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There was a lot of news we found interesting in November 2023, so we've put a few of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages together and a reminder of our blogs.

From our blog:

Separate but together: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

 

Want to separate but not divorce? How a separation agreement can help set out financial and other arrangements.

 

 

Santa, sunshine and skiing: Christmas holidays abroad and parental permissions

 

Want to take the kids abroad this winter? Why parental permission for separated and divorced parents is important, and why it needs to be agreed in writing before you go.

 

 

 

Christmas 2023 child arrangements after separation or divorce

 

Navigating the festive season as separated or divorced parents? Remember Child Arrangement Letters.
These documents are essential tools that outline the details of your child's care during this special time. They work to reduce stress, minimise confrontation, and even cut down costs. Understanding what they are and how they function can pave the way for a more enjoyable festive period for everyone involved.

 

 

And from our social media streams:

Celebrating Holidays as a Blended Family

Before the Christmas holidays arrive, blended families should have a plan for how they'll navigate this season and make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone. Consider these three tips for celebrating Christmas as a blended family.

 

Government’s ambition of encouraging mediation fundamentally undermined by decision to cut funding for early legal advice

Backlogs and delays in the family courts, which are affecting tens of thousands of children, will continue until legal funding is restored for early legal advice, the Law Society warned today.

Analysis reveals the government’s ambition of encouraging mediation has been fundamentally undermined by its own decision to cut funding for early legal advice for family matters.

 

Don’t Put Your Kid in the Middle

Being in the middle hurts kids; how can you prevent that?

 

Domestic abuse victim speaks out on suffering and welcomes new law exposing offenders

Claire's Law means there is no hiding place for those convicted of domestic abuse

“Do a background check. If you don’t, you’ll never find out,”

 

Divorce-Online Reveals The Top 10 UK Towns & Cities With The Highest Rate of Divorce in 2023

Divorce hotspots and top is not London!

 

Proposed changes to surrogacy law ‘will not be taken forward at the moment’

In a letter to the commission this week providing an interim response to the proposals, Ms Caulfield wrote: “While we appreciate the importance of this work, parliamentary time does not allow for these changes to be taken forward at the moment.”

 

I haven't seen my kids in 11 years after my wife took them home with her

"I was the best dad I could be - until my kids were taken halfway across the world"

So often the case that, as the judge wrote in her summary:

‘It is likely that the relationships between the father and the children will be extinguished.’

 

Domestic Abuse Commissioner responds to Criminal Justice reforms in King’s Speech

The Domestic Abuse Commissionar added: "however, that across the board the criminal justice system is failing victims of domestic abuse"

 

The Changing face of Pre-nups

"An astounding 75% of Wenup’s customers have assets below £500k, demonstrating that prenuptial agreements are not exclusive to the wealthy elite."

 

A vision for family justice

This year, to celebrate its 40th Anniversary, @ResFamilyLaw is using #AwarenessWeek to launch its Vision for Family Justice, focusing on the need for cohabitation reform and the importance of early legal advice.

 

Here are our office hours for the festive season:

Our offices will be closed from

Friday 23rd December 2022 at 2:00pm

and will re-open on

Tuesday 3rd January 2023 at 9.00am

If you need to contact us during this time please use the following email address:

enquiries@lgfamilylawyers.co.uk

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In 2021, the number of divorces increased by almost 10% . That’s 10% more couples now spending their first Christmas apart, and that’s also 10% more divorced parents trying to work out how to afford Christmas.

When parents separate, their combined family income is suddenly divided into two: two sets of utility bills, one renting and one paying the mortgage, two sets of food shopping, two cars to insure, and much more

The there’s Christmas. It’s going to inevitably cost more as well, with two homes to decorate and heat, two turkey dinners (or equivalent), two sets of presents, etc. There’s at least two weeks of school holidays to cover for starters, and not to mention the logistics of two homes and only one Christmas Day.

