Yesterday we received notification that Neal Gozzett had won an appeal on behalf of a driving instructor who was accused of a false allegation by a pupil.

The Registrar had attempted to remove our client from the Register of Approved Driving Instructors – thus removing his livelihood.  The successful appeal was allowed by the First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber for Transport) and our client is now clear to continue his profession.

If you are the subject of a false allegation or find yourself with a record that you feel should not be in the system then please contact our team today or call us on 0207 936 6329.

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Finding out your husband, wife or partner has been having an affair can be extremely destructive.

You’re emotions and reactions will be massively varied.  These are not times for assumptions, rash decisions and legal advice from friends or colleagues.  The sooner you take advice from an experienced Divorce Solicitor or Lawyer, the sooner you can start to see some clarity and work on moving on through the situation.

Stephanie Dew (Senior Associate) heads up our Family Law division at Monan Gozzett Solicitors and upon completion of a recent divorce, our client had the following to say.

“When I first contacted Stephanie I had just found out my husband was having an affair, my life was falling apart and I didn’t know where to turn. Stephanie offered me empathetic and pragmatic advice and gently guided me through those difficult early weeks when I felt lost and hopeless. She supported me through the divorce process, providing me with practical and sensible options as to what I could do next. I was impressed by her balanced approach, she took a realistic and no-nonsense stance to protect my interests whilst simultaneously dealing with my husband in a sensitive manner, which enabled us to agree on the arrangements in relation to our young son and finances.

I would like to express my thanks to Stephanie for the guidance and exceptional care she provided me during what has been a very difficult year. She was very warm and friendly, she dealt with my many insecurities and worries in a kind and professional manner and without her, I would have not been able to cope. She treated me with compassion and understanding, whilst always remaining professional. I felt able to ask questions and seek clarification and reassurance from her regarding the divorce process which seemed incredibly intimidating at times.

Her approach and her availability was truly remarkable and she has given me great support and advice every step of the way. I want to thank her for being there for me and working hard on my case, this year will never fade from my memory and I will forever be grateful to Stephanie for helping me get through it.

Relationship breakdown is a shocking and distressing time, it is so important to have support from a lawyer you trust and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Stephanie as a dedicated and compassionate professional.”

Stephanie is compassionate, experienced and highly skilled.  View more testimonials here, contact the team today on 0207 936 6329 or visit our contact form

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Neal Gozzett successfully represented a client (in a legacy False Allegation case) who wasn’t even originally aware the allegation had been made and recorded on NICHE by South Wales Police.

NICHE is a management system utilised by forces to collate and record data and the allegations had a direct impact on our clients career and livelihood.

Having spent a whole year trying to clear their name through the Police and Data Protection system our client was not making progress.  After being passed from pillar to post and then contacting several law firms many could not help and our client even reported that

“…some did not even bother to reply to my query.  Neal replied and gave me some hope to be able to fight these false allegations. We discussed my case and Neal thoroughly examined all the evidence I had gathered. He liaised with his team and advised me of his recommended plan of action. Neal was always considerate and empathetic of my circumstances. Most importantly Neal gave me confidence to expect a positive outcome.”

Thanks to Neal and the team our clients career is back on track following two years of struggle as a result of the false allegations.

Our client also went on to say “I am using Monan Gozzett Solicitors to represent me in my Matrimonial Case.  I would definitely choose Monan Gozzett Solicitors to represent me and you.”

If you are the subject of a false allegation or find yourself with a record that you feel should not be in the system then please contact our team today or call us on 0207 936 6329.

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By Stephanie Dew – Solicitor and Head of Family Law at MG Solicitors

I am often contacted by distraught clients who have been served with a “surprise” divorce petition.  The sudden beginning of the formality of the divorce process can come as another shock for them during the separation process.  The contents of the divorce petition can cause further pain and trauma during what is already a very difficult time.  It is not uncommon for the recipient of the petition to disagree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, or to dispute what their ex-partner may have said about “unreasonable behaviour” or “adultery” to support the grounds of the divorce.   What is said within a divorce petition can be incredibly hurtful and trigger further (unnecessary) animosity between the parties.

