ANGELA LALLY

angela.lally@legalstudio.co.uk

FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

I studied law at the University of Liverpool and the Legal Practice Course in my home city, Sheffield. I qualified in 2002 and worked at a regional firm based in Chesterfield before moving to a Sheffield based firm where I progressed from Assistant Solicitor to Head of Department and Partner. During this time, I developed innovative fixed fees, offering a service to clients which was not readily available to clients on the traditional hourly rate approach. As a result, I built a strong nationwide client base which has continued to grow during my work as a Consultant over the past 2 years.

As a Consultant, I have been able to build a niche caseload focusing on financial matters arising out of divorce. I have experience in dealing with the full range of cases, from amicable agreements to litigated cases. I offer pragmatic advice and the feedback I regularly receive from clients is that I am always on hand to deal with matters efficiently and without delay. This gives them peace of mind at what is undoubtedly a very stressful time. 

As a mum of 3 children and with a new puppy, spare time is in short supply, but you will usually find me out running, in training for 10ks or half marathons. I also enjoy live music and going to gigs. Holidays are usually driving holidays to France and Spain.

Specialist Areas of Interest

Family Law

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Angela's Latest Blogs

The New Divorce Law

From Autumn 2021, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act will finally bring change to divorce law.

As the law currently stands, couples who want to divorce in England and Wales must rely on one or more ‘facts’ to prove that their relationship has irretrievably broken down. These facts are:
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • 2 years separation with the consent of both parties
  • 5 years separation 
As only one party can petition for divorce, this can often lead to an acrimonious situation where the other party is “blamed” for the marriage breakdown, even though it may have been a mutual decision to separate. This can be difficult when the parties remain in each other’s lives because they have children. They could decide to wait and separate on the ground of two years separation with consent, but that can could lead to a delay in finalising financial claims which effectively prevents them from moving on with their lives.

As a result of this unsatisfactory situation, there have been long standing campaigns from family law professionals to change the law, which had been unchanged since 1973.

A recent catalyst for change was the widely reported case of Owens, which reached the highest court in the country in 2018. In that case, Mrs Owens had sought to petition for divorce relying on her husband’s “unreasonable behaviour” as the fact to prove that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. She had initially tried to keep the “allegations” as neutral as possibly, to try and reduce the conflict. However, when Mr Owens stated he would defend the divorce, Mrs Owens sought permission from the court to amend her allegations to include 27 allegations, her position being that whilst each allegation taken alone may seem minor, the cumulative effect was such that she could not be expected to live with her husband. The judge hearing the case described her allegations as “flimsy and exaggerated” and her divorce petition was dismissed. Her appeals to both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court were unsuccessful, however it was noted by the Supreme Court that the outcome was less than satisfactory. She therefore had to wait to divorce based on 5 years separation (it not being possible to rely on 2 years separation as her husband’s consent would have been required). It was clear that the law needed to change.

Under the new law, separating couples will no longer have to rely on one of the ‘five facts’ to prove the ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. Instead, the new law will encourage a more constructive approach to separation.

The new law will introduce the following changes:
  • Introduce joint applications where the couple both agree that the relationship has irretrievably broken down;
  • Applicants will still be able to submit a sole application if their partner does not agree;
  • Remove the ability to defend a divorce, dissolution or separation;
  • Remove the requirement to reply on one of the 5 facts;
  • Introduce a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to the ‘Conditional Order’ (currently called the decree nisi).
For advice on divorce and financial settlements, please contact specialist family law solicitor Angela Lally for a free initial chat.
 
2020 00 07
Angela Lally
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