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Now is the time for Divorce without Blame

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As things are at the moment in order to divorce, unless couples have been living apart for at least two years one of them needs to apportion blame to the other.

Adultery or unreasonable behaviour are often cited when divorces are being discussed and unfortunately this often creates conflict and makes reaching a mutually acceptable agreement challenging.

To prove this, academics have shown how the legal requirement to assign blame can undermine attempts to resolve disputes outside of the court room.

In the document, Mapping Paths to Family Justice compiled recently by the Universities of Exeter and Kent, together with the Economic and Social Research Council, it demonstrated how the current situation can fuel conflict between parents, causing great stress for their children.

In 2012 alone, there were over 72,000 divorces in the country where adultery or unreasonable behaviour were cited. The body Resolution, who are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes, believe that removing blame from divorce will make it easier for people to manage their separation with as little conflict and stress as possible, and reduce the likelihood that they will end up in court.

This calling for change isn’t something new either. Many eminent people involved in family law for many years have stressed the need for reform. Other countries around the world – including Australia and the United States, as well as Spain – allow divorce without blame.

It is now time for us to follow in these footsteps.

An advanced society deserves a civilised divorce process and we at Pearcelegal wholeheartedly agree that anything that reduces the turmoil divorce often involves should be welcomed.

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Woman’s claim against millionaire she split from 23 years ago sets a new precedent

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The story of a woman whose marriage broke down 30 plus years ago winning the right to seek payments from her millionaire ex-husband has certainly grabbed the media’s attention recently. For those who haven’t heard about it it’s worth highlighting as its ramifications could be huge.


The case surrounds Kathleen Wyatt who has been given permission by the Supreme Court to lodge a belated claim against her very wealthy ex Dale Vince, the founder of energy company Ecotricity.

Wyatt who brought up their son is claiming £1.9m from the relationship with Vince who has since re-married and is according to press reports worth £57m.
The relationship began in 1981 and their son was born in 1983, but soon after they split up and were formally divorced 23 years ago in 1992. In these intervening years Vince’s business took off and his son now works with him.

In a unanimous decision, five justices of the Supreme Court said the family court could not strike out Wyatt’s claim without full consideration of the issues, but warned Wyatt she faces “formidable difficulties” in seeking to establish that any financial order should be made in her favour because of the very long delay and the fact that the relationship was short, lasting less than three years.
She may, the Supreme Court said, be able to rely on her much greater contribution to the upbringing of the couple’s child over many years, a factor which they said could justify a financial order for a comparatively modest sum.
Wyatt will now have to continue her battle by returning to the high court to pursue her claim.

To us at Pearcelegal we see this ruling paving the way for anyone without a completed financial order to bring a claim against their ex-spouse regardless of how long ago they parted.

This highlights the importance that all financial matters are finalised at the time of divorce, and when a court order is obtained. Without this it opens up prospects for future claims for a share of the wealth earned after the divorce.

It is unprecedented to hear of a claim being so long after a break up, but the court has ruled that because there was no financial order and no time limit in family law for making a financial order, there was absolutely nothing to prevent the claim from being successful.

The high court will meet to decide how much she should receive bearing in mind current law. The legal world and many wealthy business people will continue to watch with some trepidation.

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Christmas – the season of goodwill and marriage break-ups

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You can’t help but notice that the Christmas spirit is seeping in wherever we look. Trees and lights are going up and the vast majority of us will be looking forward to spending some quality time with our loved ones.

However, whilst we at Pearcelegal hope you have a joyous festive season this will not be the case for thousands. If relationships are under strain often Christmas is the point of no return.

It’s easy to see why – after all more time is spent with families, sometimes with members you would rather not be with, there is the financial strain of the modern Christmas, and to add to this too much alcohol can add an extra explosive element. These reasons show why for divorce lawyers January is the busiest time of the year.

Whilst this is a bit of a sad tale to be telling whilst most of us are looking forward to a high quality time full of fun and joy, we feel it is worth highlighting.

The marketing men place an emphasis on us of a Christmas of dreams. For those who are not having the best time in their life this just makes their predicament feel even more desperate.

If you are in a position where you feel your relationship is at an end it’s worth bearing in mind there are thousands all over England going through the same as you.

If you are in a position where you feel it is time to journey to pastures new we advise you to get professional advice as soon as possible. We give a free 30 minute consultation. After this not only will you understand the process of divorce, but a good family law team will help offer support at a time when many people feel vulnerable and frightened of the future.

We hope this tale hasn’t put you off your mince pies and its message doesn’t apply to you, but if it does rest assured you are not alone.

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Facebook playing a major factor in UK divorce cases

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The continual rise of social media has impacted us all, but whilst it’s great we can now track down old friends easily this isn’t always wise. Many of us in the legal profession have for some time thought Facebook, and similar social media sites are a major reason for marriage failure and they need to be treated with caution. Recent research from our friends across the water in the US, together with other reports on social media trends in divorce demonstrates just how dangerous some online activity has become.

It used to be said that those unexpected business meetings were a tell-tale indicator of an affair, but excessive Facebook interaction seems to be a sign now.

A recent study from Boston University found a link between social media use and decreased marriage quality. It also showed that a 20 per cent increase in Facebook enrolment was associated with a four per cent increase in divorce rates. This study believes it may be that social media’s highly addictive qualities create marital strife, and promote an environment for infidelity to take hold.

This academic research seems to tie in with what we now see in family law departments. In studies in the United States around 80 per cent of lawyers have said social media is mentioned in divorce cases and this seems to be a statistic similar to what we are seeing in the UK.

It can sometimes be people contacting old flames to see what they are up to or flirtatious behaviour with strangers, which leads to full blown affairs.

It is clear Social Media is a dangerous environment for couples if used in this way and from the problems we have seen it cause, people need to be made aware of the pitfalls to avoid themselves becoming embroiled in this whole sorry state.

At Pearcelegal we have seen the sadness marriage break up can cause and in this era of opportunity not all options should be pursued.

You have been warned.

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