Personal and Business Legal Services in Solihull


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Now is the time for Divorce without Blame


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


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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Planning for the twilight years – wills and mental capacity


For all of us with whom the prime of our youth is but a distant memory we generally find ourselves in one of two camps. One is the grown up child with ageing parents or the other an elderly parent with adult children.

In either case whether from the parent’s perspective or the child’s viewpoint the subject of old age and the hurdles it more often than not entails are never too far from the front of mind, but sadly difficult discussions about less than happy possibilities in the years ahead is often remains unexplored leaving great difficulties for loved ones to deal with when problems of this kind come to our door.

One subject of this nature is the loss of mental capacity. It is estimated that one in three people in the UK over 65 will develop some form of dementia, but who will run their affairs when they get to a stage they are incapable?

The Mental Capacity Act 2005, which will allow family members and other trusted people to manage money on behalf of loved ones under what is known as a lasting power of attorney is a sensible provision.

This allows another person to make decisions where a person has lost mental capacity, but they can only be set up when the person is still considered able to make decisions for themselves.

At Pearcelegal we often deal with the affairs of people who have lost their mental faculties leaving the families having to manage a formal application.

It’s not an easy process where legal expertise is needed. It could be avoided if more people faced up to what lies in store.

If we could give the public some simple advice we urge them to take is please face up to what the future may have in store and make a Will, review it regularly and discuss with a solicitor Lasting Power of Attorney.

Very few of us want to spend too much time dwelling on our own demise, but we owe it to our loved ones to briefly consider it and take action.

Those who arrange their affairs in time are taking a mature approach to issues which affect the majority yet so many do nothing about leaving great problems that we as lawyers regrettably see far too much of.

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Solihull property set for stable 2015


When a New Year starts there are lots of predictions and crystal ball gazing and the world of property is one of many subjects that often has plenty of media attention in this annual ritual.

Being involved in helping so many people move house in the Solihull area we obviously have an input into this little game, and we do have more of an insight into what will happen, more than many professions do.

Analysing the predictions from large estate agents, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and large lenders, it appears that 2015 isn’t going to be a year of boom or bust for the property market here. Those who write the tabloids won’t thank us for saying this but it all looks quite unremarkable.

Our comments aren’t the most headline grabbing, but in the UK we have an obsession with property and here in Solihull this is no different, so it is worth saying.

All the indications should mean a year when there remains trust and confidence in property and that should benefit the whole economy.

Most of the experts have predicted small rises and this should mean many moves during the year to be more based on lifestyle needs rather than other factors.

A stable housing market means people move for the right reasons, which is good to see.

Not so long ago when property was rising at an astronomical rate it created a very strange environment and we can only hope the effects of the relatively recent recession has meant people have learnt lessons.

What will remain certain for those moving in the next 12 months is the knowledge that a property purchase is a highly stressful matter and those involved need to make sure they don’t cut corners.

Buying a house is in all probability the most expensive acquisition you will ever make, so don’t skimp on cheap conveyancing which is dealt with in a call centre environment hundreds of miles away.

Good conveyancing in the big scheme of a property purchase is relatively cheap and can give you assurances that everything has been done correctly. It prevents some nasty shocks and it is well worth ensuring you have that peace of mind.

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Solicitors in Solihull

Pearcelegal toast a succesful 2014


The Christmas break is a time of reflection, where we look back at the year gone by and look forward to the year ahead.

For businesses as well as individuals this is the case and at Pearcelegal we shall remember 2014 with great pride.

It has been a very successful year for us where we have expanded both in numbers of staff and in physical space – having acquired properties next to us in the Square, here in Solihull, to cope with our additional workload.

It has been a challenging time for all of us associated with Pearcelegal, as we moved into a phase of unprecedented growth, not seen in all the years since the practice was born at the start of the 1980s.

To add to this new profile we decided to join many of our clients in embracing cyberspace, by engaging in social media and blogging, whilst also investing in a new website.

As all businesses know we have to embrace change and we hope our regular interactions with you has helped to continue to cement the strong bond Pearcelegal has developed with the community since it was born in 1981.

We have been fortunate to acquire some excellent legal talent during this year of growth and that is why we are so optimistic about 2015.

In short, whilst welcoming the break that Christmas gives us we are looking forward to the New Year with anticipation of the challenges ahead and continuing to grow the firm.

A big part of the reason we’ve had this opportunity to develop so much is also down to an excellent and loyal client base.

We are here to serve our clients and the people of Solihull generally and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.

We at Pearcelegal thank all our clients and friends and wish you all a happy and peaceful festive season.

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Christmas – the season of goodwill and marriage break-ups


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


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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Overtime pay fight likely to go on for many years


You may be aware in the news recently that workers have won a ground-breaking case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal to include overtime in holiday pay.

This development means some people working overtime could claim for additional holiday pay whilst currently, only basic pay counts when calculating holiday pay.

The tribunal also ruled that workers can make backdated claims, but only for a limited period.

However, in all the furore over the ruling what has been overlooked is the ruling could be referred to the Court of Appeal, meaning a final decision may be years away.

