Wardship

I am proud to let readers know that one of my Nigerian gentleman clients has succeeded against the odds with some help from me!
Initially it looked a very difficult case indeed. This is because my client’s daughter was in Nigeria for around a year.The daughter had been taken there by her mother telling the father based in the UK that they were going for 2 weeks holiday.
Every week my client the father begged the mother to return to the UK but to no avail. One can imagine his anguish and upset. It seemed little I could do directly apart from give him some contacts such as the British Embassy in Nigeria and the Home Office.
A few days later my client phoned me having discovered that the mother and his daughter had returned to England some 6 months ago! The client arranged to meet me last Monday 27th February. We completed the necessary court application and our client attended the High Court on Tuesday 28th February. Our client managed to get an ex parte hearing before the judge and a hearing date has been set for next week. Even better the judge ordered the police to confiscate all the passports held by the mother so she could not disappear with the daughter back to Nigeria! The daughter is a ward of court from the time the summons has been issued. This is part of the High Court inherent jurisdiction to safeguard children who are UK citizens. Such jurisdiction goes back centuries. The case continues…..

Can a full time working ex-wife get Maintenance for herself ?

The answer is “Yes” following a Court of Appeal decision this week.

Cambridge University lecturer, 40, won £34,000 divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who said she was so hardworking she didn’t need his money
• When couple split, court ordered that husband pay £723-a-month maintenance
• Academic mother then increased her hours to ‘help her survive financially’
• Ex-husband claimed the extra pay meant she didn’t need his money anymore
• Judges backed ex-wife after court congratulated her for getting back to work

A Cambridge don has won a divorce battle with her Macedonian minister ex-husband who claimed he shouldn’t have to pay her maintenance now she is working full-time.
Despite having children to care for, university lecturer Kathleen Liddell moved from part time to full time hours after her break-up from Goran Mickovski, saying she needed to work ‘as hard as she could’ to ‘survive financially’.
But her ex used her increased pay as a reason to go back to court, saying he should not have to pay £723-a-month maintenance due to her increased earnings.
Two senior judges have now thrown out his claims that his wife doesn’t need the money and backed an order that he pay a £34,000 lump sum to cover four years’ worth of maintenance.
Judges have backed the maintenance received by Kathleen Liddell (left) from her husband Goran Mickovski (right), despite her having since increased her hours at work
The court heard that the former couple – who were married for 11 years – lived in an £800,000 home in north London, which made up the bulk of their £1.2million wealth.
As well as the maintenance payments, Mrs Liddell received a £555,000 lump sum when the marriage broke down and, in return, signed her half of the house over to her ex, who still lives there.
She used the money to buy a five-bedroom property in Cambridgeshire near her £53,000-a-year job at the University’s law faculty. She now lives with her new partner, a chartered accountant.
Mr Mickovski, who is also required to pay child support, has re-married to a businesswoman working for British-American Tobacco.
Mr Mickovski worked as a consultant solicitor in London but has also been Minister of Foreign Investments for the Macedonian government.
Mr Mickovski kept the family’s London home after the pair split, paying his ex-wife a lumpsum
Mr Mickovski later took his ex-wife to court, asking Judge Markanza Cudby to stop the £723-a-month maintenance he had been paying her because his ex-wife’s wages had increased.
Mrs Liddell, however, was ‘congratulated’ by the divorce judge for her strong work ethic.
The judge commented: ‘I’m satisfied that she works hard… I understand and accept her decision to work full time… she is earning 53,000-a-year and I accept she is working as hard as she can and she can’t earn any more.’
The judge also branded Mr Mickovski ‘belligerent, unhelpful and dictatorial’ over his handling of the case.
Two more judges at London’s Appeal Court have now heard Mr Mickovski challenge that order, arguing that his ex-wife had been left in a financial position that ‘exceeded her needs.’
His barrister, Stephen Lyon, told the Court of Appeal that Judge Cudby’s decision not to end the maintenance payments had left his ex more comfortable than she needed to be, when by now she should be financially ‘independent.’
The wife’s five-bedroom home ‘arguably exceeded her needs,’ he argued, adding: ‘There was no consideration of need.’
But Lady Justice Macur dismissed Mrs Mickovski’s challenge to Judge Cudby’s order, saying: ‘The wife says; “I need to work in order to survive financially”. She was struggling. Each month her outgoings exceeded her income.
‘That is why she needs maintenance going forward and why the judge made the findings that she did.’

