Our Trainee Solicitor Tamsin Stevenson explores the law surrounding divorce at the beginning of Good Divorce Week:
When studying family law I was alarmed to find that it isn’t possible to end a marriage without blaming the other party unless you have been separated for two years. Even then, your husband/wife must consent to the divorce. If this is not the case, you must wait five years. The definition of ‘separation’ is strict and not everyone has the money to move out or may want to stay for the children.
In a recent appeal heard by the Supreme Court, Tini Owens claimed that she was in a loveless marriage for 40 years. Mrs Owns relied upon unreasonable behaviour and provided a list of various examples of her husband’s behaviour. Mr. Owens defended the divorce suggesting that the claims were ‘exaggerated’. The Court was reluctant to dismiss the appeal stating that this was a troubling case and appreciated how destructive a large number of small incidents could be to the trust and confidence expected within a marriage. They could not order the divorce however due to the husband defending it. Mrs Owens will now have to rely on the grounds of two years separation with consent or five years separation without consent. Therefore, Mrs Owens will not be able to obtain a divorce until at least 2020.
So far, plans to shake up the laws have been on and off, however, this case has pulled the heartstrings of many; the idea that anyone could be forced to remain married whilst deeply unhappy for a full 5 years. This case has highlighted how dated blame-focused divorce laws are in England and Wales. Research shows that blaming each other (in hope that it will be enough to satisfy the outdated criteria,) is very damaging, especially when there are children involved. By divorcing without blame, it is much easier for the family to move on in a positive way.
Academic lunch at St Swithun’s School
In November, Chloe Jay from our Crime Department presented at an academic lunch at St Swithun’s School in Winchester. She talked to students about criminal law and the route that she took to becoming a partner at our firm.
Looking to Move House?
Lucy Spollin is a solicitor in our conveyancing department and these are her 3 top tips for making your move as smooth as possible!
1. Stay positive - we will explore all possible options to find a solution that fits you.
2. Be prepared - If you intend to sell your residential property or business, start collating your papers early. We would rather work with too much paperwork than too little.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask - If you are confused; want to know what happens at each stage of the transaction; or are not sure where to sign a document, just ask. February 2018
Clarendon Marathon Team
This year Shentons continued their tradition of supporting the Clarendon Marathon with an all-female relay team running from Salisbury to Winchester on the 7th of October. Lisa Warriner and Alex Chessum returned to run different “legs” this year. They were joined by Lucy Spollin and Sofie Flaherty. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and leadership of senior partner Shaun Underhill, who acted as both coach and chauffer to the team. They ran in support of Solent Mind, which is our charity of the year.
Law Talk 3 - MODERN SLAVERY
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The National Crime Agency have stated that there are probably tens of thousands of victims of trafficking or ‘modern slavery’ in the UK at the present time. For the crime department this is an issue we have to have at the forefront of our minds when dealing with vulnerable people. Often victims of this kind of exploitation are the last to tell you the truth and evidence must be gathered from other sources.
This year we acted for Jon, a 16-year-old boy who had been accused of dealing drugs. At first the case seemed simple; when Jon was arrested he was in possession of a knife and a very large quantity of drugs that were clearly not for personal use. Jon himself would say very little about what had happened and seemed quite disengaged with the whole process; at this stage, another firm might have advised him to plead guilty.