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Matrimonial and Family Law
Our matrimonial and family law department offers a wealth of expertise and outstanding service to clients.
Specialist Family Law and Matrimonial Solicitors
We aim to keep ill feeling to a minimum and reach constructive settlements. Our family law team are also recognised experts in dealing with disputes involving children or domestic violence and have extensive experience in obtaining orders through the court.
Our specialist knowledge of family law means we can advise you effectively and concisely and we take pragmatic steps to resolve disputes.
The breadth of legal expertise across the firm enables us to deal with any issue which might arise from the breakdown of a relationship, from making a will, to trust or tax planning upon separation; selling, buying or transferring matrimonial property or restructuring a family business.
We are happy to offer a one-off fixed fee appointment with a family law solicitor for up to 1 hour. Our fee for this is £75 including VAT. One of our matrimonial solicitors will meet with you and discuss your case and answer any queries you may have.
Sometimes parents are unable to agree the arrangements for their children and it is necessary for solicitors or the courts to assist. Alternatively, a grandparent or other family member may have to seek an order in respect of children. We can advise you on the rights you have in respect of resolving these disputes and the options available to you.
Parental Responsibility – The rights, duties and obligations which a parent has towards their child.
Child Arrangements Order – An order which makes provision for where and with whom a child will live. To include days, times and arrangement for transportation (where necessary).
Specific Issue Orders – An order dealing with a specific issue in dispute, such as permitting a child to travel abroad for the purposes of a holiday.
Prohibited Steps Orders – An order which prohibits another person from doing something which directly involves a child, such as changing a child’s school.
In order to divorce you must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably by proving one of five facts, namely, adultery; unreasonable behaviour; two years separation with consent; two years desertion or five years separation without consent. Once a divorce is issued at Court, providing there are no difficulties and the divorce is uncontested, the divorce should be concluded within approximately 4 to 6 months. A divorce itself does not end the financial claims you or your spouse may have against each other and you should seek advice in relation to the financial consequences of separation.
In the event that a Civil Partnership breaks down you may seek a Civil Partnership Dissolution. The law regarding the dissolution of Civil Partnerships and procedure is similar, although not exactly the same, as with divorce. It may be that other matters will also need to be resolved, including any relevant children of either party or financial matters, and we can assist you with these matters.
How finances are dealt with will vary, depending on whether you are married/in a civil partnership or were living together. A number of factors need to be considered, including; the parties’ ages, the duration of the marriage/civil partnership and any cohabitation beforehand, the standard of living that you have enjoyed, the contributions made by each of you and your respective present and future financial circumstances and needs, in particular the needs of any children.
When people live together there is no law that says that if they live together for a certain period of time they then have the same rights as if they were married. If you jointly own any property or assets you may need assistance to reach agreement on how to divide them. There are some circumstances in which you may be entitled to claim a share of property or assets owned by your partner. We will advise you as to whether or not you have a claim, and what that claim might be worth.
Pre-Nuptial and Post Nuptial Agreements
How you resolve the financial aspects of your divorce or civil partnership dissolution can be pre-determined by entering into a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. We can advise on and draft these agreements for you.
Deed of Separation
Sometimes when a marriage or relationship breaks down, agreement is reached regarding the arrangements and finances, but parties do not wish to obtain a court order. Instead the parties will enter into a Deed of Separation. We can advise you on the proposed settlement and prepare the Deed.
Domestic Abuse and Injunctions
If you are the victim of domestic violence we can assist you with practical and legal advice to protect yourself. You may need to obtain a Non-molestation order to prevent such abuse or an Occupation Order to oust your partner from the property in which you live. We can advise on and make these applications on your behalf.
We endeavour to be open and transparent about our fees. Within the Matrimonial Department we charge for the following services on a fixed fee basis :-
Fixed fee first appointment £75 including VAT for up to an hour
Divorce (uncontested) £600 + VAT & disbursements (Petitioner)
Divorce (uncontested) £300 + VAT (Respondent)
The remainder is charged at an hourly rate due to the nature of our work.
No two cases are the same and, sometimes, where a matter starts off as agreed parties can later disagree. However, it is this firm’s policy to keep clients regularly informed as to the level of their costs and we are happy to agree a billing plan at the outset.
We will provide you with an estimate of our fees at the outset of your case which we shall regularly review and, where appropriate revise. Where a costs estimate is revised we shall provide an explanation.
Our fees are charged on the basis of the time we spend working on your matter. This includes all time spent with you or third parties involved with your case, telephone calls made and received, letters (and emails) received, letters (and emails) sent and preparation.
Your fees will mainly be calculated on the basis of the time spent by the fee earner with conduct of your matter (or any other of our fee earners who may work on your file).
We do not hold a Legal Aid franchise. If we consider that you may be eligible for Public Funding (Legal Aid) at the outset of your case we will notify you. We can recommend local firms who will be able to assist you.
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