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All the names in the following case studies have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties.
Secretive and Domineering Husband
Background: Amanda had been married for over 20 years to her husband Robert. They had both worked hard, built a successful business together and owned several properties in the UK and overseas. Robert’s behaviour was becoming increasingly aggressive and threatening towards Amanda and he was secretive about finances. Amanda eventually had to leave their home because of his aggression. She believed from what Robert had said to her over the years that if they separated she would “not get a penny”. She felt very low when she came to see us and had no expectations of ever securing a financial settlement.
Action: This was a case that had to go to court as Robert did not want to provide information about his finances and would rarely co-operate.
Result: Amanda was happy with her barrister, who we chose to reflect her needs and the complexity of the case. Amanda achieved a fair settlement after a final hearing. It was necessary to pursue Robert further as he did not want to implement the court’s decision. Amanda returned to court to enforce her settlement against Robert and successfully recovered legal costs from him. She now has financial independence, her own home and a good life.
Discreet, Amicable, Collaborative Divorce and Financial Settlement
Background: Mark and Priya separated after being married for a number of years and there were no dependent children. They both wanted the divorce to be undertaken discreetly and amicably and had quite a tight timetable for sorting out the financial arrangements. They had heard about Family Collaborative Law and agreed to enter into a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement.
Action: Karina Leapman collaborated with another experienced family lawyer with whom there were detailed 2-way discussions to thoroughly prepare before Mark and Priya met together, with their 2 lawyers.
Result: Although both parties were very upset at the ending of the marriage, by avoiding a confrontational approach they managed to reach a sensible, prompt and amicable settlement within the necessary timeframe, which they both found fair in their circumstances. The divorce process was speeded up through co-operation, dignity was maintained and legal costs minimised.
Amicable Negotiated Divorce, Separation Agreement and Financial Settlement
Background: Anita and Farook had a 10-year relationship before they married. They were married for 8 years but sadly fell out of love. Anita and Farook wanted matters to be dealt with amicably; they wanted a divorce which did not apportion blame to either of them.
Action: They agreed to wait for 2 years in order to petition for divorce on the basis of their separation. In the meantime, they wanted to divide the matrimonial assets between them. Anita and Farook reached an agreement as to how the assets should be divided whereupon an agreement was drafted, approved and signed by both. Two years later Anita and Farook divorced and obtained a Court Order setting out their financial arrangements which followed the terms of their Separation Agreement.
Result: Anita and Farook are still friends. Anita is settled and has embarked on a new life.
Disagreements Over a Child and a Wish to Relocate
Background: Julia grew up in Sweden. On marrying Eric she moved to England with him where the couple established a home together and had 2 children, Michael and Ella.
Sadly, a few years after the children were born Julia and Eric separated and Julia took Michael and Ella to Sweden to visit her family. She intended a short visit, but given the problems between her and Eric she decided to stay longer.
Action: Eric applied for the children’s return under the 1980 Hague Convention and the Swedish Court ordered them to return. Julia returned to England immediately following the order.
When Julia and the children arrived in the UK, Eric did not allow them back into their home. Julia applied to the Court for an Occupation Order, requiring Eric to leave and enabling her to return home. Eric left the home after Julia obtained the order so that she, Michael and Ella could move in.
Subsequently Eric and Julia divorced and Julia secured a residence order under the Children Act 1989 in her favour to make arrangements for the children clear.
Julia became increasingly unhappy in England. Her support network of family and friends were in Sweden so she found it difficult to get a job and socialise. She tried to get some support from Eric but while he saw Michael and Ella every other week he did not assist or play any other part in the children’s lives despite Julia’s encouragement.
As a single parent Julia found she was struggling in the UK and asked Eric to agree to her moving to Sweden with both children. Eric did not agree, so Julia applied for permission from the English Court to take them permanently to Sweden.
Julia’s case included all her reasons for wanting to live in Sweden, her proposals for how the children and Eric would see each other and the children’s education.
Result: Fortunately, at the final hearing, Julia and Eric were able to have a sensible dialogue through their lawyers. They were able to agree proposals outside the Courtroom which were then incorporated into a Court Order. As parents they managed to agree on their children’s future at the last moment without a Judge making decisions again and have been able to move on from a period of turbulence to a more calm life.
Harassment Leading to an Injunction
Background: Ruth and Tom lived together for 2 years. Ruth decided to leave Tom and told him that she wanted to ‘move out’, which is when Tom became abusive and intimidating towards her.
Tom was aggressive and threatening as Ruth was trying to move out. She feared for her safety, however managed to pacify Tom and eventually left safely.
The parties decided to meet to talk about the future of their relationship but the conversation agitated Tom who assaulted Ruth in public. Ruth was extremely scared and walked around the city, not knowing what to do and who to involve. Tom followed her. His harassment of Ruth steadily escalated.
Harassing calls, text messages and emails became a problem. If Ruth switched off her phone, Tom would call her friends and family. He accessed Ruth’s email and Facebook accounts.
Ruth wanted to deal with matters amicably. She was scared of Tom and tried to pacify him but found that his behaviour was becoming more and more unpredictable and unbearable.
Action: Ruth successfully applied for an urgent non-molestation order against Tom without notice to him and it was served on him.
Result: Tom’s harassment of Ruth has stopped.
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