divorce

divorce

Meet the Steve Jobs of Divorce and His Tips on Relationships During the Lockdown

“The most difficult part of this business is the lack of repeat customers. Unless you are an A-list celebrity, or Premier League footballer, you are unlikely to go through too many divorces in your life.”

Meet Ali Carter, the Managing Director of Divorce Ltd. Ali, like most of the country at the moment, is working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown. “In March we saw an 85% drop in new business. But since then we have had a big bounce, with lots of enquiries from people who are struggling with parenting arrangements during the lockdown, or who have used the time to re-assess their lives and want to separate from their partner.

We actually took on an extra member of staff after the lockdown and have managed to keep all our mediators in business during this time, so that has been the best thing for me to come out from this horrible situation.”

In China, media reports show that separations and divorce applications surged in March when the lockdown was relaxed. Similar trends are expected in the UK and other countries.

“It’s a sad fact that when a relationship is struggling, spending more time together can make matters worse. That is why we traditionally see a boost in enquiries in January, after the Christmas break and again in September, after the summer holidays. The lockdown just magnifies existing issues, whilst concerns about jobs, money and health all add to a cocktail of stresses that put even the most amicable of relationships under pressure.”

But will the forecast economic downturn affect the divorce industry? “Yes and No”, says Ali. “The housing market does have an effect on divorce, as many people generally look to sell or buy properties during a separation. And your pension values could have reduced considerably, affecting the overall agreement. But in general, people can’t perfectly time when their relationship fails – but when it does, we help them sort out their parenting arrangements and their financial agreement as fairly, amicably and cost-effectively as possible.”

It became compulsory to consider family mediation in the UK before a court application just over six years ago, but there is still a lot of confusion to the process and what it actually involves. Many people still think it is a chat to confirm the relationship is over. That would be something discussed in counselling instead. The best way to describe mediation is it replaces going to court with having an adult conversation about how to move on with your lives when separated.

Many people think they can go to a family court, get a decision based on what they feel is fair and have it made legally binding and the other party will be thrown in jail if they do not comply with the order. That is very far from the truth. A financial order takes three separate hearings to reach a final decision, will take about a year to resolve and quotes vary from £20,000 to £50,000 per person if you have a solicitor represent you. Investing a few hours of your time and a few hundred pounds at the start of the divorce process could just save you a lot of time and stress.

So why set up a family mediation and amicable divorce business? Ali was a police officer in the Metropolitan Police. He spent many years working on the Sapphire unit, helping victims of serious sexual assault. This taught him how to talk to people in distress and, more importantly, how to listen. When he had his daughter he moved to a Safer Neighbourhood Team and started getting involved in neighbour disputes. “I could see the benefit of resolving problems sensibly and by talking and working together, as opposed to just using the powers available to me under the law.

When I went through my own, difficult divorce, I thought ‘there must be a better way to sort out everything?’ I heard the Uk Government were pushing for a more amicable approach to resolving issues, so I took a qualification in mediation, retired early from the police and set up my own mediation service. My first office was a cupboard under the stairs, I bought a printer and laptop from a car boot, and for the first few months, travelled to clients’ houses as I could not afford to hire a meeting room.”

Almost 10 years later, Mediate UK, the trading name of Divorce Ltd, has fifteen branches nationally and helps clients throughout England & Wales with online mediation.

“Online mediation was something we set up in 2015 and this is how we hold all our mediation appointments at this time. It works really well and allows people to come out of the lockdown with a clear plan for their future.”

You may think it would be difficult to innovate within the divorce market, but Ali and his team have put together various new services to help people going through a divorce. “We set up fixed-fee legal packages with the mediation attached to them. This lets people budget at an expensive time, without being committed, but also means your agreement is not going to be undone by unscrupulous solicitors. We work with professionals we know and trust and who fully understand the work we put in first.

We also devised a method of mediation that we call ‘progressive mediation’. It streamlines the process, focuses on getting to agreement and is the reason we help nine out of ten clients reach agreement, when the national average is just 70%.

