What is the Role of a Family Mediator?
A family mediator is an impartial third party who helps married & unmarried couples, parents, grandparents, step-parents and young people to discuss their issues openly and make informed decisions on how they are going to resolve and/or manage these issues going forward.
Why it is important to have a Financial Order on Divorce.
Divorce Law has been prominent in the news recently. First of all with Mrs Wright in the case of Wright v Wright being told that she must work and then yesterday, with the ruling in Wyatt v Vince in the Supreme Court whereby the Court found that Wyatt could still pursue her financial claims against Mr Vince, despite the fact that they had separated in 1984 and finally divorced in 1991.
In this remarkable case, the Supreme Court ruled that Kathleen Wyatt could still bring a financial claim against Mr Vince under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, because at the time of their Divorce they did not enter into a financial agreement which dismissed their respective financial claims against each other.
In the absence of a Financial Order, either party is at liberty to apply, at any time, for financial provision against the other, even twenty four years later.
Whilst the Supreme Court ruled that Wyatt could bring her claim, they were not encouraging as to her prospects of success at trial, given the length of time which has elapsed. The reality is, however, that a claim for financial provision will necessitate Mr Vince having to incur further legal costs and he may, therefore, be advised to pay Ms Wyatt a lump sum, simply to bring these proceedings to an end.
It is for this reason that you are always advised to have a Consent Order prepared when you divorce, even in the most straightforward of cases. It is important to ensure that the Court makes an order confirming that you will each have no further claims against each other or the Estate of the two of you.
The Consent Order should be prepared by solicitors. Ideally you and your spouse would reach an agreement between you as to what will happen with the finances (even if nothing is to happen) and your solicitors will then prepare a Financial Agreement. This will be submitted to Court together with a brief document setting out your financial position. The proposed agreement is then passed to a Judge who will consider whether it is fair and reasonable. If he considers it to be fair, then he will approve the Proposed Order and it becomes binding and irrevocable.
Had Mr Vince and Mrs Wyatt had such an agreement in place at the time of their Divorce, Ms Wyatt would never have been permitted to even bring the claim against Mr Vince.
Rachel Watson 12th March 2015
What is an LPA and why do I need one?
An LPA gives another person, usually a friend or family member, (your Attorney) legal rights to look after your finances or health and welfare when you are unable to do so yourself. You may appoint more than one Attorney who will able to make decisions for and on your behalf when you are not in a position to do so however, as long as you have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, your Attorney(s) are not able to interfere with those decisions and even when you are losing capacity, your Attorney(s) must discuss with you first, wherever possible, any proposed decisions they wish to make on your behalf.
There are two types of LPAs. The first, deals with property and finance and allows your Attorney(s) to make decisions relating to any property you own or bank accounts which you hold. The other LPA deals with health and welfare and deals with issues such as medical treatment, what care you receive or where you should live. You can make both types of LPA or you can make just one depending on your circumstances.
Why do I need an LPA?
Making an LPA is a little bit like taking out life insurance. We hope that we never need to use it but it provides us with peace of mind knowing that we have done all that we can to assist our nearest and dearest during difficult times.
Contrary to popular belief, an LPA is not merely something the elderly need nor is its effect limited to dealing with the affairs of someone who has lost mental capacity. We never know what is round the corner, for example, we may have an accident which leaves us unable to deal with our affairs even on a temporary basis. Having an LPA in place will allow your appointed Attorney(s) to act on your behalf until such time as you are back on your feet and are able to once again take control of your affairs.
Don’t leave making an LPA until it’s too late
You should make an LPA sooner rather than later, as an LPA can only be made while you have mental capacity to understand the effect of doing so. Once you lose mental capacity, you will no longer be able to make an LPA and choose who deals with your affairs on your behalf. If you have not made an LPA and you have lost mental capacity, an application will need to be made for deputyship through the Court of Protection which is an expensive and lengthy process with no guarantee that those who have made the application with be appointed as your Deputy and it may even be someone that you do not know.
You don't have to go to Court to resolve marital disputes
My ex-partner and I disagree over arrangements for our children - Do we have to go to Court?
No, a court application is only a last resort if you can’t reach agreement by another method. First you should try discussing things directly with your ex but if this doesn’t work, a mediator may be able to help. A mediator is a neutral third party who can help you both understand your differences and reach a compromise.
Winners of the Legal Marketing & Promotional Video of the Year
Watson Thomas are delighted to be announced the Winner of the Legal Marketing & Promotional Video of the Year, one of the 8 categories in the Legal Industry Video Awards 2014.