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:

Whose pension is it anyway? Your pensions and divorce questions answered

piggy bank and pension words


Worried about the impact of divorce or separation on your hard-earned pension? I answer some of the big questions clients ask me, in this Pensions 101 article.


Charity September: a month for giving


September was charities month at LGFL: see our article for what we're up to and which local and national charities will benefit.




LGFL Wills, marriage and divorce; don’t get caught out


A will is a 'living document' - when did you last feed it some new information, or update it? Divorce, remarriage, new grandchildren - they all require a new or updated will to reflect your wishes and help your executors carry them out.



From our social media:

I discovered my wife plans on divorce – and accuses me of abuse

Lockdown has had a great affect on many relationships. Finding the best way forward for both parties is crucial. A mediator can really help.


Perspex and Portakabin: HMCTS announces ‘ambitious’ safety drive

Plastic screens are to be installed in 250 courts and retiring rooms by the end of October, while Portakabin buildings are to be set up for deliberating juries, according to a government announcement.


Outdated weddings laws of England and Wales face overhaul

Great to see these changes being considered.

With more choices for locations for weddings will make things easier for couples.

Don't forget the pre-nup!


Coronavirus: What do Covid rules mean for half-term holidays?

Divorced or separated, & you want to take your kids abroad for half term, you’ll need permission from everyone with parental responsibilities. For a UK staycation in an area with local restrictions, check the rules on where & with whom you can stay.


1 in 4 behaviour divorces caused by alcohol abuse during lockdown

Another outcome of lockdown


Meghan Markle was ‘empowered by divorce’ after she made abrupt break-up decision

Can divorce be empowering? A friend at the time of Megan’s divorce in 2013, actress Abby Wathen has been quoted as saying:

“She was empowered. She took her power back. It wasn’t the right relationship for her, so she moved on.”

If you feel it’s time to move on, call us for an initial consultation to discuss your situation in complete confidence.


'Divorce boom' forecast as lockdown sees advice queries rise

Cause and effect in action.


Jamie Redknapp gives rare insight into co-parenting

Talking on a new podcast, Jamie Redknapp has given a rare insight into co-parenting sons


Coercive control: 'I was 16 and thought it was normal'

Really helpful article to understand coercive control.

Even though the article focuses on a young girl this can be relevant to any gender, age or class.


LGFL in the media

What do national lifestyle magazine Red, the Law Society, Berkshire Living and Stay Connected have in common? Rita Gupta has featured in all of them within a month! Discover more of our media features in our latest article at our own website.


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:

Reduced rate of stamp duty and divorce: use it or lose it

model house with stamp duty tag


The reduced rate of stamp duty has some unexpected benefits for anyone looking to separate or divorce, and needing to sell the family home.


Divorce and Children with Special Needs: Child Arrangement Orders

special needs child and divorce


For parents of SEN children, divorce and separation come with an extra layer of challenges. In the first of two articles, our Managing Director Rita Gupta looks at how a pragmatic approach to child arrangements can create a child-focused outcome that prioritises the child’s emotional and financial stability.




What’s changed at LGFL - and what’s not changed! The personal touch a boutique firm offers


As a result of returning to our offices in Swallowfield and Reading, we've had a good think about our firm’s structure and the way we do business. We've had a reallocation of roles, to better deliver the high level of personal service our boutique family law firm is known for.




Rise of the Tinder babies: parental responsibility and paternity

heart on dating agency website


Dating sites have made finding love simple, but the legal ramifications of a resulting pregnancy and child can be anything but simple. Director Rita Gupta explores the rise of the Tinder babies.



From our social media:

'Not just about the professionals': Buckland defends extended court hours

We are not expecting anyone to work extremely long, whole days in court. It’s court buildings hours that we want to extend.


30 Signs someone has suffered financial abuse

Arguing about money is the most likely reason for a couple to divorce, which just shows how huge of an issue it can be. However, not all arguments are equal, and it may be that one partner is the abuser, and the other is the abused.

