Posted March 14th, 2013
Cuts to the legal aid budget that come in next month are going to leave many vulnerable families deprived of vital services that only professionals can supply.
I can’t really understand where the government is coming from on this one. Often when cuts are imposed there will be some alternative offered. Yet in this instance the legislation comes in and will leave many people in difficult situations with nowhere to turn; and let’s not forget that there will obviously be a lot of children caught in the midst of all this. So much for the welfare of the child is paramount.
One reputable firm of solicitors – Stephensons, the largest family law team in the North West – are making provisions to help those that are in a vulnerable position. The help on offer to those families whether they may be divorcing, parents in adoption cases or parents trying to resolve contact disputes will include a fixed fee service and a flexible ‘pay as you go’ service. Both services will ensure that, at the very least those facing having to pay for their legal repressentation will know where they stand from a cost perspective.
I also offer a free 30 minute consultation and have a lot of experience in helping people work through their finances on divorce whether that is helping you get a fair settlement or implementing a pension sharing order. If you feel that you may be affected by the changes in legal aid then why not get in touch for a free 30 minute, no obligation consultation.
Posted March 4th, 2013
Not a good idea. Of course it may seem unfair to have to declare assets that were acquired before you got married; or assets that were solely paid for by you during the marriage, but the fact is if you aren’t up front about your finances during divorce then you are risking a spell in prison.
According to a survey by Co-operative Legal Services, 25% of those who go through divorce will hide aspects of their finances from their soon to be ex-partner. And here’s the really surprising thing about this survey – the survey was conducted online and involved around 800 divorcees and it found that women are more likely to conceal money and possessions during a divorce.
From a little research on the good ol’ worldly wide web, it looks like most divorces are initiated by women. Stats abound from anything between 55% and 91%. So what are we to glean from this? It does make for depressing reading. You could take the view that women view marriage purely as a move to make financial gain. Whereas I’ve no doubt that it’s true for some, it surely can’t be true for anything more than a minority. That would be highly cynical.
I think it points more to the fact that many people marry the wrong person and do it too quickly; and as it is often the mother whom the children will live with, you may imagine that she may feel justified in hiding financial assets from an estranged spouse. After all, she’s only doing it for the kids. Morally justifiable it may be, but it is illegal and you are putting yourself in contempt of court if you do this. The whole point of settlements is to make sure that both sides have the chance to put their lives back on track. The best way to ensure that there is a fair outcome is to be completely open and honest. If you’re made an offer you aren’t happy with then you don’t have to accept it. On the other hand if you’re made an offer that you don’t know if you should accept or you want help with negotiating then get in touch.
I am a Resolution Accredited IFA and as such I am in a position to help you get a fair settlement without risking prison!
Posted March 1st, 2013
You can’t get divorced unless you get married. Aside from stating the obvious, I’m underlining the point that these days marriage seems little more than a precursor to divorce. It was only within the last week that I heard an acquaintance remark about how much more fun his divorce is compared to his marriage.
Granted, there is maybe a little relief when it all becomes absolute, but this rising trend that divorce is the main course after the entre of marriage is eroding at society. That sounds sweeping, but marriage just doesn’t seem to mean what it used to.
For better or worse is a redundant term as couples seem to run to divorce solicitors at the merest hint that they have actually married another human being just as flawed as they are. For better or slightly worse than better may be more apt.
When nothing but divorce will do though and there is no salvaging the wreckage of supposed wedded harmony, the last thing you need on top of the stress are spiralling costs and poor quality representation:
BBC News – Rising costs add to divorce woe, says Legal Ombudsman
Marriage should be more – much more than an exercise in saving for divorce. Divorce costs are starting to rival what you’ll spend on a wedding day; and it looks like there are some unscrupulous solicitors looking to capitalise on clients engaged in an acrimonious divorce. That’s abuse, whichever way you cut it up. That is praying on the vulnerable and taking advantage of their state of mind.
A common and highly justifiable complaint by clients and consumers in the financial services industry is that charges are not transparent and clear. The Retail Distribution Review was set up to combat that issue (although it’s clear that there are many providers and platforms that are quite happy to work around that and leave clients still scratching their head when it comes to exactly what they are paying!) and I would say it’s time that something similar was brought in to weed out the more unscrupulous solicitors that just want your money.
If you’re not happy with your legal representation and feel they are not acting in your best interests, then please get in touch by phone on 01204 663904 or by email – email@example.com. I can recommend excellent law firms that will act with your best interests at heart.