For the 10% who don’t reach agreement, we devised barrister reviews so you can find out what would be a likely outcome were you to go to court. Why spend in excess of £20,000 on court hearings, if an expert has already told you what is likely to happen?”

Does Ali feel bad running a business that serves people going through a divorce or separation? “I’m divorced, my parents are divorced and I have helped in over 3000 divorces. I have seen the best and worst ways to do it and I am convinced that an amicable approach, using mediation if required, is best for the couple divorcing, their children and the wider family.”

Any tips for those stuck in lockdown with a partner they don’t want to be with? Ali suggests, “Just focus on the future, put a plan in place and, where possible, work together to put it into practice. Look at where you want to be in your life in two years’ time, how you want to parent your children, what will make you happy and then just go for it. Things can and will get better. I’ve never had a client come back after a few years and say their life is worse. Done well, you can all be that much happier.”

Media Contact Details
Ali Carter, Divorce Ltd
Lutterworth, Leicestershire
07944999171

The Mental Health Effects for Children of Divorce

England and Wales divorce rates are at an all time low since 1973, however divorce is still an issue heavily discussed in the media. It isn’t in any married couples plan to get divorced, so when it happens it can be stressful and devastating. And the effect isn’t limited to the couple.

For any child whose parents are divorcing, experiencing your family ripped in half can take its toll on a child’s mental health. If you’re seeking legal aid in your area, such as divorce law in London, we will explore how this can affect children, and how you can minimise damage.

Experiencing change

If the child is older or younger, the considerable levels of change that are going to occur within their lives is going to have significant effects. For a younger child progressing through their developmental years, having one parent moving out of the house can be confusing.

At a younger age, it is unclear as to ‘why mum or dad is no longer around all the time anymore’, and ‘when we go to do something, why are mum and dad not doing it together, with me?’.

Investigation into this shows that older children can deal with divorce easier than younger children. Despite this, they are the most likely to bear the brunt of the effect of change. The breakdown of a marriage could mean them moving to a new house, moving school, or no longer seeing one of their parents. It could also mean the family is less well-off financially.

This can affect your child’s life considerably, and their mental health. For example, in the past, your child may have been able to go away on a school trip each year with their friends, whether it be skiing or a pre-summer break.

When going through divorce, due to the fact that two mortgages are being paid, there is simply not enough money to foot the bill for the vast majority of ‘wants’ in life. This will irritate and upset a child who has grown accustomed to such a lifestyle.

Acting out

An important issue to remember is a lack of understanding. A failure to understand a situation can develop into frustration, and in many cases, this can result in anger.

Typically, with one parent absent, the consistent level of discipline that was once there has now been removed. Rather than dishing out punishment for bad behaviour, try to understand the position in which the child finds themselves.

Try to remember that they are currently going through a rollercoaster of emotions. Therefore, be patient and take into consideration the way you are acting around them.

Children notice what is said and done around them. So, if one parent is badmouthing another, they are likely to pick up on this and replicate it. Although the situation between both co-parents may be rather toxic, for the sake of the child’s emotional stability, communication is key. Monitoring behaviour around both parents, particularly if they are now living in different homes, is an effective way to quash any behavioural issues.

The need for stable education

It’s important to support a child’s mental health with a stable education. Research has discovered that children who grow up in a two-parent, married family are more likely to do better at school.

Children with a stable education are less disruptive in class, and less aggressive towards other classmates. In terms of their academic performance, children whose parents’ marriage is intact are more likely to do their work without being forced.

Research, meanwhile, drawn upon by the BBC in 2014 found that 65 per cent of children whose parents had divorced performed worse than expected in their GCSE results, while 44 per cent also insinuated they believe their A-Level results had suffered. Resolution, who conducted the research, proposed that the disruption of moving school could be at fault for the exam results.

