The relationship is over, can I be forced to leave the family home?

Well this all depends on whether you are married or not. For the purposes of this article, any reference to marriage also includes civil partnerships. Upon separation from any relationship, one of you will inevitably have to leave the family home which can lead to stress and uncertainty. So what can you do? If the family home is owned in joint names between you and your partner, both of you have the right to occupy the property and to come and go as you please. An individual’s right to occupy their property can only be overridden by a Court Order (sometimes called an ‘Occupation Order’) and/or bail conditions imposed by…

Late payments – what you need to know

Anyone involved in a business providing goods or services on a credit basis is likely to deal with late payment from time-to-time. This has a number of effects, including:     Annoyance and irritation; Cash-flow – unless you are in the happy position of having substantial “spare” cash, most businesses rely on payments coming in to meet their outgoings, at least in part; Commercial pressure – particularly if your customer is much larger than you, they may try to leverage other concessions by delaying payment; Cost and/or inconvenience in pursuing the payment; and Ultimately, if the sum is big and/or late enough, a risk of insolvency. I have seen several…

Commercial Agents – what you need to know

Commercial agents are generally used by businesses as an alternative to traditionally employed salespeople. In this case, the business is known as the “principal”. Commercial agents are independent people who do one of two things, usually in exchange for commission: sign customers up to a contract between the customer and the principal; or introduce the customer to the principal, for the principal to then decide whether to sign up to a contract with the customer. There are certainly some advantages to using commercial agents. They allow a business greater flexibility in some circumstances than employing salespeople, and can allow businesses to expand into regions or countries that would not be…

Shareholders’ Agreements – what you need to know

Most companies are formed between people who, at the time of formation, are on good terms – otherwise they probably wouldn’t be going into business together! Accordingly, there is often an optimistic view taken that there is no need to document the relationship and agreement between the parties – on the basis that “We won’t fall out”. It is however a sad fact of life that, no matter how close people are at the start of a business venture, friends/family/associates do not always maintain such a rosy relationship forever. This is particularly the case where a business gets into challenging or otherwise critical situations, with the stress that naturally follows.…

Family Mediation: Everything you need to know

If you’ve made the decision to separate, divorce or are facing divorce proceedings because your spouse has stated their intention to end the marriage, you might be wondering what first steps you could take to get through this difficult process as quickly and amicably as you can. Family mediation is where an independent, trained professional helps provides a couple with the assistance they need to reach their own solutions regarding children, property and finance without having to involve the Court. What is the process? Financial matters When there are money and property matters to be tackled mediators can help couples, in a neutral way, work out the terms of a…

Partnerships – what you need to know

The words “partner” and “partnership” are bandied around a lot in business. “X is my business partner”, “Y and I are doing this work in partnership” – but what does it really mean to be in a partnership?   A partnership is defined as “two or more persons carrying on a business in common, with a view to a profit”. To break that down into parts: there must be more than one “person”. This can be confusing, because e.g. a company can count as a “person” in this context; “carrying on a business” includes preparatory steps – so, for example, if two people planned to open a restaurant in partnership…

Revenge Porn

What is Revenge Porn? If someone has shared private, sexual materials of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress, that person may be guilty of a criminal offence. Sexual materials do not only cover pictures of genitals, but also anything that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual. This could cover a photo of someone posing in a sexually suggestive manner or a video engaging in sexual behaviour.  It could also cover a photo of someone in their underwear, if the image being shared caused distress to that person. Sharing includes posting online and also sending to other people. The offence of…

Property fraud: fake ID scams on the rise

Property fraud comes in many forms and is a growing trend which is so prolific in the East Midlands this year that it prompted the regional fraud team to issue a specific warning about fraudsters using fake ID to get mortgage-free properties transferred into their names. The scammers use fake ID, such as a passport or driving licence or change their name to the true owner’s name through deed poll to obtain genuine identification documents, to remortgage the targeted properties or sell them onto unsuspecting third parties and pocket the proceeds. Edward Sharpe (Partner and Head of Residential Property), explains how such property scams work and outlines what can be…

A day in the life of a Solicitor who specialises in Contentious Probate work

Karen Bower-Brown is a partner at Sills & Betteridge who specialises in contentious probate work which includes advising clients on contesting, challenging and disputing a will. What is contentious probate work and what sort of work does Karen deal with in a typical day? Karen is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists (“ACTAPS”) and is therefore entitled to call herself a specialist in contentious probate work. Contentious probate work includes: • Claims where no or insufficient financial provision is made for certain classes of family or dependants • Disputes over the validity of wills • Claims against personal representatives (“PRs”) who are failing to progress…

Sepsis and Medical Negligence

Sepsis (a form of blood poisoning) is a potentially life-threatening condition which occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection. Although in most cases our immune system can fight infection by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream, if our body’s response to these chemicals is out of balance, our response can trigger changes which then causes damage to tissues and organs instead. Once the infection is in the bloodstream it can affect the entire body and can lead to organ failure. If not treated urgently it can become a life-threatening condition where our response causes a sudden and dangerous drop in blood pressure and the Sepsis progresses to Septic…