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 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 August 25th, 2012
Question: My husband is in receipt of a war disability pension. Is it possible to have a pension order placed against it?
Answer : Unfortunately you are not able to have a pension sharing order or an attachment order applied against the War Disability Pension. However, there will be main army pension benefits payable and it is possible to have a pension sharing order placed against these benefits. Given the extra income payable via the war disability pension, then with sensible discussion would it be possible to increase the pension sharing order under the main army scheme benefits.
In addition I see no reason why this would not count towards maintenance and a periodic payments order may be made.
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.
Posted August 22nd, 2012
An interesting development with Divorce Lifeline – www.divorcelifeline.co.uk.
It is interesting to note some of the claims being made by the company in relation to pensions and also their credentials to be in this market in the first place.
However, there is a growing trend towards looking at the settlements that clients are getting and it is in the divorce solicitors best interests to look at how a pension settlement is arrived at.
As a Resolution Accredited Independent Financial Adviser, I do see many mistakes made and we are here to help.
Posted February 3rd, 2012
This week I attended an excellent seminar in London. The principal speakers were Edward Hest, District Judge, Principle Registry Family Division, David Lockett, Consultant Actuary, Actuaries for Lawyers and Philip Way, Partner Mills and Reeve LLP. The course was a mixture of practical guidance, hot topics and case studies.
The course was extremely enjoyable from the point of view of updating my Continue Professional Development (all Resolution Accredited IFAs have this obligation to keep their accreditation) but on a personal note is was lovely to meet up with many of my fellow Resolution Accredited IFAs and put a face to an email or Linked In contact and to talk shop with them.
I was struck by the level of co-operation and collaboration that went on during the day and this bodes well for the future of financial advice and planning within divorce cases.