Divorce Advice

When a relationship ends it can be an extremely emotional and stressful time, so the prospect of starting divorce proceedings can seem daunting.

Unravelling joint lives is not easy and even more challenging when going through a difficult time when emotions are high and trust is low.

Most people would prefer to part on good, amicable terms but this is not always easy to achieve. Important decisions have to be made. There may be financial matters to resolve and if you have children you will also have to plan a new parenting arrangement together.

It is important to have an understanding of what is a reasonable arrangement and realistic in the circumstances – whether that is how to split the matrimonial assets or resolve the arrangements for the children. Every family is unique but there are established principles in law that apply in all cases and it is important to be aware of those principles when you are negotiating or planning.

It is possible to finalise the arrangements about children without having to go to court. It is advisable though to have the arrangements in writing to avoid any confusion and mitigate the possibility of later disagreement.

Arrangements with regard to children are never truly final because this needs to be flexible however this is different with agreements about divorce finances. The divorce financial agreement needs to be made binding by the court in the form of an order if you want to rely on it.

Our expert divorce solicitors can help. Over the years, we have helped many families to resolve issues involving the home, finances and the care of children. We have earned a reputation for a sensitive and understanding approach when dealing with clients involved in emotional and stressful situations.

Whenever possible, we encourage people to work together constructively to settle issues amicably.

We offer a free 30-minute appointment for all Family Matters as well as fixed packages. Please do contact us, even if you feel that you are only in the very early stages of discussions with your partner or simply to assess your legal options.

The first step is to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors. Please call us on 01326 316655 or email us general@hinedowning.com to make an appointment to come and see us.

Advice on Community Alarm Services and Telecare

You may wish to consider having an alarm call system to summon help if, for example, you have a fall. The community alarms and telecare service is one such emergency support alarm service, which operates 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year.

The telecare equipment gives you the reassurance of knowing that help is just the touch of a button away.

Each local authority has a service, the aim of which is to put you or your family directly in touch with the support you need in any emergency.

How does a Community Alarm Service Work?

The local authority can install equipment in your home which is linked to your home telephone. This might be a button, pendant or a range of sensors and detectors.

Within seconds of pressing an emergency button or a sensor automatically activating this will connect you to a trained operator who will have all the necessary information to be able to get help to you quickly.

This may mean alerting a neighbour, a relative, your GP or the emergency services. They will be able to send help to you even if you are not able to speak to them.

Who is a Community Alarm Service suitable for?

An alarm service is particularly helpful for people who:

  • live alone
  • have physical disabilities
  • have sensory impairment
  • may be forgetful or confused
  • have a learning disability
  • may be at risk of domestic violence
  • have a carer needing extra support
  • are at risk of falls
  • are vulnerable

Your local authority can usually give you more information or arrange for a demonstration of their community alarm service.

New Topic – Regaining Your Independence

We have recently added a number of pages for our latest topic – Regaining Your Independence.

Continuing Care Advice

People who are old and frail, those with chronic or degenerative diseases, or perhaps with other complex health needs, may require specialist care, regular treatment or other support on a long-term basis. This is known as Continuing Care.

This page includes:

  • What is continuing care?
  • Who is eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?
  • Who decides about NHS Continuing Healthcare?

Being Discharged to a Care Home

This page includes:

  • While you are in hospital
  • Discharge from Hospital
  • Discharge to a Care Home

Palliative Care Advice

Palliative care is the active holistic care of patients with advanced progressive illness. Management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness in conjunction with other treatments.

This page includes:

  • While you are in hospital
  • In hospital
  • In the community
  • Live-in Care

Advice on Living Independently

Useful resources and advice for independent living.

Bereavement – What are your rights?

Losing a loved one or relative can be an extremely traumatic time in anyone’s life and time off work to grieve and make arrangements should not be time which adds extra strain or pressure.

Those in mourning need support and advice, not added stress.

As there is currently no legal requirement for employers to give paid bereavement leave it can be extremely difficult for those in mourning to take the time they need.

The government suggests ‘reasonable’ time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependant but as there are no real guidelines or laws it is at the employer’s discretion.

People will often feel guilty for taking time off or feel pressured to return to work after bereavement as the unclear guidelines don’t take into account circumstances and the fact different people will react differently during those difficult times.

Currently in England and Wales, bereavement caused by negligence of breach of duty is recognised by the law and has a fixed payment of damaged of £12,980. However, the only people who qualify for this payment are a spouse, civil partner or the parents of a minor.

This does not take into account serious relationships as a cohabitee would not qualify for the damages but may be in a very similar situation to a person who has lost a spouse.

This example shows that the current laws do not reflect modern life in Britain.

Having a ‘fixed payment’ of damages and not taking into account circumstances can be difficult to explain to those in extreme cases. For example if a parent lost 2 children aged 17 and 19 they would qualify for damages for the 17 year old but not the 19 year old. The parents of a ‘minor’ may qualify but as the cut off is 18 years the parents of young adults would not.

Scotland has a very different system in which each case is decided on its own merits. A study showed that 80% of people believed this was a much fairer system. This caused APIL to call for a review of the law which suggests the majority agree with the ‘plea for fairness for the bereaved’.

Many will welcome the review and agree that the current system does not represent modern Britain.

New Page Added to the Making a Will Section

There is a new page added to the Making a Will section:

What Happens if I Die Without a Will (Intestate)?

