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Sarah Snow answers family law questions

Managing Partner Sarah Snow appeared on St Albans station Radio Verulam this morning to answer questions from listeners about various aspects of family law.

The first was from someone who went to Las Vegas with a friend, got rather drunk and ended up getting married for $100. They realised they had made a big mistake and wondered if there was a way to cancel the marriage.

Sarah explained that there was unfortunately no quick and easy fix. The most obvious way to get out of a marriage – divorce – would not be available to them until they had been married for 12 months because of the law in England and Wales. However, it may be possible for the unfortunate couple to get the marriage annulled. They might be able to argue that, as they were both quite intoxicated, their marriage is voidable. If successful, this brief union will be treated as if it never occurred. To do this, they would have to go through the courts, which could take time and money. Ultimately, it was a rather expensive mistake to make, she added.

Another listener asked about an issue he was having with his ex-wife. Since they split, she had relocated with their son 120 miles away and, he claimed, would not allow him to see his child.

Sarah said this was unfortunately a very common issue that Stowe Family Law deals with. She suggested that perhaps the first thing the father could do is contact a mediator. His former wife may respond better to an independent third party than she would to her ex. If this doesn’t work, the mediator can sign a document saying so and the father could launch court proceedings. If this happens, the Court’s paramount concern would be the welfare of the child, although there is now a presumption in the law that a child should have a relationship with both parents. Sarah warned that going down this route would be expensive and may involve several hearings. It would be much better for everyone involved if the parents were able to come to an agreement themselves.

She also answered questions on what to do with assets following someone’s death and how to split multiple properties following the breakdown of an unmarried couple’s relationship.

To listen to the full interview, visit Radio Verulam listen again feature here.

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