ebay selling tax

Selling online?

By | Finance, Work employment

Here’s what you need to know about taxes

With online shopping becoming more and more popular, e-commerce and online business start ups are growing at a rapid rate. In fact, according to the Business Data Group, the UK’s e-commerce start-up sector is booming at levels not seen before.

Research showed that in the week before the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown was announced, more than 500 e-commerce start-ups were formed. Five weeks later, that figure had risen exponentially to almost 1,300 e-commerce start-ups per week – around 800 more than the same week in 2019.

If you own an e-commerce business, or you’re thinking about starting one, then there are special rules and regulations for operating. Here, Zoe Gibbons, partner and e-commerce specialist at Perrys Chartered Accountants, explains what you need to know about selling online.

Do online sellers have to pay tax?
Setting up as an online business is a great way to keep overheads to a minimum and benefit from flexible working arrangements. However, like any other business, an e-commerce business will be subject to paying taxes.

If you are self-employed, including as an online seller, then you’ll need to complete an annual self-assessment tax return to disclose any income and expenditure and submit it online to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are selling items online and it is not part of a business activity, such as selling second-hand possessions on eBay, then you won’t need to pay tax. However, if you plan to do it regularly, this could count as a business even if you already have a job.

As of 2016, the Finance Act gave HMRC the authority to investigate the selling sites of individuals who do not appear to be declaring income. This is assessed based on the following criteria:
• Intention to make a profit as opposed to selling for fun or to raise emergency funds.
• Repetition of similar transactions over a short period of time.
• Borrowing money to fund transactions.
• Inability to prove items sold were pre-loved or used before being listed.
• Items sold at a fixed price in a similar way to other retailers.
• Limited time between purchase and selling of items.
• Modification of items in order to sell them for profit.

How much can you sell online before paying tax?
If you’re hoping to make a small amount of money from selling online, then the good news is HMRC currently allows for £1,000 to be earned in sales before any tax is payable.

However, even if you’re selling online on platforms such as eBay, Depop and Gumtree, and you’re not a registered business, once you pass the £1,000 earnings threshold you may be liable for tax as a self-employed individual.

What taxes do online businesses need to pay?
Depending on how your business is set up, the following taxes may apply:
• Income Tax
• Corporation Tax
• National Insurance
• Employers’ PAYE
• Business rates

It is recommended that you seek the advice of a professional accountant for any e-commerce business tax related matters.

Is there an online sales tax?
In March 2020, HMRC introduced the Digital Services Tax – a 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces, which derive value from UK users. The majority of businesses affected by this tax are large multi-national enterprises, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

However, the UK Treasury is also investigating the options for introducing an online sales tax in response to the recent shift in shopping patterns and online consumer behaviour. Currently, it is considering a 2% online sales tax on e-commerce sellers and marketplaces.

This could mean that e-commerce businesses will need to pay 2% of tax on their online sales to UK customers.

Do you pay taxes when selling online to other countries?
If you sell goods online to customers who are overseas, then other considerations will apply. For example, your goods may require accompanying documentation and could be subject to customs duty and sales tax on arrival at their destination.

If you are in any doubt, then you should seek the assistance of a qualified accountant who has experience dealing with e-commerce businesses.

home work and studt

Unusual ways to make extra money

By | Finance, Work employment
by Peter Watton

More and more Brits are turning to side hustles to supplement their incomes, and you might want to make some extra cash too. Here, Peter Watton from OddsMonkey picks out the side hustles that are perfect for parents.

Many families across the UK have seen their monthly income drop throughout the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This has led more and more people to top up their income with side hustles, which are jobs you can do in your spare time. Our research has shown that some people are even earning up to £4,000 per year from their extra business – though the average amount is £230 per month.

Finding time to earn extra money can be challenging when you’re a parent, so it’s important to think about side hustles that can be done from home, or arranged around your childcare responsibilities. It’s also useful if your extra earner is easy to set up, is simple and doesn’t take up any space in your home.

This is why many online earning opportunities can be a smart way forward for parents who want some extra spending money. Below, I’ll share a few side hustles that are great for parents to fit in and do from home.

1. Dropshipping
You might have heard of dropshipping, as it’s used by sellers as big as Amazon, as well as many small online businesses. But, you might not know how to get started. Dropshipping is a way of selling items online without the need to acquire stock, meaning you don’t need to make space to keep products in your home.

