News Archive for February, 2016

Boundary Argument Costs Teacher £50,000

Boundary disputes can take a long time to resolve and can be ruinously expensive, as a recent case illustrates.

It involved a teacher who put up a fence along what she thought was the boundary of her property. Her neighbours did not agree.  The potential for a dispute was clear because she had to apply for planning permission for the fence and the difference of opinion over where the boundary lay was evident early on when her neighbours marked out a line
inside the line she considered marked the edge of her property.  The difference in the positions was a little more than a foot.

Undaunted, the woman constructed a fence along 'her' boundary line, and the matter ended up in court. The judge decided upon a compromise, holding that the neighbours' view as to the boundary line was correct but denying their application to have the fence removed. Instead, he awarded them damages of £2,866.

However, the damages were small beer compared with the legal costs awarded against the teacher, which amounted to some £50,000.

Boundary disputes are almost always very lengthy and complicated and the costs of resolving them routinely exceed the value of the property concerned by a long way. In order to have the best chance of obtaining resolution at reasonable cost, without resorting to court proceedings, it is essential to take legal advice at an early stage.

Posted by Peter Nicholas on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM

Shared Parental Leave Announcement

Recognising that many grandparents take on responsibility for part of the care of their grandchildren, the Chancellor has announced that the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 are to be broadened to include working grandparents.

The change follows the disclosure that up to two million grandparents have made amendments to their patterns of work in order to help out their families who cannot afford childcare.

The proposal reflects the way society is changing, with many couples having to work when their children are very young and their parents working to a later age because they cannot afford to retire. In addition, there is a trend for couples to have
children later in life.

Posted by Peter Nicholas on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 10:22 AM

Improper Disclosure of Wealth in Divorce Proceedings

When the ex-wives of two very wealthy men discovered that their divorce settlements had been concluded on the basis of information supplied by their husbands which was clearly wrong, a series of legal battles culminated in a decision by the Supreme Court which shows that the courts may be expected to clamp down hard on those who give misleading evidence in such cases.

The two women claimed that their husbands had deliberately misled them by hiding their true wealth throughout legal proceedings to divide their respective family assets. The result was that they had accepted smaller settlements than they were rightfully due.  They asked the Court to set aside the earlier divorce settlements that had been agreed.

In one case, the Court of Appeal agreed that the husband's valuation of his business had been fraudulent, but would not overturn the settlement, holding that the outcome would not have been significantly different.

In the second case, it was discovered that the husband had failed to disclose the existence of significant assets. He was later convicted of fraud.  However, the Court of Appeal refused to reopen the divorce settlement.

The Supreme Court has now overturned both decisions, which may have a significant impact on divorces throughout the land as it clearly demonstrates that where there is material deception in disclosing the true value of assets during divorce proceedings, the courts are likely to order the settlements to be reconsidered.

If you are concerned that your spouse is attempting to present themselves as having fewer assets than they really do, contact us. We are experienced in ensuring full disclosure of assets is achieved.

We can advise on all aspects of family break-up and financial provision on divorce.

Posted by Peter Nicholas on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 10:17 AM