BUT it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the years, LGFL Director and family lawyer Rita Gupta has helped hundreds of couples through divorce and beyond. As a working mum herself, she has a wealth of tips to share on how divorced parents and their children can have an affordable Christmas with less stress and confrontation, less time in the car and, yes, less cost too.

From stress-free child arrangement plans to not competing over presents, why parents should ignore the Christmas ads, and even why splitting Christmas Day between you might be a bad idea, Rita’s articles and videos contain helpful advice for any parents struggling with affording their co-parenting this festive season.

Should you split Christmas Day?

This is probably the biggest issues amongst separated parents with children; who “gets the kids” for Christmas Day?

It may seem that the fairest way is to divide the day between your two homes, but as Rita explains in this article, the practical and emotional issues usually outweigh the benefits.

 

Child arrangements

Making arrangements for the two weeks of Christmas holidays is crucial to managing expectations and avoiding emotional calendar clashes. If you haven’t made yours yet, or are struggling to reach an agreement, NOW is the time to act.

 

Christmas stress and New Year breakups

Rita appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire last year to help listeners with advice and insights. Read the transcript here.

 

Tips on children's Christmas presents for divorced couples

A short video by Rita with some top tips on how to handle the Christmas present issue.

Children’s book reviews

There’s just time to get in your orders for Christmas books that help children understand a Christmas spent with separated parents.

"Last Stop on the Reindeer Express”

 

“What if Santa can’t find us?”

Need a child arrangement letter or advice on separating?

Contact us – we’re here until 2pm on 23rd December, and then back in early January 2023.

- Call us

- Email us

- Book your reduced fee initial 1 hour consultation

If you missed what we’ve been sharing last month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

From our blog:

New year, new you: a fresh start [2022 edition]

 

Our article explores the impact Christmas can have on an already strained relationship or marriage, and how legal advice is a crucial first step towards separating and getting a divorce.

 

Christmas stress and New Year breakups: advice by Rita on BBC Radio Berkshire

 

Considering ending your relationship after the stress of the festive holidays? Take 10 minutes to listen to fellow Director Rita Gupta's  tips and information, as first heard on BBC Radio Berkshire.

 

 

 

“Quite unprecedented”: the ruler of Dubai and the UK divorce settlement

 

Lifelong security, racehorses, jewellery, school fees and more: what the record-breaking High Court divorce settlement for the ruler of Dubai and his ex-wife covers.

 

 

 

 

From our social media:

 

Why the date people are most likely to file for divorce is changing in 2022

With no fault divorce coming into effect on 6th April. Will divorce day be different this year?

 

New online course offers ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Supreme Court

Want an insight into the Supreme Court? This might just be it.

The Supreme Court is offering the public the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” and gain an understanding of the inner workings of the country’s highest court for free.

 

Famous exes who stayed friends

Ending a relationship is never an easy ride, and it can get even more complicated when it's under the gaze of the whole world. Nevertheless, many celebrity exes still somehow remain on good terms afterward. 

 

Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet just gave a masterclass in divorce announcements

The latest divorce announcement

“Their language was careful, the opposite of acrimonious. There was no blame, and if they acknowledged they had grown apart, they attributed it to a normal effect of the passage of time rather than any specific, personal change.”

 

Coercive behaviour: Carwyn Roberts controlled girlfriend

A shocking case.

 

Revealed: Hotspots for divorce as South-East men call time on their relationships

"Interesting for locations: "2021 figures show that males living in the East Midlands or the South-East are more likely to get divorced than those anywhere else in England and Wales"

 

Dog custody: Spain to consider pets’ welfare in divorce battles

Good news for pet owners

“Spain will now consider a pet’s welfare when couples divorce or break-up in a legal shift that strengthens the case for couples obtaining shared custody of their animals.

The decision obliges judges to consider pets as sentient beings rather than objects owned by one or the other partner.”

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver officially divorce after 10-year separation

“After a 35-year marriage and four children together, Shriver filed for divorce in 2011 after Schwarzenegger disclosed he had fathered a child with a member of their household staff years earlier.”