With more than two thirds of the UK population not having a will, it’s important to know what would happen should you die intestate.

The reasons to make a will are explained in our page The Importance of Making a Will which explains some of the benefits:

  • Leaving your assets to people YOU choose
  • Ensuring partners/dependants are taken care of
  • Financial considerations (including inheritance tax advice)

Making a will does not have to be costly and you can even do it yourself free of charge (although we recommend at least getting it checked over by a qualified person to ensure it is legally acceptable to avoid any chance of dispute in the future).

There is more information in our How to Make a Will page.

Within the Making a Will section we have related pages which can be useful when making these arrangements.

For instance, Advice on Planning Your Funeral. Whilst no-one likes to think of these things, unfortunately they are a fact of life. It’s best to ensure that your funeral is how you would like it, which will give you peace of mind as well as making life a little bit easier for those who are making the arrangements in the future.

We will be adding more pages soon to the Making a Will section.

Separation and Relationship Breakdown – New Pages

We have updated a number of pages within our Relationship Breakdown section. The new pages are as follows:

Children and Separation

One out of two relationships today breaks down permanently and in many cases this involves children….

Counselling Advice during/after Separation

Counselling can help you work out your problems – either with your partner or on your own….

Financial Advice During Separation

The financial implications of a divorce or separation are possibly the most serious in terms of the practical and emotional impact on the couple and their children…

Mediation Advice for Couples

Under the new Family Procedure Rules 2010, emphasis is placed on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)…

Protection from Domestic Violence

If you are being physically, mentally or sexually abused by someone you live with, or are being threatened by them, that is domestic abuse or violence…

Useful Contacts for Separation

A list of organisations that can be of use when you are involved in a separation.

Splitting Up when Living Together

If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, there is nothing to legally tie you to a relationship….

Regaining Your Independence

The next topic we are working on is Regaining your Independence which will feature the following content:

Continuing Care
Advice on Continuing Care
Continuing Care after a stay in hospital
Being Discharged to a care home
Advice on Being Discharged to a care home
support for mental health issues
support for learning disabilities
Advice on community alarm services
community alarm services
Palliative Care
Live in Care
Advice on Palliative Care
Advice on Live in Care
Home Help
Support at Home
Homecare Advice
Care and support around the home
Advice on Living independently

Pages will be added soon and links posted on this blog.

How to Make a Will and Other Questions

Our guides are aimed at providing a lot of relevant information and answering your questions.

Within our Making a Will section some of the questions we are addressing include:

  • How to make a will
  • How to change a will
  • What should be included in my will
  • What happens if I die without a will
  • What happens if I die intestate
  • How to choose a funeral plan

Our extra pages also provide advice on wills, advice on funeral planning as well as inheritance tax advice.

The pages within the Making a Will section are:

More information is being added to this section regularly and updates will be posted here on the blog as they happen.

New Pages for the Mobility Advice Section

The mobility section of the website has been expanded with 2 new pages.

These are:

Advice and Information for the Disabled

This page is a resource for organisations that assist disabled people and provides their contact details and website links.

Examples of the organisations listed are:

  • Community Transport Association (CTA)
  • Disabled Living Foundation
  • The Mobility Trust
  • Motability
  • Scope

Advice on Benefits for the Disabled

On this page we list some of the benefits available for disabled people with mobility issues. These include:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disablement Benefit
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Carers’ Allowance
  • Home and housing
  • VAT on mobility aids and equipment

More information will be added in the future as the website expands further.

Hearing and Ear Care Advice

We have added another page to our information section – Hearing and Ear Care Advice.

This is broken down into 4 sections:

  • Importance of a healthy lifestyle
  • Common hearing and ear problems
  • Your ears and your hearing
  • Tinnitus

There is more information to come which includes:

  • Hearing problems after a head injury
  • Working in noisy environments
  • Hearing Assessments
  • Independent living for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Communication aids
  • Hearing therapists
  • Hearing problems in babies and children
  • Glue ear

Update 2/10/2013

We have added a new page, Common Hearing Problems, which deals with many of the topics above related to hearing problems and ear care.

New Sight and Hearing Guide

SightThe latest topic we are focusing on is Sight and Hearing.

We have started by adding more information to the sight section with our page Sight and Eye Care.

This deals with Common Eyesight Problems, Sight Tests and why they matter, Opticians, NHS Sight Tests, Getting Glasses on the NHS and Replacing Glasses on the NHS.



More Sight Information

We will soon be adding more information around the following topics:

  • Serious Eye Problems
  • Importance of a healthy lifestyle
  • Registering as sight impaired/blind
  • Independent living for the visually impaired
  • Blue Badge parking scheme
  • Eye care for children
  • Eye care for the over 40s
  • Sight tests for children
  • Laser eye surgery

Hearing Information

Included within this topic will be more information relating to hearing which includes:

  • Common hearing and ear problems
  • Accumulation of ear wax
  • Tinnitus
  • Working in noisy environments
  • Hearing assessments
  • Independent living for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Communication aids
  • Hearing therapies
  • Hearing problems in babies and children
  • Glue Ear

This will be coming soon in the next couple of weeks and further links will be added to the blog as pages are added.

Update – Extra Pages

There are now two more pages added to the sight guide information:

The next update will be for the hearing section of the guide.