Horsey Lightly once again, proud to support the Royal County of Berkshire Show 2018

Being a local firm of solicitors, we feel it is important to "Keep it Local".

Horsey Lightly were once again delighted to support the 2018 Berkshire Show and were proud to have their banners on display in all of the main arenas.  If you managed to read the Newbury Weekly News Show Guide published the week before the show, you would have seen our "Keep it Local" advert nestled  amongst its' pages. 

Being a well-established firm in Newbury and the Thames Valley region it is important to us to provide a service that is in tune with and sensitive to local people and their needs. 

Horsey Lightly have always been a market-leader and can boast a team of experts in areas including Property, Family, Business Services and Private Clients. 

We believe that by continuing to support local events, such as the Berkshire Show, we can ensure that our services are made available to those who need us, when they need us.     

Guards Polo Yearbook 2018

Horsey in every way!

Towards the end of 2017 we were approached by the editors of the Guards Polo Club who asked us whether we would be interested in advertising in their Yearbook for 2018. Curious to know why they selected us, their answer was simple. They were looking for a firm of solicitors to advertise in their yearbook and thought our name fitted the bill perfectly! Not having marketed down this road before, we thought we would give it a go.

A bit about the Club......(sample from the website)

The Club was founded on 25th January 1955 with HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as President. Originally named the Household Brigade Polo Club, the name was changed to its present form in 1969 and became a fully civilian club in 2000. Since inception the Club has grown considerably and it is now the largest polo club in Europe in terms of membership and number of grounds. 

The Club is set in the outstanding natural surroundings of Smith's Lawn in the heart of Great Windsor Park. Such a spectacular location, impressive fixtures list and the Club's unrivalled, close relationship with the Royal Family ensures that Guards Polo Club is, without doubt, one of the most famous polo clubs in the world.

The Club's season starts in April and finishes in mid September, hosting more than 500 matches each year.

The Club has been in the forefront of supporting polo for the young. Throughout the season they host representative matches and tournaments for the Pony Club, and for Schools, Universities and young players from the Armed Forces. This includes the annual La Martina Varsity Day, featuring the best players from Oxford and Cambridge, plus the Inter Regimental final.

Horsey Lightly are proud to feature on page 229 in the Guards Polo Yearbook and look forward to developing the relationship between us. 

Protecting the financial support you give your family

as featured in "Good Housekeeping" - July edition

Helping your children financially, whether to get a foot on the property ladder or with some of life’s other expenses, is one of the joys, and increasingly, one of the roles of a parent.

But what happens to your gift if their relationship breaks down?

Did you know that without proper protection in place, your generous financial support could end up benefiting your ex-daughter or son-in-law, or even their new partners?

The good news is, it doesn’t cost much, or take long, to legally protect your gift or loan. A declaration of trust, or a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, will help to ensure your money is either returned to you, to use again to help your children, or ring-fenced to stay with the intended recipient.


Declaration of Trust

An ideal solution when your money is helping an unmarried couple. A declaration of trust outlines what should happen to your gift or loan should the recipient separate from their partner. For instance, it could specify that any money you lend for a house deposit be returned to you when the house is sold.

By getting your money back, you’ll be able to give your child much-needed support when they’re looking for their new home.


Pre- or Post-Nuptial Agreement

When a couple marry with unequal assets, or with financial input from a parent or grandparent, a well-executed pre- or post-nuptial agreement can be the best solution.

It can also give a sense of security to both you and the recipient, that the support will remain with the person intended.

Myths

‘In a divorce, assets get split 50:50 don’t they?’

Sadly, not always. Recording your money in a trust, or in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, will help to protect it and your child.

‘As a common-law wife, my daughter and grandchildren will be provided for by law.’

Unfortunately, the status of common-law spouse isn’t legally recognised in this country. By entering into a trust, your financial support could be returned to you to give again later.   

 

Contact our Family Law lawyers to see how we can help to protect your financial gifts and loans.


Horsey Lightly - Good All Rounders!

Down but not out!

Back in August this year, a mighty group of 10 Horsey Lightlians ventured forth to Park House School in Newbury to take on a variety of Goliaths in their own fields at the life endangering sport of .........Rounders!

After putting in weeks of training and mental preparation we strode forth and went toe-to-toe with 5 other local businesses including: MAXX Design, Newbury Building Society, Gardner Leader, Jones Robinson and First Extra.  

Organised by Jones Robinson in aid of the Rosemary Appeal, the afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable with a BBQ, cakes and even the weather was kind to us. The event raised the target amount of £1500 for the Appeal - fantastic effort all round.  

However, it was congratulations to Gardner Leader who won the trophy but I am pleased to say we came away a very respectable and valiantly fought 4th place! 

Same time next year?

  

Parental Responsibility

Children, divorce and making it work - as featured in "Good Housekeeping" August edition.

