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HCR Law Events

10 January 2024

New year, new beginnings

Many of us will have enjoyed the festive period spending time with family and friends. Others may have used the time to reflect, take stock and make decisions. With many people taking time off over the festive period, the return to work and school naturally acts as a period of change.

Numbers varied slightly last year following the introduction of the ‘no fault’ divorce in April 2022, but data from the Family Courts in England and Wales generally shows an increase in divorce applications in January.

The end of a relationship might be one situation, but you may just as easily have got engaged on New Year’s Eve or be planning your wedding later in the year. If you’re approaching a major life change, now is the time to speak to a professional so you have all the information you need.

We’re here to support you, giving you the confidence to make decisions, the benefit of our experience and a friendly face when the next step might seem impossible.

Here is just a snapshot of the family law matters we support clients with:

Separation and divorce

If your relationship has broken down, you may well be aware of the recent changes to divorce law in England and Wales. The ‘no fault’ divorce, introduced in April 2022, allows couples to make a joint application and encourages the focus to be on child arrangements and dividing assets rather than blaming one another.

Wedding bells

You’ve got engaged, congratulations! Or maybe you’re planning a wedding later in the year? Now is the time to start making plans and consider whether you should have a pre-nup. It’s not the most romantic conversation, but planning ahead and having those discussions now could make life a lot simpler in the long run.

And if you’re already married, a post-nup is still an option, putting in place an agreement to be used should life take a different path in the future.

What about the children?

If child arrangements have been an area of contention so far, prioritising this now will benefit everyone. We can guide you through the process, supporting you all the way. You may even want to consider a parenting plan, a document which sets out important parts of your co-parenting, from how you communicate to where children will spend holidays. Investing time in this now will allow you both to start the year afresh, with clear plans, and the interests of your children at the heart of everything.

Has anyone fed the dog?

If your circumstances were to change, have you agreed what would happen to your four-legged friend? We’re one step ahead of you. Putting a Pup-Nup® in place means you can make your wishes clear and set out clear responsibilities for (and access to) your pet.

What should I do now? Talk to me!

Making decisions which will affect your family going forward is hard. Be it separating or having potentially awkward conversations earlier on in a relationship, talking is the most important thing.

My job is to make sure you have all the information you need. To help you see the wood from the trees, and to understand the process so you feel confident in each step you take.

Be open minded

There might be several options open to you. I will always advise a collaborative approach wherever possible. Our ‘Unified in Separation’ service, for example, allows you to work together as a couple with a single lawyer to reach agreement on your separation or divorce.

Working together you can agree a settlement which works for both of you, avoid the expense and pressure of going to court and minimise the additional emotional pressures often associated with divorce.

Plan

Think about your situation and what you want to happen. The clearer you are on your goals, the easier it will be for me to advise you.

Are you looking to protect a future inheritance, or look after your business assets? Do you have a blended family and need to provide for different family members in different ways? Do you agree on details of your separation or are there elements which are sticking points?

With my support and guidance, you will have the confidence to move forward and create the future you want. To quote C. S. Lewis, ‘you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.’

When it comes to family law matters, you’ll want us on your side.

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About the Author
Kate Grant, Partner, Head of Family, London & Thames Valley

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