a referral can then be made to our Wills and Probate Team who will be able to assist you further. Please contact us for further advice using the Call Back section at the bottom of the Family Law section of our website.
 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Owens v Owens: The Need for No Fault Divorce


On the 24th March 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mrs Tini Owens appeal against the dismissal of her petition for divorce based on the unreasonable behaviour of her husband, Hugh Owens.

 

The Court of Appeal acknowledged that this decision left Mrs Owens “trapped in a  loveless marriage” but that the Court had to apply the current law as laid down by Parliament and concluded that Mrs Owens had not proven to the Court’s satisfaction that she was entitled to a  divorce.

 

The current law provides that the ground for seeking a divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage based on one of five facts being adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years desertion, two years separation with consent and five years separation.

 

As the parties had separated in 2015 and Mr Owens did not agree to the Divorce the only option open to Mrs Owens was issue the divorce on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour or to wait for 5 years.

 

Mrs Owens has indicated that she intends to seek permission to appeal.

 

This case is highly unusual in that most divorces proceed uncontested. The case does, however, highlight the antiquated divorce law in this country which is out of step with other Western countries where no fault divorces are the norm.

 

Resolution, the national body of Family Lawyers and Practitioners, has long campaigned for reform in order to reduce conflict and support separating couples to resolve matters amicably. Indeed, Resolution reports that no fault divorce is widely supported with 69% of the public wanting to remove blame as well as senior members of the Judiciary.

 

At Rees Page, all of our specialist family lawyers are members of Resolution and we are committed to resolving family disputes in a  constructive way in accordance with the Resolution Code of Practice.

 

Please contact a member of our Family Team if you require any advice or assistance with regards to issues surrounding divorce or separation.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

History of Divorce


It used to be considered that marriage was for life and generally people do not marry with the expectation of divorcing, however the reality is that the divorce rates have steadily increased in the UK since divorce became readily available.
The statistics show that in 1970 22% of marriages had ended by the 15th wedding anniversary, that rate rose to 33% in 1995 and has remained broadly similar since 2000.
Divorce hasn’t always been easily available and prior to 1857 divorce proceedings were restricted to the very wealthy as it required a complex annulment process or a private bill leading to an Act of Parliament.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 made divorce easier, however there were discrepancies between the sexes and whilst a husband could petition for divorce on the grounds that his wife had committed adultery a wife would have to prove adultery as well as incest, cruelty, bigamy, desertion, or on cruelty alone.
In 1937 a new Act was pronounced which allowed woman to petition for divorce on the same grounds as men.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 provided a marriage had to have last for three years before a divorce could be applied for, a further Act in 1984 reduced this to one year.
Divorce is currently allowed on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 specifies that the marriage may be found to have irretrievably broken down if one of the following is established:
·        Adultery
·        Unreasonable behaviour
·        Desertion (two years)
·        Separation, agreed divorce (two years)
·        Separation, contested divorce (five years)

There is a campaign by Resolution and supported by us here at Rees Page for the Government to introduce a no fault divorce.

Many other countries allow divorce on this basis, for example in Australia a divorce can be obtained on the basis of 12 months separation; there are no other grounds available.

Divorce can be a tricky, challenging and emotional time and having to rely on the above grounds of divorce can add to the heartache. Here at Rees Page Solicitors we aim to guide you through the process as quickly and pain free as possible.

Contact us on 01902 577777 and speak to Parv or Pat to make a convenient and free appointment to discuss your next steps.



Friday, 23 December 2016

Family Law Department - Free Initial Interview

Here at Rees Page Family department we offer a free initial appointment with one of our qualified and experienced Solicitors.  This first appointment provides you with an overview of your matter and we will of course discuss likely costs.

Nick Wynn-Williams - Family Law Solicitor
Nick Wynn Williams is the senior partner of Rees Page and has over 20 years’ experience in a wide range of matters including High Asset cases. Nick is accredited by Resolution as a Specialist Family Lawyer and he also a Resolution trained collaborative lawyer.

Rachel McGrath - Family Law Solicitor
Rachel McGrath is an Associate solicitor and qualified in 2004, her areas of work include divorce, separation, financial affairs on relationship breakdown and children matters. Rachel is also a member of Resolution and a member of the Law Society Specialist Family Law Panel.

In order to arrange your free appointment please telephone Rachel McGrath on 01902 577723 or Nick Wynn-Williams on 01902 577779 to make a convenient appointment.