It’s common for many parents to believe staying together is the best course of action of their children. However, forcing your children to live in an unhappy home will do more damage than good, so do what’s right for you, even if that means divorcing.

Sources

https://www.ourfamilywizard.co.uk/blog/behavioural-issues-children-after-divorce

https://www.verywellfamily.com/psychological-effects-of-divorce-on-kids-4140170

https://www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/should-i-stay-in-my-marriage-for-the-kids/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30177051

A Complete Online Guide to Divorce Mediation and Keeping Everything Smooth

The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation

There are times when a couple knows they need to end their marriage. They may both agree with this but nothing else associated with it. In many situations, it is because people never thought they would ever get divorced. This can also happen when couples just can’t find common ground with how to separate their lives. During a divorce, there is a spectrum of feelings impacting the actions of both spouses. Neither of them is thinking clearly. In these situations, it is possible mediation could help resolve many if not all the issues.

Mediation

This involves a divorcing couple meeting with a neutral third party who will review their situation and provide an opinion on how their issues could be resolved. The role of the mediator is to help provide the couple with suggestions they can consider. Mediation is a successful legal tool that has been used is various different domestic relation cases. It has been an effective part of resolving many different types of domestic issues involving divorce.

Mediators

The process of mediation will begin with the selection of a mediator. They will be chosen from a list of mediators approved by the court. Each name on the list will have been vetted to assure they are neutral. It is common for a mediator to be a lawyer. They will have gone through specialized training when it comes to mediating family law matters. The actual mediation often takes place in the office of the mediator. It is common for the mediation process to take all day. The most successful mediation experiences occur when both spouses are prepared before the mediation and focused on working out a solution.

Financial Disclosure

It is a legal statutory requirement for spouses to disclose all their finances prior to participation in mediation. Doing this is not something that can be ignored. This is required by law even if mediation is not part of the divorce proceeding. Unless there is full financial disclosure, a mediator is not going able to provide an accurate recommendation on how to resolve issues. Being able to make an informed decision is an essential part of the mediation process.

Start Of Process

It usually begins with a phone call to the mediator or their assistant. They will want to get basic background information on the marriage, spouses, family and to know all the issues involved with the divorce. Some mediators want as much information as possible prior to the first meeting. There are others who like to gather most of the information during the first meeting when everyone involved with the case is present.

First Meeting

It is usually held in a comfortable office or appropriate conference room. Once everyone is gathered together, the mediator will explain what everyone can expect to experience during the process. Some mediators like to meet with everyone during the entire process. Others like to meet with everyone initially and then meet with each spouse individually. This is intended to determine the exact issues involved. It may be required for spouses to sign an agreement that states what is said during the mediation is confidential. It may also state the mediator is unable to disclose anything that has taken place during the mediation process for any court proceedings in the future.

Focus On The Future

Mediators know there is one aspect of a divorce that is common, it is a very emotional time. This is also a time for each spouse to focus on their future. Mediators help people realize all divorces are eventually completed. When someone is so focused on holding onto a marital asset, they may lose sight of how they could benefit by moving on without it. Sometimes people are too willing to give up on assets the other side really doesn’t want. Successful divorce mediation involves keeping things in perspective. Mediation can help spouses see the benefits of letting go and moving on with their lives.

Negotiations

At the beginning of the negotiation process, a mediator will often suggest couples first address the simple issues involved with their divorce. Dealing with easy questions can create trust and promote compromise. This will be important when dealing with more difficult issues. During different points of the negotiations, a couple may believe they need to obtain more information. This is when a mediator will try to keep a couple focused and encourage them to think of options. Successful negotiations will require each spouse feeling comfortable expressing their positions and opinions on each issue. The best results often occur when spouses try to listen and understand the other point of view and are open to compromise.

