October Free Advice Clinics
October Free Advice Clinics
Friday 20/10/17 9.00am - 1.00pm - Caernarfon Library, Pavilion Hill, Caernarfon LL55 1AS
Tuesday 24/10/17 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Monday 30/10/17 8.30am - 11.00am - Conwy Office
Tuesday 31/10/17 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Friday 3/11/17 9.00am - 12.30pm - Llangefni CAB, Canolfan Ebeneser, Bridge St, Llangefni, Anglesey, LL77 7PN.
Contemplating Divorce? The Key Essentials
Contemplating ending your marriage/Civil Partnership can be daunting to say the least and quite frankly, for many utterly terrifying. This dispiriting prospect has led many individuals to remain in unhappy, loveless and sometimes violent marriages for many years, and for some indefinitely. Over the years practising as a divorce lawyer, it has become apparent what these concerns are;
How will it affect the children? Where will we live? Who will get the children? How will I financially cope? Our finances are too complex, affordability, I will have to give away all of my hard earned assets’ to name a few.
All of the above are perfectly reasonable questions one should ask when making such a life changing decision. There are a lot of misconceptions on divorce with regards to how the law is applied. It is for this reason that it is vitally important to get proper legal advice from the outset. I strongly believe that the right advice at an early stage is crucial to minimising the emotional and costly impact. Ultimately, the key principle enshrined in Matrimonial law is fairness with primary consideration being given to the welfare of any children of the family.
The opening question I ask my clients, of which I can’t provide any legal advice on is simply this;
Is the marriage over?
If the answer to this question is a definitive yes, then I explain that in reality they have two options; remain in an unhappy marriage (either separated or together) or proceed with formally dissolving it either by divorce or judicial separation. If the answer to the question is no or ‘I’m not quite sure’ and the client intimates that there is prospect of reconciliation then in those circumstances I would advise the client to give their position further consideration before initiating the process of dissolving the marriage. I would highlight (which is not legal advice) that their decision should be based on what they want i.e. there is real prospect of happy reconciliation rather than an individual reaching a decision to remain married for fear of the repercussions as a result of a divorce.
The grounds for divorce
The answer to the above question will ultimately determine whether the threshold for getting divorced has been passed. In the England and Wales there is only one ground for getting divorced, and that is whether the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The person who starts proceedings is known as the petitioner and must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of the following facts;
II. Unreasonable behaviour
IV. 2 years separation with consent
V. Five years separation (no consent required)
The other party is known as the respondent. The vast bulk of divorces are petitioned based on the ‘fact’ of ‘unreasonable behaviour’. This is the law as it currently stands. However, I suspect in the not so distant future the law will change to allow non fault divorces without waiting 2 years or divorcing based on adultery. In reality, most courts and sensible solicitors adopt a pragmatic approach to ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in keeping the particulars of the unreasonable behaviour as non-inflammatory as possible. Ultimately, people should not be dissuaded from divorcing or waiting 2 years just to keep relations amicable. Sensible solicitors will explain to their clients (when acting for a respondent) that ‘unreasonable behaviour’ has to be cited as the other ‘facts’ are simply non- applicable and should not be perceived as hostile. Solicitors acting on behalf of a respondent can agree to particulars of the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ with the solicitors acting for the petitioner, again with a view to keeping the relations as amicable as possible.
I very much advise my clients not to get carried away in disputing the main suit divorce proceedings as outlined above, particularly if the marriage has indeed come to a conclusion. The key focus from the outset should be trying to sort out the substantive matters i.e. the arrangements for the child/children and reaching an agreement on the financial aspects. On the issue of child arrangements, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement between themselves, it is open to either party to make an application to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. The court determines such applications based on the ‘welfare principle’ i.e. the child/children’s’ interests are paramount. The initial stages of this process are most conciliatory with a strong encouragement for the parties to ultimately reach an agreement. Any such agreement can then be drawn up as a court order. In the absence of agreement, then the matter gets listed for a contested/final hearing at which point the decision will be up to a judge or magistrates and the key question for the court will be ultimately what is/are in the children’s best interests.
Turning now to financial matters, in order to assess finances there is a disclosure requirement i.e. the parties must disclose to each other details of their finances by completing financial statements (Form E’s), which are then simultaneously exchanged. At that stage, one can determine the extent of the matrimonial pot and thereafter try to reach a sensible and fair solution. It is very much advisable to have any agreement drawn up as a court order and lodged with the court to avoid any problems further down the line. In the absence of agreement, it is open to either party to make an application to the court for financial remedy proceedings.
Section 25 Factors
In considering matrimonial finances, the court will be guided by section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. First consideration for the court will be given to the welfare, while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of 18. Furthermore, the court will consider the following:
a) The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties in the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increases in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire.
b) The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
c) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
d) The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
e) Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage.
f) The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
g) The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard.
Family law has evolved over the course of recent years, and although in some circumstances it is necessary to litigate, proactive family lawyers will try and look for sensible ways of settling cases, if possible outside of the court arena. As alluded to above, it is most important that parties contemplating divorce obtain the right advice from the outset to avoid greater difficulties further down the line.
