Family holiday plans gone to Ashes
What you need to know about taking children abroad after separation
The Ashes test series has begun, the sun is shining; summer is here. Attentions naturally turn to holiday. But there’s a word of warning if you are divorced or separated – you must have written permission from your former partner before you take the children abroad. And this requirement extends to everyone who has parental responsibility for a child.
Both our UK and foreign border controls have a duty to make reasonable checks. As a result if permission is not sought, it could cause lot of problems at the UK or foreign border if you are asked for proof of permission and don’t have it. It could cause you to have your holiday cut short or in the worst case scenario it could be a criminal matter of Child Abduction.
Don’t let rain stop play…
Thankfully, demonstrating permission is not complicated in most cases – a letter or email from your former partner with his or her contact details on it may suffice. Ask them to confirm their agreement in writing, giving some basic details about the holiday such as the child’s name, your destination, flight numbers and timings. If you are going further afield then the embassies usually list the type of information their boarder controls may seek and it may always be worthwhile researching at the embassy websites in any event.
Other practical considerations before you go on holiday include making sure you have a copy of the permission letter, the children’s birth certificates and your marriage certificate or decree absolute of divorce (if you have one) with you, particularly if your surname is now different to your child’s.
The sticky wicket…
But, what if your former partner will not give permission? As a lawyer who manages this problem, my advice is try to avoid it in the first place. The best advice is always to try and agree holidays where possible well in advance and, importantly, before anything is booked. Keeping your partner fully informed as to your plans can go a long way to prevent issues. Provide them with key information ideally writing such as flight details, hotel details and a number you can be contacted on in case of emergency.
If this doesn’t work and they refuse then the only way to travel without permission is to apply to the court. But a word of warning, these proceedings can take some time and you may need legal support, so if you think there may be an issue it’s worth allowing two to three months for it to be resolved. The good news is that provided there are no serious welfare concerns or risks of abduction, the court usually grants permission.
For further advice and information please contact Family Solicitor, Katy Barber on 023 8071 8056 or email: email@example.com
No10’s first cohabiting couple
As Boris Johnson settles in to his new residence at No 10 Downing Street with girlfriend Carrie Symonds it seems that they may just be the first ever cohabiting couple to move in. Is this just another subtle sign that society is starting to accept and recognise cohabiting couples as equals to our married counterparts?
Generally it seems that cohabitation law is really starting to see a distinct but subtle shift in recent months with landmark decisions over pension rights and cases such as Horn –v- Chipperfield and Springall –V – Paice receiving national press coverage. The former case being one where Katy Barber of Moore Blatch acted for Ms Chipperfield.
Why is the difference between married and unmarried so important?
If a relationship breaks down, the law tends to be much harsher on the financially weaker party. The courts tend to view the relationship similar to business or other commercial type arrangements where by documentation is key and without it (as is often the case) a long evidence gathering exercise begins to show ‘intention’.
If a relationship has broken down where the parties were never married, it can never be assumed however that no financial claims can be made. Not only can claims be made on behalf of a former partner but also on behalf of any children of the family that require assistance. It is always preferable to obtain specialist legal advice in these situations so that assets are never at risk from unanticipated financial claim form a former spouse. Maybe Boris should consider a Cohabitation Agreement.
For further advice and information please contact Family Solicitor, Katy Barber on 023 8071 8056 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time to knockout those separating myths…Ding Ding
With heavy weight boxer Anthony Joshua looking for a knock out against his opponent this weekend, we look at 5 common myths around separating and divorcing that also need to be knocked out of circulation for good!
‘Don’t let your divorce hit the bunker’ 5 easy-to-make mistakes on separation
Any keen golfer (or golf widow) will know that the prospect of teeing off and landing straight in the bunker can have catastrophic effect on your final scorecard. It is easy to get your separation or divorce off to a similar start by making a mistake that will leave you well over par and potentially financially worse off.
Is divorce all about dividing the prize winnings at the end of a big race?
