Have divorces been delayed by the cost of living crisis? Ben Stowe debates the Legal & General’s findings on Times Radio

Benjamin Stowe started the new year as an expert guest on Times Radio.

On the 2nd January, Ben, calling on his mobile from a train in Wakefield, joined Ed Vaizey, sitting in for Mariella Frostrup, to debate the validity of the Legal & General report that this year, because of the current cost of living crisis, more than 270,000 couples have delayed splitting up.

The Legal & General research claimed that financial pressures delayed 19% of divorces this year citing the impact has been particularly pronounced since 2020, as a result of income concerns, cost of living pressures and the price of divorce.

Ben did not quite agree with the findings stating that in his experience, whilst financial pressures may impact on the health of a relationship, pressures are more likely, rather than less likely to result in clients turning to him for advice. Ben suggested that financial pressures “drive people to divorce rather than postpone it”. He also stressed that these financial pressures are “never-ending” citing the Covid pandemic, Brexit and the recession.

Co-expert, psychotherapist Lucy Beresford, concurred with Ben that there have always been financial pressures which delay divorce but feels that it is more about new year being a turning point when people reflect how they want their lives to be.

You can listen to the full interview here – scroll to 1.25

Why educational disagreements in UHNW families are more common than you think – Alison Hayes talks to Tatler.com

LMP partner Alison Hayes has contributed to a recent Tatler.com article written by Annabelle Spranklen

The article explores why when it comes to education, there can be a number of areas of conflict between families and for separated parents this can sometimes lead to disagreements when what is best in one’s parent’s eyes does not align with the other parent’s view.

Alison wholeheartedly agrees commenting that in separated families, the disagreements are obviously more polarised:
“People become fixated upon reputations of schools and what this will add to their child. Parents sometimes fail to prioritise the holistic approach. Schooling is something which needs to suit a child as opposed to suiting the parents. Whilst these may seem to be juxtapositions suiting the child is of course the most important thing.”

Alison, is featured in Tatler Advisory for Family Law, which is described as the “gold-standard guidance” for “everything you need to settle relationship issues”. She was approached for her contribution along with other leading family lawyers with significant experience in advising UHNW families and who feature in this bespoke hub of private client advisers.

You can read the full article here.

Finances on Divorce – Kate Stovold writes for Vantage Point

LMP Partner, Kate Stovold, continues to write for Vantage Point, the community magazine in Farnham, Surrey, with a focus in this latest article on the financial consequences of divorce.

Kate recognises that the divorce creates much uncertainty, particularly with an eye to the unravelling of family finances. Clients are often concerned about what they might receive and what they will need to pay.

Kate says this: “Once again, I am pleased to share my expertise in my home community and hope that my article provides support to families in need. I hope that my whistle-stop tour identifies important headlines and stresses the value of specialist advice.”

To read the article in full, please follow the link here.

Should you need any advice about finances on divorce, or family matters generally, please contact Kate: [email protected]

Jeremy Levison talks to Christopher Jackson of Finito World about his office art collection

In an interview which appears on Finito World’s website this month prior to publication in the magazine, LMP founding partner Jeremy Levison talks about the importance of art to his life. From his passion for collecting art which started in the 1970s, Jeremy founded the idea of an office art gallery whilst at Collyer Bristow and how, when he established his own firm with Simon Pigott,  he has used his collection to make the offices of Levison Meltzer Pigott a very special place to work. The latter is of particular interest to Finito World’s readership in its role as an employability news channel.

Prenuptial agreements. What and why? And wherever!

LMP partner Kate Stovold talks about prenuptial agreements in her latest article for Vantage Point, a magazine circulated to families and businesses in Kate’s home town of Farnham in Surrey.

Kate debunks some of the common myths surrounding prenups and argues that far from being unromantic, the agreement represents shrewd financial planning and wealth management.

This piece is from a series of articles on family law which Kate is writing for her local community magazine and she explains why this is important to her:

“Before the national lockdown in March 2020, and like so many others, I commuted to London every day.  However, to adapt and to do so quickly was crucial for business.  LMP transitioned to remote working overnight meaning that I was no longer a ‘London family lawyer’; simply a family lawyer.  It has been a pleasure to represent clients living in and out of London (and abroad) during the pandemic.  The show must go on!

Whilst I have now returned to the office, I am operating a flexi working schedule that facilitates the best of both for me and, most importantly, my clients.  I remain active in my London network and continue to expand my professional connections in Farnham.

