Will you marry me?

Will you marry me?

It’s the season of romance! Valentines Day is THE day to propose! A time to become engaged or betrothed. The term fiancé or fiancée is usually applied to the intended bride and groom. The term derives from the French word for ‘betrothed’.

An engagement is a promise to marry. As a commitment to that promise, many couples mark their engagement with the gifting of an engagement ring. Traditionally, the ring is gifted from the groom to be from the bride to be. However, it’s now fashionable for male fiancés to also wear an engagement ring in recognition of their forthcoming nuptials, and their commitment to their future spouse.

The ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand. This developed from the Roman “annulus pronubis” when the man gave a ring to the woman at the betrothal ceremony. Tradition in some countries suggests that the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand because the vein on that finger is thought to connect directly to the heart, a symbol of love.

If the engagement is broken, what happens to the ring? The gift of the ring is deemed in law to be an absolute gift from one party to the other. If the engagement ends, the recipient is entitled to keep the ring, as it belongs to them. However, if it can be established that the gifting of the ring was conditional on the marriage taking place, then the ring must be returned.  Ultimately, it will be a question of whether the fiancé wishes to return the ring, and whether the donor wishes it to be returned. On either scenario, sadly the ring will no longer represent the betrothal of love that it was intended for. A second home might be found through sites such as preloved and neverlikeditanyway.com.

The notion that the man should spend a fraction of his annual income on purchasing the engagement ring came from a well-known jeweller’s marketing concept which aimed to increase the sale of diamonds. The suggestion now seems to be that a man should spend at least one month’s salary on the ring. Net of tax, the man might hope!

Prenuptial agreements are also now considered more common place as part of considerations following engagements as there are legal moves afoot to have them legalised in this country. Presently they are not but in many circumstances and provided certain recommended conditions are met, the couple will be bound by the terms of the prenup.

If you are looking for legal advice on separation, our family lawyers in Cambridge or Norwich will be happy to help.

Happy Valentines Day from FM Family Law.

Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

Divorce solicitors tend to report an increase in new enquiries in the New Year.

You may be considering the end of your marriage but don’t know where to turn for good legal advice. How do you decide which lawyer to represent you if you end up on the path to relationship breakdown? The best place to start is to ask those you trust. Friends and family may have used a solicitor

The best place to start is to ask those you trust. Friends and family may have used a solicitor before or may have friends and family who can give their personal seal of approval.

The national family lawyers’ organisation is an excellent website where you will find lots of helpful information about family law and family lawyers. Central to Resolution’s philosophy is to help clients in relationship breakdown in an amicable and constructive way. This is how any good family work will do their job. The website contains a ‘find a lawyer’ resource, as well as details of those lawyers who are accredited as specialists in certain specialist fields.

Have a look at the firm’s website. Does it give you the right feel? Does it look as if you will feel comfortable with the lawyer and how they say they work?

Call the lawyer for an initial chat. A good lawyer will be prepared to have an initial chat with you at no cost. Meet a couple of lawyers before making a decision. Most lawyers offer a free initial meeting or a fixed cost for the first meeting. This is an excellent opportunity to get some practical and sensible advice, as well as meet the lawyer for the first time without the anxiety of being presented with a big bill before you have made a decision about your future and any work has got under way. The lawyer should also be able to give you a good idea at that stage about the work involved and the costs and help you weigh up your options. Prepare for that first meeting by drawing up a list of questions, and perhaps email details of your situation to the lawyer ahead of time. This will also save valuable time and allow you to use the meeting to focus on the main issues, rather than treating it as a fact finding session. www.legal500.com and www.chambersandpartners.co.uk are also widely used directories that survey lawyers nationwide and rate the lawyer in geographical and

Prepare for that first meeting by drawing up a list of questions, and perhaps email details of your situation to the lawyer ahead of time. This will also save valuable time and allow you to use the meeting to focus on the main issues, rather than treating it as a fact finding session.

www.legal500.com and www.chambersandpartners.co.uk are also widely used directories that survey lawyers nationwide and rate the lawyer in geographical and specialist sectors. Using these directories is a good opportunity to back up what you have seen and heard before making your final decision as to who to instruct.

Your lawyer is going to support you as you move forward with your life. As with making any choice about important things in life, it’s just as critical to do the research before making the right choice that will affect you and your family.

How To Choose A Divorce Solicitor

How To Choose A Divorce Solicitor

Aside from the emotional dynamic when a relationship ends, a client has to find someone who they can entrust to support them on the journey to the next stage in their life. In many cases, it is one that can have life changing consequences.

An online search can reveal a long list of names of law firms. Look for a solicitor that specialises in divorce and family law, have a look at their website and find out if they are a member of Resolution. Ask friends and family members if they have a recommendation.

Making the first contact

Making the first contact with a solicitor can be a difficult step.  There may be anxiety about the other spouse knowing especially if you have not reached the conclusion that your marriage has ended.  It can be daunting thinking about sharing personal information with a stranger. Don’t feel afraid to ask questions – find out the solicitors availability, capacity to take on new work, how they work, what’s involved, what they charge and how they offer first meetings. Some lawyers charge from the outset. Others may offer an initial short meeting at a fixed cost or at no cost. Don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ to find a solicitor who is the best match for you.

