Family Law

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Divorce

Divorce is the legal process for bringing a marriage to an end. Finances and disputes about children are dealt with separately. The only ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

This has to be proved by 1 of 5 facts which are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for 2 years, separation for 2 years with consent or separation for 5 years (no consent needed). You need to have been married for at least 1 year to start divorce proceedings.

The majority of divorces are dealt with on paperwork and usually do not require any hearings at court. The paperwork can be complicated and delays can occur if documents are not completed correctly or within the time limits given.

We offer a FIXED FEE for uncontested divorces where there are no complications and no disputes about children or finances.

Money and Property

Ancillary relief is the legal term for sorting out finances and property on divorce. It is better for couples to try and agree these issues without getting the Court involved. It is advisable to have any agreement incorporated into what is known as a Consent Order so it is binding upon both of you. We can advise you on what would be a fair settlement in your case, help negotiate the settlement and prepare the Consent Order. If no agreement can be reached then a Judge will become involved and will make the decision for you.

This Court process can be very complex. It is essential that Court documents are completed correctly. We can deal with this paperwork for you and also deal with the hearings at Court that will be arranged although you will also have to attend.

Children

The Court does not make any Orders about where the children are to live and how much contact they are to have with the other parent in divorce proceedings. You and your spouse will need to complete a form about the arrangements for the children when the divorce starts and before Decree Nisi can be pronounced the Judge must certify s/he is satisfied with the arrangements. If you cannot agree where the children are to live then a separate application will have to be made for this question to be dealt with.

Family & Matrimonial

Michelle Davidson-Smith heads up our Family and Matrimonial department.

Michelle is a member of Resolution. She has a valuable wealth of experience and knowledge in this area with a genuine understanding of the difficulties and emotional pressures that clients experience when dealing with family breakup.

Michelle is also a trained counsellor who is able to bring her skills into play so as to achieve a strong and effective working relationship with her clients.

The team offer an out of hours telephone service so that a client is able to speak directly with a solicitor.

Free initial appointments are also available so that a client may come into the office and be informed without financial commitment as to the best way to effectively deal with their situation.

Michelle adopts a caring and sympathetic approach to all clients. Working with you means results.

In accordance with the Resolution Code of Practice they are committed to resolving disputes in a constructive and non confrontational way so as to preserve client’s dignity and encourage agreements.

Resolution - First for family law

Links

www.resolution.org.uk www.legalservices.gov.uk www.direct.gov.uk
www.justice.gov.uk