When family problems are the issue the most important consideration is that the chosen lawyer has the right approach. Our Family Team is led by Kayleigh James.
We act for mothers, fathers, grandparents and any other concerned family members.
We appreciate that family issues can be difficult and are extremely personal to you, which is why we offer a sensitive, supportive and completely confidential service. We are more than happy to meet with you outside of normal office hours on request, to enable you to fit your appointments around your other commitments.
The local authority may apply to Court and ask for a care order if they have concerns regarding a child. The care order places the child in the care or under the supervision of the local authority. You may find that you are involved in care proceedings or your child may have been placed on the child protection register. We are able to advise and represent you.
If you find that a child has been placed in the care of the local authority and wish for the child to be placed with you (if you are not their mother or father) and feel it is also in the best interests of the child, you may wish to apply for a Special Guardianship Order, we can advise and represent you in this application and you may be eligible for financial assistance from the local authority.
If you have separated from your partner you may wish to determine when they will see your children. Grandparents may also wish to be involved and we can advise on grandparent’s rights in addition to the rights of the child’s parents.
We advise you to consider the best interests of the children and to try and concentrate on the practicalities when considering the days and times that the children will spend time with their parent. It is often easier for all parties involved if there is a routine to follow.
If you are unable to reach an agreement regarding the children then we can make an application to the Court and represent you in these proceedings. During proceedings, the Court will also put the child’s welfare first and takes a variety of factors into account including:
- the child’s own wishes
- the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
- the child’s age, sex, background and other relevant considerations
- any harm which the child has suffered or might suffer in the future
- how able the child’s parents (or other relevant persons) are to meet his or her needs
- how the child might be affected by any change in circumstances
- the powers available to the court
We are able to advise and draft cohabitation agreements which will set out the agreement between a couple who are unmarried but living together. The agreement will confirm the financial agreement between you and your partner and most importantly it sets out what will happen if you decide to go your separate ways. Separating from your partner is difficult but a Cohabitation Agreement can ease some of the difficulties as you will have already decided what should happen when your relationship breaks down which can save time and legal costs in the future.
Divorce & Civil Partnerships
We understand that deciding that your marriage or civil partnership has ended is very difficult and emotional. We try to guide you through the process by minimising the distress as much as possible. Dissolution of a civil partnership is the legal procedure for ending your civil partnership. Divorce is the legal procedure for ending your marriage.
You can only apply for a divorce after you have been married for 12 months. There is one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, this must be proved by one of five facts, the most common facts used are unreasonable behaviour or two years separation.
Domestic Abuse & Injunctions
If you feel you are subject to domestic abuse, you should seek help immediately. Domestic abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial and/or emotional. If you feel that this applies to you, we can assist you in making an application to the Court for an injunction. If suitable in the circumstances we can also write to the opponent warning them of the implications of their actions.
It is a common misconception that obtaining the Decree Absolute in divorce also finalises financial matters between two spouses. When you and your spouse have reached the decision that you wish to divorce, you should also consider how financial matters will be resolved. Financial matters on divorce include debts, savings, businesses, maintenance, pensions and investments. We can advise you in negotiations and settlements. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement, we will discuss the possibility of court proceedings with you and issue an application in the Court so that the Court may decide what the financial settlement will be.
Pre-nuptial & Post-nuptial Agreements
If you are planning to marry your partner, you may wish to consider a Pre-nuptial Agreement. The agreement sets out what you have agreed will happen in the event that you decide to divorce in the future. The agreement can be taken into consideration at Court following the breakdown of your marriage providing certain conditions have been met, such as you both obtaining independent legal advice. You should appreciate that a Pre-Nuptial Agreement will not necessarily be legally binding although meeting certain conditions will increase the chances of the agreement being upheld.
If you and your partner have separated you may wish to consider a Post-nuptial Agreement/Separation Agreement. The document will record what you have agreed will happen with property, savings, income, pensions and debts. Married couples who have decided to separate but who are not yet ready to issue divorce proceedings may find that a Post-nuptial Agreement will benefit them. When you do then decide to issue divorce proceedings, your Agreement can be drafted into a Consent Order. The Agreements are not necessarily legally binding although if you follow certain criteria this will increase your chances of the Agreement being upheld in the future.