Getting a Divorce

Government Plans for Family Law in the Event of a No Deal Brexit

With Brexit negotiations still under way, the government released new plans this month (September 2018) that explain in detail any changes that may happen to Family Law and the judicial system in the unlikely event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 29th March 2019.

Currently, as a part of the EU, England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow the Brussels IIA rules when addressing matters of divorce, child custody and international child abduction in the court. According to the new plans released by the government on the 13th September, the Brussels IIA rules would be revoked in the case of a “no deal” Brexit. These changes may also affect the ‘Lis Pendens’ rules – within Family Law, Lis Pendens refers to the courts ability to cease divorce proceedings after an EU court has started the process of the case. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, Lis Pendens rules would be repealed across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit on the 29th March, Equivalent Hague Conventions are set to replace previous EU rules. The government’s plans, released in September, explain how the previous EU laws would change to Hague Conventions which currently focus on matters of parental responsibility, rules regarding abducted children, central authority cooperation and maintenance recognition and enforcement. Even in the event of a no deal Brexit, Hague Conventions such as the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations and the 1970 Conventions will remain international law and will therefore continue in the UK.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK doesn’t plan to axe all previous EU laws. Some of the Civil Family Law conventions the UK government intend on keeping include the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child and the 2007 Hague Convention whereby the government would formally re-join the EU in the event of a no deal Brexit. The UK government have explained within their new plans that any rules and conventions surrounding same sex marriages and civil partnerships will also be replaced with new and independent UK laws.

Come the 29th March 2019, if you are in the middle of divorce or separation proceedings or any other family matters within a UK court, you should continue the process as normal and any case will be dealt with under independent UK rules opposed to EU rules. If you are going through an EU court however, it is suggested that you seek legal advice to determine any changes that may occur in your case as a result of Brexit negotiations.

The new plans released by the government have had both a positive and negative response – with some family law experts believing that a no deal Brexit will have a positive impact on the UK judicial system whilst some fear that new and independent rules will lead to an escalation of stresses and pressures within the court.

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors, specialist family law solicitors in Reading that deal with a wide range of issues, including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships, and prenuptial agreements. Kerry has over 15 years experience in family law and is recommended by the Legal 500 guide to law firms in the UK.

 

What Makes A Couple A Good Candidate For Divorce Mediation?

Marriages can end for a variety of reasons but knowing what those reasons are can be important for the divorce process. Divorce mediation is best for couples separating on amicable terms, or who can at least speak with each other reasonably. Couples with children, aiming to have a cooperative relationship despite the divorce, also benefit more often from mediation. Divorce mediation focuses on the cost of the divorce, in both money and effort, first and foremost.

It Benefits Those Who Part Amicably

Any good divorce mediator will tell you that a couple with children benefit from divorce mediation. One study showed roughly 79% of couples with children who received mediation fought less in the period after their mediation was completed. The children were also asked whether the former couple could cooperate better, or displayed intense arguing before their children, and the study suggested those who sought mediation were more likely to act civil in the child’s eyes.

Divorce mediation also tends to be more forgiving for parents or spouses after the settlement is reached. Arbitration and litigation can set strict guidelines for both sides to achieve, such as child support payment or reparations. These can be harsh or imbalanced for those whose jobs or living situations will be in flux shortly after the divorce, even if the party intending to receive these payments would prefer to show leniency to the other party in the divorce while they recover.

Couples Who Already Know What They Want

Divorce mediation works on the premise that both sides are seeking to reach an agreement. The divorce mediator speaks their mind and helps to outline who is responsible for what costs, and what settlements both parties might receive, but all decisions are reached by the divorcing couple. So, if a couple is unsure of their assets, or simply need a disagreement settled, mediation can help. But when both parties are seeking reparations, arbitration is the better option.

The costs of mediation are lower than the costs of arbitration or civil court. So if both spouses have an idea about what they should receive, and the two beliefs have a large degree of overlap, this can be a sign to use divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is arguably the most cost-efficient manner of settling disagreements caused by the divorce process, and either party can cancel the mediation at any time if they feel that mediation simply wasn’t the right option.

