I wasn’t married to my ex- how do I get what I am financially entitled to?

Sooo…you meet, you fall in love, you move in. Happy ever after, right? Until it’s not.That day when one of you decides that l’amour is no more.

The  truth is that YOU ARE NOT MARRIED. In the eyes of the law you are simply COHABITEES. And this is when life gets a little more tricky. Take a deep breath and learn this universal truth that THE LAW DOES NOT COVER COHABITEES.

If you were married then all of your finances would be dealt with under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

But we have children, a house together, a mortgage, loans together, savings together. What happens to those?

There is no quick fix to getting a remedy to any of the above and there are several laws that will help. I am going to break it down as simply as I can.

CHILDREN: You can make an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for financial provision for your child/ren. Don’t confuse this with child maintenance payments. Different thing entirely. An order under Schedule 1 can provide for a lump sum payment; settlement or transfer of property and periodical payments that are above the CMS calcs. These would potentially include school fees or if your child/ren are disabled and he/she doesn’t receive all or some of his/her disability benefit.

HOUSE: This can be settled under The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA). This Act can decide who are the legal and beneficial owners of a property, and in what proportions. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement as to what to do with the property then an application under this piece of legislation may be the ticket.

Rule of thumb: Money follows children.

LOANS: So you both are incredibly in debt, you both have loans and credit cards. You may even have loans that Aunt Maude lent you for that kitchen or that expensive guitar you’d always had your eye on. You may have left the house and forgot to take your Ming vase.

A way that you could get a remedy for this under small claims court. Thankfully the Government have made this process fairly simple and you can make an online claim.

MEDIATION: None of the above should be attempted without mediation. Who wants to go to court? NO ONE. So it is in everyone’s best interests to see if an arrangement can be achieved without the courts’ involvement.

It can be a maze out there. It is far from straightforward. In order to obtain any kind of financial remedy after you gone your separate ways requires planning and picking which would be the right application for you.

Slip Up

4 ways to ruin your own case.

If you represent yourself it is as much about what you don’t do as anything else…

When you represent yourself you need to avoid the obvious banana skinsYes yes yes. Not you. You may do exactly the same as a million angry men or women before you but you are going to ruin your own case.

You’re going to represent yourself. You are going to damage your own case long before the ex or his/her solicitor utters a word.

Because you’re special. Your case is unique.

I mean…I KNOW there have been many before you who have decided they are going to take the Family Justice system who have been chewed and spat out.

But not you.

You may well have no contact at all but at least you told the judge like it was. And there was absolutely NOTHING he could say. That taught him! You may have a 91(14) barring order to stop you going back to court, a non molestation order that stops you contacting your ex, visiting your kids school and doctor. You’ve got a PIN and accepted a few cautions too.

But at least they all know you’re not playing THEIR game.

So – lets’ help.

What you’re going to ruin your own case

Social media. Post about what a b***h your ex is and your considered opinion about the CAFCASS officer. Or social worker. Or judge. Make sure you have pictures of your last night out with the boys and girls. And how weed should be legalised.

Represent yourself badly and you'll be picking up the pieces

Make sure you tell everyone about your rights. How it is your right to see your kids. How it’s your rights to post whatever you like online about anyone at all (see above!) Mention the UN Convention of Human Rights at every opportunity.

Make sure you `have your say’ at every point. Your ex made 93 allegations against you? Go for it…you need to address each one in a 41 page rebuttal. Make sure the court knows that yeah – you DID give him/her a slap but that was only because he/she provoked you.

Pay for professional assistance and ignore every word you hear. Because your situation is unique – and your ex is the worst one in the world. He/she will say and do stuff that has NEVER happened before in the history of family law. Spend your time arguing with the person you’re paying cash and trying to convince them you’re right at every step of the way. Don’t worry about the judge reckons – he only makes the orders.

Represent yourself – you have the power!

We seldom provide promises round here. And we’re not providing one now – but if you want to do your best to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory make sure you follow these tips.

There are far more than 4 ways but these are the best ones….

If you represent yourself it is in your hands. As the old saying goes…with great power comes great responsibility!

How do I stop my ex moving away with the kids?

We get this asked a lot. From our (own biased) point of view there is a good chance that following the separation of their parents a child will be moved a distance away from where they were previously by the resident parent (or since the changes in the last few years `The parent the child lives with’).

Please note this post only related to moves within jurisdiction (i.e. children habitually resident in England & Wales who are being moved away – including to Scotland and Northern Ireland. There’ll be a post about kids being uprooted to Australia and the like in the future).

Why? Well – it doesn’t really matter when you get right down for it, but the following jusitifcations are used:

  1. I want a fresh start somewhere new.
  2. I can move closer to my family and/or support network.
  3. I want to.
  4. Because my new partner has a job 400 miles away and he/she can’t get a new one.
  5. Because I have been offered a job 400 miles away and I get one anywhere closer.

