Family Law

Child Contact and Residence

In any family breakdown, the well-being of the children is regarded as of the utmost importance and steps should be taken to minimise disruption to their lives. It is Important that the needs of the children are put foremost and we always encourage parents to try to put their own differences aside when dealing with matters relating to the children.

We are experienced in advising and aiding parents to come to agreements about where and with whom children should live and what contact there should be between children and the non-resident parent, bearing in mind at all times that contact is the right of the child. Wherever possible we encourage matters to be settled through negotiations without recourse to court proceedings which are stressful, expensive and disruptive to both parents and children as is required by the provision of the Children Act 1989, which specifically states that parents are expected to agree arrangements for children without recourse to the Courts.  However we also have a wide experience in dealing with matters which do require the involvement of the courts and gaining the best outcome for our clients and their children.

Divorce

We recognise that the breakdown of a relationship is both stressful and emotional and often leads to financial hardship for both parties and for the children. Our aim is to give sympathetic, realistic and objective advice upon the issues arising and upon the options available.In the event of marriage breakdown, divorce is not always the best or correct option to take and advice will be given upon the alternatives such as Judicial Separation via the Courts or a negotiated separation agreement.If, however, divorce is the right course of action then we will advise accordingly and deal with all of the necessary procedures for filing proceedings and moving on to the obtaining of Decree Nisi and ultimately Decree Absolute.We have two Solicitors and a trainee Legal Executive who can assist in resolving the many problems which can arise during a marriage breakdown. These may be for example partners with high net worth, business interests or properties owned prior to the marriage or indeed in cases where the assets of the parties are more limited.

We can also assist in formalising arrangements which have already been satisfactorily negotiated and amicably agreed between the parties.’

Dissolution

The breakdown of a relationship is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through and our experienced Solicitors can represent you during this time to ensure not only the successful dissolution of the partnership, but also that matters involving family finances and any children are deal with effectively. We seek in all cases to arrive at a negotiated settlement if possible whilst being prepared to defend our client’s interest in a determined way if negotiations are unsuccessful.

We can advise on all aspects of family life and assistance can be given in regard to arrangements for children both as to residence and contact.

Separation Agreements

Separation Agreements are often preferable to moving on to immediate applications for dissolution of the marriage by way of divorce and Judicial Separation. We can assist in the negotiation or in formalising them to include Agreements already negotiated and agreed between Parties and giving advice as to the fairness and practicality of Agreements reached and then setting them out in the Agreement so that there are no ambiguities.

Prenuptial Agreements and Protection of Assets

‘The law of England and Wales has gradually moved towards a situation where the Courts are more likely to accept that properly executed Prenuptial Agreements are legally binding. It is important however to note that the Court is more likely to accept the binding nature of an Agreement if both parties have been legally advised before entering into a Prenuptial Agreement.

You may wish to consider a Prenuptial Agreement for the following reasons:-

  • There are assets and/or property that would be difficult to split equally.
  • You and/or your partner have children from previous relationships and wish to ensure certain assets are reserved for those children and that their inheritance rights are protected. In cases where there are children, note, we would be advising that itis crucial to make a Will simultaneously with the Prenuptial Agreement to ensure such protection was in place.
  • Parties wish to protect inherited money or assets.
  • Parties wish to safeguard substantial savings or potential future inheritance.
  • Parties wish to predetermine as much as possible how financial issues are to be resolved in the event of a marriage breakdown. This can be especially helpful and comforting if a party feels that they have suffered unfairness in previous divorce proceedings.
  • If either party owns a business of which they wish to retain control.
  • If either partner is already in financial difficulties and is being pressed by creditors.

As no two situations are the same, every Prenuptial Agreement must be tailored to the parties particular circumstances and full disclosure between the parties is an essential requirement as Prenuptial Agreements will usually set out full details of each parties assets and liabilities.

Similar Agreements can be used for those looking to enter into Civil Partnerships.

These Agreements are particularly relevant when parties are entering into second marriages and even more so when there are children.

We also recognise that such Prenuptial Agreements do not exist in a vacuum and can advise on their impact on conveyancing matters, Wills and Tax planning.