Article written by Joseph Hendron - Partner at J W Hughes & Co LLP
Contact: Joseph Hendron 01492 874774
Next Free Advice Clinics
September Free Advice Clinics
Tuesday 19th September 4pm - 5.30pm Llandudno Office
Monday 25th September 8.30am - 11am Conwy Office
Tuesday 26th September 4pm - 5.30pm Llandudno Office
Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Claim– Settled for over £5,000.00.
I have just settled another Personal Injury Claim for a gentleman who suffered whiplash type injuries as a result of a road traffic accident along with exacerbation of pre-existing left hip pain and discomfort. The claim was successfully settled for over £5,000.00. My client also received private physio which was recommended by the independent medical expert in order to aid his recovery and these physio costs have been paid for by the Defendant’s Insurers.
If you wish to make a claim and wish for expert advice, please do not hesitate to telephone on 01492 874774.
Personal Injury Accreditation
Well done Ian Williams for gaining accreditation from The Law Society's Personal Injury Panel.
The Personal Injury Accreditation covers all work undertaken by solicitors and Legal Executives (CILEx), on behalf of victims and their dependants, who have suffered personal or fatal injury as a result of an alleged act of negligence or breach of statutory duty.
In order to gain accreditation on the panel personal injury experts go through rigorous examination and testing to demonstrate that they have a high level of knowledge, skills and experience in dealing with personal injury cases. They personally must have conducted personal injury cases for claimants or defendants for at least three years prior to applying for the scheme.
The Law Society exists to represent, promote and support all solicitors, so they in turn can help their clients. It works to ensure that no-one is above the law and to protect everyone's right to have access to justice.
This is a great achievement and were very pleased to have Ian as a member of the J W Hughes & Co Team. Being an accredited member involves rigorous examination and testing to demonstrate that we have a high level of knowledge, skills and experience. Many more of our team are accredited with the Law Society and we believe it is a testament to how we work and the service we provide to our clients.
August - Free Advice Clinics
August/Sept Free Advice Clinics
Friday 4th August 9.00am - 12.30pm - Llangefni Citizens Advice
Tuesday 8th August 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Tuesday 15th August 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Tuesday 22nd August 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Friday 25th August 9.30am - 1.00pm - Caernarfon Library
Friday 1st September 9.00am - 12.30pm - Llangefni Citizens Advice
Monday 4th September 8.30am - 11.00am - Conwy Office
Caernarfon Free Advice Clinic
Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Claim – Settled for over £3,500.00!
I have just settled another claim for over £3,500.00 for a lady who suffered injuries as a result of Road Traffic Accident.
As advised in my previous post, the whiplash reforms are back on the Government’s Agenda and although no set date has been made for the changes to come into effect, it is vitally important that if you have been injured as a result of a Road Traffic Accident which was not your fault within the last 3 years to make a claim as soon as possible before the changes come into effect.
If you wish for expert advice on making a claim, please do not hesitate to telephone me, Ian Williams on 01492 874774.
Personal Injury Settlements
Unguarded manhole accident – Settled for over £13,000.00
I have just settled a claim for a gentleman who stepped into an unguarded manhole in
the highway and tripped and fell. He suffered a large cut to the ring finger and small finger on his right hand as a result of the accident. The nerve in the ring finger was also severed and
he had to have an operation to repair the severed nerve in the ring finger . He also suffered a cracked left rib as a result of the accident.
The claim was successfully settled for over £13,000.00!
If you have been injured as a result of an accident which was not your fault, please do not hesitate to telephone me on 01492 874774. See how much your claim may be worth with our Compensation Calculator.
Quarterly Feedback review for 2017
Our quarterly feedback review has great results!
93% of our clients thought our service was excellent, 7% said our service was good.
June - Free Advice Clinics
Tuesday 6th June 2017 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Tuesday 13th June 2017 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Tuesday 20th June 2017 2.30pm - 6.00pm - Caernarfon Library, Pavilion Hill, Caernarfon, LL55 1AS)
Tuesday 20th June 2017 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Monday 26th June 2017 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Conwy Office
Tuesday 27th June 2017 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
Congratulations Joseph Hendron
A member of our team has been promoted to partner within the firm. Joseph Hendron who started with the firm in 2008 as a Trainee Solicitor, later qualifying to practising Solicitor in July 2011. Joseph has a strong client base assisting clients within the family department, crime and employment. He is an accredited member of The Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Panel and Criminal Litigation Panel.
If you would like to make an appointment to see Joseph Hendron please contact our Llandudno office on 01492 874774.
A big warm welcome to Pip who has recently joined the J W Hughes Team! Philippa (Pip for short) will be working on reception at our Llandudno Office.
May - Free Advice Clinics
Free Advice Clinics
Our next free advice clinics are:
02/05/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
09/05/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
16/05/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
22/05/17 Mon 8.30am - 11.00am -Conwy Office
23/05/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
30/05/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
30/05/17 Mon 2.00pm - 6.30pm - Caernarfon Library, Pavilion Hill, Caernarfon LL55 1AS
March - Free Advice Clinics
Free Advice Clinics
Our next free advice clinics are:
07/03/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
13/03/17 Mon 2.30pm - 6.30pm - Caernarfon Library, Pavilion Hill, Caernarfon LL55 1AS
14/03/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
21/03/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office
27/03/17 Mon 8.30am - 11.00am - Conwy Office
28/03/17 Tues 4.00pm - 5.30pm - Llandudno Office