ruled she does still need the maintenance despite working harder to support her family”
Judges at the Court of Appeal ruled she does still need the maintenance despite working harder to support her family
The appeal judges added: ‘The judge congratulated her for getting herself back to work full time with tiny children.
‘The judge found that the husband had not been accurate in his assertions…she accepted the evidence of the wife. We intend to refuse the husband permission to appeal.’
Mr Mickovski was given two months to pay the £34,000 to his ex – who represented herself in court – along with £3,543 in legal costs.
He must keep on paying her £723-a-month maintenance until he comes up with the £34,000 lump sum.
Comment by Richard Buxton
Many ex wives who work think that in this day and age they cannot get maintenance!I generally advise they can and should do so.This case supports my advice!

Living Together?

Judge backs co-habitee over wife in landmark wills ruling
A woman who lived with her partner for nearly two decades has won a court battle for a share of his home after it passed to his estranged wife in the wake of his death.
Joy Williams, 69, lived with Norman Martin, a dentist, for 18 years but he remained married to Maureen Martin and had not updated his will.
They owned their three-bedroom home in Dorchester, Dorset, as tenants in common, which meant the property did not automatically pass to Williams after her partner’s death from a heart attack in 2012.
However, earlier this year in a victory for the rights of unmarried couples, Judge Nigel Gerald said it was “quite plain” that Williams and Norman Martin had in “all material respects” lived in the same household as husband and wife in a committed and loving relationship “in which they expected to spend the rest of their lives”.
The case was contested by Martin’s wife but Judge Gerald ruled in favour of Williams, saying that she had established that she was entitled to make a claim against the estate.
Irwin Mitchell, the law firm acting for Williams, said the case demonstrated the need for “co-habitation laws to be brought into the 21st century” and also highlighted the need for couples living together to have co-habitation agreements in place and up-to-date wills.
Paula Myers, a partner at the firm, said: “There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife and couples who live together do not automatically have the same rights as a married couple or those in a civil partnership.

Unmarried couples who live together should have co-habitation agreements in place outlining who owns property and how bills are divided. People should also ensure that their wills are up to date and reflect their wishes, particularly if their circumstances or relationships change.
Call us for a co-habitation agreement that is tailored made for your situation.
We will email a draft at once.

Xmas message 2016

As we approach the end of 2016, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person I have worked with during the year.
You are my clients and I have enjoyed working with you – I look forward to continuing to do so into 2017 and beyond.

Into the new year, I will be supporting Richard Bacon’s Private Members Bill for “no fault divorce” and restoring local family courts. 27% of divorcing couples who asserted blame in their divorce petition admitted the allegation of fault wasn’t true, but was the easiest option!

Please write to your MP to support this measure and help remove blame from divorce.

Just to remind you that with over 40 years in the legal profession, I’m extremely well-placed to help anyone, even those on a reduced budget, for initial legal advice or a second opinion. With my extensive experience and research abilities, I can try to help with any legal problem or make an introduction to another lawyer with specialist expertise.

Just recently I have helped clients in the following areas:-
• Construction law dispute
• Solicitors negligence
• Property development
• Contesting a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney
• Personal injury
• Unfair dismissal
• Compensation for airline delay.
I will of course continue to help clients in my main practice areas of Family Law and Mediation.
My very best wishes to you all and your families for a Happy Xmas and successful New Year post-Brexit and in the Trump era – interesting times are ahead!

Richard Buxton LLB FMA
Mortlake Law & Mediation
020 8487 8803
www.mortlakelaw.co.uk
richard@mortlakelaw.co.uk

PS – you can follow me on Twitter @MortlakeLaw or find me at facebook.com/mortlakelaw

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Domestic Violence

1.8 million adults said they were victims of domestic violence in last year
In last six years 598 women have been killed by current or former partners
There were in England and Wales an estimated 1.8 million adults aged 16 to 59 who said they were a victim of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2016. Women (1.2 million) were more likely to report having experienced domestic abuse than men (651,000), according to the latest release by the Office for National Statistics.

If you are at risk of domestic violence please call us for free help and advice or call the Police on 999.Its serious and it might save your life or avoid pain or injury.

Non Disclosure of finances in Divorce-its not worth the risk!

A landmark ruling permitting a reconsideration of divorce cases, many years on, due to the other spouses non-disclosure at the time of the initial proceedings.