 

I Want What They Have, Divorce Edition: Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa

Great to see a very positive approach to divorce.

Here are our office hours for the festive season:

Our offices will be closed from

Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 5:00pm

and will re-open on

Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 9.00am

If you need to contact us during this time please use the following email address:

enquiries@lgfamilylawyers.co.uk

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If you missed what we’ve been sharing last month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

From our blog:

Announcing a celebrity split: the very public face of private pain

 

More and more celebrities are sharing important personal announcements on social media, including splits and divorces. However, when these announcements turn into emotional exchanges, how does that impact on their children, their family and their pending divorce case? LGFL Director Rita Gupta explores how the Ioan Gruffodd / Alice Evans example sheds light on why it's so important to think and take time out before clicking the Post button....

 

 

Co-parenting after separation: should you split Christmas Day?

 

If you're separated and have children, you may think that splitting Christmas Day between your two homes might be the fairest option. However, there's a lot of logistics, let alone emotions to consider. Director Rita Gupta has put together her list of pros and cons so you can discuss this with your family and decide what's best for you and your children.

 

 

 

How to make Christmas child arrangements following your separation [Updated 2021]

 

Need to make child arrangement for Christmas period? Fellow Director Rita Gupta explains how a simple letter from a family law firm such as ourselves can help smooth the way for separated and divorced parents.

 

 

 

 

From our social media:

 

“We Did Our Best”: Ben Affleck Says His Marriage Went South for A Lot of the Normal Reasons

The actor, who has spoken openly about addiction before, told Howard Stern that his divorce likely allowed him to quit drinking.

 

Bill Gates Reflects On His Divorce, Being Alone During Covid And The ‘Most Difficult’ Year Of His Life

Even one of the world’s richest men reflects on his family and the pandemic.

 

How to spot the software that could be spying on you

Really important issue to be aware of. Tech abuse and stalking can present real risks.

 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: A life cut short by cruelty

This is a horrific case of child cruelty. So many questions of how the authorities missed this. Please be aware the article contains distressing content.

 

Climate change causing albatross divorce, says study

Climate change affecting divorce in unexpected ways!

 

Tony's Law: Plans for tougher child abuse sentences confirmed

It follows a campaign for Tony's Law by the adoptive family of seven-year-old Tony Hudgell, who had both legs amputated following abuse.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the legislation would provide "maximum protection to the most vulnerable".

 

Adele’s Secret Relationship: Why You Should Wait Before Dating After Divorce

Have acted for so many clients who do this.

 

What to expect from The Split series three

Definitely some great viewing.

 

The law is failing domestic abuse victims in England and Wales. But we can change it

"This law change could make the difference in getting thousands of survivors and victims of abuse across the country each year the justice and the protection they need."

 

Art collection owned by divorced couple fetches more than half a billion dollars

That is one large amount to split!

 

Britney Spears' conservatorship is brought to an end after 13 years

Really interesting case. Allegations of abuse within the family and financial control.

 

Erin Pizzey: The woman who looked beyond the bruises

Very insightful article. Abuse does not discriminate.

 

Cheating millionaire wins £120,000 payout after ex-lover banned him from weekend retreat

Interesting case where I think the wife may receive some sympathy!

 

Parents could face costs order for clogging up family court

This will be controversial and challenging for abuse cases.

 

The Guardian view on the family courts: secrecy isn’t working

"Family judges hold immense power, and society as a whole would benefit from an increased understanding of what they do, why they do it, and how this alters the course of hundreds of thousands of lives every year."

 

California high court won't hear Brad Pitt divorce appeal

And still it rumbles on

 

Maid on Netflix Review: This Depiction of Emotional Abuse Is Too Important to Ignore

A great series. It touches on so many issues of abuse. The difficulty in proving the abuse, generational differences in the perception & cycles of abuse. The protagonist herself leaves a trail of destruction behind her as she navigates her life & survival.

