Helping you understand the benefits of a prenuptial agreement

Every marriage is different. Some couples just dive into the process, believing that their love is strong enough to keep their marriage going. Others seek to talk things out before entering their union. And even some prefer to take the time to talk things out and plan for the future and if the marriage ends in divorce. Although it is not a romantic topic to discuss before marriage, deciding on a prenuptial agreement can help the couple address potential divorce issues if the marriage fails.

Although it is commonplace to have a prenuptial agreement to address a divorce if one were to occur in the future, this is not always the case. Some couples use a premarital agreement much like one does a financial plan. Today, more and more couples are worried about their finances and protecting them the moment he or she gets married.

At Katie L. Lewis, P.C., Family Law, our skilled legal team can help you better understand the role of a prenuptial agreement. They all do not look the same. However, these documents must follow certain laws when it comes to ensuring that it was executed properly and is valid.

Our law firm takes the time to explain the benefits a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can have. We highlight the issues that are commonly overlooked, such as the value of property increasing over time. Finally, we help our clients navigate any obstacles or issues they may encounter when drafting or enforcing these marital documents.

To learn more, check out our law firm’s prenuptial agreement website. Whether you seek to include a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in a marriage, it is important to understand what these documents look like and what they can do. Additionally, if a premarital document is challenged or you seek to invalidate it, it is vital to know what steps can be taken in these matters.

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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

More marriages, more mediations, and more divorces

Last week was what I call ‘statistics week’, the week when we are treated to an avalanche of the most recent available statistics for all sorts of family law related things, including on this occasion marriages, legal aid and the Family Court. So, what did this latest instalment of facts and figures add to the sum of our knowledge?

I’ll begin with the statistics for marriages. Specifically, these are for marriages in England and Wales, for the year 2016. They come from the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’). Amongst the headline points were the following:

  • There were 249,793 marriages in England and Wales, 1.7% more than in 2015, but 1.0% fewer than in 2014.
  • 97.2% of all marriages were between opposite-sex couples and 2.8% were between same-sex couples.
  • There were 7,019 marriages between same-sex couples, an increase of 8.1% from 2015; of these marriages, 55.7% were between female couples.
  • Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples were lower at all ages compared with 2006, except for men aged 60 years and over and women aged 50 years and over.

The main point to take from this, I think, is that, as the ONS statistician comments, despite the small increase, marriage rates remain at historical lows. This can perhaps be seen most dramatically by a graph included with the statistics showing the number of marriages of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales from 1935 to 2016. Until 1972 the graph generally remained around the 400,000 figure, but since then it has generally been on a downward spiral (of course the overall figures have been ‘buoyed’ over the last two of those years by same-sex marriages). Marriage, it is clear, will never again be the ‘expectation in life’ that it once was. Whether this is a good or bad thing will, of course, depend upon your point of view (it may also be the case that more couples will in future ‘tie the knot’, when civil partnerships become available to opposite-sex couples).

Next up, the legal aid statistics, which were from the Ministry of Justice, for the quarter October to December 2018. Sadly, these days legal aid is not particularly relevant to private family law matters, so there is not a lot to say about these statistics. Probably the most important thing relates to mediation. We are told that:

“In family mediation, Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) increased by 4% in the last quarter compared to the previous year and currently stand at just over a third of pre-LASPO levels. Starts increased by 6% although outcomes increased by 5%, and are now sitting at around half of pre-LASPO levels.”

In plain English, the number of mediations is up a little bit, but is still at half what it was before legal aid was abolished. So I suppose a little bit of good news there, although clearly it is going to take a long time before mediation, which was supposed to ‘replace’ legal aid, will even return to what it was before the legal aid cuts. As I have said here before, hardly a ringing endorsement for the government’s ‘flagship’ policy.

