Category Archives: Financial

COHABITATION RULES WHERE ONE PARTY CAN DEMONSTRATE FINANCIAL SUPPORT PRIOR TO THE RELATIONSHIP BREAKING DOWN

The law regarding cohabitation disputes has seen a development.  An article reported in the Times, entitled   “Woman who used fiancée as cash cow wins half of £1.7m home.”

The woman, aged 43, won her argument on the grounds she was supported by her partner during their 16 year relationship. She relied upon the premise she was given jewellery and hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash by her partner.   There was no marriage and at the end of the relationship they fought over their shared possessions.

The other party to the dispute, aged 46, alleged she had been pressurised by her partner into putting the house in Chingford, Essex, under both of their names within a year of purchase in 2007, for £1.4 m.

The claimant, Ms Ladwa argued the relationship was like a conventional divorce and hence, she was entitled to half of the property.  There appears to be a perception on the part of the second party, Ms Chapman, that she had been unduly generous once she had assimilated the strength of these arguments.

The gifts provided to Ms Ladwa, unemployed during the relationship lasting since 2000, included an Aston Martin, shoes, bags and designer jewellery.  There had also been a proposal of marriage on two occasions on the part of Ms Chapman.

Ms Ladwa was also in receipt of an annual allowance of £25,000 from her own mother.

At the end of the relationship and their separation, Ms Chapman sued Ms Ladwa for the value of the house and for the return of “loans” and gifts. She did not succeed.

From the judgement, it would seem the judge, Judge Stephen March, decided Ms Chapman had the economic strength in the relationship. The gifts and money were construed not as loans. They were gifts and hence, should be held onto by Ms Ladwa. She would not have been in the financial position to repay any of these.

If you have to sort out a dispute regarding property and other assets, you are welcome to contact Wynn Mediation with a view to mediating.  These cases are very expensive if taken to court. Mediation is cost effective and offers both parties the opportunity to put their respective cases forward. The mediator is trained to try and remove the hostility that exists where there has been a particularly acrimonious breakdown in a relationship.  The parties need to focus upon legal principles to ensure that they find a fair outcome towards resolving their dispute.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, Accredited Family Mediator and previously a solicitor.

We are Wynn Mediation at 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW.

www.wynnmediation. com       E Mail: enquiries@wynnmediation. Com       Tel: 01702 341241

 

PMM/Wynn Mediation                                                                                                                 August 2018

“TEACH MARRIAGE IN SCHOOLS”, URGES TOP DIVORCE SOLICITOR

She is right of course in spite of the irony of the Times article quoting Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia that she wants schools to help pupils view marriage as “the most important decision they make”.

Baroness Shackleton is described as the top divorce solicitor.  She has represented Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney in their respective divorces.

Important quotes from the article are:  “Marriage is not just about the heart, it’s a practical arrangement …….. which has to survive to rear children”

The Times article is linked with the recent decision published from the Supreme Court ruling  and that underpins the long and existing principle that a couple has to prove in court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down if they wish to obtain a divorce in this country.

The contentious issue has been the limited grounds that must be cited to prove irretrievable breakdown and. in particular; the grounds relied upon where unreasonable behaviour is cited. This particular aspect has been criticised over the decades by many tip top lawyers and judges who say the current divorce law is archaic and that leads to the call for the No fault divorce.

The basis for change would lie with the need to focus on the “untold grief” suffered by children where there is a broken marriage.   This is nothing new and my surprise  therefore that the call for change is coming from  family lawyers and judges who are jointly campaigning along with the press for change to allow the advent of the No fault divorce.

We live in interesting times and change will happen.  I believe there is little wrong with the existing legislation and my suspicions are roused as to the real reasons for mooted change.

The sadness for me as a family mediator is the lack of personal responsibility on the part of adults to commit and to limit their expectations of a marriage or a relationship.

Communication and mutual understanding is flaky.

The process of family mediation is not to keep people together but to enable them to discuss politely and respectfully their individual needs and have course the needs of any children of their relationship when it is breaking down.

Respect, truth and fairness are required by most people who I meet professionally.  By the time they reach court, it is probably too late because the majority of people are steered by the advice they have had and seem to lose the ability to think for themselves and to find the courage to discuss their views and feelings with each other.

This is why mediation has become so popular.

The mediator facilitates in a non partisan way and tries to remove the competitive edge of normal litigation.

Our ancestors did not have to deal with the modern day dilemmas of society. They were too busy working for future freedom of choice and peace and prosperity for their families. I do ask where this has got us.   This is time for reflection and for us all to consider how we may influence the future.