 

Domestic abuse offenders in England – not their victims – to be moved away from the family home

Some local authorities in England are looking at ways to provide housing for domestic abuse perpetrators, so enabling their victims to stay in the family home. Such plans are a response to calls from charities and campaigners.

 

Last laugh

Really. "Forgetting" you were divorced?

 

And Finally…

Man pretends to be deaf and dumb for 62 years just to avoid talking to his wife

And apparently his six children and thirteen grandchildren, were also convinced he was deaf.

It’s probably one of the biggest issues amongst separated parents with children; who will the kids spend Christmas Day with?

It’s tempting to think that dividing the day between your two homes is the fairest option. However, moving children from one location to another on Christmas Day itself, even just a few miles apart, is fraught with practical and emotional issues that might outweigh the benefits.

Instead, many separated couples decide to alternate who has the children on Christmas Day, and who has them on Boxing Day. It’s an arrangement that eliminates the challenges of you changing location on such a significant day and ultimately allows you all to have more time together.

Your children can relax too, knowing that they will see their other parent tomorrow for a second day of Christmas fun!

To help you decide, LGFL’s Managing Director Rita Gupta shares her “Christmas Day Split Pros and Cons” list for separated parents, grandparents and extended family.

 

 

Pro

Con

Kids see both parents on Christmas Day. You have to see your ex on Christmas Day…

 

You both give them their presents on the same day.

 

Grumpy kids who want to play with presents but can’t because they are at the other house.

 

Each of you has separate time with the kids.

 

Competition between parents for “best” part of the day. For example, who gets the morning stockings or afternoon walk?

 

You each get half the day to yourself / with your new partner.

 

New partners and family have less time with you. Much of that half day could be spent travelling in between households. Grandparents may feel excluded.

 

Splitting the day keeps it fair for everyone, every year. Sharing the day gives no ‘wriggle room’ for potential disruption by weather, COVID, etc.

 

Children are at their resident parent’s home for part of the day. Children can’t see local friends on the day because they haven’t got time.

 

Positive example of co-parenting if goes smoothly.

 

Negative example if it ends up with arguments between you two over minor details or late arrivals due to traffic.

 

You shared the costs and preparation of meals.

 

You buy and prepare two Christmas dinners for kids who are not hungry or feeling fractious after rushed family meals.

 

Grandparents can be with the kids in their own adult child’s home. Conflicts of interest for grandparents if they get on well with both of you.

 

Children get two parts to their Christmas Day.

 

Children spend too much time travelling in the car and too little time enjoying themselves.

 

Parents can relax and enjoy a drink or two at lunch. Not if you’ve got the children for the morning and need to get them to their other parent’s home. Could lead to disputes over who does the driving and who does the drinking.

 

Kids can enjoy the journey between homes.

 

Only if one or both parents have a car. Public transport doesn’t run on Christmas Day. Taxis will be prohibitively expensive, if available at all.

 

Kids spend Christmas in the UK. Parents can’t take children away for a break or to visit family abroad over the Christmas holiday.

 

Christmas and coercive control

Sadly, Christmas can often be used by less cooperative ex-partners as a bargaining chip. Arrangements for the entire period can also be used as a method of coercive control to cause as much upset as possible at an emotional time. Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse in law. If you feel you are being manipulated by an ex-partner after separation, do contact us for advice and to discuss practical ways to prevent this.

 

Still not sure what to do?

If they are old enough, ask your children. If you include them in making the plans, you already have them onside for the day itself. Discuss this with your ex-partner too; they may not have as strong views on this as you expect, or have other commitments to work around.

Once you’ve decided between you, get that agreement down in writing so it’s (literally) signed and sealed well before Christmas. If you can’t agree, we can draft a Child Arrangement letter that you can both sign up to if required. Your letter should always include a Plan B just in case circumstances change, such as a case of COVID in the family, adverse weather or (heaven forbid) a last-minute lockdown imposed by the government…

 

Need a child arrangement letter?