The Supreme Court recently allowed two appeals brought by ex-wives whose husbands failed to provide full, open and honest disclosure of their financial assets in the court proceedings. The court stated that dishonesty or fraud involving failure to disclose financial assets can be grounds for re-negotiating previously resolved disagreements.

Financial disclosure is the process of giving to your spouse and to the court full details of your financial circumstances, future needs and resources. Disclosure is essential whatever process you intend to use to achieve a solution; in or out of court. It is not possible for you, your lawyers or a court to know what will be a fair solution unless everybody knows the full financial picture.

In the recent Supreme Court decision the court reiterated that where a spouse intentionally failed to disclose the full extent of their financial assets, it is for that spouse to prove to the court, in subsequent court proceedings brought by the aggrieved spouse, that such non-disclosure would not have made any material difference to the outcome of the case. This can involve extremely lengthy and expensive court proceedings which replicate those which occurred in the first instance.

If you and your spouse have already agreed financial arrangements and this has been approved by the court, but you later discover that your former spouse may not have disclosed the full extent of his or her financial assets, and you have proof of this, you may be able to ask the court to re-open your case to consider whether in fact there should be a different outcome. There is no time limit for your former spouse to apply to court but he or she must do so as soon as possible after discovering the fraud or failure to disclose assets.

Family Law and Social media-beware the pitfalls

People are increasingly communicating and conducting their lives on social media – from attempts to mirror Bake Off cakes to marriages, births, deaths and, importantly for lawyers, divorces.
Family law specialists have noticed that in recent years nearly every case that crosses their desks includes issues relating to social media and the use of smartphones.
Clients either initiating or on the receiving end of divorce proceedings and associated financial or children applications are well-advised from the outset to consider carefully how they are presenting themselves online.
A picture is worth a thousand words and could potentially cost many thousands of pounds in a financial settlement. Individuals may plead poverty, only for the other half to produce a catalogue of images of that person attending flash parties and enjoying lavish holidays. This can be a huge distraction from the important matter of both parties engaging in full and frank financial disclosure, which is crucial in preventing matters dragging on unnecessarily.
Money is one thing, but matters can become more serious where issues relating to children are raised. Family solicitors frequently see cases where the other side has slavishly collated print-outs from social media to suggest that an individual or a new partner is unsuited to caring for the parties’ children. An ostensibly innocent comment posted online or an unfortunate drunken photo can have serious consequences.
I have been involved with cases of my client’s wife posting a picture of her new ring on Facebook.As the parties had split up this looked like an engagement ring!Another Child arrangements case involved my client’s wife sending texts from her hospital bed to her children after self-harming.Really damaging all round.
Likewise, It is easy for a client to take a screenshot of text messages – now displayed in a useful conversation format, which can be traced back over several months or years – and email them to a solicitor. In the past it was harder to prove the “he said, she said” of previous agreements in relation to assets or financial support; these are now easily accessible to all and often printed and inserted into witness statements and court bundles.
Relationship breakdown is emotional and stressful – it is easy to send aggressive or abusive messages. Clients should pause and consider how those words might look as an enclosure to a solicitor’s letter or bundle in front of a judge.
There have been instances where clients have realised that the other side, and, more worryingly, children, have had access to messages and emails because the devices previously used by all the family remain “synced”. While people will clearly have a lot on their minds should a relationship break down, they must think carefully about who has access to what.
Passwords should be changed and care should be taken to ensure that communications remain private. Parties involved in proceedings will be advised by their solicitors that if they deliberately attempt to access private information belonging to their spouse or partner, they run the risk of civil – or in extreme cases, criminal – proceedings or an unwelcome costs order being made against them.
Family disputes are unpleasant enough without the stress and conflict that can arise from social media use. Simple steps and common sense can make the process much easier and quicker to resolve.

Bird-nesting

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/family/birds-nest-custody-the-smart-new-way-to-divorce/

Interesting concept…not for every situation with separated parents but one to consider

that might help reduce disruption in the chilld/childrens lives,which is always good.

Gary Lineker is going through the friendliest divorce ever

Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux might have called time on their marriage, but not on their friendship. Only two weeks after being granted a divorce, the pair had a raucous dinner with friends in LA.

In his column for Event magazine, Piers Morgan wrote, “They genuinely are still great friends, and have managed to separate with the kind of maturity, decency, intelligence and mutual solicitousness for each other’s welfare that all the warring couples of the world should seek to emulate.”

Read the full article here.

Contact me to talk about how you can come to an amicable agreement and save yourself a lot of time, money, stress and heartache.