Marriage is a wonderful institution and I certainly support the words of Baroness Shackleton even though I suspect she is targeting the populous slightly too early in their stage of development.  Good luck to her and I hope that this effectively reduces the number of divorces and failed relationships in this country.

Tricia Muzalewski, FMCA and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator

Wynn Mediation      www.wynnmediation.com.  Contact details: email: enquiries@wynnmediation.com or by telephone: 01702 341241                     August 2018

 

MIND GAMES OF SOCIAL MEDIA – ARE WE BECOMING ANGRIER? THE THOUGHTS OF A FAMILY MEDIATOR

A book has been published by a novelist, Matt Haig about the dangers posed to our mental health, by   21st century living.  His book is entitled “Notes on a Nervous Planet” and comprises a series of short chapters and “Twitter style snippets” on how we can look after our heads better and why doing so matters.

According to Matt Haig, the identified rogue seems to be the Internet and he describes our addictive relationship with both internet and social media and of the destructive behaviour it encourages.

He describes our need to check updates on social media and he refers to “reductive Twitter spats” with complete strangers and the trait of needing to “pore over other people’s Instagram posts.”

What is the outcome of this practice?   According to Matt, it lowers our self esteem and he questions why we neglect our mental health in this way.  He is right of course especially if one compares the attention we direct towards meeting our physical health needs as opposed to managing our own mental stability.

Matt identifies a growing dependency  on social media and reflects on his own tendency to depend upon social media and which he believes led to  a recent bout of anxiety that he has linked to his growing dependency on this social epidemic.

He has also identified the need to accept a different view of one.

This reminds me of the skills of an accredited family mediator who is always looking to revitalise the skills of the parties he or she is mediating for and to ask what it is they hope to achieve, rather than what other people expect of them.

In turn, the personal skills of a mediator relate to seeking the best from a person in terms of rebuilding honesty and trust in themselves and each other.

Matt Haig’s book caught my interest as review in “The Metro”.  It is anticipated to be a best seller and it contains Matt’s findings about individual human traits, for example, he refers to women’s ability to talk and identify how people are feeling, as opposed to men for whom it can be more difficult to talk in this way.

In all mediation cases, there is one party who is far more at ease talking about their personal wishes and needs. The process requires both parties to listen to one another and to enable the mediator to hear what is being said by each on an equal and fair basis so that there is complete transparency and understanding.

I move into the realm of children which is especially pertinent to the world of family mediation.  The growth in equal parenting of children  requires both parents  to  consider the possible effects that social media has  on children and to help in trying to avoid the pressures of the need to compare our lives with the impossibly perfect lives put forward by others on, say, Instagram.

Within mediation, I encourage parents to concentrate on these external influences that affect the judgement of young and old in terms of our own expectations and of what we interpret as being human and normal behaviour.

So, we have to ask the question “Are we in control of our own wishes and expectations or has the pendulum gone too far the other way?”     How, therefore are children able to make sense of what is expected of them and what rules need to be put in place for their benefit to thrive in this great and confusing world when the influence comes not from their parents but from external sources such as social media. The writing is on the wall and parents need to work together regardless of whether they live together or separately.

Matt Haig refers to smoking and alcohol and the acceptance that cigarettes are potentially life-threatening. This is now recognised and, so, he compares “the impact of tech” as having a similarly life threatening physical or mental effect and he encourages the need to start becoming more mindful of our behaviour and the effects of this addiction.   I agree that we need to be aware and I look forward to seeing more about how we can control our relationship with social media as a way of protecting us from being ruled by our phones and indirectly by others in quite a sinister way.

 

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, Accredited Family Mediator, at Wynn Mediation.

Contact by email: enquiries@wynnmediation.com or by telephone: 01702 341241

 

TM, Wynn Mediation                                                                                                  July 2018

English Football World Cup Manager, Gareth Southgate is an example of the quiet understated leader who uses similar human and respectful skills adopted by an experienced Family Mediator

Gareth Southgate, England’s World Cup Team manager has attracted a great deal of attention  as not only has he revived the style of wearing a waistcoat but he has also reinvented decent,  courteous and respectful behaviour to the game of football at the highest level  and with such great  effect.

I understand from what I have read about Gareth Southgate, he is a bright, humble and decent person who is commanding the respect of so many people by his skills of offering back a basic respect to people. This has been recognised by not only his previous footballing team mates  but also by the original cynics who said he would be unlikely to be able to do the job as England’s manager, because he is too nice.  Oh, how they have been proved wrong!

Gareth Southgate is not a bullish person and I have read that his humility has been central to his connection formed with his team of “millennials”.  The archaic view that for someone to make impact requires them to be an authoritarian and a bit of a bully, has clearly been overturned.