Getting divorced can be tough. Losing contact with your children can be devastating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Parental Responsibility

Unless your child is adopted, the biological mother, and the father if he’s named on the birth certificate, have Parental Responsibility. This means you have rights in relation to your child. If you don’t have Parental Responsibility, you may be able to apply for it.

But what can you do if your rights aren’t being respected?

We’re here to help find an amicable solution

For many, seeking legal advice is seen as a last resort. But it needn’t be. We believe in finding solutions quickly and amicably, without the need for costly legal action.


Some common myths:

‘She’s making it impossible for me to see the children.’

Put simply, it’s not OK, or legal, for either parent to behave in a way that negatively impacts the interests of the child. We can help you gain contact with your child.

‘He keeps turning up late, which upsets the children, but there’s nothing I can do.’

Wrong, there is something you can do. You have rights to protect your children, and can take steps to prevent bad behaviour. This can often be resolved simply with a letter.

‘The mother always gets the children.’

Once often the case, parenting is now frequently shared, with children having two homes, one with mum, one with dad. You just need to decide how much time is spent at each home. Children also have some input in the decision.

 ‘I have no say in which school the kids to go.’

If the children live with one parent, this doesn’t give that parent the right to call all the shots. Important decisions such as the choice of school, medical treatment beyond regular check-ups, and a change of surname, require all holders of Parental Responsibility to agree.

Contact our Family Department to see how we can help resolve your differences amicably.

Divorce - how much?

Reducing the cost of divorce – emotionally and financially (as featured in "Good Housekeeping" - September edition)



It’s never easy when a relationship breaks down. On top of the emotional turmoil, are the difficult decisions to be made. Decisions that will affect your future, and your family’s future, for years to come.

Seeking professional advice from a lawyer doesn’t mean an escalation in the marriage breakdown. Knowing your legal rights simply puts you in a better position for working towards a fair and amicable settlement.



CHOOSING HOW TO GET DIVORCED & REACH A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT 

DIY – as it sounds, you do it yourself. Speak to a lawyer first, and you’ll know what’s a fair settlement to work towards.

Mediation – reaching agreement with the support of a trained, neutral mediator. Speaking to a lawyer first will help you identify the key areas to discuss.

Collaboration – reaching a settlement together, amicably, with your respective collaborative lawyers by your side.

Traditional negotiation & litigation – appointing a lawyer who will negotiate with your partner’s solicitor, going to court if agreement cannot be reached.

SOME COMMON MYTHS

‘I can’t afford to speak to a solicitor’

While it’s true that speaking to a solicitor is more expensive than a friend, you may be surprised at how much you discover in just one hour, especially if you come prepared with questions. The cost is usually a small fraction of the increased settlement.

‘I don’t need a lawyer, we’re married, I’ll get 50% of everything’

You might be entitled to 50%, but what if you’re entitled to a lot more? Or a lot less? It depends on your personal circumstances. Without sound legal advice, you could be gambling with your, and your children’s housing and future financial security.

TALK TO YOUR FRIENDLY FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

We’re Resolution solicitors, which means we believe in finding the most sensitive, constructive, cost-effective solution for you. Contact our Family Department, it could be the most helpful conversation you have.

Considering a Declaration of Trust

It is not uncommon  that when a couple purchase a home together  they make unequal contributions towards the purchase price; maybe a parent has gifted one of them a significant sum of money or one of them has contributed  the sale proceeds from a previously owned property.  

When this happens the couple may wish to own their new home in different shares to reflect their  different contributions.  There may be other  reasons apart from differing contributions why the shares should not be equal. For example, there may be tax planning considerations or  asset limitation as in the case of a business owner wishing to protect the property from future creditors. 

Different shares in property are created  by using a method of ownership known as Tenants in Common; creating separate and distinct legal shares that can then be owned individually.  However  the law presumes that  joint owners of property  own it in equal shares, which means that the onus is on the owners to show that their shares in the property are different.

The easiest way to do this is for the owners to enter into a Declaration of Trust which is a document setting out the shares in which the property is owned, the proportions in which the owners are to contribute to any mortgage repayments and other property outgoings and how and when the property is eventually to be sold.  Each Declaration of Trust can be tailored to meet a specific need or circumstance and can deal with issues such as whether on the death of one owner the survivor has any right to stay in the property and if so on what terms.

A Declaration of Trust is about creating certainty. It is not a public document and is not registerable at the Land Registry but it informs the owners, the owners’ personal representatives and the owners’  lawyers, exactly how the property is owned and the agreed process for resolving  any disputes in the future, potentially preventing any messy and expensive  litigation.

If you would like to find out more about Declarations of Trust or to speak to us about creating one please contact us via the website at info@horseylightly.com or telephone  01635 580858 and ask to speak to a member of our private client team.