It’s Best for Equals Seeking Privacy

Divorce mediation is best for spouses who treat each other as relative equals during the divorce. Couples divorcing due to domestic abuse or power balances in the relationship should not seek mediation. Most mediators don’t know these circumstances before the meeting, and the domineering spouse can quickly swing the negotiations in their favour. Likewise, victims of abuse often feel validated by speaking to a mediator and become emboldened during the dividing process.

Divorce mediation is also a good choice for spouses who seek an interpersonal discussion with minimal interference. Because mediation focuses on having the two spouses reach an agreement, the meetings are usually restricted to only the two spouses and the mediator themselves. Relatives or friends can be disbarred from the mediation to avoid third-party interests that might muddy the discussion and lead to a more tense, divisive negotiations.

Conclusion

Divorce mediation isn’t a process that is right for every couple. Those who argue about the fundamental elements of the divorce, or whose marriage was short and had few entanglements may wish to skip it. Divorce mediation is also a poor choice for those seeking validation or to prove who’s “right” and “wrong”. But good candidates for mediation include those with children, those who seek a working relationship afterwards, or those who want to keep divorce costs low.

Author of this article is Judith Goldberg   https://judithgoldberg.com/

Advice For Dads Surviving The Divorce Process

The decision to get divorced is one of the hardest ones you will ever make, and when there are children involved, that gets even harder.

As a father, it can be hard to know what your place should be and how your relationship with your children will be affected. Divorce is never easy, but there are ways to get through it relatively unscathed.

Behaviour

There is a tendency to want to defend ourselves in the strongest possible way when faced with accusations, insults or bitterness, but this can often make things worse. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore what is being said to you, but exert some control and try not to retaliate. By reacting in a more rational manner you can be more careful and thoughtful, and avoid providing ammunition that can be used against you later.

It is important to think about how you behave at all times. Keep your drink and drug intake under control and avoid getting into a scene in public and avoid all forms of abuse. These will all lead to questions about your levels of responsibility and your reputation that will all favour the mother in court.

Many men feel that it is their place to move out of the family home when the marriage breaks down. By doing this before the divorce is complete, you automatically give your wife practical custody and therefore a stronger position in any custody battle. You may find yourself sleeping in the spare room or on the sofa and keeping your head down, but by staying at home you still get to be a daily parent.

Keeping Records

In the midst of a court battle, it is easy to forget the details of what has happened and when. Try to keep a written record of what is done and said in the divorce process and the dates that these things occur. If anything negative happens publically, make a note of any witnesses.

You should also keep a record of your finances, including your own spending, what you give to your partner and what you spend on the family bills. Make sure that you print out your bank statements regularly to keep a track of any withdrawals made by your spouse.

This will all help in negotiations to provide accurate representations of what happens and what your financial obligations are.

Get Legal Advice

There is a stereotype that men are not good at asking for help, but in this case you have to. Get yourself a family law solicitor as soon as possible who can help to guide you through the process. Look for recommendations and reputation to make sure you are represented by someone who has your best interests at heart. They will be able to advise you on every aspect of the divorce but it is important that you remain open and honest with them at all times.

Also make sure that you seek emotional support from those closest to you. Divorce can be a lonely time, so don’t be afraid to find someone to lean on.

The Children

The children can often be forgotten about during a divorce, so make sure you keep talking to them and maintain a positive relationship. Whilst it is good to be open with them about what is happening, avoid talking negatively about their mother in front of them.

Divorce is an unpredictable thing, so be prepared for a bumpy ride. You may be faced with a lot of things you weren’t expecting and many of them will seem unfair, but keep calm and be prepared and you will eventually come out the other side.

Fletcher Day are a full service law firm based in Mayfair, London. Their team of divorce lawyers for men can advise on a range of matters relating to family law including divorce, prenuptial agreements, civil partnerships and separation agreements.