Separation, divorce & family matters

We offer prospective family clients a fixed fee introductory meeting at which we will seek an understanding of your situation and outline your rights and the possible ways in which we can assist.

Our services include:

•Change of Name

•Children

•Civil partnerships

•Cohabitation

•Divorce and separation

•Domestic Violence

•Financial claims

•International disputes

•Mediation

•Prenuptial/postnuptial agreements

Family breakdown is never easy but we believe that an empathic and tactful approach by lawyers can help ease the process. Protecting our clients' interest will always be our prime objective but our style is to try to avoid a damaging combative approach where possible.

Contrary to widely held belief, the law continues to distinguish between married couples and co-habiting couples in significant respects; we are happy to advise in respect of both situations and also to advise same sex couples in Civil Law Partnerships needing legal advice on separation and property issues.

Procedural aspects of divorce or separation

In English Law, the spouse seeking a divorce must show irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by showing one of five facts: the other spouse's adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for a period of two years, separation for a period of two years where both parties consent to the divorce, or separation for a period of five years where there is not such consent. We will guide you along the route most appropriate to your circumstances. It is rare for divorces to be defended nowadays and there is normally no requirement for an attendance at Court. A formal separation agreement is sometimes a sensible precedent to a divorce and can set out a couples intentions with regard to future divorce proceedings, financial aspects and arrangements for the children.

Financial and Property aspects

In most cases, the bulk of our family law work concerns resolution of financial and property aspects, often high value. When everything is taken into account couples are often worth more than they first imagine.

We aim firstly to ensure that our clients correctly understand their rights and responsibilities and those of their spouse, discuss their personal objectives in this context and then seek to put them into practice through skilled negotiation, always keeping our client fully informed.

Exchange by the spouses of full financial statements is a usual step, in which we will assist with both preparation of your statement and analysis and advice in respect of your spouses statement, however complex either may be.

Frequently we find that we are considering with our clients not simply matrimonial homes, savings and salaries but the implication of second homes, time shares, company shares schemes and pension plans, all of which have a bearing on resolution of financial matters on divorce and all of which can need careful planning to finalise matters effectively.

Of course in those rare instances where a settlement cannot be negotiated, our clients will have our steadfast support as we prepare as efficiently as possible for a Court hearing.

Children

Where there are children, their welfare is the law's paramount concern; unless there are exceptional circumstances, children are entitled to continuing nurturing relationships with both their parents so it will always be our objective to help a separating couple to achieve this effectively, and recognise that they both remain parents, whatever personal differences have arisen between them.

Where matters reach the stage of Court proceedings, we consider that it remains our duty and in our clients' best interests to continue to keep a healthy dialogue running with the other parent's lawyers, as a negotiated solution is so often the best way forward.

If you would like to understand more about our services and how we may be able to help, please contact us either by telephone or e-mail.