Sharp focus on short marriage and sharing

The length of the marriage matters. That is the message from the Court of Appeal in Sharp. Prior to this decision, the general approach was that assets accumulated during the marriage should be shared equally between the parties, unless there is a good reason not to. The length of the marriage was not considered to be a good reason, due to Lord Nicholls remarks in the House of Lords’ decision in Miller/McFarlane: ‘A short marriage is no less a partnership of equals than a long marriage.’ Continue reading

Is it right to have to stay married?

Mr and Mrs Owens have been married for 37 years but sadly Mrs Owens feels that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and petitioned for divorce in 2015.
However, as Mr Owens had not committed adultery, and the parties had not been separated for two years, the only available route was to allege unreasonable behaviour.
This is a fairly standard approach, so far. Continue reading

Mediation: the first step for resolving divorce

Separating can be very stressful, with opposing points of view on lots of issues making it difficult to reach agreement with your partner on the essential aspects of your divorce. But there is an alternative way to make these decisions without having to fight them out step-by-step in court: mediation.

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The art of negotiating divorce settlements

A good divorce is one that is as painless as possible. Sorting the finances out can be a painful part of the divorce process. The cost – both financial and emotional – of court litigation should not be underestimated. The delays in the court system mean that proceedings are often dragged out. Continue reading

The inequality of civil partnerships

The first opposite-sex civil partnership was celebrated in the Isle of Man recently between Adeline Cosson and Kieran Hodgson. They said they wanted to ‘keep it simple’ rather than have a traditional wedding and that, although they do want to marry one day, it is not what they want now. Whilst the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency, it is not part of the UK and has different laws. It is the only place in the British Isles which allows and recognises opposite-sex civil partnerships. Continue reading

Trust issues

When it comes to family trusts, it is usually the beneficiaries of the trust who get all the attention, but it is the role of the trustees that interest me.

Trustees have a somewhat strange and difficult job – they own the assets held on trust but they hold them for the benefit of beneficiaries, and so have a duty to act in those beneficiaries’ best interests.  The trustees can control and manage the assets but only within the parameters of the trust.

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