Dropshippers find products, then advertise them, and order on behalf of customers from suppliers. So, you take on the public-facing duties of advertising and setting up an e-commerce website, and let the suppliers fulfil the orders.

To get started, you just need to find a product you like, and then set up a platform to advertise it. While this side hustle does require an initial investment of time, once it’s set up it can be a really good option, as you can set your own working hours and work on your business at home.

2. Matched betting
Matched betting is a way of making money that you might not know much about. This is method of betting that takes advantage of free offers from betting providers. By using these free offers, and betting on both outcomes of an event (such as a football game), you can guarantee that you’ll at least make your money back, even if you don’t make a profit.

There are lots of calculation websites that can help you work out what bets to take. It’s also worth noting that any earnings from matched betting are tax-free, whereas with other side hustles, you’ll need to pay income tax on any earnings over £1,000 per year. This side hustle does require investing time to learn the principles of matched betting, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy to do from home while watching your little ones.

3. Testing food products
Manufacturers need to do testing to see how customers will react to their new products before they hit the shops. You can get involved with this, and try some exciting new flavours while earning either money or vouchers! Plenty of food trials don’t even require you to leave your house either.

You’ll need to join a market research company as a consumer tester, as food manufacturers use these companies to get their focus group feedback. After you’ve filled out a survey to show the company what kind of demographic you fall into, they’ll send you samples to try out and give feedback on. This can be a fun, easy way to earn some extra money while also trying new things.

You should be aware however that there are some scam websites out there, so double-check that the company you find is genuine by reading reviews and contacting the manufacturer of some of the products offered for testing. They’ll be able to tell you that the market research firm is genuine, and then you can be sure you’re with a reputable company.

4. Renting out your things
You might not think of your belongings as being a potential source of income, but many people are increasingly making money by renting out their things. You can rent out everything from bicycles to musical and electrical equipment. You’ll just need to be at home for renters to pick them up and then give them back to you after use.

There are many websites where you can sign up and offer your items up for renting. A popular website for this is Fat Llama, which allows people to see items offered for renting in their area. Just take a photo of your items, set up an account, and add your town or city so people know where you are located.

5. Going on a game show
This one is the most fun out of all the potential side hustles. Lots of your favourite shows will be open to applications for contestants throughout the year and you can apply to be on them by using the BBC and ITV pages for applying to participate. Watch for when your favourite shows (or the ones you think you’ll excel at!) are open for contestants, and then try your hand at collecting some winnings.

Of course, you will need childcare as filming can’t take place at home – but this is a special occasion, so a babysitter is definitely in order. Lots of game shows are also filmed in one day, which helps when organising a babysitter or alternative activity for your children.

It can be overwhelming deciding what side hustle might work for you and lots of the advice about earning extra money doesn’t take into account the time you spend watching and looking after your children. But, these potential earners are all good for fitting in around your parental responsibilities, and working from home means you can balance them with family time too.

OddsMonkey are an industry leader in the world of matched betting, and are the original developers of the UK’s leading matched betting software.
To find out more, visit:

Give your child the gift of precious metals

By | Finance
by Hamzah Almasyabi
CEO at MintedTM

Sometimes the run up to Christmas can feel more like a marathon than a fun, festive season and it can be easy to be swayed into panic-buying armfuls of gifts that often end up unused. In a bid to cut down on clutter and help protect the environment, parents and grandparents are looking for new ways of gifting to children, virtually or otherwise. The wider market contains everything from Premium Bonds to shares but, in a climate of stock market volatility and low interest rates, could precious metals, such as gold bullion be a safer bet to gift on the big day?

Gold was one of the first precious metals to be used as a trading commodity and, to this day, remains one of the most stable and reliable investment choices. And it’s not just adults that love gold. Many children’s books tell stories of the precious metal – from pirates to royalty – and, in sport, a gold medal has always been associated with winning. From a very young age, the value of gold has been ingrained in most people’s minds.

While it undoubtedly looks attractive, perhaps the biggest selling point is that through the years, gold has served as a hedge against inflation and the erosion of major currencies. As a tangible asset, investors can handle their physical gold and store it as they wish, or even sell it if needed. Gold doesn’t just sit there gathering dust – it also gathers value. While its price may fluctuate, historically and over the long-term, it trends higher. Currently, the average growth rate per year is 9%, considerably greater than bonds or current interest rates. With this in mind, £1,000 invested in gold could be worth around £1,538 after five years – in a sense, it really is the gift that keeps on giving.