Funding your Divorce

Some options for funding a divorce

Coming to the conclusion that your marriage or relationship is at an end is hard enough let alone working out how you are going to fund the legal costs involved with sorting it out. 

Understandably most clients don’t budget for this sort of expense in a marriage and, whilst the average divorce is a lot cheaper than the average wedding, most clients don’t enthuse over spending money on this life changing event. Some clients convince themselves that they “can’t afford” to instruct a solicitor but the reality is that they generally can, and should. It may mean that they have to start using up savings they have had earmarked for a “rainy day”,  or use their credit card or loan from a bank or friend or family member or just forego a planned holiday or new car just until “things are sorted”. Not really what most clients want to hear, I accept, but without legal advice the divorce and finances may not ever get sorted out, may take longer to sort out and may leave the party without legal advice financially worse off compared to their ex-partner or spouse.

So in summary here are some options for  funding a divorce:


Savings and/or budgeting for the costs

A private loan (e.g. from family or friends)

A bank loan

Credit cards

A specialist legal loan provider such as Novitas 

An agreed monthly payment to your solicitors – this will depend on the amount you can afford and the amount of your legal fees.

An application to Court for an Order that the other party helps contribute to your legal costs by paying a lump sum – although this is only possible in certain situations.  


Is my Divorce going to be straightforward?

Hmmnn… “probably” is what most Divorce lawyers will say even after the recent case of Tini Owens, widely reported in the press http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-39380779 following the Court of Appeal's decision not to overturn a lower court’s ruling that she could not divorce her husband after a 39 year marriage. 

The reality is that most “divorces” are straight forward. In fact it’s often the sorting out of the related finances and children’s arrangements which are the challenge for most separating couples and their lawyers. The Owens case was unusual, primarily because Mr Owens decide to defend the divorce. Most spouses, even if they don’t particularly want a divorce, don’t actively defend divorce proceedings because of the cost and effort it involves.

This case does, however, underline the procedural requirements needed for Divorce though which most people may not be aware of. You can’t just get divorced because you are unhappy or haven fallen out of love with your spouse.

The particular issue before the court in the Owens case was whether the marriage had come to an end on the basis of Mr Owens unreasonable behaviour. The law states that you must prove your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”' and use one of the five following reasons to explain why:

Adultery

Unreasonable behaviour

Desertion

You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce

You have lived apart released five years even if your husband or wife disagrees

So for unreasonable behaviour you need to prove that your spouse’s behaviour was/is unreasonable. Sometimes clients struggle to come up with reasons to blame their spouse for the marriage breakdown or feel uncomfortable doing so. In the Owens case the Judge decided that Wife had not proved her case.

There have been calls for divorce law to be changed to make it “no fault” but in the meantime, with divorce law as it is, if you need help with any of the issues raised please contact Alison Whistler on 01635 517128 or awhistler@horseylightly.co.uk


Enforcing Maintenance

On my divorce, I came to a financial settlement with my former spouse and an order was made by the Court. I should receive maintenance payments every month. Payments have stopped and there are now significant arrears. What can I do?

Firstly, you need to consider why your former spouse is not paying the maintenance and maintenance arrears.  

As simple as it sounds, you need to consider when and whether the payments are due to end.  Are there any terminating events that have taken place, ending your former spouse’s obligation to make maintenance payments?

If the maintenance is payable, the next step is to consider why your former spouse has stopped paying maintenance.   Have they misunderstood the terms of the order?

An order whether made by consent or not that requires maintenance to be paid is a judgement by the Court; the terms of which must be complied with.

If your former spouse argues that his personal circumstances changed, it does not change his obligations under an order.  

If your former spouse lacks the means to pay the maintenance, they should contact you setting this out and try to agree a way forward.  If it cannot be agreed, it is for your former spouse to ask the Court to change the order.

However, if your former spouse is not willing to agree to pay the arrears and reinstate maintenance, it may be necessary for you to file an application to Court to enforce the order.

There are a number of ways you can seek to enforce an order; you can seek for your former spouse to be sent to prison, to receive some of your former spouse’s remuneration from employment or you can charge assets.  You may also be able to seek a “pay-up summons”, an order that is becoming more and more common.  

A pay-up summons is an application for an order that your former spouse meet the outstanding arrears.  However, under such an application, you can indicate by which method you wish to enforce the order or, you can ask the Court to consider which method of enforcement is most appropriate.  When making the application, you will need to set out what sums are owed and to demonstrate how you have calculated this figure.

The Court will then require your former spouse to attend a hearing and provide details of their financial position.  The Court can impose severe penalties should your former spouse not attend.

A point to note is that you will need permission from the Court should you wish to seek payment of arrears for a period greater than 12 months.  So, do not delay making an application if arrears are mounting up.  You will need to consider alternative enforcement methods if your former spouse if living overseas.