I see numerous advantages for my clients including:

  • That LMP is a boutique family law practice offering a “tailored top drawer service” (Legal 500).  That service is available to all regardless of geography.
  • My firm’s ongoing commitment to excellence.
  • My relationships with the best barristers and third party experts ensuring a collaborative approach to your case.
  • The convenience of being local to you, whether in London or in Surrey.  Access to the best legal advice is now a moveable feast.”

You can read Kate’s article here.

To contact Kate for advice about prenups or any family law matter: [email protected]

Following Matt Hancock’s resignation, Ben Stowe talks with Naga Munchetty on BBC 5 Live about the pressures on political marriages.

Ben Stowe joined Naga Munchetty this morning to discuss the numerous press articles over the weekend focussing on political marriages and how rarely they thrive. The Telegraph’s Isobel Hardman claims she has never met anyone who said that being an MP improved their relationship and Sarah Vine, a journalist married to MP Michael Gove, identifies being treated as “feudal barons” and a culture of no one ever saying no to them making it difficult for anything to compete with the “adrenaline of power”.

Naga asked Ben to call on his expertise in acting for politicians to give his views on how much pressure there is on a relationship if you are married as an MP. Ben acknowledged the strains and pressures but countered that this “power grab” is not unique to MPs but can apply to a whole range of professional people with demanding jobs. However, Ben did agree with Naga’s question on the public scrutiny MPs have to face, appreciating that the level of scrutiny for MPs is different from most other professionals. Matt Hancock will not be the only person to have “a snog in the office”, he said, but unlike most couples, he and his wife do not have the opportunity to deal with the situation in private. MPs simply do not have that luxury.

You can listen to the full interview here – scroll to 10.52

Double take – Jeremy Levison lends his expertise to BBC2’s “Millionaires’ Ex-Wives Club”

Jeremy Levison was one of four Family Law experts involved in a one hour film produced by Century Films, which followed two ex-wives who went into battle with their exes, spending millions of pounds and years of their lives in the process. Are these women out to fleece their men for every penny they can get, as the press often suggests? Or are they simply pursuing what they are entitled to? When your husband is a multi-millionaire, life can be something of a fairytale – there will be Ferraris and Bentleys in the driveway, a yacht in Monaco and summers in St Tropez. But when it all comes crashing down, it seems the bigger the money, the bigger the fight. The programme stepped inside the world of high-profile divorce cases where millions of pounds are at stake – and London is the battleground.

Benjamin Stowe – on BBC 5 Live – Divorce ‘D’ Day debate

LMP’s Benjamin Stowe joined Geoff Lloyd, stepping in for Stephen Nolan, on BBC 5 Live on Saturday night, along with broadcaster and divorcee Rachel Royce and “Divorce Coach” Sarah Davison to discuss Divorce ‘D’ Day and the prospect of Family Solicitors coming in to work Monday morning to “phones in meltdown”.

There is a lot of media focus on whether there is indeed a huge rush of divorce applications following the festive period and so Ben started off the discussion with a touch of reality, confirming “Yes, it’s a busy period but, to be honest,  it is always a busy time”.  Ben continued to stress that the relationship breakdown process is complicated and so “to drill down to a divorce ‘D’ Day does not do it justice.” Whilst conceding that spending time together over Christmas can “focus the mind” for already unhappy couples, Ben added light-heartedly that an overcooked turkey being the final straw was highly unlikely.

Ben Stowe talks with LBC’s Eddie Mair who asks – can you have a happy divorce?

LBC’s Friday afternoon phone-in with Eddie Mair was all about divorce.  The debate centred on the fact that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie have agreed a record-breaking divorce settlement and have maintained that they wish to remain friends.  The question for listeners – Are they alone or can you have a happy divorce?

LMP’s Ben Stowe helped get the discussion going by confirming that an amicable divorce is indeed possible to achieve; it’s just that you don’t hear so much about the couples that approach divorce constructively, deciding amongst themselves how to split assets and provide for children, and in many cases, only look to lawyers to formalise these agreements.  You read in the media about the flipside to an amicable divorce; when there is no consensus of approach and the only resolution is to litigate.

Eddie probed for more information.  Was there any one factor that made a break-up more likely to be amicable?  Divorce specialist Ben was quick to reply that “every marriage is different” and so there were no simple guidelines.

Before handing over to callers to share their personal experiences, Ben was able to congratulate Jeff Bezos, and MacKenzie, for being a role model for an amical divorce and putting their four children first.  They will always have a relationship because of their children and so an amical divorce is so much healthier for the future of the family.

This is not the first time that Ben has explored divorce in relation to the Bezos divorce.  In January he wrote about the ‘stellar contribution’ argument and why a billionaire like Jeff Bezos could save a fortune if divorcing in England. Read the article here.