As finite resources grow in popularity, more user-friendly and flexible tech-focused routes into precious metal investment are hitting the market, making gifting much easier. For example, investment platforms like Minted make it easy for people to either purchase gold or silver with a lump sum or save set amounts every month, starting from £30. Once enough has been saved for a gold bar, for example, the physical gold can either be stored in a secure London vault or withdrawn – something any child would be proud to own.

The next generation of savings apps and platforms are now adding features, such as reward points for referring friends and family, providing even more of an incentive for parents to start building up points for their children. This means that once they get older, gold holders can connect their payment cards and automatically start receiving points when they spend money; sometimes making up to 10% return, which can be put towards physical gold, or other precious metals.

As well as creating a more financially secure future for children and adults alike, digitally gifting gold and silver also has the potential to help towards a greener future too. By reducing the amount of waste destined for landfills and cutting back on wrapping paper, people can give their family the kind of gift they will not only treasure on Christmas Day but can also watch grow in value year on year.

Despite its high-class status, gold and silver offer far more than just being luxury goods; they can also be a viable investment option for anyone, at any age. As stock markets continue to fluctuate and interest rates fall, the price of gold and other precious metals could remain on an upward trajectory for some time. No matter the state of the current economic climate, gold and silver will always be must-have additions to any investment portfolio. With an ever-expanding list of ways to transfer precious metals virtually, and reap the benefits of doing so, there’s no doubt that they make the best kind of gift.

Founded in 2018, Minted is a technology platform where anyone can buy, sell, save and transfer physical gold. With an easy-to-use mobile platform and app, Minted makes buying gold simple, safe and affordable. Customers can set up flexible savings plans and invest amounts of their choice into gold each month. With market-leading buying rates, Minted is the only gold savings app where users can get ownership and delivery of pure 999.9 24kt LBMA physical gold.

Visit to find out more about buying and saving in gold.

Meet the women leading ‘the flex movement’!

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This year’s International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge, is for me the perfect reminder of all the fabulous women I’ve encountered on my journey who have inspired me to continue championing flexible working and its benefits.

As the founder of Flexibility Matters, I started my flexible work journey out of the necessity to find a job in Sussex that accommodated three nursery aged children! Flex is fundamental to work and life and I’ve made it my mission to find flexible roles for talented and experienced parents to allow them to continue to progress their careers.

At a pivotal webinar on ‘How Covid-19 made working flexibly business critical’, some of the wonderfully flexible ladies I’ve met along the way and some of whom I work with now, were able to reveal their most important insights on busting the nine to five working myth.

Jane Galloway, Head of Flexible Working at NHS England, and NHS Improvement said: “In general, increasing access to flexible working options increases staff engagement, and we know that in the NHS, good staff engagement leads to better patient care.”.

Dagmar Albers, UK Diversity & Inclusion Lead, who has been avidly working within Pfizer to roll out team pact workshops on informal flexible working agreements, revealed: “Once teams agree a pact, they are then able to work at a time and place best for them in terms of productivity, energy and of course positive outcomes, whilst effectively managing commitments outside of work. It is about the outcome produced and not the number of hours worked and about trusting each other to deliver in a way that works for them”.

Jessica Hornsby, Organisational Capability Lead has been working within Thales on fundamentally shifting the mindset around flexible working, that they now term SMART working, for over four years. She saw many assumptions smashed by COVID-19. The most impactful being how few roles ‘have’ to be office based.

Another remarkable lady, Ursula Tavender, Learning and Development Specialist and Co-Director of Flexpo, has been leading the charge on flex and equality in the workplace for over 5 years now. Ursula says: “Flexible working is the most powerful tool we have in the working world to make sure that everyone, whatever their circumstances, has equal access to meaningful work and equal opportunity to progress. It has always been the key to closing pay gaps, and now it has also become the key to our ability to build back better as we navigate the phases of the pandemic. We’ve learned so much during this past year about what’s possible; now is the time to leverage the opportunity in front of us to change the world of work forever.”