Mediation And Attorney

Attorneys will work to eliminate variables, investigate, provide important tips as well as negotiate for their clients. The negotiations involved with a divorce settlement provides a unique set of legal and emotional challenges. A lawyer for the other side may be experienced is using unfair negotiating strategies and tactics. This is why it is important for both spouses to have an attorney with them during the mediation process. They will protect their client’s rights and understand the negotiation tactics being used by the other side. It is important to an attorney their client is satisfied with any agreement reached during mediation.

Mediator’s Fees

In many cases, the spouses will agree who will pay the fees of the mediator. Should they not agree, a spouse may ask a judge involved with the case to decide payment responsibility. When spouses agree to pay an equal share of the mediator’s fees, they are equally invested in obtaining an agreeable result. If the couple is not able to pay for the cost of mediation, it is possible the state may subsidize the mediator’s cost.

There are many times when couples can use mediation to reach an agreement concerning the issues in their divorce. These issues could include support, parenting responsibilities and more. Once an agreement is reached, it will be formalized in writing. Both spouses are then required to sign the agreement. After this is done, it will be presented to the court for approval. The court will review the agreement. If it agrees with the document presented by the couple, the court will grant the divorce using the terms of the agreement. In some cases, a judge may require certain changes to specific legal language or other types of technical corrections prior to approval.

Pets and partners – what happens in a break up?

With Love Your Pet Day taking place on 20 February, research has revealed that almost 49% of pet owners in the UK have as much love for their pet as they do for their human partner, with almost 15% of respondents loving their pet more than their significant other.

Men are more likely to be loyal to their partner, with 57 percent saying they love them more than their pet, compared to only 47 percent of women who love their partner more than their pet.

But with people so attached to their animals, many find themselves facing difficult decisions if their relationship falls apart. The research found a quarter would take legal action if they broke up with their partner because both would want to keep the pet.

Women are more likely to fight to keep their pet, with over a third (34 percent) saying they’d want to keep their pet more than anything else like the house or cars, with only 18 percent of men saying they would want to keep their pet over other belongings.

The risk of losing a beloved pet is causing some pet owners to take steps to make sure they get to keep their pet if they break up or divorce, according to the research commissioned by Maguire Family Law. One in ten has paid for all their pet’s equipment, food, toys, and vet bills and kept the receipts as evidence of their care of the pet, while 12 percent have registered the pet in their name only.

The research found one in 20 has a formal written agreement in place, outlining what will happen to any pets they have together if they separate in the future. Such agreements usually include who gets to keep and look after the pet.

People aged between 16 and 24 are most likely to have a written agreement, with 15 percent stating they have an agreement in place and 56 percent saying they’d consider getting one.

Only two percent of people in relationships aged 45 – 54 have such a contract, with 19 percent saying they’d consider one. The over 55s are the least likely to consider getting one with only two percent already having one and only 13 percent contemplating getting an agreement sorted.

Maguire Family Law has created its own version of a pet-nup, which is available here; but does not constitute legal advice and should only be used in accordance with specialist family law advice.

James Maguire, managing director of Maguire Family Law, said: “There have recently been a number of cases involving celebrities breaking up and falling out with their exes over who gets to keep their pet, and as more of these high profile fall outs make the media we expect to see an increase in enquiries from people looking to protect themselves and their pet in the unfortunate case of a break-up.

Although our research shows a third of pet owners in relationships think animals should be treated the same as children when it comes to breakups, unfortunately, the law doesn’t agree. Under current legislation in England and Wales, pets are treated as an item of personal property – the same as a piece of furniture, for example. Obviously, the emotional attachment to pets can be huge, which is why we see so much upset over who gets to keep them when a couple divorces. If you get an agreement in writing, there may be issues around its enforceability if there’s a dispute, but we find if a couple agrees on matters upfront, they usually stick to this.”

Over a third (36 per cent) of pet owners in a relationship think that in a break up the pet should go to the person who looks after it the most, 13 percent think the pet should decide, and one in ten thinks the person who has the most free time should look after the pet. A quarter thinks their ex should have to pay maintenance towards their pet if they broke up.

