Well, after just a few months of blogging here at Prince Family Law we’re feeling rather pleased with ourselves. It would seem that, without realising it, we are right on topic when it comes to the subjects we choose to blog about.
At the end of last year, Grant Thornton, the accountancy and advisory firm, released their annual Matrimonial Survey. While it does sound a little dry, it was interesting reading for us, and as we made our way through it, we realised that most of the areas focused in upon by the researchers had been covered by us, in one guise or another, during the year.
The division of assets, and the conduct of the parties involved was one headline within the survey. The average assets to be divided in most cases were valued between 500k and a million, but there have been much larger amounts settled by the courts on one party of another. The landmark case of Petrodel v Prest and its implication for divorce law cases has been twice the subject of a blog on our pages. In The Winner Takes It All – Or Do They we examined the impact of both this case and the case of White v White when it comes to the general principle of a 50:50 split. In Where Family Law and Company Law Meet, we considered whether Mr Prest’s decision to evade court orders and be generally uncommunicative, and his ultimately failed attempts to hide assets within a corporate structure, led to a shift in the perspective of the Appeal Courts.
The report also considers the rise in the number of ‘silver separators’ or ‘silver splitters’. Grant Thornton found that that the average age of those divorcing was between 40 and 49, and that most had been married between 11 and 20 years. However, they did observe an increase in those divorcing in their 50s and 60s, with 14% of marriages ending after 20 years or more of married life together. We’ve also surveyed the changing landscape of divorce, and considered the rise in the numbers of those choosing to divorce after some considerable time married in The Rise of the Silver Separators.
Cohabitation, and the incomplete nature of the law in relation to the position of those who cohabit and then separate, also featured in the survey. The survey is conducted by Grant Thornton via a questionnaire put out to thousands of family lawyers nationwide. Of those taking part, 57% felt that the law in relation to cohabiting couples was no clearer than 10 years ago. And yet, 62% of respondents didn’t want to see any substantial legal overhaul to the current position. Many felt that the current government’s commitment to marriage as an institution was the biggest hurdle to legislative change. On the blog, we wrote To say ‘I do’, or not to say ‘I do’; that is the question , a piece that examines whether the dramatic rise in cohabitation, (which is now the fastest growing family type in the UK), should force the legislators to consider making better provision.
And finally, a rise in pre-nuptial agreements and in the use of collaborative approaches to achieving settlements featured as topics that arose not only in the Grant Thornton survey but here on our blog too. In Making fairness less elusive we examined how cases such as Radmancher v Granatino are moving the law forward in terms of recognising the validity of pre-nuptial agreements. There is work left to be done in this area, but things are improving. And in Not in Front of the Kids, we encouraged our readers to consider greater use of collaborative law solutions to achieving satisfactory settlements, that reduce the emotional impact of divorce upon all members of the family.
So, as a way of keeping abreast of all the latest developments in family law, we think our little blog is a pretty good read. And of course, at the heart of all that we do is our goal of serving our clients’ needs to the best of our ability. If you need advice about any of the issues raised in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact us.