If neither you nor your partner have filed for divorce yet, please get early legal advice, a good lawyer will be able to give you sensible advice about how to liaise with your ex-partner about the preparation and wording of the divorce petition to avoid these problems.

“I’ve been served with a divorce petition and I don’t agree with what it says – what can I do?”

Defend the Petition or Issue a cross petition

Your immediate reaction may be to challenge the petition, to fight it or to file your own cross-petition.   It is likely that you will want to ensure that the Court knows that it was your ex-partner rather than you that was in the wrong and to feel that you have “won”.  However, unless you really want to remain married to your partner and your objective is not to get divorced, defending a petition or issuing a cross-petition is not normally a good idea.

Defending a divorce and cross-petitioning is a lengthy and expensive process and it will involve a number of hearings.  Ultimately the Court will look at the evidence in the petition and your response to it and the Judge will have to decide if they are satisfied that the marriage is at an end. Usually if one party believes the marriage has broken down, then it is likely the Judge will grant the divorce, however there was an unusual case in 2018 when the Supreme Court upheld a decision to reject a wife’s unreasonable behaviour petition on the basis that the allegations were insufficient.  Here is a link if you would like to read more about that case.

https://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/owens-v-owens-supreme-court-dismisses-wife-s-appeal

My view is that in most cases the parties would be much better to focus their time, energy and legal fees on reaching an agreement in relation to the family finances and child arrangements and you would be better to consider one of the other options below.

Ask your ex-partner to amend the petition

If you are able to agree a wording for the contents of the petition, you or your solicitor could contact your ex-partner or their solicitor to ask for the petition to be amended so that it is drafted on more amenable terms.   You can then agree what should and should not be included in order that the divorce can move forward.

State that you do not accept the allegations

If you do not oppose the divorce itself, rather it is the contents of the petition you object to, you can let the divorce proceed whilst stating that you do not accept the allegations.  When you or your solicitor complete the acknowledgement of service form you can state that you do not intend to defend the proceedings but that you do not accept the allegations.  This highlights to the Judge that you are not admitting to this behaviour, but it enables the divorce to proceed.

What usually happens?

It is rare for a Respondent to defend a divorce or cross petition, partly due to the expense involved.  It is also important to note that it is very rare for any behaviour or adultery allegations to affect any financial settlement.  The Court when considering the family finances will not take into account any allegations unless it is conduct which “would in the opinion of the Court be inequitable to disregard”.

The rare occasions upon which allegations are taken into account are:

  1. Financial misconduct: e.g.  a party has gambled away the family money
  2. Litigation misconduct: e.g.  example if a party has been highly obstructive or dishonest in Court proceedings.
  3. Other misconduct: this which would need to be extreme to be taken into account and can include murder or violent assault to the extent of disabling the spouse.

The reality is that the divorce petition is not a public document, it should not be seen by another other than the parties, their legal representatives and the Court.  Whilst it can be extremely hurtful to receive a petition you disagree with, in most cases it is better to focus your energy and resources in moving forward and focussing on achieving a good financial settlement and appropriate arrangements for the children.

Should you be affected by the issues in this article, we offer a free initial consultation for new enquiries to assess whether we are able to assist you and to discuss anticipated fees for our services.  Call us today on 0207 936 6329 or complete our Contact Form and we will call you back.

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Monan Gozzett were proud and honoured to be at the Sussex Business Awards, held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton on the 5th December.

Shortlisted in the ‘Startup of the Year’, this signified a huge achievement for the business and highlighted the hard work, dedication and commitment that everyone at Monan Gozzett puts in on a daily basis. Whilst we did not win the award on the night, to be shortlisted was still something of a victory and to be amongst many prestigious businesses after only being in business since Autumn 2016, shows that the future for Monan Gozzett is a bright and prosperous one.

We would like to extend our congratulations to the winner of the Startup of the Year, Anything Is Possible, and our fellow runners up in the category: Harriet’s of Hove and Oliver’s Brighton, as well as all the other winners at the Awards. The event itself was a superbly run event and we thank all involved for such a wonderful evening.

2020 looks set to be another year of growth and success for Monan Gozzett and we look forward to assisting and working with you.

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