Author Archives: Mike Bradley

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 to make an appointment to come and see us.

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.