Partner and Head of Family
Tel: +44 (0)1799 526 849
Apart from advice concerning separation, co-habitants have frequently bought a home together or one owns a property to which the other has contributed. There may be children for whom financial provision and possibly a home will be needed. We can advise you as to your rights and the means of enforcing those rights.
Financial and Property Disputes
Following divorce or JS the Court has wide powers to make orders which can include the payment of periodical payments (maintenance), payment of a lump sum, the sale or transfer of property and pension orders. We are frequently able to resolve such matters by negotiation of an agreement which can then be incorporated into a consent court order. In those cases where agreement cannot be reached we can advise you as to the process of resolving such disputes through the court, the likelihood of a satisfactory outcome, the probable cost and we can represent you throughout the court process.
Variation of existing maintenance orders
Orders for periodical payments (maintenance) are often affected by inflation or by a significant change in the circumstances of one party or the other such as loss of employment, serious illness, retirement etc. We can assist you in endeavouring to negotiate a variation to the terms of an existing order for periodical payments and advise and if necessary, represent you in an application to the Court for a variation.
Disputes regarding children
Such disputes can give rise to the most painful experiences for both parents and especially the children who unhappily become the focus of dispute between their parents. We can advise you and support you in efforts to resolve such disputes in the least painful way, preferably by negotiation but if necessary through the court. The courts have wide powers under the Children Act 1989 to make orders between parents concerning the residence of the child, contact with the non-resident parent, parental responsibility, orders to restrict the exercise of parental responsibility and orders to resolve specific issues such as the education or religion of the child. Such disputes are better resolved out of court if possible and we try to minimise acrimony between parents and at all times bear in mind the guiding principle of law in the Children Act that “the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration”.
Only in very limited circumstances does the Court have power to make maintenance orders for children. In the vast majority of cases, questions of child support are dealt with by the government agencies. Changes in the law have been frequent in recent years and we are able to advise you as to your position under the current law.
The situation can arise where parties are proposing marriage and one party has considerable wealth which he/she wishes to protect while making reasonable provision for the intended spouse and existing or future children in the event of the marriage breaking down. The status of pre-nuptial agreements under the law of England and Wales has been a fast moving area in recent years and we can advise you as to whether such an agreement is likely to assist you and if so, negotiate and prepare an agreement. Please note however, that we cannot act both for you and for your intended spouse who must take separate legal advice.
Protection from Domestic Abuse
Neither man nor woman should feel that they are trapped in a relationship where they are being subjected to domestic abuse, violence, intimidation, threats or emotionally controlling behaviour. Remedies are available for victims of domestic abuse and in appropriate cases applications can be made to the court as an emergency for orders to protect such victims. We are able to advise you regarding the remedies available to you and also to respond to a need for emergency orders.
Change of Name
Where your relationship has broken down we can advise you and assist you with a desired change of name and can also advise you regarding the limitations on your changing the name of your child. This can usually be dealt with under one of our fixed-fee interviews.
Information about our practice: Family Law – Introduction.
Information about Separation and Divorce.