What to look for in my solicitor?

Don’t be tempted to instruct the solicitor who has given you the advice you like. It’s often the advice you don’t want to hear that can be the most important to you. Any good solicitor will be prepared to advise you in detail on all matters, even saying things that may not sit well with your hopes and expectations.

Out of court resolution

Find a solicitor who is well versed in the different types of out of court dispute resolution. This may help you resolve matters without going to Court, saving considerable cost, both of which should be your objective.  A good solicitor will be able to explain all the different options open to you and how they would be able to support you through each option.  They should suggest which avenue might be most appropriate for you, taking into account of your personal circumstances and priorities.

How much?

Your solicitor is obliged to give you the best estimate of the costs involved and their hourly rates. Find out whether the solicitor offers fixed fee charges for any aspects of their work, ‘pay as you go’ services, sets caps on fees, or staging their representation to suit your pocket.

For more information about choosing the right solicitor for you contact Resolution www.resolution.org.uk

If you would like to legal guidance on divorce or mediation, our divorce solicitors in Norwich and Cambridge will be happy to help.

5 Mistakes To Avoid In Divorce Or Separation

5 Mistakes To Avoid In Divorce Or Separation

Every separation is unique but the fact remains, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things.

There are several things you and your spouse are able to do to make the divorce or separation process go as smoothly as possible.

Not Providing Accurate Financial Information

The fact is, finances are a central issue in a separation, especially where a couple are married. If you want your divorce to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, it’s vital that both parties provide accurate and honest information regarding their finances. Information about your assets, debts, income and a realistic budget that represents your marital lifestyle and potential future expenses generally all need to be shared as part of the process of sorting out the financial aspects of a divorce.

Not Putting Your Children First

It’s easy to say you’re putting your children first but sometimes it can be really difficult to do. It’s important to think about how your children might be feeling as a result of the separation and to offer them reassurance about the situation. Try not to lose sight of the bigger picture; battles over the small issues really may not be worth it in the long run. By putting your children’s best interests and needs above everything else, your family will benefit in the long run.

Letting Emotion Take Over

Divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster. There are so many things happening at once and it can sometimes be hard to know how and what you’re feeling. We always tell our clients to expect to experience a range of emotions, resentment, anger, grief and fear. This is normal and those emotions can sometimes last a considerable time after separation. It’s ok to feel this way and it’s normal. However, when it comes to discussions about children and money, it’s best to try and lay emotion to one side to some extent. If you’re struggling to do so, it might be worth considering additional support from a counsellor to help you through this difficult period and to help you gain clarity in order to make smarter decisions, not only for yourself but for your children.

Dwelling on The Past

If you are focusing too much on events and things that have already occurred, it’s a challenge to shift your mindset to focus on what’s currently happening and your future. Focusing on what is going to happen next in your life is key to making smart decisions about your and your children’s future.

Failing to Compromise

To reach an agreement, compromise and a bit of give and take are needed. This can be hard to do during a divorce as some might have the mentality of “my way or the highway” but this will only result in more frustration and conflict which is easily avoidable. It may feel sometimes like you are making all the compromises- but the other person probably feels like that too. It’s rare for someone to feel they have got everything they want from a separation. Being willing to compromise on some issues may make other issues easier to solve- meaning a quicker and more amicable solution can be reached.

By avoiding these 5 mistakes, you’re doing your best to ensure a difficult period is made a bit simpler for everyone. If you are in need of guidance or advice on divorce or children related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our teams in Cambridge or Norwich.

Christmas With Children: For Divorced Families

Christmas With Children: For Divorced Families

With the holiday period fast approaching,  have you and your ex agreed what the children will be doing over Christmas?

Often, separated parents agree to alternate the immediate Christmas period each year, with children spending Christmas Eve night to Christmas day with one parent and then boxing day with the other on alternating years. This allows a child to enjoy Christmas morning with both their parents as they are growing up and allows parents to share in the joy too.

Other parents agree to share Christmas day so that their children have time with one parent in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

What do children want? Many children have a very simple and overwhelming sense of fairness which means they feel it is right for them to spend Christmas with each of their parents, alternating in one of the ways suggested above.  But what children want most of all is the reassurance that whatever the arrangements are, their parents have agreed them and are not arguing about it.

What, in our experience are the most important things for parents to do when it comes to deciding the Christmas arrangements?

  • Communicate suggestions and concerns well in advance.  Don’t leave it to the last minute.  We suggest arrangements should be agreed well in advance of your children finishing school for the Christmas break.
  • Think about the logistics of where your children need to be and when- if there is a long journey between their parent’s homes, is it best for this to be done either side of the immediate Christmas period so that your children feel they have had a settled time with one of their parents.
  • If you can’t agree, consider whether mediation might help you discuss opposing views and reach an agreement.
  • Can you agree a pattern which works each year so that you can tell your children about this and they know what is going to happen every Chrsitmas.