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When things go wrong on completion

The majority of property transactions complete without complications. However, completions can go wrong. Your mortgage monies may not arrive on time. Your new house keys may not be easily accessible on completion. Tenants may not leave the property, rubbish may be left on the property.

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FAMILY LAW - Form E error

It has recently been announced that many people could be paying too much in spousal or court order child maintenance payments, following an error on the electronic version of Form E.

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Protecting your Property from Fraud

In England and Wales, the Land Registry is the organisation responsible for maintaining the Land Register. The Land Register currently documents the title of more than 24 million properties. The title comprises the evidence of ownership and a record of conditions and restrictions regarding that ownership, including any mortgages secured on the property. Land registration is now compulsory when a previously unregistered property is transferred to a new owner, mortgaged, or when certain leases are granted. The ultimate aim is to have every property in England and Wales registered in the future.

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Divorce & relationship breakdown

There is only one ground for divorce in the UK and that is on the basis of the “irretrievable break down of the marriage.” The Applicant must be able to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably based upon one of 5 “facts”. The Applicant must be able to prove that on the balance of probabilities that marriage has broken down irretrievably and one of the 5 facts has occurred.The Facts: Adultery – this is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, one or both of whom is or are married to someone else.” In the case of civil partnerships, this fact can only be relied upon if the adulterer had sexual intercourse voluntarily with a member of the opposite sex. This can be difficult for the applicant to prove without evidence, which shows that it is more than just a suspicion of the applicant. Unreasonable Behaviour -the Applicant must show that their spouse has behaved in such a way that they cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This is subjective as the courts will not identify what makes a behaviour unreasonable. Through case law the “right thinking person approach” is now commonly used by the courts to determine if the behaviour constitutes being unreasonable: “Would any right thinking person come to the conclusion that ‘this husband’ has behaved in such a way that ‘this wife’ cannot reasonably be expected to live with him, taking into account the whole of the circumstances and the characters and personalities of the parties” Desertion –this is commonly misunderstood, and many people believe that it is simply the spouse physically abandoning them. Instead the facts to be proved are that the parties have separated, the spouse had the intention to desert, the applicants lack of consent to the separation and lack of just cause for the desertion. This must have occurred for a period of 2 years.  It is possible that the parties could be living in the same household, as long as the applicant is able to prove that they are leading entirely separate lives. The intention of desertion must be communicated to the applicant though. Desertion is very difficult to prove as each of the elements must be shown to have occurred for a continuous 2 year period. Two Years Separation and Consent - the Applicant must show that the parties have led separate lives for a continuous period of 2 years and one party believed that the marriage was at an end. If there is any reconciliation within the 2 year period, the time will essentially need to begin again. It is also essential for the spouse to consent to the divorce on these grounds.  It is therefore useful if the Applicant is seeking to rely upon this fact, that they obtain their spouses signed consent prior to sending the petition for divorce. Five years’ Separation - the Applicant must be able to demonstrate that the parties have lived apart for a continuous 5 year period.Should you or anyone you know require any further information on divorce, please do not hesitate to contact this firms family law specialist on 0207 790 2000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Judicial Separation

In some cases, the parties may feel that they do not want to seek a divorce in the first instance. Sometimes this is because the parties are not yet ready to formalise the divorce or dissolution or they have not yet been married for a year. In other cases, the parties prefer not to divorce for religious reasons. In such cases, a Judicial Separation may be of assistance to you.If you do not wish to terminate your marriage but you still want to formalise your separation from your spouse legally, we can assist you with the judicial separation procedure.It is a very similar process to that of divorce or civil partnership dissolution save that you will still remain legally married to your spouse. This means that you will still retain certain inheritance and pension rights which you would otherwise lose after the divorce or dissolution.It is also possible to make an application for a financial remedy during or after the judicial separation. Please see here (link to finances) for more information about financial remedies.Since the procedure for the Judicial Separation is virtually the same as that for divorce or dissolution, our fees will be the same.DivorceYou only apply for divorce when you have been married for more than one year. In England & Wales, there is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage can be evidenced by one of the following five facts; 2 years separation – the parties have been separated for a period of two years or more and the other party consents to the divorce 5 years separation – the parties have been separated for more than five years Unreasonable behaviour Adultery – usually only used where the other party is prepared to admit to the adultery Desertion – the other party must have deserted you for more than two years, for no good reason and without your agreement (this is rarely used)Initially, we will meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your case and we will identify which of the facts are available to you. We will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of petitioning for divorce based upon those facts.When a fact has been selected, we will take steps to draft your petition for divorce.When the divorce petition is approved, we will usually send a copy to the other party for their comments. This is actively encouraged by Resolution (a specialist organisation of family lawyers) and helps to minimise confrontation and hostility during the divorce process.Thereafter, your petition will be sent to the court to be issued. The court will then send the divorce papers to your spouse by post. Your spouse will then have 7 days to respond to the divorce petition by completing a form known as an Acknowledgement of Service and returning this to the Court. Your spouse will be required to confirm whether they intend to defend the divorce on this form.When your spouse sends the form back to the Court, a copy will be forwarded to us. We can then use this to prepare your application for pronouncement of Decree Nisi which is the first stage of the divorce.Upon receiving your application for pronouncement of Decree Nisi, if the court is satisfied that you have sufficiently proven that you are entitled to the divorce, a date for pronouncement will be set. If the divorce is uncontested and there is no dispute about the costs, you will not need to attend court on this day.The court will send us a copy of the Decree Nisi after it has been pronounced. You must then wait for six weeks and one day before applying for Decree Absolute. This is the document which finally brings the marriage to an end.However, if there are financial issues connected to the divorce which remain unresolved, we will not normally advise you to apply for Decree Absolute until these issues have been fully addressed. This is because you lose certain rights and entitlements after the Decree Absolute is granted. We usually try to deal with the financial issues between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute and this can delay the final part of the divorce procedure. Please see here for detailed information about financial settlements and the types of financial remedies available.Civil Partnership DissolutionDissolution is the process of legally bringing a civil partnership to and end.Just like divorce, there is only one ground for dissolution of the civil partnership – the irretrievable breakdown of the civil partnership.However, unlike divorce, this can only be evidenced by one of the following four facts: 2 years separation – the parties have been separated for a period of two years or more and the other party consents to the dissolution 5 years separation – the parties have been separated for more than five years Unreasonable behaviour Desertion – the other party must have deserted you for more than two years, for no good reason and without your agreement (this is rarely used)The procedure for the dissolution is exactly the same as the procedure for divorce save that the Decree Nisi is known as the Conditional Order and the Decree Absolute is known as the Final Order.Free information meetingWe are pleased to offer all potential new clients a free, no obligation information meeting.The meeting will not normally be longer than 20-30 minutes and is designed to give us the opportunity to take a little bit more information from you and give you a general overview of what we can do to help and how much it might cost.We find that this works very well because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether to engage our services and gives you the opportunity to establish an immediate relationship with us in person.Next StepsFor more information, an informal chat or to book an appointment – call our family law specialist on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. 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