Image Credit: Flickr.com/stan
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Posted November 27th, 2012
We all know, or know of people that have managed to get married abroad. It probably doesn’t work out much more expensive than a lavish ceremony on these shores. Wouldn’t it be curious to find an agency set up to help you get divorced abroad?
“They got divorced? When did that happen?”
“Yeah they’ve been divorced a couple of months now, they got divorced in the Seychelles!”
“Pffft…..it’s alright for some, me and the ex had to make to do with a divorce in Wolverhampton!”
In reality though, the only money held abroad in divorces tends to be offshore bank accounts that Mr. Taxman doesn’t know anything about……….yet!
That is, until a disgruntled soon to be ex-partner tells him about it, and handsomely rewarded they will be for it as well. Of course, marriage, or the dissolution thereof, doesn’t have any relevancy when it is an ex business partner blowing the whistle. However, according to HMRC, there are significant number of tip offs are coming from ex partners.
As the waters separating the terms “evasion” and “avoidance” get ever muddier (avoision if you will) it’s a made up word intended to nod at the notion that evasion and avoidance are becoming entwined but I’ll change it to aversion if you think it would make more sense, let’s not debate here on the rights, wrongs or other loopholes surrounding the whole Tax debate currently.
Fact is, it’s more incumbent on you to be up front. Hiding money from the tax man is one thing – and it can land you in prison. Hiding money that is due to a disgruntled ex is positively like dicing with death!
Be up front, and then you might avoid finding yourself being upfront in front of a Judge.
image credit: flickr.com/banjo_d
Posted November 20th, 2012
…..and that figure is unnervingly low. There are nearly twice as many women over 50 without a pension when compared with men over 50.
It seems clear then, that many women are not even asking the question upon agreeing a divorce settlement. It is more important now than ever before that the question of sufficiency in retirement is tabled during in settlement talks. It is just as relevant as child care and the split of matrimonial assets.
It’s pretty straight forward. If you have sacrificed a career to raise children, or even settled in a job just to help make ends meet within the marriage, there is a fair question of income equalisation after retirement that needs to be asked and answered.
I am an IFA with expertise in the field of Pensions on Divorce. If you are going through a divorce and need advice, or if the issue has never been raised for you and you feel that this is something that you would like to talk about then please get in touch:
Image credit: flickr.com/tax credits
Posted September 17th, 2012
The role of solicitors and mediators during divorce is well documented and shouldn’t be taken lightly or underestimated as many self representing clients find out to their cost.
However, aside from wrangling over custody arrangements, would you leave it to either professional party to value your house during a split of assets?
No? So why is it that little or no heed is often taken in divorce proceedings with regards to the pensions?
As I stated in the above article, there are many solicitors that I work with that do have the necessary skill set to enable you to achieve a fair outcome, often calling in the necessary professionals to assist with their advice.
I have recently been contacted by two claim companies and an independent solicitor looking at past settlements and wanting referrals from me for potential claims they can investigate. They are investigating whether the true value of the pensions has been ignored, overlooked or misunderstood as part of the overall settlement.
This is no coincidence and perhaps a sign of the times but 12 years after the legislation was passed bringing pension sharing into force I am still seeing big mistakes being made.
To avoid having to go through this with your pension sharing case then please get in touch now on 01204 663904.
Posted August 27th, 2012
Question : Why is it that a pension share can be applied to a pension in the pension protection fund but not to one in the
financial assistance scheme.
Answer : Unfortunately despite lobbying by Resolution, the financial assistance scheme remains unable to deal with compensation pension sharing orders, unlike the pension protection fund.
Therefore, if you are affected by a scheme in this situation you will be unable to use it for the purposes of pension sharing.
It will be essential therefore to look at how to divide your pensions via a different method.
Posted August 24th, 2012
My attention was drawn to an interesting Twitter debate recently with regard to 0% pension sharing orders. The premise being that this prevents any further comeback on maintenance variation by way of pension income.
My concern here is that this is heresay, however, it is possible for a 1% pension sharing order to be completed which would dispel any future claim on the pension. It should be noted that you cannot have a pension sharing order on a pension that already has a pension sharing order on it.
Practically though, how would a 1% transfer value work, and it also should be noted that the costs might outweigh any benefits. However, it could be argued that this is a reasonably innovative way of dealing with pension sharing.