For the past six years Flexibility Matters have been matching businesses with results-oriented professionals that need a flexible approach to their work hours. Whilst influencing business mindsets and challenging traditional cultures has not been simple, with a little push from a pandemic that chose to challenge us all, it now feels like a more flexible approach to work is here to stay.

We’ve been reporting for years that flexible workers are more focused, productive and happy and we know the key ingredients to being a successful one. Whether you’ve been made redundant or you’re simply looking for a brand new flexible challenge, get in touch on 07810 541599 or register at

Divorce is changing for the better

By | family, Finance, Legal, Relationships, Work employment
by Rachael House
Senior Associate Solicitor, Family Law, Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors

What is the current divorce law in this country?
Under current divorce law, if you and your spouse have not been separated for two years or more you can only get divorced by showing that your spouse has committed adultery or behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them (known as unreasonable behaviour). Only then will a court grant you a divorce.

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour divorces are known as ‘fault-based’ divorces and usually increase acrimony between spouses. For example, to demonstrate that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them, you have to write some unpleasant words about them and their behaviour. For your spouse who is at the receiving end of these unkind words it can cause them distress and make them even more unhappy with you, when tensions may already be running high. This type of divorce is especially unhelpful where there are children of the family, as relationships between parents can deteriorate further at a time when it is more important than ever for parents to work co-operatively.

Over the years, the Government has been reluctant to reform divorce law, believing that making it easier for couples to divorce would somehow undermine the sanctity of marriage and increase the rates of divorce.

What is changing?
In 2017, a national survey carried out by the Nuffield Foundation found that in fault-based divorces 62% of petitioners (those instigating the divorce) and 78% of respondents (those at the receiving end of a divorce) said that using fault had made the process more bitter, 21% of respondents said fault had made it harder to sort out arrangements for children, and 31% of respondents thought fault made sorting out finances harder.

In 2020 the Government passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill following lengthy campaigning by family lawyers. The Bill paves the way for a new divorce process where blame does not have to be attached to one party.

The general consensus amongst family lawyers is that the changes do not make the physical process of divorce any easier and certainly no quicker than the current system. The huge benefit of the changes, however, is that the process will be far less acrimonious and emotionally damaging for all those involved.

When can I get divorced under the new law?
The new law will come into force in autumn 2021 (no exact date has been set as yet) so there is still some time to wait.

Once the new law is in force, you will be able to proceed with a divorce by providing a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ The current two-stage process, decree nisi and decree absolute, will remain and a minimum timeframe of six months will be set from the date of the petition to decree absolute. There will also be an option for you and your spouse to issue a joint divorce petition.

What if I still want to get divorced now without blaming my spouse?
If you want to press ahead with a divorce now without attributing blame, then if you have been separated for two years or more you can get divorced on the basis of ‘two years separation’ – provided your spouse consents. If your spouse is not going to consent then you can only get divorced without attributing blame if you have been separated for five years or more.

If the above routes are not a viable option for you but you still wish to formalise the financial matters of a separation immediately, then you can enter into a separation agreement with your spouse – provided they co-operate – to divide up the finances of the marriage with a view to divorcing once the new law comes into force. At the point of divorce, your separation agreement can be converted by a family lawyer into a court order. It will then become legally binding under matrimonial law once a judge approves the order.

What shall I do next?
If you are unsure as to whether to press ahead with your divorce or to wait a while, it is important to find out more about the legal options available to you by contacting a family lawyer for advice.

Rachael House is a specialist family solicitor at Mackrell Turner Garrett, an established firm of experienced Solicitors based in Woking.

FLEXIBLE is the new working normal – are you equipped?

By | Finance, Relationships, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

With a recent employee survey revealing that more than nine in 10 working parents and carers want their workplace to retain flexible working indefinitely* and another reporting that 28% of employers believe the increase in homeworking has increased productivity**, COVID-19 has shifted the working pattern mindset to flexible.

And, whilst the version of flexible working parents had been experiencing during the lockdown period was not ideal, what it has done is prove that flexibility can be possible in so many more jobs than previously thought.

The shift towards greater use of home working will make work more accessible and sustainable for all, particularly for those with caring responsibilities, and at the same time support employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Whilst employers are having to fully embrace telecommuting and reduced, or part-time work, flexible workers are having to match this with an open and adaptive attitude to new technology, training and performance management.