And lastly I turn to the Family Court statistics, also from the Ministry of Justice, for the quarter October to December 2018. Amongst the main points here were the following:

  • 64,331 new cases started between October and December, up 6% on October to December 2017. For the year as a whole 262,399 new cases started during 2018, up 3% compared to 2017.
  • There was an increase in the number of private law children cases started (8%) and cases disposed (3%) to 12,986 and 10,478 respectively. For the year as a whole there were 51,658 Private law cases started in 2018, up 2% compared to 2017. The number of Private law cases disposed was 41,939 in 2018, similar to the number in 2017.
  • In 2018, it took on average 26 weeks for Private law cases to reach a final order, i.e. case closure, up three weeks compared to 2017.
  • There were 118,141 divorce petitions made during 2018, up 8% on 2017 – more in line with the number of petitions seen annually prior to the low number in 2017.

So in short, more cases, taking longer. Not very good news, either for the users of the Family Courts, or for those who work in them.

You can find the marriage statistics here, the legal aid statistics here, and the Family Court statistics here.

The post More marriages, more mediations, and more divorces appeared first on Stowe Family Law.

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Author: John Bolch

Celebrating Our 16th Birthday

A 16th birthday balloon

Wow, it seems like a mere 12 months ago that I was writing about our 15th birthday! Websites, like kids, grow up so fast!

Although this site has indeed been around since April 1, 2003 (and no, it wasn’t/isn’t an April Fools’ joke—that just happened to be a convenient date), it spent much of that time in a zombie-like state of ambiguous not-quite-deadness. Last year, I finally managed to resurrect it for real, and for each of the past 365 days we’ve had freshly updated content. Yay! So I thought I’d take a moment to bring our readers up to speed about a few things.

A Year (or So) of Progress

First, let me say thank you for reading! Some people stumble on one of our articles during a web search, while others subscribe via email or RSS, or follow us on Twitter, and a few just like coming back to the site every day. However you got here, we’re glad to have you! We hope we’re able to provide a few minutes of enjoyable infotainment every day.

This past year has turned out a bit differently than I was imagining. Careful readers will have noticed that most of the articles we’ve published have been updated versions of our “classic” articles from 2003–2007. I was expecting to dole those out more slowly, but for a variety of reasons it seemed wiser to get rid of stale content—outdated information, broken links (oh, so many broken links!), and text that offends our older-and-wiser sensibilities. We repurposed some old SenseList content, too. We also retired quite a few articles that just needed to die—either they simply weren’t interesting anymore, or they were about things that no longer exist, or they would have required a complete rewrite to be publishable.

Within a couple of months, all the remaining classic articles (and the SenseList stuff we want to keep) will have been either updated or sent to live on a farm in the country. Then we’ll turn our attention fully to brand new content, though as I mentioned last year, our new-from-scratch articles will mostly be much shorter, because there are only so many hours in the day.

Can You Hear Me Now? No. (Sorry.)

I’ve received a lot of email since last year asking what happened to the audio recordings we used to have. Previously, every article included a recording of yours truly reading it (and doing my best not to butcher all the words in French, German, Chinese, Norwegian, and so on). It turned out that these recordings were especially popular among English learners, because they could listen to the audio and follow along with the perfectly matched text, thus picking up clues about colloquial English writing and pronunciation at the same time. But the audio disappeared with the site redesign, and that made a lot of people unhappy.

I’m sorry about that. I wish I could have kept the recordings, but it was impossible. The whole idea (and, indeed, the thing that made them attractive to English learners) was that the audio matched the text. But now all the text either has changed or is about to change, so in order for the audio recordings to match once again, I’d have to re-record (and edit) all of them, something that is incompatible with my already much-too-full schedule. As a matter of fact, knowing that would have to happen was one of the main things that kept me from redoing the site for so long—I couldn’t figure out when I’d ever have the time to deal with all that audio, and I wasn’t willing to break the connection between the audio and the text, or leave embarrassingly outdated info in the recordings. So I got stuck. It was only by deciding to ditch the audio that I was able to bring the site back at all, and though I’m sad to have left the audio in the past, I’m glad the site is once again viable.