But it’s not all heartache. Although a fifth said they wouldn’t let their ex visit the pet after a breakup, 65 percent said they’d allow visits and a quarter would send their ex-regular updates via text, WhatsApp, email or social media.

Maguire added: “There are ways you can ensure breakups and divorces are as amicable as possible. Whilst getting a prenup isn’t always the most romantic way to start a marriage, it can save a lot of stress in the unfortunate event of a divorce – and if you have a beloved pet, consider getting a specific pet-nup drawn up at the same time. This can cover who will be the primary carer of the pet, any shared responsibilities and who will be responsible for paying costs such as vet bills. If you find yourself separating or divorcing, whether or not you’ve got a pet-nup in place, I’d always advise trying and resolve any issues through mediation rather than resorting to legal action, which can be expensive, time-consuming and, not to mention emotionally draining.”

Which pet owners are most likely to love their pet more than their partner?
• Guinea pig owners: 25 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Parrot owners: 25 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Horse owners: 24 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Rabbit owners: 23 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Hamster owners: 20 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Dog owners: 19 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Cat owners: 17 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Fish owners: 16 percent love their pet more than their partner
Contact
Victoria Moffatt
victoria.moffatt@lexrexcommunications.com
07795 077 577

About Maguire Family Law
https://www.family-law.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/divorcexpert

The research surveyed 1254 adults across the UK who are in a relationship and have at least one pet.

Maguire Family Law is a specialist family law firm headquartered in Wilmslow, Cheshire with offices in Knutsford, Manchester, and London. Maguire Family Law boasts one of the largest teams of family law experts in the North, with expertise across the full range of family law matters, including divorce and related financial matters. The firm is also known for having handled a number of international child abduction matters.

James and his team represent a wide range of clients: people who simply want good quality, discreet and efficient legal advice and a solicitor who will represent their best interests at all times. The firm’s clients also include celebrities, ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals.

Maguire Family is recommended by two independent guides to the Legal profession, The Legal 500, and Chambers and Partners. The Legal 500 says: has an ‘all-round strong team – there is no deadwood at all’. James Maguire is ‘extraordinarily clever on financial remedy divorce work, international financial divorce work, child law and international child law’.

Chambers and Partners describes Maguire Family Law as a well-reputed boutique.
James is a frequent media commentator on divorce and related family law matters, discussing international child abduction on BBC Breakfast, and ‘divorce day’ on BBC 5Live and BBC Radio Manchester. He is also a ‘go-to’ commentator across a range of broadsheet and tabloid publications.

Pets and partners – what happens in a break up?

With Love Your Pet Day taking place on 20 February, research has revealed that almost 49% of pet owners in the UK have as much love for their pet as they do for their human partner, with almost 15% of respondents loving their pet more than their significant other.

Men are more likely to be loyal to their partner, with 57 percent saying they love them more than their pet, compared to only 47 percent of women who love their partner more than their pet.

But with people so attached to their animals, many find themselves facing difficult decisions if their relationship falls apart. The research found a quarter would take legal action if they broke up with their partner because both would want to keep the pet.

Women are more likely to fight to keep their pet, with over a third (34 percent) saying they’d want to keep their pet more than anything else like the house or cars, with only 18 percent of men saying they would want to keep their pet over other belongings.

The risk of losing a beloved pet is causing some pet owners to take steps to make sure they get to keep their pet if they break up or divorce, according to the research commissioned by Maguire Family Law. One in ten has paid for all their pet’s equipment, food, toys, and vet bills and kept the receipts as evidence of their care of the pet, while 12 percent have registered the pet in their name only.

The research found one in 20 has a formal written agreement in place, outlining what will happen to any pets they have together if they separate in the future. Such agreements usually include who gets to keep and look after the pet.

People aged between 16 and 24 are most likely to have a written agreement, with 15 percent stating they have an agreement in place and 56 percent saying they’d consider getting one.

