We take time and care in dealing with the issues you may face, discussing your circumstances thoroughly with you before explaining the options available, in the strictest confidence.
Separation and divorce
Deciding that a relationship has irretrievably broken down and that the only recourse is separation or divorce is a hugely unsettling and upsetting process. We aim to make the process as pain-free as possible, while ensuring the interests and well-being of clients and especially their children, are carefully considered.
It is not usually necessary to attend Court to resolve divorce or separation matters and where necessary and appropriate, we aim to help clients reach settlement through negotiation and agreement.
If the relationship has reached a point where Judicial separation or divorce is the only way forward, we will provide guidance and support in preparing the Petition and assisting with settlement for financial and personal matters. If the situation arises we can also represent clients in Court and deal with any litigation throughout the process.
We also provide the same service on the termination of a registered Civil Partnership.
Matrimonial property settlements
We will identify and advise upon all of the issues that will affect the parties concerning their matrimonial assets following separation or within divorce proceedings. Such assets can include not only the matrimonial home and readily identifiable assets such as bank accounts, shareholdings and other investments and pensions, but also claims in relation to businesses whether operated or run by both or one of the parties. We advise as to the application of current statute and caselaw and also with regard to the drafting of appropriate settlements by Consent Order when agreement has been reached between the parties by negotiation either directly or through solicitors, or following mediation.
If settlement cannot be reached by negotiation and matters need to be resolved by the Court, we will during those proceedings, endeavour to resolve the dispute by negotiation throughout where the other party or their solicitor is not unwilling to negotiate.
We can also advise and assist with settlement negotiations through mediation – a new way forward preferred by the Government as an alternative to Court.
Arrangements for children
Separation, divorce or the breakdown of a relationship for an unmarried couple all have the potential to cause considerable distress for any children involved. Wherever possible we help negotiate arrangements that not only meet the needs of the children but also provide both parents with the means to adjust to their new situation, without undue disturbance.
If agreement cannot be reached we can help with applications to the Court. These can cover Residence Orders (for example where the child or children will live), Contact Orders (ie access to children) and Prohibited Steps Orders (which encompass restrictions on a child being removed from their Country of residence).
In the media, reference is often made to Pre-Nuptial Agreements especially in divorce cases in the United States and elsewhere abroad. In the jurisdiction of England and Wales Pre-Nuptial Agreements are not yet binding upon the parties although this is a position that may change in the future. In particular, Pre-Nuptial Agreements have been noted by the Court to record the parties’ intentions and this is a fact that can be taken into account by the Court when deciding upon the division of matrimonial assets. Some Pre-Nuptial Agreements are now followed by the Court but only where there is substantial wealth and where the person receiving the smaller share will still remain very wealthy.
Unmarried partners’ disputes
The breakdown of any relationship is difficult and to some degree this can be even harder for unmarried couples as there are often very complex financial problems to be resolved. We appreciate the difficulties that can arise from this situation and work with you to try and resolve matters as quickly as possible.
We provide assistance in assessing how joint assets should be fairly divided but if negotiation and discussion does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, we can represent you during Court proceedings, including dealing with any subsequent Order of Sale for your property.
Cases involving domestic violence can be highly emotive and require particularly sensitive handling as clients may have endured many years of abuse. We provide advice on obtaining injunctive relief and, where appropriate, the removal of an abusive spouse or partner from the home. We can also assist in defending any such applications or allegations.