That said, I have been thinking about compiling chunks of articles from this site into an actual book (well, I mean, there’s enough content for several books), and if I did that, I would certainly consider offering an audiobook version as well. I’m not sure I’ll have time to do that, but having plenty of updated content certainly would make that job easier, and that’s another of the reasons I decided to focus on refreshing old content before adding new. So, we’ll see. In theory, I’d also like to do a podcast, but again, it’s a question of time.

In and Out

Last April we started listing (mostly informal) “holidays” on the site, like National Donut Day and World Sleep Day. I thought it would be fun, and it was, but very few people bothered to read about them, so I don’t feel as though that time was well spent. As of today, the faux holidays are gone, and in their place we have a new Book of the Week feature, which more often than not will be a Take Control title, in that running the company that publishes those books is my actual day job! Because I’m such a nice guy, I’m offering readers of Interesting Thing of the Day a 30% discount on all our Take Control ebooks. They’re all designed to help ordinary, nontechnical people overcome problems with technology, and I hope you find them helpful!

There are several other things on my to do list for Interesting Thing of the Day, too—including new types of content that I think will be both fun and useful, and at the risk of repeating myself, the only barrier to implementing them is the number of hours in the day. Since I don’t know for sure which of these things will happen or when, I shan’t promise anything, but the more interest people show in the site, the more likely I am to squeeze in some extra hours working on it.

One thing you have not seen here in the past year, and still don’t, is ads. Because, frankly, I just hate ads. I run ad blockers on all my devices, and if you don’t, you should! Ads are, in some respect, a necessary evil, but lately I’ve felt they’re more evil than necessary. So there aren’t any on this site, and it simply isn’t part of my plan to use ads to support our content. I mean, unless you consider articles and blurbs about other books we publish to be ads, in which case Oh Yes You Will See More of Those. But those are just us telling you about our own stuff. We don’t let third parties display any content on our site, and we don’t do any surreptitious tracking or other privacy-violating stuff, because ewwwww. So if you like reading good material with no ads and want to support us, you know, buy some books! We’d really appreciate that.

Image credit: Jim, the Photographer [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

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Author: Joe Kissell

Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac

Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac cover

This week we’re instituting a new feature: our Book of the Week. Because the people behind Interesting Thing of the Day also run Take Control Books, many of the featured titles will be from our collection of tech books for nontechnical people, and of those, a fair percentage were written by our own Joe Kissell. To make the books even more attractive, we’re offering a 30% discount on all Take Control books to Interesting Thing of the Day readers (after you click one of the links in this post, the discount will be applied automatically when you check out…or you can manually enter coupon code ITOTD). From time to time we’ll also feature books by authors we know, and other titles that we just think are especially noteworthy.

Our first weekly book is just for Mac users, so if you don’t have a Mac, there’s nothing to see here (but stay tuned…we’ll have some good options for you in future weeks). It’s called Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac, and it’s a comprehensive, up-to-date, and user-friendly guide to keeping all the data on your Mac safe from any of a thousand things that could endanger it (including theft, fires, floods, and even good old-fashioned human error). This book will teach you about various types of backup, how to choose backup media, how to pick and configure backup software, and much more…including, crucially, how to restore data if disaster strikes. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of Apple’s Time Machine app, why and how to clone your disk or SSD onto an external volume, and what you should be aware of when considering a cloud backup system. And that’s just the beginning. If you have Mac backup questions, this book almost certainly has the answers. Don’t wait until it’s too late—protect your data right now with an excellent backup plan!

This book, like all Take Control titles, comes as an ebook, and you can download any combination of formats—PDF, EPUB, and/or Kindle’s Mobipocket format—so you can read it on pretty much any computer, smartphone, tablet, or ebook reader. The cover price is $14.99, but as an Interesting Thing of the Day reader, you can buy it this week for 30% off, or just $10.49. In fact, we can do even better than that, but just through Monday, April 1, 2019. Since we’re still running our World Backup Day sale, for today only, it’s just $5. Pick up your copy before this special sale ends!

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Author: Joe Kissell