FM Family Law wins Norfolk & Norwich Law Society Excellence in Individual Client Services Award

FM Family Law wins Norfolk & Norwich Law Society Excellence in Individual Client Services Award

Pictured: (LtoR) Carla Morphett, Karen Fox, Sue Bailey, Jenny Humphrey, Laura Tuddenham, and Laura Clay-Harris

FM Family Law are proud winners of the Norfolk & Norwich Law Society Excellence in Individual Client Services Award 2021 which was awarded at the Annual Dinner on 15 October.   This category recognises exceptional individuals, teams or firms working with individual clients who have gone above and beyond to impact their firm and clients.

FM Family Law are passionate about the work we do – we understand that family matters.  We are therefore delighted that our incredible team has received recognition for its exceptional level of service to clients as well as the firm being recognised for providing an outstanding working environment for its staff.

We are proud to highlight the following from our submission:

“We don’t tend to regard ourselves as working for a client but more working alongside them. Our business model is based on ‘one client one lawyer relationship’. We continually reassess our business to improve, adapt and meet the needs of clients. The ‘one client one lawyer relationship’ is at the heart of our service, enabling us to establish and maintain close working relationships with clients. Our technological resources allow us excellent speed of response and engagement with clients and associated third parties and lawyers.”

 

“Our biggest success at FM Family Law is how our staff feel about our team…We are proud that members of our team reflect on how they have never felt as supported or valued by other employees and that, as a consequence, they feel able to give their best selves to provide an excellent service to our clients.”

 

“We are not only passionate about looking after our staff and clients, but also the wider community in which we operate. For that reason, many of our staff members hold additional posts and volunteer their time for the benefit of the community and/or profession.”

For more information about the awards, visit the Norfolk & Norwich Law Society website here.

Prenuptial agreements are more common than you think

Prenuptial agreements are more common than you think

 A fifth of UK couples who had their first wedding since 2000 have a prenuptial agreement (or ‘pre-nup’). 

This latest research commissioned by The Marriage Foundation is thought to be the first of its kind which offers a real and genuine insight into the personal decisions that couples make about their relationship. How a couple decides to manage their financial affairs is completely private to them and trying to collect data on this is tricky to say the least – so it is understandable why we have absolutely no idea how popular pre-nups are (until now).

With many weddings having sadly been postponed due to the pandemic, if you have a 2022 wedding to look forward to then there is plenty of time to put any necessary plans in motion. Having time on your side is particularly helpful as one of the factors to consider when entering into a pre-nup is timing. It is important you do not leave it too late.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a document entered into before marriage that sets out how a couple’s assets will be divided should their relationship subsequently break down and/or set out arrangements for how to manage their finances and other practical matters during the marriage.  It is a type of relationship agreement – you can read more about what these are here.

Pre-nups are likely to be upheld in most cases so long as certain factors have been considered by the couple when entering into it. We can discuss this with you to ensure the right criteria is met.

Who can get a prenuptial agreement?

Anyone!  There is no need to qualify or be eligible to get a pre-nup, but there are certain situations which might motivate one or both future spouses to protect their wealth before tying the knot. For example:

1.       When one or both spouses have previously been married – they may wish to better plan in the event of a relationship breakdown and/or protect their assets for the benefit of any children from a previous relationship.

2.        Entering into a marriage when one spouse has significantly more wealth than the other which was built up prior to their relationship.

3.        When one or both spouses are expecting to receive significant wealth in the future such as through family inheritance, career progression or financial investment.

4.        Marrying later in life as this can increase the chance of 1 and 2 above becoming relevant.

    Interestingly, the Marriage Foundation research reveals that 44% of individuals in a higher managerial role had signed a pre-nup and the prevalence of pre-nups amongst couples in the other social groups were fairly evenly distributed.   This confirms that pre-nups are not just reserved for the super-rich and famous, which is a common misconception.

    Pre-nups provide greater clarity as to how assets may be divided upon separation and can therefore help avoid the unpredictability, potential legal costs and emotional stress often associated with an acrimonious separation.

