Our family law expert gives BBC radio listeners valuable advice on key divorce issues
Legal Aid, doomerang divorcees and why the summer holidays are a time of heightened pressure for relationships were among the issues raised when Norman Taylor appeared on BBC Radio Leeds ‘Legal Monday’ programme.
Recognised by Chambers UK Guide as a leading individual in his field, Norman – who has a wealth of experience in financial issues arising from family and relationship breakdown – was invited back for the third time this year.
Popular presenter and host, Richard Stead, asked Norman if summer holidays tended to exacerbate pressure for couples and Norman explained that it can be common for family breaks to tip relationships with existing problems over the edge.
When asked about the holidays being a ‘tricky time’ for estranged spouses and partners with children regarding access rights to children, Norman outlined the importance of diffusing tensions by planning meticulously in advance and avoiding a last minute bombshell such as “By the way I want the kids for two weeks.”
Norman also stressed how valuable it can be for ex partners to plan for the year ahead. He said that although a legal document was not necessary as long as former spouses trusted each other to make the arrangement work in the best interests of their children, it is always best to record what has been agreed in writing to avoid uncertainty.
Listeners’ questions also included legal aid – with a woman asking why her son-in-law had been awarded it while her daughter had been refused it. Norman advised that it is highly unusual for anybody to receive legal aid nowadays and how very strict financial criteria are in place – with individuals frequently having to rely on a recorded case of domestic violence before even contemplating applying for it.
Another query centred on the time it takes to obtain a divorce. Norman highlighted how minimum timescales are now 4-5 months if everything goes well – and how increased court pressures and stretched resources have dispelled the myth of the ‘quickie divorce’ – a term that arose when people were freed from attending court in undefended cases.
An increase in ‘doomerang divorcees’ – where adults who have left the marital home are forced to move back in with their parents because of financial pressures – was also discussed. Norman explained that establishing who lives where is one of the biggest issues in divorce and separation and, if children are involved, it is usual for one parent to stay in the family home because couples’ finances often do not stretch to running two households.
He also advised listeners that even when the family home is sold, there may not be enough money left for both parties to put a deposit on a new one.
You can listen back until 13th September.
If you have any comments, queries or concerns on any divorce related issue, leave a comment below, call the Jones Myers team on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.