Separating from your partner can feel as though you are swept up in a never ending steeplechase with ‘money’ being the big prize on offer. But there are so many other considerations when separating and here are just a few of the options below:
Prince Andrew & Fergie – Pre Nuptial Agreement?
The self proclaimed ‘worlds happiest separated couple’ Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Fergie (Sarah Ferguson), may tie the knot a second time. Will they also take the increasingly popular step of taking out a pre-nup? Although it may sound unromantic, pre-nups are not just reserved for royalty and super wealthy.
How Moore Blatch successfully argued that our client, who was not married, was entitled to an equal share of the £1m family home
Midwife wins court battle with her tech boss ex-partner over their £1million home after telling judge he promised her an equal share over a drink in the PUB 13 years ago.
Claire Chipperfield, 52, only paid £39,000 towards her £1million home. Her wealthy tech boss ex-boyfriend Andrew Horn, 58, paid £740,000.
But when they split in 2016 he tried to sue her for claiming an equal share. She has won her legal battle after claims he told her they were equal in the pub.
Background to the case
My client is a Midwife and her long standing partner held a number of senior management roles. They had two boys and had lived together for 17 years but were never married and therefore had none of the rights that a marriage confers.
In 2006 they purchased their family home in joint names as joint tenants with the majority, but not all, of the funds coming from Mr Horn.
On separation my client’s former partner brought a legal case arguing that my client was not entitled to any money from the property as it should never have been registered as joint tenants . He further argued that as he put most of the money into financing the property he should not have to give my client her 50% share. Mr Horn also alleged during the case that my client fraudulently gave instructions to the solicitors on purchase, and later that the solicitors had made a mistake when registering the property with the land registry. He claimed that they had a common intention to hold the property as tenants in common.
The heart of the dispute was whether the parties intended to purchase the house as ‘joint tenants’ meaning they had equal ownership or as ‘tenants in common’ with a unequal share. Moore Blatch argued that it was correctly and intentionally registered as joint tenants at the time of purchase.
Why the case was successful
My client’s partner effectively tried to re-write history post separation. He was helped to a certain extent by the original conveyancing file having been destroyed. The Land Registry could only tell us that they received instructions to register as joint tenants but both parties said that they did not give those instructions. So who did? The Judge said that the claimant Mr Horn did.
Our client was a compelling witness during the case and the judge preferred her evidence that they had throughout their relationship always lived as a committed couple and nuclear family. They were engaged.
My client’s partner had always dealt with correspondence and the finances. However, my client had done all that she could to keep the family afloat during the many periods of her partner’s unemployment and this had included contributing to the household finances by cashing in savings, taking out and repaying loans and providing some of the deposit monies for the home.
One of the key evidential points was that on the day they purchased the property they went for dinner where my client’s partner said ‘well that’s it Chip, we are now 50/50 and on the debt as well”. However, in the case this was denied by my client’s partner who tried to say that he didn’t mean this literally.
The judge said that my client’s partner had a ‘somewhat callous and off-hand attitude to my client’s contributions’ and said that he had a ‘markedly and surprisingly cold manner towards her career sacrifices’. We have subsequently and successfully defended two appeal attempts and won our client her legal costs on top.
So, what does this mean for future cases?
Most importantly this case highlights the different treatment of married and unmarried couples.
The law in this area is particularly fact sensitive and therefore recalling the specifics that took place at the time is imperative.
But, this case clearly demonstrates that sacrifices made by one party can inform the judge as to the likely intentions of the parties.
The judge said that my client’s partner had a ‘somewhat callous and off-hand attitude to my client’s contributions’ and said that he had a ‘markedly and surprisingly cold manner towards her career sacrifices’.
Finally, our legal arguments focused on the fact that a partner cannot simply focus on of the figures and ignore the reality by re-writing history. Ultimately this was our client’s partners downfall as the facts simply did not support an unequal ownership.
Protecting the bank of mum and dad
As we enter 2017, there is a higher-than-normal degree of uncertainty regarding the prospects of the UK economy and the housing market, especially for first time buyers.