This ruling has widespread implications for businesses where staff are required to do overtime as a regular part of their job. Lawyers said the tribunal was not clear on whether the ruling applied to workers doing voluntary overtime.

Just to clarify it from an employment law specialist point of view normal pay is normal pay and that should be paid when you are on your holiday. Even though this was not spelt out in the ruling, this referred not just to compulsory overtime but to any overtime that is worked on a regular basis.

Until now, some workers who are required to do overtime have been penalised for taking the time off they are entitled to and union chiefs have welcomed the ruling.

It is a development likely to affect many as of the 30.8m people who work in the UK 5m do voluntary or compulsory overtime.

The Government and business groups had argued that overtime should not be included in holiday pay calculations and were particularly concerned about a raft of back payments potentially going back many years.

But backdated claims have been limited, with the tribunal ruling that employees cannot claim more than three months after the last incorrect payment.

The government have taken action already as on the day of the ruling, Business Secretary Vince Cable said he would be setting up a task force to assess the impact of it.

Businesses are concerned about the extra money they will have to pay out with CBI director general John Cridland saying the judgment must be challenged and the Government should fight it.

Mr Cridland and many employers feel it could cripple some companies and so it is clear this is a battle which will go on.

Sometimes in the news we can all get carried away with the headline, but taking the sensationalism out of it saying it from a legal perspective there is still a big if about this altering overtime holiday pay significantly.

It’s still news very much in the might and could happen camp rather than ‘is happening.’ In short it is a development worthy of interest to see how it develops, but as far as changing things goes that hasn’t happened yet.

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Survey shows unwillingness to make will persists in UK culture


The American comedian Woody Allen once said: “I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

It appears from a new survey about making Wills that this is a mind-set shared with many here in the UK, who want to put off facing their own mortality as long as possible.

The research carried out by Remember a Charity, a body encouraging charitable donations in Wills, has found out that the average Briton waits until his or her 70s before facing their mortality.

To be precise 72 is the average age that most people finally get around to drawing up a document that has a huge impact on those left behind.

To add to this one in five people over the age of 50 are yet to discuss their Will with their family or friends, with men more reticent to bring up the topic than women, according to the findings.

We cannot say that these statistics particularly surprise us as professionals who draw up Wills, but what it does highlight is just how fine some people cut it, when the average man in the UK lives to 77 and woman 81.

It is fair to say this reluctance to face mortality is why so many people die each year intestate, which means without a Will.

Only a third of people make a Will before they die, despite the need for Wills being greater than ever.

The issue is two-fold, first making a Will is seldom urgent and therefore tends to be put off, and secondly there is reluctance by many people to face the uncomfortable fact that they are not going to be here for ever.

Many thousands across the region pass away without a Will and where that happens there are strict rules dating back to 1925, when family structures were less complicated than today.

The problem is that the world is very different now. It is common these days for couples to live together and perhaps have children without marrying. There may be offspring from other relationships too and perhaps one of the parties may even still be legally married to someone else. It’s very complex.

We need people to help their loved ones at what will be one of the most traumatic times in their lives as the last thing loved ones need when they are grieving is a family falling out.

It is easy to do, and there is really not any excuse for not doing it. For the good of your family it really makes sense to do it as soon as possible, thereby putting a lot of loved ones minds at ease.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Wills should contact us at Pearcelegal.

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Don’t let sub-standard legal work jeopardise your house move


For those of us involved in conveyancing we saw a few grim years in the not so distant past, but there is little doubt that the economy is now very much on the up again.

In the UK, we have a fascination with bricks and mortar quite unlike our continental neighbours, with endless TV programmes about property feeding this national trait.

To add to this barely a week goes by without another new survey advising us of the state of the property market.
Property is a national obsession, and moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can do – yet it never ceases to amaze us how some people handle what is likely to be the most expensive purchase of their life can give so little thought to who is carrying out the conveyancing, which is the legal work involved in property purchases.

At Pearcelegal, we appreciate the expense of house moves and understand that every penny saved helps. However, the public has to be made aware that substandard quality property conveyancing is in some cases leading to sales collapsing, and at minimum giving unnecessarily huge amounts of stress to everyone involved in property chains.

We believe you get what you pay for- remember that ‘cut-price’ often means a cut down on quality. For those of us dealing in this stressful area of law it isn’t uncommon to hear of people ending up in tears because of the heartache and stress due to poor conveyancing.

We often hear of buyers going with the firm recommended by the estate agents and then left utterly exasperated because they have an unsatisfactory experience dealing purely over phone with the people overseeing what is likely the most expensive financial transaction of their lives.

At Pearcelegal we believe you can’t beat having a proper face to face relationship with an experienced solicitor who can guide you through the pitfalls associated with property, which can be complex.

It can be essential that the buyer speaks to his solicitor face to face to see the best way of overcoming issues, and this cannot be achieved in a call centre environment where often you never speak to the same person twice.

With the majority of property transactions involving six figured fees these days, trusted local law firms making sure that every detail has been looked at correctly, and acting in the buyer’s interest is still the wisest legal choice.

If you’re moving we wish you well and if you need any advice we’d be happy to help. Just call us on 0121 270 2700 or email

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