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News from Peter Howe of South West Family Law.

All change on Spousal Maintenance?

There used to be a greater expectation between married couples that one party, usually the husband, would pay maintenance to the other party, usually the wife, upon divorce. Husbands would often nervously see their solicitor expecting to hear the worst about a future life spent supporting an ex-spouse whom they...
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Legal aid withdrawn for divorce and family law work

In April 2013 the government implemented the most wide ranging changes to the legal aid system in decades. Part of this was to withdraw the availability of legal aid for all forms of divorce and family law work aside from a few exceptions. The most important of which is that...
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Cohabitee’s Rights: Fairness on it’s way?

The courts in England and Wales have always treated the division of assets upon the breakdown of relationships involving married and non-married couples very differently. When dealing with married couples the court has huge discretion in achieving fairness; however unmarried couples have been subject to a very complex process which...
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Prenuptial Agreements: Just for the wealthy?

Until quite recently Prenuptial Agreements were considered by the courts to be of limited value and even contrary to the sanctity of marriage! However, as a result of the court having recognised a sea change in public opinion within the landmark case of Radmacher v Granatino (which was widely reported...
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Men or Women: Who gets the best deal from the courts?

In recent years the family law courts have dramatically changed their attitude towards what each spouse is entitled to upon divorce. Previously the spouse of a wealthy, high earner would normally expect to have their reasonable needs (housing and income) taken care of, leaving the wealthy party (usually the husband)...
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Pre-marital agreements: Are they worth it?

In a recent case the courts confirmed the legal status of pre-marital (also known as pre-nuptial) agreements. The court has made it clear that such agreements will be upheld as long as: 1. The parties entered into such an agreement freely and have fully disclosed to the other their financial...
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When am I entitled to a divorce?

It is a common misconception that a divorce can be obtained on the basis of ‘irreconcilable differences’. This is an American term which has no relevance in English law. There is one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, to be able to divorce...
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