The Complex and Forever Changing Face of Family Law

family law
Daniel Rushton
Head of Family Law
Grindeys Solicitors

In March 2017, a divorce case hit the national headlines because the courts refused to grant a divorce to a wife because the husband’s behaviour wasn’t deemed ‘unreasonable’ enough to grant a divorce petition.

This decision has left a wife trapped in a loveless marriage with the husband and wife’s financial and personal affairs tied.

There are currently five accepted reasons for divorce; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation if the other party consents to the divorce, two years desertion or five years separation and this does not require the other party’s consent.

No Fault Divorce

The wife, who has been refused the divorce, may have to wait five years before she can divorce her current husband without his consent.

Five years before she can truly move on with her life!

This is a scenario that doesn’t fit with the views of modern day society which is why 2017 has seen various family law lobby groups such as Resolution, increase their campaign for the introduction of ‘No Fault Divorce’ a concept English Law has yet to grasp.

The Sharing Principle is now not applicable to all

The traditional starting point for a court when separating a couples finances is a 50:50 split. The 50:50 split is then altered depending on the needs of each party to the divorce.

However, in a recent Landmark Ruling it seems that double income couples with no children may no longer have to share assets equally when divorcing.

In this case Lord Justice McFarlane ruled that the couple’s marriage had been relatively short and that the usual principle of sharing assets did not apply. In what other circumstances will the ‘usual’ principle not apply?

In a separate case involving a childless couple who were married for only two years the judge made a £4.2 million financial award to the wife based on ‘her’ needs. In this case the husband brought the wealth to the marriage but the judge deemed the settlement figure to be inline with the wife’s needs.

These two cases illustrate that when deciding what Orders to make, the Court has a very wide discretion. They need this freedom because the facts of each divorce and financial settlement case are always different and not always comparable.

Family Law is Forever Changing

Daniel Rushton a divorce solicitor from Stoke on Trent comments, “There is a worrying trend for divorcing couples to avoid divorce solicitors and to opt for a DIY Divorce for fear of expensive legal fees. The DIY Divorce may seem like the cheaper alternative but that isn’t necessarily the case because the DIY option may not result in a full, fair and final divorce and financial settlement. These high profile cases in 2017 clearly demonstrate that the rules and precedents within modern family law are forever changing and are often very complex.”

Daniel continues, “A rule and application of law applied to the circumstances of one divorcing couple may be entirely inappropriate for another couple, even where the circumstances are broadly the same. It’s the detail of the circumstances that need to be considered which is why it is always advisable to seek legal advice from a solicitor that specialises in family law. The decision to use a lawyer could be the difference between financial certainty or, financial ruin!”


Daniel has over 20 years’ experience as a specialist family law solicitor. He is Head of the Family Law team at Grindeys Solicitors based in Stoke on Trent.

Daniel has a particular interest and experience in dealing with business owners, company directors and members of the medical profession in matrimonial situations. For this type of work a solicitor who understands your business accounts and business structure is vital to obtain the best financial settlement possible.

Recent cases include one involving an international business and extremely valuable assets and pensions, as well as property abroad.

He has acted for numerous doctors and other medical professionals, council workers, police officers and serving members of the armed services. In twenty-three years, Daniel has dealt with all walks of life and will adopt a professional yet caring approach to your situation.


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