As a working parent, whether your current work has changed shape significantly or you’re embarking on a completely new career path, flexible working is becoming the new normal and being properly equipped for it is more important than ever. No one understands this more than us who, since 2014, have been working with employers and talented candidates filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. To help you become fully job ready for the ‘new normal’ flexible world of work, we’ve put together some suggestions on where to start.

Understand your transferable skills
Identify the transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any periods between work. This will allow you to reveal skills and knowledge that you may not have initially considered and highlight all that you have to offer, widening your options and opportunities. Make sure you showcase these in your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Do your research
Ensure you are familiar and skilled with the latest remote working technology and that of your target industry. Educate yourself with up to date industry trends and news and identify where you may need to upskill according to what role you want to be considered for.

Have you learnt a new skill to showcase?
Have you recently learnt a new skill that you are able to showcase? This could be award-winning time-management acquired from juggling home-schooling, freelance working and everything else thrown your way! It could also be an industry related course completed online that might just make that small difference when being considered for a particular role.

* A survey of over 1,000 UK parents and carers of children aged 18 and under by Charity Working Families (Jun 2020)

**A survey of 1,046 employers by (July 2020)

At Flexibility Matters, we’re not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatever their backgrounds. Register on or get in touch with us directly on email: Tel: 0781 0541 599.

money and kids

Playful ways to introduce money

By | Education, family, Finance, numeracy skills
Source: F&C Investment Trust

Children are seeing less actual ‘money’ nowadays with many adults using cards or apps to pay, so they can grow up far less aware of how to use actual notes and coins. Here are some ways to ensure that children still learn about ‘real money’.

1 Make a pretend shop with a pot of coins and sticky note price tags to encourage little ones to play with money.

2 Next time you’re at the shops, point out some of the prices on the items and talk about what the symbols mean.

3 Write a shopping list for making fruit smoothies and take it with you to the shops to buy your ingredients.

4 Turn an old cardboard box into a cash machine with buttons and pretend screen for lots of pretend play with money.

5 Place coins under paper and rub with a crayon on its side, what numbers can your child see?

6 Encourage older children to explore ways to make the value of five or 10 using small coins in lots of different ways.

7 Bury coins in sand or mud for little ones to discover and play with, perhaps matching numbers or values.

8 Set up a pretend bank with money, till and paper slips. Why not visit a bank to show your little one where money comes from?

9 Press coins into lumps of play dough to see the impressions and numbers.

10 Turn an old box or tube into a money box for your child’s savings.


The future of financial education

By | Education, Finance, play

The world of money has changed drastically. For us, as parents, we could tell how much pocket money we had left just by jangling our pocket. Nowadays, pocket money has been transformed by the growth of contactless payments and ecommerce, with digital transactions making it all too easy for months of careful saving to be blown with the touch of a screen or tap of a card.
With a study by the University of West London showing that one in five Londoners below the age of 45 struggle to pay debts as a result of ‘tap and go’ payments, it is no wonder that many parents have concerns over their children’s finances in a cashless world. Whilst contactless payments have undoubtedly made spending more convenient for many, young people are becoming increasingly aware of the potential risks posed by the ease of digital transactions. As a result, over 5% of young people are switching back to cash to better control their spending.

Statistics like these shouldn’t scare children away from contactless payments entirely, but they should act as a wake-up call to ensure we are instilling in our children a firm understanding of the value of money and an appreciation that every tap adds up. Digital money is here to stay, and it is vital that children are integrated into this cashless society.

Lessons in financial literacy
Schools have played an important role in introducing children to the uses and functions of money since the inclusion of financial literacy on the national curriculum in 2014, with pupils in Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14) being taught about managing risk and the importance of budgeting, and children in Key Stage 4 (ages 15-16) learning about credit and debit, income and expenditure, savings and pensions. Exposing young people to the practical applications of financial literacy skills is essential if they are to become financially competent and confident adults.

Though effective in theory, the limited time, resources and staff available to teach even the syllabuses’ core subjects, often results in financial literacy classes being squeezed out of the day. Lesson content is also a cause for concern; the emphasis placed on cash and coins neglecting the fact that digital transactions dominate the world outside the school gates.

With financial literacy lessons taking place inconsistently, and placing an emphasis on the physical forms of money, there is a risk that children won’t leave school with the certified grasp of digital money required in today’s world of consumer credit and contactless payments.

