Cheap divorce – maybe not and here’s why!

I come from Yorkshire, I’ve got a Jewish surname, and all my grandparents are Scottish, so I understand the value of money.

There’s a saying in Yorkshire “Can you get owt for nowt?”, Can you get something for paying nothing?

Well there is also an old saying in life that “you tend to get what you pay for”, and unfortunately that really applies to a cheap divorce. If you go online what you’ll find is a multitude of websites. Some of them are lawyer. Some of them are not.

Most of them probably are not. I am not an expert on whether or not they are the best or whatever, but what I can say is that you’ve got to make your decision as to what is right for you. And if what is right for you is a divorce conducted that way then you make that decision. What you may find is that you have delays. You may find that you haven’t ticked certain things. And you may find that if you make that mistake then you are then prejudiced and it may be something that can’t be corrected.

I’ve recently been involved in cases where certain boxes were not ticked by litigants in person and maintenance orders that were made, I was able to successfully argue were not made within the court’s jurisdiction and so had to be set aside. And my client was in a very good position accordingly.

So what you have to do is really take legal advice. I would strongly suggest that whatever petition you file and whoever you file it with and whoever you use just get it checked out by somebody like myself to make sure that you have done it all right.

And that is a great insurance policy because if we advise you or if you’re badly advised by a solicitor, then you have a remedy. And you’re able to make a complaint against that solicitor and be compensated – which you won’t get if you’re dealing with limited companies that are not necessarily regulated, and who may not have any assets and who may not have any insurance.

So you’ve got to bear these things in mind as well. So get it checked and make sure that you make the right decision that you feel comfortable with and that would be fine.

To find out how we can help you, visit our divorce page or give us a call.

Expats and divorce, how does it work and how we can help

I want to talk to you today about expats, right. And what I mean by that is British citizens who are not living in Britain, they’re living elsewhere.

Unfortunately marriage breakdown happens to everybody wherever they live – whether they live in England or live in China.

I am not saying that every marriage ends in divorce. Of course it doesn’t. But when that happens and you’re living abroad, what do you do?

You need representation. We regularly act for people who live abroad.

And you’re going to say “Well how do you get instructions Andrew?”

And the answer is quite easy. I have an iPad, we’ve got computers, and more importantly – quite apart from the telephone – we can Skype or Facetime.

So what happens is that we arrange to see clients and we have online meetings. It’s not as good as being across the table, but it’s certainly better than just a telephone call. And you do need to have a relationship with your lawyer. It’s not something you can deal with by post. We’re talking about your future, and your future is not something you should just lightly entrust to anybody. You’ve got to make sure you’re with the right person.

So whether you live in Shanghai, New Delhi, Munich – to name but three places where we’ve dealt with cases or clients – we can help. So location is not necessarily a massive factor – we can get around it. So if you do need advice then we can give advice, wherever you are. So all we will do is we’ll set up a Skype meeting, we’ll go through all your options. We don’t put people under any pressure to make decisions – you don’t need to.

You know at the end of the day you need time to think about it. It’s your future and it’s important that you make the right decisions.

So that’s really it for expats but as I say, help is there if you need it and we can go that extra mile for you.

One of the problems of course about living abroad is time zones because you may be eight or even twelve hours ahead. We can arrange to meet you on Skype. We can do early morning. We can do after hours. I have seen clients at nine o’clock or ten o’clock at night. Sometimes even as early as 6am. I can’t say I am an early bird by nature, but I am willing to go the extra mile for my clients always.

Let me know how I can help you.

Why I’m scared of crocodiles!

I want to tell you something that not many people know about me. And it’s to do with these things. I grew up in Africa.

By the shores of Lake Victoria and Lake Tangyanika.

There were not many swimming pools. And what we used to do is go swimming in the Lake. In Lake Tangyanika there were crocodiles. So what would happen is that I would go swimming wondering if we would meet one of these.

So to this day when I go into a swimming pool I still check it out for crocodiles, because they do scare me. But it does sort of prepare you a bit for life! When you go through divorce proceedings you do meet people who can be quite vicious and who need to be stood up to. So that’s what I suppose may have helped me in becoming the lawyer that I am.

The red book and why you need to read it!

This is part of a series of videos about books that you will need to refer to if you’re going through a divorce – or your lawyer will. This one is called the ‘red book’, it’s the Family Court Practice, it comes out in June of each year so this is the 2015 one. So if you’re looking at this in July 2016 I apologise, I haven’t updated this video.