This article lists some of the warning signs


Depp libel trial reveals problems of proof in domestic violence cases

As this Guardian article states: "If four weeks of courtroom investigations – aided by first-class lawyers examining CCTV recordings, text messages, photos and numerous witnesses – still struggle to establish the precise truth of what happened, then how hard must it be for family courts processing thousands of domestic violence allegations every year?"


Women urged to claim 'millions' in underpaid pensions

"The women are being urged to check their state pension as under the old system married women could claim a basic state pension at 60 per cent of the full rate based on their husband's contributions, where this would be bigger than the pension they would get based on their own contributions."

This applies to divorced women too, particularly those who divorced post-retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex husband.


BBC Panorama

Victoria Derbyshire reports on what lockdown has meant for those living with Domestic Violence.
Thirty-five years on, she returns to look at how those living with domestic violence have been impacted by lockdown.


Training needs in a post-lockdown landscape

Interesting post from Resolution - First for Family Law about training and professional development, crucial for all of us.


TikTok, Netflix’s ‘365 Days’ and the memeification of violent sex by generation Z

Really worrying what younger people are now exposed to and a good article.


Government finds £3.1m to support litigants in person

Not-for-profit organisations will be given funding to provide free legal support to those without legal representation in court.


Lawyers' exemption from coronavirus quarantine should be scrapped as it 'risks lives', Law Society warns

“Allowing people to break quarantine to attend court and not having effective systems in place to communicate outbreaks in the court puts lives at risk”. Law Society President Simon Davis talks to the Evening Standard about #quarantine exemptions


Kent musician composes charity song 'You're Not Alone' to support male domestic abuse victims through charity ManKind

Great to see the top man @LeverClive being featured in the news about his song "You're Not Alone" raising awareness of male victims of domestic abuse and also funds for our helpline.


Life’s too short to end a relationship

"Ending a relationship gets particularly complex when there are other people involved, too, like children, or mutual friends"


MoJ headquarters begins new role as Nightingale court

The Ministry of Justice’s London headquarters has begun functioning as a Nightingale court hearing cases that are not usually open to the public.


LGFL in the media

What do national lifestyle magazine Red, the Law Society, Berkshire Living and Stay Connected have in common? Rita Gupta has featured in all of them within a month! Discover more of our media features in our latest article at our own website.


LGFL - in the news

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:

Our new article on school fees for Stay Connected magazine


We’re delighted to have an article in the second edition of Stay Connected, the new digital magazine packed with features and advice for those still in lockdown.


Domestic violence: the hidden crime in lockdown

key in lock for domestic violence in lockdown


Domestic abuse rates have risen in lockdown, hidden behind closed doors. As the UK restrictions are slowly lifted and more people return to work, now is the time to spot the tell-tale signs of domestic violence, abuse and coercive control in friends, colleagues and children.




Divorce on hold: how a collaborative law approach can help avoid long court delays

mail bags


As UK courts gradually reopen with a substantial backlog of cases to deal with, LGFL Director Anne Leiper explains how a collaborative law approach to separation can be less stressful, less costly and less time consuming.




Want a divorce? Why the new Bill will not make it quicker


Once the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act comes into effect, couples will finally be able to declare “The marriage has broken down irretrievably” and not need to allocate blame to either party. A no-fault divorce has been much anticipated but it comes with a sting in the tail of an extended timeframe for divorce proceedings.




From our social media:

News focus: Family courts - a bumpy road ahead

Remote it is. In December, McFarlane said family lawyers were ‘running flat out up a down escalator’ due to the growing backlog of cases. Covid-19 has made that backlog worse but public law cases must still be completed within the 26-week statutory deadline.


Seven Reasons People Stay in a Marriage That Doesn't Work

It is possible to make a clear decision to divorce. If you feel stuck remind yourself that you always have a choice. If you do choose to leave your relationship be sure that you have made a well-thought-through decision.


Couple who spent £600,000 squabbling for two years over their divorce are left with just £5,000 each after legal costs

Settling fairly, with thought and sometimes compromise will mean your assets don't disappear.