    If you would like to discuss the benefits of having a pre-nuptial agreement or any other issues covered in this article please do not hesitate to contact the team – we would be happy to help.

    Latest figures reveal marriage rates fall as couples opt to cohabit instead

    Latest figures reveal marriage rates fall as couples opt to cohabit instead

    Recent data published from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of opposite-sex marriages had fallen by 47% since 1972 whilst cohabiting couple families continue to be the fastest-growing family type.

    It is notable that same-sex couples are in fact bucking this trend as the number of married same-sex couples has doubled since 2017. 

    Despite this surge in marriages amongst same-sex couples, the overall share of married couple families (for opposite-sex and same-sex couples) has declined over the past decade.

    The ONS commented that the long-term decline in the rate of marriages was likely to be as a result of more men and women delaying marriage or couples choosing to cohabit instead.

    With the number of couples opting to just live together increasing, it is important to raise awareness of the fact that unmarried couples do not have as much protection compared to married couples.  This means many people, to their surprise, could be left financially vulnerable if their relationship ends.

    However all is not lost! Whilst we wait patiently for the current law to be reformed, a cohabitation agreement, also known as living together agreement, can be a great option.

    This type of relationship agreement can set out how couples wish to arrange their financial affairs and responsibilities during and after their relationship.  It provides couples with certainty as to where they will stand financially in the unfortunate event of their relationship ending in the future. 

    If you would like to discuss putting a cohabitation agreement in place or if you have any other queries about the issues covered in this article please do not hesitate to contact the team – we would be happy to help.

     

    Are you a parent ‘Home Alone’ during Covid19?

    Are you a parent ‘Home Alone’ during Covid19?

    In light of the uncertainty surrounding how COVID-19 is going to affect family lives, we understand that separated parents are going to be feeling anxious about seeing their children if they are separated due to illness or lockdown. During this uncertain time, it is even more important to sustain some sort of normality and consistency for children, and to minimise yours and their anxiety.  So we have been looking into the online tools available to enable you to spend quality time with your children even if they cannot spend time in your home. It’s amazing that modern technology allows families to be instantly contactable and available anywhere to each other even if they are not together in the same home. We know this may not be the preferred way to be in contact with your child, but we hope you see that it could be a very good alternative to direct contact, whilst we get through these extraordinary times. 

    Facetime, Skype and WhatsApp allow for visual contact and chatting. There is no cost as the connection is via Wi-Fi, and there is no limit on the length of the call.

    You can text via Skype and WhatsApp and they also allow photos and data to be shared at no cost allowing parent and child to update each other regularly.

    Zoom is a free online app which enables you to chat face to face time with your child and much more. .

    Zoom can be used in any location as it is accessed from your desktop, or mobile phone,  as long as you have a Wi-Fi or data connection.  With Zoom there are various price plans. The no cost plans allows you to set up a meeting to chat with your child for up to 40 minutes (there is talk of Zoom extending this to one hour!). The number of meetings you can set up are unlimited. If you want to zoom for longer than 40 minutes you can purchase a licence to allow for unlimited calls.  When you see the things you can do below you may well want to invest in a price plan.  Even with the no cost plan you can screen share. This tool allows you to share your computer screen remotely with your child allowing them to see what is on your screen, as well as see each other at the same time, so not losing that valuable face to face contact with your child.  

    Here’s a list of activities you can do with your child through Zoom:

    • Read bedtime stories as you can read downloaded books together.
    • Watch movies together via portals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or through your CD-ROM.
    • Help your child with school work
    • Share documents together so that you can write stories
    • Watch TV channels such as BBC iPlayer through the screen share and catch up on programmes such as CBeebies.
    • Play games
    • Use apps on your desktop or phone such as “Paint” and draw with your children and play “hangman” etc.

    And of course there is the good old fashioned telephone via a land line.

    It is important to remember that this is just general ideas and tips. There may be reasons in every case why some or all of the above may not be appropriate and the above  article should not be construed as advice.

    And finally!  FM Family Law has no affiliation with Whatsapp Skype, Apple or with Zoom. We just think they are great tools at this time. #notanAd

    Laura Tuddenham

    FM Family Law

    19 March 2020