Huge Congratulations to Gabriella Shepherd!

Huge Congratulations to Gabriella Shepherd!

At the recent LPC (Legal Practice Course) 2018 exam board - Gabriella was awarded the ‘Pat McHale Prize’ for the best LPC student. Gabriella obtained this award for achieving the highest score of 82%

Gabriella said “I’m proud to receive this award and so pleased the hard work has paid off!”

This is an outstanding result! Congratulations!

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© 2019 BTMK Solicitors. Site by Essex Social Media Ltd.

Alan Bacon Bio

Alan Bacon – Director, Head of Department

With over 30 years’ experience in representing Claimants in personal injury and clinical negligence, Alan was admitted as a solicitor in May 1982 and has been a continuous member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel since 1994.

He is an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Fellow of APIL since March 2007, having been one of the first members of the Association in 1990.

Alan is a Trustee of Headway Essex, a UK-wide charity working to improve life after brain injury. He is also Chair of the Essex Acquired Brain Injury Forum.

With personal injury and clinical negligence as his exclusive area of practice, Alan has conducted high-profile cases such as:

  • Birth injury/cerebral palsy claim with gross award in excess of £5 million
  • Birth injury/cerebral palsy claim with lump sum award of £650,000 and lifetime periodical payments for care
  • £850,000 to the surviving husband and children of a lady who died as a consequence of negligence

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Want to speak to someone face-to-face? Book a FREE consultation and visit our friendly team in one of our offices - we've already got the kettle on.

BTMK is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Company Registration No. 05466421  |  VAT No. 352170678

© 2019 BTMK Solicitors. Site by Essex Social Media Ltd.

Congratulations Jaime-Lee!

Congratulations to Jaime-Lee Johns for achieving 90% in her Family Law module of her LPC (Legal Practice Course)!

“I was over the moon, overwhelmed and ecstatic with my result, and that all the time and effort I have put into studying is paying off. The Family & Matrimonial Department have been so supportive of the LPC & my studying. Charlotte Fedarb has helped me immensely with the level of her knowledge and the support, training and guidance she has provided.

I am proud of myself, and it’s nice to hear that my colleagues are proud and very happy with how I am doing. It’s lovely to work in a firm that really promotes studying & growth, and that also supports you every step of the way. I’m very excited for the future and all that it holds.”

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Want to speak to someone face-to-face? Book a FREE consultation and visit our friendly team in one of our offices - we've already got the kettle on.

BTMK is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Company Registration No. 05466421  |  VAT No. 352170678

© 2019 BTMK Solicitors. Site by Essex Social Media Ltd.

Welcome, Ellie Corstophine!

Welcome, Ellie Corstophine!

Welcome to Ellie Corstophine who has joined the BTMK Credit Control Team and joins Ruth O’Connor in that department. Welcome to the BTMK family Ellie.

 

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Want to speak to someone face-to-face? Book a FREE consultation and visit our friendly team in one of our offices - we've already got the kettle on.

BTMK is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Company Registration No. 05466421  |  VAT No. 352170678

© 2019 BTMK Solicitors. Site by Essex Social Media Ltd.

No Blame Divorces

No fault divorce – who’s to blame? 

The case of Owens v Owens has been of great public interest recently, with lots of media coverage. 

It is, in many ways, a very ordinary case with relatively ordinary facts.  The couple were married in 1978, set up home, had children and then separated in 2015. 

What is exceptional however, is the fact that the divorce has been contested by Mr Owens. Whilst it is common for matters relating to the children or the finances to be contested,  and end up in lengthy Court proceedings, only  1% of divorces themselves are ever contested. 

The only ground for divorce in this country is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down,’ and this in turn is proved by one of the following five facts:- 

  • Adultery. 
  • Unreasonable behaviour. 
  • Desertion. 
  • 2 years separation and both parties consent. 
  • 5 years separation with no consent. 

Most importantly, the behaviour alleged has to be that of your partner and not your own. This obviously leads to one party feeling blamed, which can, although rarely does, lead to contested proceedings, as in this case.  

Mr Owens has contested the divorce disputing the allegations of his unreasonable behaviour. This has led to the case being heard in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, where Mrs Owens has been told her husband’s behaviour was not unreasonable and was “to be expected in a marriage”. 

She has also been told that finding herself in a ‘wretchedly unhappy marriage’ is not grounds for divorce. 

Her only option in these circumstances would be to wait until five years have passed from the initial date of separation, which would mean she remains in a “wretchedly unhappy marriage” until 2020. 

As such this case is now being heard by the Supreme Court and their findings may lead to a fundamental change in divorce law, paving the way for ‘no fault’ divorces in the future. 

This would offer an alternative way to divorce, meaning no one suffers any blame. 

In turn it’s hoped this would allow the more difficult discussions that follow, relating to the children and finances, to start without one party feeling blamed.  Going into such discussions is always difficult enough, but with the parties already laying blame, they are often even more difficult. 

Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers surveyed its members and 90% felt the current law made it harder to reduce conflict and confrontation. 

No fault divorce would go some way to helping limit the conflict and confrontation that occurs in divorces. These difficult situations are always emotional, painful and upsetting enough for the parties involved and removing some of the blame and hence conflict can only be a positive step towards a simpler, less confrontational divorce process.

What did the Supreme Court decide?

The Supreme Court ruled against Mrs. Owens which means that she must now remain married to her husband until 2020.  There were some clarifications provided in the Judgment which suggests that the term “unreasonable behaviour” which is widely cited in divorce cases but which the Court has clarified is incorrect to do so.  The Judgment provides that it isn’t someone’s behaviour which must be unreasonable but the belief that the other party can continue to live with them.

The Court further ruled that it is not for the Supreme Court to shape the law (changes in the law itself must provide for this through Parliament) but to interpret the law in line with statute.

The case revolved around the correct interpretation of section 1 (2) (b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which states that a marriage can be dissolved on the basis of one spouse’s behaviour.

Until the law may be reformed, family lawyers face the increasingly complex balancing act of keeping the details of “unreasonable behaviour” as non-confrontational as possible whilst ensuring sufficient gravity to the allegations as to satisfy the requirements under s 1(2)(b), which could be a particular concern in domestic abuse type cases.

We at BTMK will always attempt to help you resolve your marriage issues in a non-confrontational way, with the wellbeing of any children being of paramount importance. We will always attempt to prioritise an amicable solution to the financial issues in order to limit the painful experiences caused by divorce and separation. 

For a free initial consultation call Lee Wilcockson on 01702 238552.

About the Author

With almost 20 years’ experience as a qualified solicitor, Lee specialises in family law, children matters and matrimonial finance and is based in our Southend office. Lee worked previously at the Company up until 2010 and in between, he worked at another large provincial firm and for Essex Legal Services. Lee has a wealth of experience which helps give a unique perspective on your case and leads to well-rounded and thorough advice.

Book a FREE Consultation

Want to speak to someone face-to-face? Book a FREE consultation and visit our friendly team in one of our offices - we've already got the kettle on.

BTMK is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Company Registration No. 05466421  |  VAT No. 352170678

© 2019 BTMK Solicitors. Site by Essex Social Media Ltd.

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