Supporting Hampshire County Council’s plan for Children and young people living with domestic abuse

If someone in your family is hurting someone else, it’s important to get help.
Call Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service Advice Line 𝟬𝟯𝟯𝟬𝟬 𝟭𝟲𝟱 𝟭𝟭𝟮
or Childline on 𝟬𝟴𝟬𝟬 𝟭𝟭𝟭𝟭.
It’s confidential and they will know how to help. Remember it’s not your fault and you won’t get into trouble for telling someone
Stop Domestic Abuse , Hampshire Constabulary


Super-rich divorcing couple are fighting over a £10,000,000 fleet of ships

Divorce settlements wealthy style.


McFarlane: normal family court business unlikely before spring 2021

It's going to be a long road back to fully operational.


Coronavirus lockdown divorce spike could boost property sales by £9.3bn

Another result of lockdown


Social distancing causes delays at regional divorce centre

20 weeks delay!


Lawyers' poems deal with trials of delivering lockdown justice

Love this one!

It’s all very well to do Zoom
but it’s better to be in the room.
One misses the ‘tells’
the ticks and the smells
there’s a danger injustice will loom!


Remote hearings for family courts 'horribly cruel'

There really is no 'one size fits all' to court hearings. In family cases which involve dispute resolution of complex often emotionally-charged issues court provision delivered by video or phone is never going to be an adequate substitute for face-to-face contact.


Divorce rates will climb as lockdown lifts, lawyers say

Divorce rate rising in Belgium due in most part to lockdown.


Ant McPartlin is reunited with his beloved dog Hurley during lockdown

Ant sharing custody of his dog!


Parents fight in court over whether children should return to school in England

It's difficult for parents to know what is right" so it's leading to parents fighting in court over whether children should return to school in England


Bill backed to improve children’s role in family legal system

The Children (Scotland) Bill passed its first stage unanimously in Holyrood. It proposes to give the views of children more weight in family disputes


Survivors of domestic abuse told to give evidence in person at Commons

Video links for evidence to be ended this week! Why?


Family barrister becomes one of the UK’s first hijab-wearing judges

Diversity in action in court.



LGFL is 12!

After three months working remotely, we celebrated our 12th anniversary with a social distanced meeting and a delicious afternoon tea delivered to our Wyvols Court office.

What a journey we have had. The company started in a recession (unintentionally we might add!) and year on year, we’ve grown from strength to strength. The secret of our success? We’ve focused on what we are good at, family law, and remained boutique.

Here’s to the next 12 years!

mail bags

Lockdown has put a great strain on a great many couples. It may have pushed some already strained relationships beyond breaking point and towards separation and divorce.

For many couples, going to court may seem the default pathway ahead, but with long delays and cases being adjourned, is this the best way forward? LGFL Director and experienced mediator Anne Leiper explains how a collaborative law approach to separation can be less stressful, less costly and less time consuming.

Lockdown may be easing, but the backlog of ‘normal’ legal activities delayed by the pandemic is still building. It’s been a time of great uncertainty since the end of March for those looking to divorce. Many courts are still closed, and judges are adjourning hearings without reference to the parties. Even with many hearings taking place remotely via video conferencing, there are still potentially weeks or months of delays ahead.


Why choose collaborative law

Collaborative law offers an alternative to the uncertainty of when, and indeed how, a family court will deal with your divorce. Instead, collaborative law brings together both parties and their legal team outside of the court jurisdiction, to settle the financial claims arising as a result of your divorce or separation.

Collaborative law via video conferencing

Collaborative law through remote video meetings works especially well, as it provides a route for your meetings to occur safely. Crucially, the collaborative process will mean that there is no delay and no court-imposed time limits. You have complete control over the timing and duration of the meetings, and you are not going to be limited by the judge’s time and availability on the day.

At LGFL, we have conducted meetings using all of the most popular video apps with great success, including Zoom, MS Teams, Skype and Lifesize (a common app for court hearings too). We will deal with all the technical side of connecting, so you can just log in at the specific time with us alongside you in the virtual space.


The downside of remote court hearings

The difficulty with remote court hearings is that we have lost that flexibility of being in the court building, and able to negotiate outside of the courtroom. In a remote court hearing, there will be a fixed time only due to the judge’s availability, and no allowance for that “court corridor” time to negotiate.