Gareth has been described as a shy man, in his youth.  He has been married for twenty years and he has two children.  He is known for his excellent tactical and creative skills alongside strong emotional intelligence which means he connects well with people.

When I read comments that this one man has brought a new concept of leadership to this beautiful game, my heart warmed as people are so influenced by the world of football.   Further, Southgate is described as an understated icon.  This hit a note with me as in my world of family mediation, it is the understated individual who offers so much depth and understanding of others and who may often offer help to   people towards meeting their own goals and aspirations.

Mediation is only witnessed by people who find themselves in dispute but football is in the lives of most of us. So, where better than in the world of football for there to be such a high level of opportunity to free the dreams of many.

I see the role of a family mediator as someone who tries to bring depth and self belief back to a person who often has lost all sense of self credibility.   A bad relationship or divorce or family breakdown can destroy the strongest of people.  Gareth Southgate, who, as a more humble and understated person and who is aware of his personal skills in  that he can help others to believe in themselves to manifest and demonstrate their skills without seeking adulation, has the ability to demonstrate these skills to others.

I have read of the comparison drawn between the conflict, passion and dirty tricks of earlier football matches before Southgate became manager. These are described as the knickerbockers glory type of victory whereas the Southgate method is the more sweated-out and hard-won type of victory that has been described as the pleasurable English scone or toasted tea cake victory.

A similar description can be offered to an experienced family mediator who will wish to adopt calmness within the process.  Gareth Southgate has“calmness in his eyes and modest certainty and even a soothing balm to what is described as our battered national soul instead of the noise of the loudest, crudest, most divisive noise in our culture”.  In mediation, I recognise the cruel behaviour often witnessed when trying to facilitate difficult and sensitive negotiations between an angry couples who once loved each.

My remit is to minimise the risk of those clients coming into mediation from descending into a pit of adversarial litigation which attracts misery, uncertainty and unaffordable bills.  There is always a choice however but the mediator’s remit is always to remain impartial so that the clients can learn to identify with the skills of the mediator and to start thinking again about their future.

The self belief of a good family mediator is akin to the beliefs attached to Gareth Southgate at this crucial time of the World Cup. He can do no wrong in terms of helping people to unify in supporting England in the World Cup when there are so many differences existing between us.

If you wish to uphold traditional values of politeness, understatement and self control and lack of flash then feel free to use the services of an experienced accredited family mediator to assist you in resolving your family dispute. It makes sense for so many and you will not be judged whatever the intensity of your situation.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, Wynn Mediation, at 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliffe on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW or by telephone: 01702 341241 or by email at enquiries@wynnmediation.com

 

 

PMM                                                                                                                                     July 2018

 

TIME FOR FATHERS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE

This is a direct quote from the Times last week.

The forthcoming President of the Family Division is sending out an S.O.S. to fathers.

Mr Justice McFarlane supports the message that children need relationships with both parents even if they have been separated.

Many fathers who I meet in mediation believe that they can only respond to the wishes of the mothers of their children rather than having a full and proactive role even where the parents have had to separate.

Many children are becoming used to their parents living in separate households and they need to be helped to become used to their new situation. As a family mediator, I find communication is vital for enduring and meaningful relationships to continue between separated parents and their children.  This happens through joint cooperation and foresight.  Separated parents often need some help to find a way forwards in achieving this and mediation is an excellent way of trying to help children find their own way without conflict and competing ideals.

There is a growing gangland culture whereby boys are joining gangs to find male role models, according to Britain’s top family judge.

And he says that the role of fathers in families is important.

I am heartened to read this because I fear many fathers feel they have few opportunities to continue their role to effect and this is really sad.   A child should have a decent relationship with both parents and fathers should play a role in their children’s lives.

Mr Justice McFarlane wishes to see fathers connecting with their children.  It is acknowledged that this can become terribly difficult where there may be three fathers for a mother’s three children.

Fathers are just as important to a child as mothers are, he says, genetically and in terms of identity and that a child is 50% of both of you in terms of another pair of hands, another brain, and another option.

Is it possible that a factor driving some boys into gangs is because there is no father role model at home?  So, Dads step up to the plate and help mediators and our judiciary to help the law provide a structure and solutions for family life which of course has changed so radically.

If you are struggling with making proper and consistent family and contact arrangements with your children then please consider family mediation as a first option.  The mediator does not take sides and will be trying to help both parents see the situation from a child’s viewpoint and to help parents make good decisions to enable children to remain safe and balanced in this challenging world.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, FMC and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator at Wynn Mediation at 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW. Telephone 01702 341241 or email enquiries@wynnmediation.com

 

PMM/Wynn Mediation                                                                                                                 July 2018