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One of the most common misconceptions I come across when dealing with divorce and finances cases is about bringing to an end financial claims. I have had many conversations with clients who think that the divorce itself brings the financial claims to an end – it does not.

Even years after divorce, your assets could be at risk unless you sort out the financial claims within the divorce process. When you separate from your spouse, you can make a claim financially in respect of the assets. Financial claims can include a claim against a house, savings, pensions or income (spousal maintenance). Sorting this out is straightforward if you have agreed how the finances are to be dealt with. It involves filing an agreed order at the court (called a consent order), and providing to the court some basic information about your finances.

So for example if you have sold the house, divided the proceeds and you have decided to leave each other’s pensions and income alone, this can be included in a consent order to provide that there is a clean break. Without doing this, even after the decree absolute has been made, the financial claims remain live and are not time limited (although delay can have an impact on the success of a claim).

You should still consider having a consent order even if you do not currently have any assets … who knows what may happen in the future? You may receive inheritance or win the lottery! The consent order is like an insurance policy – it means that you have protection against claims in the future.

If you have done your own divorce, it is still possible to instruct a solicitor to prepare a consent order. The consent order can be filed at court any time after the decree nisi has been pronounced.

At Legal Studio solicitors, I can provide you with a free initial assessment to see whether a consent order is right for you and how to put it in place. I also offer fixed fees if you want to go ahead with a consent order.

Please contact specialist family finances solicitor, Angela Lally, for more information.
 
2020 00 16
Angela Lally
It is currently impossible to say when and how the coronavirus lockdown will be eased. However, one Government strategy paper sets out a potential path back to work for those currently unable to do so. Of course, this has not yet been formally adopted and so should be treated with extreme caution, but any inkling as to how things might develop in the future is perhaps useful at this most extraordinary time. The main features of such a policy might be as follows:

-Employers would not be forced to maintain social distancing of two metres but encouraged to do so where possible.

- Where such social distancing would be impossible, other measures should be introduced such as screens, additional hygiene procedures and use of personal protective equipment.

-Employers would also be encouraged to stagger arrival and break times, minimise the use of equipment or office space, and avoid changing worker rotas.

-Home working would be encouraged as far as possible as it is already.

-Vulnerable workers such as those who are pregnant or over 70 would need to be placed in the ‘safest possible’ places in the workplace.
 
The likely approach of the government seems less one of enforcement but informal guidance. However, the approach of the HSE and local authorities will need to be watched closely. The underlying law of keeping workers and those affected by business activities safe ie doing as much as is reasonably practicable, will not change and employers will need to be very wary, not only of enforcement action, but also potential civil liability. The government approach will also have huge ramifications for the insurance market and employers will need to consider their policies and coverage very carefully.

We will keep you updated when we know more………………………
 
2020 00 07
Edmund Conybeare
There are certain key updates from the HSE at this unprecedented time:
  1. RIDDOR- A report regarding coronavirus need only be made under RIDDOR in the following circumstances:
 
  1. An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
  2. A worker has been diagnosed as having the virus and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
 
  1. Home Working- Many more people are now working from home due to the lockdown. A risk assessment for home working will be required and employers should be aware that they have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as any other worker.
 
  1. Road Transport-There are two major health and safety issues relating to coronavirus for this vital industry. Firstly, drivers must have access to welfare facilities and it will not be lawful for customers to deny them access. Secondly, the driver’s hours rules have been temporarily relaxed to ensure key supplies are maintained. More about the latter tomorrow.
 
  1. HSE approach- The HSE has not stopped working. Its staff remain contactable and will continue to engage with stakeholders. It has said that it will take a flexible and proportionate account of the risks of the pandemic. It will suspend some targeted inspection activity, and will keep regulatory activity not requiring site visits as normal as possible. It will continue t investigate work related deaths, the most serious incidents and reported concerns. It will still take action to ensure compliance with the law, and while it will work remotely as much as possible, it will mobilise to site where necessary.
 
  1. First aid cover and qualifications- Adequate first aid cover will still need to be maintained in the workplace. Reduced cover may be appropriate with more workers working from home. Sharing first aid cover with another business is a possibility, and provision has been made for first aid certificate extensions and interrupted first aid training.
 
Much more information is available on HSE and local authority websites. If you are unclear about your health and safety responsibilities at this very difficult time and require advice on any health and safety related issue and/or interpretation of the above, contact Edmund Conybeare on 07739 463571 or at edmund.conybeare@legalstudio.co.uk.
 

 
2020 39 08
Edmund Conybeare