Managing Partner Claire McParland appeared on Radio Verulam this morning to answer listeners’ legal questions. Host Phil Richards asked this morning’s questions.
Q. One listener told us that she is divorcing her husband and is now looking at the financial spilt between the two of them. The husband owns a 50 per cent share in a rental property with his previous wife, including the rental income. Is the current wife entitled to a share of this property as part of the divorce settlement?
A. Claire suggested that yes potentially she is, as all assets are looked at by the court. However the court may well separate out any assets that were bought in prior to the marriage – non- matrimonial assets. In this case it sounds like the house was bought before the current marriage and so the house may be classed as outside of this marriage. The listener was advised to seek legal advice as the division of the property could depend on other factors.
Q. Another listener asked about marrying abroad: are there any issues they need to consider and would the marriage be legally recognised in this country?
A. Broadly speaking, a marriage abroad is legally recognised in this country provided certain conditions are met. The correct procedures should be followed in the country where the parties are getting married. In most instances the marriage would not need to be registered in the UK. There are some conditions that would need to be met – such as consent. For example if a marriage took place in Las Vegas and the couple were inebriated, then the marriage could be subject to annulment.
Q. Claire was asked if a couple have a child but are now separated and no longer live together, then the mother with custody dies, where does the father stand with his rights for custody and what legal work needs to be done?
A. Claire said that if a father has parental responsibility, which he will if named on the birth certificate after 1 December 2003, then legally he will have full rights and responsibilities for the children. If not then he can apply to the court for parental responsibility and a child arrangements order.
Q. The question came from a listener who suggested that they wanted a divorce from their partner after 4 years apart. Could this divorce be done without solicitors being involved?
A. Claire advised that yes, it is possible to do any divorce without a solicitor’s help but recommended at least getting some initial advice, especially is there are children or substantial finances involved. In those cases, divorces can become more complex and so it is a good idea to get legal advice. Claire said that a lot of her clients have come to her after starting a divorce and then running into problems, and such situations can take a while to sort out. If legal advice is received early on then the couple may be able to use that information to divorce themselves with no further help from a solicitor.
Q. The final question was from a listener who had very little money for a divorce, the husband had suggested he would pay the costs but wanted them repaid from her share. She wanted to know her options.
A. Claire replied that it depends on what the husband is suggesting he pay for. There are two types of costs, Divorce costs that in certain circumstances can be claimed back from the other party or costs for dealing with financial proceedings or those involving children, the cost for these would be covered by each party separately. In the latter situation, you can apply to the courts for financial costs to be covered by the other party but you need to ensure firstly that all avenues have been explored, such as seeking loans, before the courts will consider this.
The next regular Radio Verulam chat will be in 2018. Happy Christmas to everyone in St Albans from the Stowe Family Law team!
If you would like to listen to the interview, please visit Radio Verulam listen again feature.
If you’d like to send in a question for our next appearance on Verulam in the Morning, contact the station via their website here.