Divorce is now so commonplace in modern society that many people believe it to be simple and uncomplicated, actually for a divorce lawyer like myself it is, but for the lay-person matrimonial law is not always easy to understand which has caused many popular misconceptions and myths. Whilst you might think these myths are harmless and misunderstandings have no consequence that isn’t always the case.
“Mediation is utterly pointless” said one of the callers on a recent Radio 4 Money Box Live programme Ending a Relationship. I had to sympathise with the caller who explained that she’d been to mediation to sort out a financial agreement when she divorced her husband but he was now reneging on the agreement.
Divorcing couples with children often find reaching an agreement about the care of their children after divorce or separation pretty difficult. Those who cannot reach an agreement amicably find themselves asking the family court to decide. Either party can make an application for what is known as a child arrangements order, which will set out details of the days and times that a child will spend with each parent.
With marriage breakdown grandparents can be left on the sidelines, denied contact with their grandchildren and concerned for their future welfare. More grandparents are now taking legal action to make sure they play a part in the lives of their grandchildren. The Justice Minister reports that in 2013/2014 there were seven court applications a day by grandparents seeking what is now known as a child arrangements order (previously known as a contact order) in order to see their grandchildren following the divorce or separation of their parents.
Gordon Gecko said in the film Wall Street “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed - for lack of a better word - is good.” I’m not sure I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment but it does make me think about my role as a family law solicitor and the advice I give to clients.