Now this book is big. There’s no doubt about it. It’s also very expensive. It’s the best part of £500. Now it contains a lot of information, as you can imagine, and what you have in here is you have the relevant acts of parliament, you have the relevant statutory instruments, so for example you’ll have Family Procedure Rules 2010. You’ll also have the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; The Children Act 1989. All of those are in here.

This book shows how you do things. It sets out the procedure, as well as the Substantive Law. It’s really, really, important. If you ever go into a courtroom then you’ll see the judge has got one of these and your lawyer obviously will have one of them as well.

So I would definitely recommend that you have it. Now obviously I am not going to say to you that you should read it all, because if you were to read it all you’d be reading over 3000 pages. What you can do though is refer to it as and when you need to. And that’s what it is. It’s a reference book, it’s a starting point – this is not the end point, I am afraid.

What we do is we go in here, look at whatever it is that were looking for, so for example applications, set aside a court order, following a failure to attend, it’s there, it’s in rule 27.5, we’ve found the Family Procedure Rules. And then if you look at the notes that go under it there’s reference there to various cases that have been reported. So you can then go and read those cases and read the judgements in order to get a full understanding of not just what the rules say. But more importantly what the court says the rules mean. Because sometimes they can come up with different results to what you’d imagine they would. So it’s important that you have access to this book.

Now I can’t imagine that any expert lawyer, practising in divorce would not have this book, it’s just such an essential thing to have. So, I would strongly recommend it. I think it’s published by Family Law, which I think is part of Jordans. I wholeheartedly recommend it. There’s nothing out there which can replace it.

Now you would think that this would be enough but it’s not. What happens is that they do a supplement about every six months or so, and they settle this lot out and because Parliament keeps producing new laws. So what you’ve now got in the 2015 is not just this but also you’ll then have a further supplement coming out as well of 200 odd pages. So that’s what you get for your money. You can get it electronically; I think it costs a bit more. I am possibly a bit traditional, I find it easier to work on paper than I do off a computer screen, but I do use computers all the time. So Family Court Practice – 2015. Have fun!

It’s hard work getting your head around it. I accept that and it can be daunting, but persevere and you’ll be fine.

The new family court and how it affects you

My name’s Andrew Isaacs, I am a divorce lawyer.

I’d like to talk to you today about Family Law, and in particular the Family Court. In April 2014 we had a big bang: Our President – the President of the Family Division – Sir James Munby – brought in a lot of reforms. And what happened was that instead of having a Magistrates’ Court, a County Court, and a High Court, we had one court that was unified – called the Family Court.

Now we still have High Court judges sitting in it, and Magistrates and District Judges sitting in it and Circuit judges. So on the face of it you would think ‘Well nothing’s changed’ – but things have changed and changes will continue to happen.

Now, the reforms that were brought in have not been fully implemented throughout the country yet. Some judges are set in their ways, and are not keen on new changes, and so despite the fact that the law says you have to do it a certain way, if at the end of the day a judge says ‘No’, then the answer is ‘No’, because the judge is the final arbiter in his own courtroom. Unless of course you appeal, and in my experience it’s better to get it right first time than to try to win on appeal.

Now what you have to bear in mind is that because things are constantly changing it creates a lot of uncertainty. Where there is uncertainty, there is some degree of confusion. Consequently it does mean that you probably need representation more at that time than you would do in other circumstances.

Now I am not saying to you that have to use a solicitor. You don’t. You can do things on your own if you choose to. I am hoping that if you do do that, this website’s going to help you because we’re giving you videos here, telling you things – giving you instant tips and tricks. But there are many, many ways in which a case can unfold. I know.  I’ve been doing this a long time. So what you need to do is be aware of the fact that we are living in uncertain times.

Lots of changes going on, and you need to just be aware of the political background – and I say ‘political’ with a small ‘p’, because that’s what it is, we are living in uncertain times, so bear that in mind. That’s the Family Court – it will be constantly developing and constantly changing, that is for certain.

And we’ll also see that the law in this country as determined by the High Court – the Court of Appeal – the Supreme Court is to some extent being reexamined by the President, and also by Mr Justice Mostyn, who are both approaching principles of law which have been fairly set and cast in stone, and are looking at them afresh – so there is a degree of change as well. So case law is quite important for you to keep abreast of that, so – but if you need to know where to find case law there are other videos on this website about that which I hope will be helpful to you – so we’re living in uncertain times.