This is why in these days of remote hearing as the default option, the collaborative approach comes into its own. As a team, we can “meet” with your spouse and their team to negotiate a financial solution, without the need for a court hearing.

Where needed, you can bring in experts to give you the pensions and financial advice you may require. As your legal team, we can advise on legal matters and facilitate the meetings, moving the process forward at the pace you are happy with.

At the moment, we cannot predict how long delays may be. However, given the accumulated backlog, delays could be quite considerable for several months yet. Collaborative law allows both the parties to keep control of their cases, which is a much less stressful situation than waiting on a court date only to find it’s been adjourned.


Book a 1 hour consultation with 30 minutes free to discuss your unique circumstances, or see our Collaborative Law page for more details.

Mediation post lockdown

Mediation is another way for your and your spouse to avoid court hearings ad resolve family law issues between yourselves. We’ve been offering mediation services at LGFL for years, and the only thing the pandemic has really altered is that now it’s conducted online rather than in a neutral space such as our offices. We’ve also adapted our own procedure for remote mediations and mediation agreements accordingly.

Professional mediation can help sort out family law disputes between you and your partner. With the help of your independent mediator, you can create child and family solutions without the need for court proceedings.

In my experience, mediation via video platforms such as Zoom actively removes obstacles to communication rather than the other way around. Many clients actually prefer this online mediation, as they no longer have to sit in the same room as their partner, and find it easier to talk as a result. Each party can feel safe in their individual physical space, and often are more ready to listen and come to an agreement as a result.


Why choose mediation?

Mediation puts you much more in control than litigation. Mediation gives you the space to discuss the important issues around your marriage or relationship breakdown, such as:

  • Child arrangements
  • Financial settlements
  • Co-parenting
  • Immediate living arrangements

The neutral online space and the presence of an impartial mediator enables you to sit back and listen. So, you hear the other party's point of view. You each understand where the other is coming from. This can lead to much better, longer-lasting relationships between the two of you, especially important for those wanting to co-parent in the future.

To discuss your own particular situation, call us and book a 1-hour consultation with 30 minutes free. Or see our Collaborative Law page for more details.


Why choose LGFL mediation?

In the case of mediation services from LGFL, you have the added advantage of your mediator, myself, also being an experienced family lawyer. My role as a mediator is neutral. I don’t (and indeed cannot) represent any party involved. Instead, I’m a facilitator to help you and your former partner have those discussions directly between you, in a safe environment.


Four key benefits of mediation

  • Mediation can break the deadlock between you and your partner if you’re struggling to agree on any or all aspects of your separation.
  • Mediation can also build stronger relationships between you, especially important for your future roles as co-parents. Stronger relationships can also make life so much easier at those important future family events that are going to inevitably come up; weddings, christenings, and graduations.
  • Mediation strengthens any agreements you make. An agreement that you reach together is much stronger than one imposed by a court. I think this is because mediation is a much less destructive process than litigation, and based on agreement not blame
  • Mediation bypasses the need to go to court in order to achieve resolution. If you want to resolve your relationship breakdown in a reasonable timeframe and with less stress for you and your family, mediation could be the answer.


LGFL offer a 1 hour online consultation with 30 minutes free to discuss your unique circumstances – call us to book yours without delay.


Anne Leiper explains the benefits of collaborative law for you and your family.


Hello, I'm Anne Leiper from LGFL, and I want to explain to you how the collaborative family law process can help you and your family.

I'm a specially trained collaborative family lawyer. The process involves that each of you would have your own specialist collaborative lawyer by your side throughout the process.

It involves four-by-four-way meetings. That means that everybody is in the room together. You with your solicitor, collaborative lawyer, your former partner, with their solicitor, collaborative lawyer.

Consequently, all of the discussions are heard by everyone. It's therefor a very immediate, direct and powerful process. And it's specifically tailored to you and your family's needs. It's a very safe environment for the discussions to take place.

Additionally, whilst you're going through the process, both of you agree that you will not start court proceedings.

If you think that this is a process that can help you and your family, then please do give me a call.