Only two percent of people in relationships aged 45 – 54 have such a contract, with 19 percent saying they’d consider one. The over 55s are the least likely to consider getting one with only two percent already having one and only 13 percent contemplating getting an agreement sorted.

Maguire Family Law has created its own version of a pet-nup, which is available here; but does not constitute legal advice and should only be used in accordance with specialist family law advice.

James Maguire, managing director of Maguire Family Law, said: “There have recently been a number of cases involving celebrities breaking up and falling out with their exes over who gets to keep their pet, and as more of these high profile fall outs make the media we expect to see an increase in enquiries from people looking to protect themselves and their pet in the unfortunate case of a break-up.

Although our research shows a third of pet owners in relationships think animals should be treated the same as children when it comes to breakups, unfortunately, the law doesn’t agree. Under current legislation in England and Wales, pets are treated as an item of personal property – the same as a piece of furniture, for example. Obviously, the emotional attachment to pets can be huge, which is why we see so much upset over who gets to keep them when a couple divorces. If you get an agreement in writing, there may be issues around its enforceability if there’s a dispute, but we find if a couple agrees on matters upfront, they usually stick to this.”

Over a third (36 per cent) of pet owners in a relationship think that in a break up the pet should go to the person who looks after it the most, 13 percent think the pet should decide, and one in ten thinks the person who has the most free time should look after the pet. A quarter thinks their ex should have to pay maintenance towards their pet if they broke up.

But it’s not all heartache. Although a fifth said they wouldn’t let their ex visit the pet after a breakup, 65 percent said they’d allow visits and a quarter would send their ex-regular updates via text, WhatsApp, email or social media.

Maguire added: “There are ways you can ensure breakups and divorces are as amicable as possible. Whilst getting a prenup isn’t always the most romantic way to start a marriage, it can save a lot of stress in the unfortunate event of a divorce – and if you have a beloved pet, consider getting a specific pet-nup drawn up at the same time. This can cover who will be the primary carer of the pet, any shared responsibilities and who will be responsible for paying costs such as vet bills. If you find yourself separating or divorcing, whether or not you’ve got a pet-nup in place, I’d always advise trying and resolve any issues through mediation rather than resorting to legal action, which can be expensive, time-consuming and, not to mention emotionally draining.”

Which pet owners are most likely to love their pet more than their partner?
• Guinea pig owners: 25 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Parrot owners: 25 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Horse owners: 24 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Rabbit owners: 23 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Hamster owners: 20 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Dog owners: 19 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Cat owners: 17 percent love their pet more than their partner
• Fish owners: 16 percent love their pet more than their partner
Contact
Victoria Moffatt
victoria.moffatt@lexrexcommunications.com
07795 077 577

About Maguire Family Law
https://www.family-law.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/divorcexpert

The research surveyed 1254 adults across the UK who are in a relationship and have at least one pet.

Maguire Family Law is a specialist family law firm headquartered in Wilmslow, Cheshire with offices in Knutsford, Manchester, and London. Maguire Family Law boasts one of the largest teams of family law experts in the North, with expertise across the full range of family law matters, including divorce and related financial matters. The firm is also known for having handled a number of international child abduction matters.

James and his team represent a wide range of clients: people who simply want good quality, discreet and efficient legal advice and a solicitor who will represent their best interests at all times. The firm’s clients also include celebrities, ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals.

Maguire Family is recommended by two independent guides to the Legal profession, The Legal 500, and Chambers and Partners. The Legal 500 says: has an ‘all-round strong team – there is no deadwood at all’. James Maguire is ‘extraordinarily clever on financial remedy divorce work, international financial divorce work, child law and international child law’.

Chambers and Partners describes Maguire Family Law as a well-reputed boutique.
James is a frequent media commentator on divorce and related family law matters, discussing international child abduction on BBC Breakfast, and ‘divorce day’ on BBC 5Live and BBC Radio Manchester. He is also a ‘go-to’ commentator across a range of broadsheet and tabloid publications.