Contact us to get Christmas child arrangements settled and agreed well in advance of Santa’s arrival.

- Call us

- Email us

- Send us a message

Here are our office hours for the festive season:

Our offices will be closed from

Wednesday 23rd December 2019 at Midday

and will re-open on

Monday 4th January 2021 at 9.00am

If you need to contact us during this time please use the following email address:

enquiries@lgfamilylawyers.co.uk

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As family lawyers we are aware more than most of the pressures on families this year. For Christmas 2020, we’re focusing on local charities that help families and those in need here in the Reading area, nationally and internationally.

Charities have had a tough year due to the pandemic, yet their help and support has never been in such high demand. Many families who in 2019 never thought they would need help, suddenly found themselves struggling to cope. The same applied to the hard-working front line staff of the NHS, pushed to limits they too had never encountered before.

To continue with our ethos of supporting charities, communities and families this year LGFL have supported a number of causes.

The Salvation Army

Our first charity we’ve chosen to support is the Salvation Army in Reading, helping local people in need affected by the pandemic. Their tireless community work includes helping families, older people and the homeless, sadly a growing community at present due to economic hardships.

The Salvation Army’s practical, on the ground support includes:

  • ‘Meals on wheels’ Christmas lunches and companionship to older people living alone
  • Christmas food parcels to families who are struggling to afford a proper Christmas lunch
  • Distributing modest toys to children whose parents are unable to afford presents this Christmas
  • Hot food, blankets and hygiene kits for rough sleepers
  • Day centres where the homeless can access specialist help

 

Creating Better Futures

This COVID pandemic is having a global impact, affecting families and children worldwide. Before COVID-19 was even identified, we sponsored a girl in Zimbabwe through Reading-based charity Creating Better Futures. Plaxedes wants to become a policewoman, and our sponsorship ensures she can stay in school and fulfill her dream. This year we also sent a gift box, created with the help of the charity, to ensure the contents were right for her and her family. Most of this will be essential items that Plaxedes and her family need, but will be so grateful for. A reality check for us all.

Reading School

While NHS charities benefitted from high-profile fundraisers such as the inspirational Captain Tom, many businesses and organisations were quietly helping out at grass roots level, supporting their local NHS staff in practical ways. One of these was Reading School, a leading state secondary school here in Reading with academic results and an ethos that rival the best.

The school focuses on ‘building good men’, and well-rounded leaders of the future who have a responsibility to the wider world around them.

The school has always had a strong philanthropic ethos, and students are encouraged to actively fundraise for a variety of causes throughout the year. These continued throughout lockdown 1.0 and beyond, with the school teaching a full curriculum throughout remotely. Staff and pupils still found time to help NHS workers and their local community, making national news as thought-leaders

This included providing:

  • Food parcels and essential items to Reading School families most affected by the COVID crisis and until school resumed.
  • Education and care for vulnerable children and children of key workers.
  • Over 850 meals provided for children of NHS staff and key workers.
  • Weekly cakes and treats delivered to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and four local care homes, provided by the Reading School community to keep their spirits up.
  • 350 meals served daily at the Royal Berkshire Hospital to front line workers.
  • 44 accommodation units hosted on the school site for the NHS, as featured in the national news.
  • Connecting with their alumni and over 300 Old Redingensians over the age of 65 and shielding, to ensure they were not in any undue difficulties.

It is as a result of the above initiatives that we are so proud to be able to support the school and their work beyond the classroom in developing charitable initiatives and habits that students will carry forward into their adult lives.

 

Charities in 2021

LGFL will continue to support local, national and international charities in 2021, as we have done ever since the company was founded twelve years ago. We believe that by helping various charities rather than just one, we can help more of them through these difficult times and support a range of initiatives.

As we say, we are a small firm with a big heart.

If you’d like to join us, here are the links to donate. If you’re a UK taxpayer, remember to Gift Aid any donation, so the charity gets the maximum benefit.

Salvation Army:

Creating Better Futures:

Reading School:

Browse charities in need of your help: