We have specialist solicitors to support you through the most difficult stage in your life.
Our family solicitors have extensive expertise in working in complex and sensitive cases with care and empathy. Our personalised service will support and uphold your interest in each step of the process.
Our family solicitors are members of the Resolution. They are committed to working in a constructive and effective manner. They will put your interest first and ensure that the most cost effective and long term solution is considered in your matter at every stage.
If you are considering a divorce, this can be a very difficult time for you. Before you consider this further, it is important that you are aware of requirements that need to be met before you are able divorce. In order to divorce in England, you must be married for one year before you can legally apply for a divorce. In addition, you must have a marriage that is legally recognised in the UK, and have a permanent home in England or Wales.
Unless your divorce is based on 2 years separation, you do not require the other party’s agreement. Often no court attendance is necessary during the whole process. From start to finish divorce proceedings take as little as 4 to 6 months, in uncontested cases. There are some waiting times deliberately built in to the procedure which cannot be eliminated.
We are also specialists in resolving problems where the other party’s whereabouts is unknown and issues arising from foreign and international marriages.
For more information on how we can assist you, please contact our team on 020 7112 8355. Alternatively, you can complete our enquiry form and we will contact you.
If you are in a civil partnership considering dissolution, this can be a very stressful and emotional time. Upon the breakdown of a civil partnership, our experienced team will be able to advise you through the dissolution process.
Dissolution is the legal process that will bring an end to your civil partnership. However, you must have been in a civil partnership for at least a year in order to apply for dissolution. Only after dissolution you can engage in another civil partnership.
A decree of judicial separation is a court order similar to divorce, under which you remain legally married but your normal marital obligations cease and you no longer have to live together. The main circumstances under which judicial separation takes place are when one or both of the parties are opposed to divorce, perhaps for religious reasons; when the couple have been married for less than a year, or when it may be difficult to provide evidence of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which is necessary for divorce.
Should you decide that you wish to become full marriage partners again, you can apply for your judicial separation to be rescinded by the courts.
Annulment is a declaration by the court that a marriage was not legally valid or had become legally invalid. Under English law an annulment may be granted for a number of different reasons, including if the marriage has not been consummated, if either party was already married at the time of marriage and other more technical legal reasons.
With the help of our specialist team of family solicitors, your matter could be a reasonably straightforward procedure. We are skilled at making the process as smooth as it can be whilst also being able to fight your corner if the need arises.
The UK Law regards an unmarried couple living together as cohabitees. There is no separate statutory code governing the breakdown of the relationship of co-habiting couples. Unlike divorcing spouses, cohabitees must turn to complex and sometimes archaic principles of property, trust and contract law. Difficult issues can arise on the death of one of the parties.
We advise on all aspects of cohabitation including resolving complex issues which can arise on separation.
Prenuptial, precivil partnership and cohabitation agreements are more commonly known as prenups.
A prenup is an agreement that is entered into before marriage or before moving in together and sets out how property and assets are owned and how they will be divided if the relationship does not work out. Prenuptial agreements may be relevant for you, if you have significant disparity in either income or capital and are especially useful if you have acquired property or assets before your current relationship and want to ensure this is ‘ring fenced’ in the event of your relationship not working out in the long term.
Postnuptial agreements are designed to deal with the same situation as a prenuptial agreement. However, unlike a prenuptial agreement, which is agreed before marriage or moving in together, a postnuptial agreement is entered into by the couple during their marriage or during the time they are living together. A postnuptial agreement can be a good thing to consider if you have previously separated but are now in a relationship again, and you want to avoid uncertainty if things go wrong again.
When relationships break down, issues often arise over which parent a child should live with and how often the other parent should see the child. However, before making a relevant application, you must attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), except in certain circumstances, for example where there is evidence of domestic violence, child protection concerns or an emergency.
Child Arrangement Orders
Child Arrangement Orders replaced ‘Residence Orders’ and ‘Contact Orders’ as a result of the changes in the Law in April 2014. A Child Arrangement Order decides the following:-
- where a child lives ;
- when a child spends time with each parent ; and
- when and what other types of contact, like phone calls, take place.
Some orders will make very specific arrangements for the child, others will be more open with detailed arrangements to be made between the parties by agreement. Child Arrangement Orders are not only made in respect of parents; there can also be orders for arrangement between wider family members. Sometimes the order will give directions that contact is to be supervised by a third party, or that contact is to take place in a specific location.
In addition to Child Arrangements Orders, parents may apply to court to decide on a specific issue about the child, this is called a Specific Issue Order. For example you can ask the court to decide on which school your child should attend. In addition you can apply to court for an order preventing the other parent from taking a particular course of action in relation to the child, this is called a Prohibited Steps Order. For example you can ask the court to forbid the other parent from removing the child from the jurisdiction without consent.
Parental Responsibility gives a parent of a child all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in relation to the child. The birth mother of a child will always have Parental Responsibility unless it is extinguished. Both parents automatically have Parental Responsibility for a child, if they were married at the time of the child’s birth. However, if the parents are not married, the father has Parental Responsibility if he is named on the birth certificate of the child (after 1st December 2003). If this is not the case, the parents can sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement giving the father parental responsibility or the father can apply to court for an order granting him Parental Responsibility.
The resolution of financial matters can be one of the main concerns when you are separating. You must first try to resolve matters via mediation, unless there is a good reason not to do so.
If a mutually agreed settlement can be reached we can then draft a Consent Order which details the agreement made. Both you and the other party sign the document and it is sent to the court where it is endorsed, making it a legally binding agreement.
If you cannot reach an agreement and a full and frank financial disclosure is not forthcoming, then a Financial Remedy Application (previously known as ‘Ancillary Relief’) to the court should be considered to ensure that all relevant financial information is available before important decisions are made.
The court has power to make the following financial orders:-
- Spousal/civil partner maintenance – where one party is ordered to pay a periodic sum usually monthly to the other in order to assist with monthly living needs.
- Lump sum – where one party is ordered to pay a specified lump sum to the other.
- Property adjustment – where a property is sold or transferred from joint names into the sole name of the other.
- Pension – either pension sharing where one party’s pension is split and shared out with the other.
- Pension attachment – where a portion of one party’s pension is directed to be paid to the other.
Sometimes it will be appropriate for the court to make an order that achieves a complete financial ‘clean break’ so that there are no continuing financial ties between the spouses or civil partners. This does not affect any child support maintenance obligations and is not available in Judicial Separation cases, where of course that marriage has not been brought to an end so pension rights remain intact.
If you remarry before a financial order from the first marriage has been determined then you may have lost the right to make financial claims against your former spouse or former civil partner.
If you are suffering from domestic violence in your relationship, we can help you through this difficult time. Our team of family specialists are acutely aware of the problems and the effects that domestic violence has on your life and on any children.
The courts can move very fast in this area and orders can be effective in the form of injunctions. An injunction is a court order that requires your abuser to do or not to so something. There are two main types of injunctions available in domestic violence cases:
- A non-molestation order
- An occupation order
The purpose of a non-molestation order is to stop your abuser from using or threatening violence, intimidating, harassing or pestering you.
A non-molestation order can:
- forbid your abuser from being violent or threatening violence;
- forbid your abuser from harassing, pestering and/or intimidating you;
- forbid your abuser from coming within a certain distance of your home; and/or
- forbid your abuser from damaging or disposing of your belongings.
When deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order, the court will consider all of your circumstances, including the needs to secure the health, safety and well-being of you and any children.
An occupation order generally regulates the occupation of your home.
An occupation order can:
- order an abuser to move out of the your home or to stay away from your home;
- order your abuser to keep a certain distance away from the home;
- order your abuser to stay in certain parts of the home at certain times;
- order your abuser to allow you back into your home, if you have been locked out; and /or
- order for your abuser to continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills.
When deciding whether to grant an occupation order, the court will consider a number of factors, including the housing needs and resources of you, any children and your abuser; the financial resources of you both; the likely effect of any order, or not making an order, will have on you, any children and your abuser; and you and your abuser’s behaviour to one another. The court may also look at the harm that you and any children may suffer if the order is not granted and the harm that the abuser and any children may suffer if the order is granted.