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Legal Advice with Russell & Russell

Russell and Russell Solicitors can deal with all the legal aspects of your new life together. Whether you’re buying or selling a property, looking to protect your assets, thinking about starting a family or want to leave your possessions to those you care about, we can help.

We’ve nine offices across the North West; in Bolton, Atherton, Bury, Chester, Farnworth, Horwich and Middleton. And, because anything can happen at any time, we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Imagine having to stay in an unhappy marriage by law?

Government Urged to Review Divorce Law After Woman in Unhappy Marriage is Ordered to Stay Wed Until 2020
Despite being “wretchedly unhappy”, a woman who claims she is “trapped in a loveless marriage” can’t divorce her husband.
Tini Owens has been told she can only divorce husband, Hugh in 2020 after they have been separated for five years.
Mrs Owens, who has two children with her husband of 40 years, was denied her appeal to divorce by the Supreme Court even though she alleges her husband’s behaviour is so bad she can’t reasonably be expected to stay married.
During an earlier hearing Mrs Owens provided 27 examples of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour, but the judge ruled that her allegations were “flimsy and exaggerated”.
Judges at the Supreme Court warned that the question for Parliament was whether the law governing entitlement to divorce remained “satisfactory” and that it would have to decide whether to introduce no fault divorce on demand (see our related news article dated 22/05/18).
Speaking of the ruling, Mrs Owens’s solicitor said the Supreme Court “has missed an opportunity to assist Mrs Owens and to move case law on after over 40 years”.
Nigel Shepherd, former chair of Resolution, the family law group, was quoted as saying: “Whilst the Supreme Court has, reluctantly, applied the law correctly, the fact that they have done so confirms there is now a divorce crisis in England and Wales, and the government needs to take urgent action to address it.
“In this day and age, it is outrageous that Mrs Owens - or anybody - is forced to remain trapped in a marriage, despite every judge involved in the case acknowledging it has come to an end in all but name. Today’s judgment underlines just how vital it is that government now urgently reforms the divorce law.”
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Published on - Tue, 14 Aug 2018

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has issued its latest findings on women suffering domestic abuse by a current or former partner. They make grim reading..

ONS Releases Figures on Women Suffering Domestic Abuse  

The report, which incorporates figures from the years March 2015 to 2017, shows that young women aged between 16 and 24 years were more likely to have experienced partner abuse (15%) than women aged between 45 and 59 years (10%).

Similarly, women who suffered from a long-term illness or disability were more than twice as likely to have experienced some form of partner abuse than those without. In particular, women with illness or disability that limits their activities were more likely to suffer abuse.

Bisexual women were almost twice as likely to have experienced partner abuse than heterosexual women (10.9% compared to 6.0%). Looking in to figures further, this consisted of being twice as likely to suffer non-physical abuse (6.8% compared with 3.9%) and, alarmingly, nearly five times as likely to have experienced sexual assault by a partner or ex-partner (1.9% compared with 0.4%).

More than any other group, women who identified as mixed/multiple ethnicity (10.1%), were more likely to have experienced partner abuse. This is three times more likely than Asian/Asian British women (2.8%) while white women suffering abuse accounted for 6.5%.

Women living in households where the income was less than £10,000 were more than four times more likely to suffer abuse at the hands of their partners than women with household incomes of £50,000 or more (14.3% compared to 3.3%). Those in social housing were nearly three times as likely to experience abuse (11.1%) than women who were owner occupiers (4.1%).

Figures for the report were taken from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and are based on the experiences of women aged 16 to 59 years old. The CSEW refers to abuse carried out by a partner or ex-partner as being:
• non-sexual abuse: physical force, emotional or financial abuse, threats to hurt the respondent or someone close to them
• sexual assault: rape or assault by penetration (including attempts), indecent exposure or unwanted touching
• stalking carried: two or more incidents (causing distress, fear or alarm) of receiving obscene or threatening unwanted letters, emails, text messages or phone calls, having had obscene or threatening information about them placed on the internet, waiting or loitering around home or workplace, or following or watching the victim

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Published on - Wed, 01 Aug 2018

UK Sleepwalking into a Dementia Crisis. Have you made arrangements?

A report produced by Solicitors for the Elderly is warning that the UK is heading towards a dementia crisis because people aren’t making arrangements in case they’re diagnosed with a degenerative mental illness.
The report, published in conjunction with the Centre for Future Studies (CFS), claims that 12.8 million people over the age of 65 have a high possibility of future incapacity, yet haven’t planned ahead by setting up a lasting power of attorney.
Records show that there are only 928,000 health and welfare lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) currently registered in England and Wales. This is expected to increase to 2.2 million by 2025, but by then around 13.2 million people will be at risk of dementia.
The news follows a sharp increase in the number of people being diagnosed, or at risk of being diagnosed, with the condition.
Although three quarters of the population fear dementia or the loss of capacity to make decisions, 97% – 49 million people – will be at risk with no relevant legal plans in place for their future care.
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) is leading a coalition of prominent charities, including the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and Dying Matters, on warning of the impending crisis, but believe people are reluctant to discuss mental incapacity because of the stigma attached to conditions such as dementia.
As many as 65% of people believe that they if they lack mental capacity, their next of kin can specify medical and care decisions on their behalf. But without a registered health and welfare LPA in place, these decisions are out of loved one’s hands.

Published on - Fri, 13 Jul 2018

More Over 65s are Getting Married, but May Have More to Lose if They Divorce. Does this affect you?

Although more people over the age of 65 are tying the knot, the divorce rate in this age group is also rising.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that between 2004 and 2014, the number of brides and grooms aged 65 and over went up by 46% in England and Wales.

Similarly, the number of divorces for couples aged 65 and over also shot up. In the decade 2005 – 2015, 23% of men got divorced, while 38% of women in this age group decided to call it a day.

Reasons for ‘silver splitters’ are numerous, but the general view is that it’s due to the post-war baby boom and people living longer. In 2017, an average 65-year-old man could expect to live for a further 19 years – two years longer than that of a man the same age in 2004. For women, the gap has also widened from 20 years in 2004 to almost 22 years in 2017.

As people live longer, people are more unwilling than ever to remain in an unhappy marriage. The stigma traditionally associated with divorce doesn’t exist in today’s society in the way it did in the past and as more people are working beyond retirement, the idea of being self sufficient outside marriage is more conceivable.

Whatever the reason, divorce at any age is difficult. But, for older couples who tend to have more assets and bigger pension pots, it can be much more problematic.

Donna Leigh, a solicitor who specialises in high net worth divorce at Russell and Russell, says: “Many older people don’t realise how much wealth they’ve built up over a lifetime. Whether they’ve had a modest income or have been a high earner, the compound effect of savings, pensions, any shares or ownership of other assets and the fact that house prices have risen 23% in a decade means that their personal worth can be far greater than they anticipated.

“High net worth divorces can be complex, but the starting point is always a 50/50 split. From there, the matrimonial assets – and any debts that can be attributed back to the marriage – have to be declared, assessed and valued. All the circumstances of the marriage, including the parties’ ages, the length of the marriage, the income capacities of the parties, any health issues, for example, are considered before a division of the matrimonial assets is achieved. There are a number of ways assets can be divided and a good solicitor will outline these clearly and transparently.”

If you’re thinking about divorce or splitting your finances, Russell and Russell offer a free 20 minute consultation to give you an idea of your options. Call in at any of our branches to make an appointment or ring 01204 399 299.

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Published on - Fri, 06 Jul 2018