Outside of the classroom
Whilst financial lessons at school are invaluable, seemingly unexciting topics like budgeting, saving and responsible spending are best taught through hands-on experiences at home. Exposing your child to the realities of their spending in a controlled, safe environment creates an opportunity for them to comprehend the value of their money, cultivating their financial awareness and ability to manage their money independently.

Does your child know the average cost of the weekly family shop, or how much is spent on their school supplies? Encouraging them to get stuck in with the family’s finances exposes them to the daily, practical uses of money – consider setting your child a task to help with the next supermarket trip, challenging them to buy items on the shopping list within a set budget, or to work out your monthly spend from old receipts, so they can independently assess the purchases that cost the most.

Of course, managing their own money is key in a child’s financial education. Whether it’s saving up to buy the latest video game, or the satisfaction of building up a nest egg, successfully and independently budgeting their pocket money can enable children to realise the benefits that come with financial planning. Letting children treat themselves once in a while, be it from their own savings or with a little parental help, will encourage them to develop positive financial behaviours and habits.

Money management is a vital life skill that can be introduced from an early age, whether in the classroom or at home. As parents, we can supplement existing financial literacy classes with hands-on lessons from home, and help shape our children into a financially competent and confident generation.

It’s a family affair

By | family, Finance, Fostering and adoption, Uncategorized

The sons and daughters of foster carers play a vital role in fostering; they contribute hugely towards the success of fostering placements and make a valuable difference to fostered siblings as they settle into their new home.

Fostering is a life changing decision and should be considered and thought about as a family. Sometimes, the perceived impact of fostering on birth children prevents families from finding out more as they feel they need to wait until their children are older, however for many of the families who foster for Brighton & Hove City Council, the experience has been positive and rewarding.

Hannah (12) and Louis (16) have been fostering with their mum and dad for seven years. When they began, aged five and nine, they weren’t sure what to expect but they are now wonderful examples of the compassion, kindness and maturity essential to the success of a fostering placement.

Louis remembers, “It was a really long time ago when we first started – there was a sense of nervousness, but I thought it was exciting. I knew I was looking forward to meeting whoever came to live with us.”

Hannah was much younger when the family’s fostering journey began but remembers getting to know everyone involved in the assessment process. The pair would draw and write about some things they were looking forward to and were encouraged to talk about themselves; their likes, their worries and their hopes.

“Our Assessing Social Worker would sit us down, sometimes with Mum and Dad, sometimes without, and go through the process to make sure we were OK. I remember we had to talk about what we’re like, and they’d tell us what the kids could be like.”

For Louis, the best thing about fostering is the first moments of a child’s arrival into his home. He enjoys talking to them, learning about them and finding out about what they like to do. “I soon found out the foster child we have now really likes playing Mario. I said hey, we have a Wii, do you want to go and play?” Louis says that further down the line it gets even better “because then you really know them. They’ll come up to you and ask hey, do you want to do this or hey do you want to that? It becomes a real connection I guess.”

Hannah has found it hard at times to see children move on, but has a close relationship with her social worker, who visits her frequently; “She’s always there to make sure I am OK and I know the children will be going to a nice home or back to their family.”

Louis says, “If we need to talk, there’s always someone there – we’re never left in the dark.”

The support in place for sons and daughters of foster carers also includes regular day trips and activities. A team of Brighton & Hove City Council Fostering Support Officers run activities throughout all of the school holidays, for birth children and foster children alike. The trips are a treat for the kids, who get an opportunity to form friendships with children in similar circumstances, and a well-deserved break for foster carers.

Louis talks excitedly about one of the most popular trips. “A group of us kids go to Chessington, to have an entire day there, and then we get back for a bit of pizza. There’s loads of activities, be it for foster children, or children like us, so we’re all in included and we have a really fun day out.”

Reflecting on their seven years as a foster family, Hannah and Louis both feel that fostering has bought them closer together.

Hannah says “I feel like it’s definitely made me and my brother a lot closer and it’s definitely made us a lot closer as a family. We talk to each other a lot more now.”

Louis says “It’s taught us to understand and respect others. It’s made me who I am today, not all on my own, I’ve had help from everyone around me, but it’s been really good. I now work in a primary school. It’s my first job. I’ve taken my love of fostering and taken it out into the wider world, looking after 30 kids at an after-school club! It’s definitely made me who I am, and I do what I love and enjoy.”