So how do you stop them? The answer is `With great difficulty’. You’ll need to submit a C100 to ask for a Prohibited Steps Order – or a C2 for one as a variation if there is a live case.

If you are a non resident parent (as was) don’t think a contact order won’t effectively be torn up will stop a move. It will be if you aren’t careful.

If it results in contact reducing or stopping the court won’t care. It will probably not order the resident parent to do the travelling either…that’ll be down to you. Like it or lump it. Which means the onus is on you. Your options are therefore:

  1. Make an application for a PSO (recommended).
  2. Make plans to and follow through with moving too (recommended).
  3. Accepting a reduction or stopping of contact (guess)

Don’t get me wrong. You will almost certainly fail in your bid to get a PSO granted. It does happen but don’t count on it. Hope for the best, plan for the worst and all that. Use the time that the application takes to do your research. New places to live, new places to work, support networks to build. Applying for a PSO will do the following:

  1. Give you extra time.
  2. Give you more information about what is going on.
  3. Register your disagreement with the move (not doing anything counts as agreement, kids!)
  4. Provide you with additional evidence of the hostility towards you (if that is the case).

So what are good reasons to oppose a move?

Your children will be uprooted from their family. From their school. From their friends. From the home they have known for so long. To an area they don’t know filled with people they don’t know. This argument is stronger if your children have strong links to the area they live in – lots of friends, families, activities and an education that will be disrupted by being removed from one school and placed in another (particularly if exams are in the offi

As always, use the Welfare Checklist as your guide.

And as always the above is all about judgement. Which is where we come in.

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When should I go to court?

There’s a golden rule when asking yourself this question and the answer is really quite simple. It is:

Go to court when it is liable to make things better than worse.

Its’ not rocket science. Court isn’t known or meant to be a fun place – just about anywhere is better than in a court building. Unless you’re somewhere like the Royal Courts of Justice (where these is a Costa stand) the coffee is pretty awful to start with.

But seriously.

If there is any way of getting recourse rather than relying to the nice man or nice lady behind the big desk to sort out the whole sorry mess you really need to give it a go. If it means being nice to someone you’re not particularly fond if, do it. Arrange mediation with them (don’t ask them…arrange it and go). Communicate – writing or emailing is best – to see if you can come up with something that you may not like but at least can live with.

If it turns out none of the above don’t hesitate. Contact us and we’ll tell you whether we think going to court is the best option. If it is…don’t hang about. If you want to change something, a status quo is your biggest enemy.

As Mr Shakespeare wrote in the Scottish play `If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly’ (Act 1 Scene 7).

Many people hold back from going to court because they believe it will inflame the situation or maybe the other party will calm down enough to resolve matters. That’s a mighty big gamble when the clock is ticking an a status quo is being set – and you risk hearing that you must have been fine with the current setup or else you’d have done something about it sooner.

In other words…if going to court is the best option, get on with it. Nothing to be scared of either if one of us is by your side…

A McKenzie Friend can help to banish the `black dog'.

Introduction

`Why should I use a McKenzie Friend?’

Because a good McKenzie Friend will empower you.

A McKenzie Friend can help to banish the `black dog'.The outcome of the court case you be a life changer. When your kids will be allowed to see you. Where you’ll live. What legal challenges your company faces. How much cash you’ll have.

So it’s important to make sure that someone who knows all the facts is in control of your case:

You.

Don’t be daunted. Most people are able to do a great job of representing themselves. What they may not be family with is procedure, law or negotiation.

Why should I use a Family Law Assistance McKenzie Friend?

Simple.

Our team members have personal experience of litigation in Family and Civil courts. They also have legal qualifications and extensive experience assisting people in courts around England and Wales.

It’s also our passion.

We know what works and what it it feels to be involved in a stressful court case.

You feel powerless. Outgunned. Overwhelmed. Bullied.

You’re be tired, at the end of your tether and unable – your life put on hold. You cannot face the future.

You feel walking away is the best option – even while your argument is very strong. You are nervous, drained and exhausted. The lack of certainty of the role you’ll play in kids’ life, where you’ll end up sleeping and the future quality of your life leaves you paralysed.

We can help.

A Mckenzie Friend will help you sleep at night.

We will give you the tools to run your own case and tell you how to use them. You’ll know what is likely to happen at court, what your ex may do to do next and how to avoid the usual pitfalls.

Because no matter what situation you face it has happened a thousand times before to someone else – and we have helped them face it.

That is how it works. Your knowledge of the situation and our skills and experience to help you deploy them. Simple as that. It’s often a winning combination.

Our help can range from checking your position statement before a hearing to assisting you every step of the way.

The sooner you act, the sooner you can get on with your life. Don’t hesitate. Contact us now for a free consultation.