At a time of relationship breakdown emotions can be at their highest. You then need sensitive, objective and experienced advice on your divorce or separation and its consequences.
Our specialist solicitors can provide this for you to help you make informed decisions. Our ethos is to use a non-confrontational approach whenever possible, whilst accepting that there are occasions when more forthright action needs to be taken to protect the interests of clients and, particularly, children.
We are well known as one of the most expert family departments in London, particularly in areas of international family law. We are part of the highly specialised Child Abduction Panel. We are Resolution Accredited Specialists and Collaborative Family Lawyers. Focusing on trying to help you find the best solutions for you and your family whether your situation involves substantial assets, disputes relating to children, or international complexities, we never forget that to each client their situation is unique and of overriding importance.
Prenuptial, civil partnership and cohabitation agreements
Nowadays more and more people want to set out their legal and financial affairs on a formal basis before entering into marriage or living with someone. No one likes to imagine that their relationship will break up but a written agreement can ensure that you, your partner and your families have the certainty of knowing what each party is to receive and can avoid disputes in the future.
Providing you have been married for one year you can apply to the court for your marriage to be dissolved.
The only legal ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The person who starts the proceedings (the Petitioner) proves irretrievable breakdown by establishing one of the following five facts:
- your partner has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him/her;
- unreasonable behaviour;
- desertion for a period of two years;
- two years separation and your partner agrees to the divorce;
- you have been separated from your partner for five years or more.
The vast majority of divorces are undefended and will normally take between 4-6 months from the filing of the petition for divorce until decree nisi which is the first stage of the divorce. The Petitioner then has to wait a for a period of 6 weeks before applying for decree absolute. It is not unusual to put off an application for decree absolute until financial matters have been resolved.
Dissolving a Civil Partnership
If you are seeking to dissolve a civil partnership the process is very similar to that of divorce but adultery cannot be cited as a reason for the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
Whilst the legal formalities of getting a divorce are often relatively straightforward, reaching a financial settlement with your partner can be more difficult. Any financial settlement is based on the full and frank disclosure of both partners' financial situations.
There is no specific formula for deciding how financial matters will be resolved between you and your partner but the law will take into account your respective financial situation, as well as the length of the marriage and the age of the parties. Children’s welfare is always a priority.
For anyone undergoing a separation or divorce the well- being of any child caught up in the situation is of the deepest concern. Whether it is the living arrangements for a child, contact with a non-resident parent or life choices for a child - we can help you reach an agreement with your partner or apply to the court for a decision.
When parents are unmarried a mother will have parental responsibility for a child from birth but a father may not automatically have parental responsibility especially if his name does not appear on the birth certificate. Fathers can nevertheless acquire parental responsibility with the mother's formal agreement, or by order of the court.
Your rights as a cohabitee are quite different to that of a married spouse and your rights in respect of property and assets are based on the law of contract and trusts which can be complex.
If you are buying a property together or moving into a property which is in one of your sole names we recommend that you take advice on how best to set out each partner's rights in the property to safeguard both your interests.