Fostering younger children with an earlier bedtime means the family can enjoy time together in the evenings, watching a movie or playing a board game. They are keen campers and if it’s not possible for the children in their care to join them on their trips, they call upon respite carers to help. Hannah says, “The children always go to the same respite carer, so they feel comfortable when they go.”

Louis feels that fostering “makes you a better person and brings your family together.” His advice to parents who want to explore fostering but feel unsure how to begin the conversation with their birth children is to “let them know you’re still going to be their mum and dad. Nothing is going to be severely affected, it’s still going to be your family – just with extra people.”

If you feel you could make a difference by becoming a fostering family, you can find further information and details of upcoming information events by visiting Alternatively, please call 01273 295444 to speak directly with a member of the team.

No fault divorce

By | Education, family, Finance, Legal, Relationships
by Carrie Crown
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors

Under the current law, if you and your spouse have separated within the last two (or sometimes even five) years you must provide evidence that your spouse has either committed adultery or otherwise behaved in a way that you cannot tolerate to live with before the Court will grant permission for you to get a divorce.

These ‘fault-based’ divorces were thrust into the public eye last year when the case of Owens vs Owens, came before the Supreme Court to consider whether Mrs Owens could divorce her husband on the basis of his unreasonable behaviour towards her. Mr Owens defended the divorce.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court reluctantly agreed with Mr Owens that his behaviour during the marriage had not been unreasonable and therefore Mrs Owens is forced, for the time being, to remain married to him.

As a result, neither Mr or Mrs Owens can ask the Court to make a decision regarding the division of the assets of the marriage, as a financial application in divorce can usually only be dealt with once the Court has declared that the divorce can proceed and decree nisi, often called the ‘first stage’ of the divorce has taken place.

Although Mr and Mrs Owens had no dependent children, the law as it currently stands can be particularly onerous for parents of young children who find themselves unable to divorce and therefore unable to sort out the matrimonial finances for several years after separation has taken place. This can result in significant delay in being able to provide a stable home for children and suitable arrangements for their ongoing care. All of this will inevitably impact upon the emotional wellbeing of the children.

People are often therefore forced to petition for divorce for one of the ‘fault-based’ reasons, submitting evidence to the Court as to why the behaviour of their spouse has led to the breakdown of the marriage. This often results in hurt feelings, anger and increased tensions between the parties.

Over the years, the Government have been reluctant to reform the UK’s divorce law, believing that making it easier for couples to divorce would somehow undermine the sanctity of marriage and increase the rates of divorce.

In 2017, a national survey carried out by the Nuffield Foundation found that 62% of petitioners and 78% of respondents in a divorce said that using fault had made the process more bitter, 21% of fault-respondents said fault had made it harder to sort out arrangements for children, and 31% of fault-respondents thought fault made sorting out finances harder.

In 2018, Resolution, an organisation which consists of 6,500 family lawyers (myself included), declared that there was a ‘divorce crisis’ in the UK and in November launched it’s ‘Good Divorce week’ seeking to highlight the impact upon children in particular of a system of divorce which attaches blame to one party.

Finally, following a 12 week public consultation, on 9th April 2019, Justice Secretary David Gauke announced that divorce law in the UK would be reformed and that, in future, the only ground for divorce would be that the marriage had ‘irretrievably broken down’ commenting that ‘hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances.’

The proposals will also dispense with the requirement to provide evidence of the ‘fact’ of adultery or unreasonable behaviour and substitute it for a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ The current two-stage process, Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, will remain and a minimum timeframe of six months will be set from the date of the petition to decree absolute. The option will also be made available for parties to issue a joint-divorce petition.

Currently there is no set timetable for the legislative reforms to take place. Let’s face it, the Government have been somewhat busy of late! David Gauke has said, however, that
he intends the reforms to take place as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The changes do not, in my professional opinion, make the process of divorce any ‘easier’ and certainly no quicker than the current system. It will, however, make the process far less adversarial and emotionally damaging for all those involved.

Carrie Crown, Family Associate Solicitor at Mackrell Turner Garrett, Surrey, is a resolution-accredited specialist and is therefore committed to resolving family disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive manner wherever possible.

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