Services

Family Law

Divorce and Dissolution, Separation, Contact and Residence

Family issues and disputes can cause  distress and anxiety. We are here help you.

We are experienced at dealing with all family law matters. We will assess your circumstances and provide guidance to ensure that you take the best course of action to resolve the situation. We can help you whether your concerns relate to the following areas.

Residence

We can be your contact point for law on deciding where a child is to live including the different types of living arrangements and explaining the family court orders for residence. ‘Residence’ is a term used to describe where the child will live for the majority of their time. When a relationship breaks down and parents do not live together, the child will usually live with either the mother or the father. The parent who has the child live with them most of the time is called the resident parent and the other parent is called the non-resident parent. When the child spends equal time with both parents, for example, one week with one parent, another week with the other, then the parents are said to have shared residence of the child.

Starting or Ending Cohabitation

Because cohabiting couples have no legal status, the end of a relationship can present serious difficulties for one or both parties. Even if your split is amicable, independent legal advice will help ensure it’s a fair one. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you won’t have to go through any formal legal process when you and your partner break up.  However, separating with a separation agreement can make it easier for both of you to understand what’s been agreed. We can help you to write a separation agreement if you decide to stop living together.   This will set out any issues about money, property and arrangements for children if you have them.  

Adoption

For people looking to adopt, the legal procedure required to formalise an adoption can appear daunting and complex.

But with the right lawyer to guide you through this process, it doesn't have to be. We are experienced lawyers in assisting step-parents, other family members and kinship carers formalise their private adoptions or secure alternative Orders such as those for Residence or Parental Rights and Responsibilities. We also represent parents, family members or interested parties in opposing adoptions.

Separation Agreements

If you and your ex-partner are separating or divorcing, you might want to get a separation agreement drawn up.

A separation agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out what you and your ex-partner agree on. It can be enforced in the same way as a court order. It covers things like:

  • who pays the mortgage or rent and any bills

  • who lives in the family home and what happens if it's sold

  • what happens to any debts, like loans or credit cards

  • what happens to savings, ISAs or any other type of savings

  • what happens to things like cars or other things you might have bought together

  • whether payments are made by one of you to support any children

  • who looks after your children

Divorce

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally turbulent time for everyone involved, but we are here to help guide you through the process.

Although divorce is now a reality for many families, when a relationship breaks down it can be a painful and stressful time for all those involved, sometimes requiring particularly difficult adjustments. We understand this and are ready to help you settle your divorce as swiftly as possible. We are family law specialists and we have the qualifications and experience to provide you with the legal advice and services that you need during this sensitive time.

Once you have established that you want to bring your marriage or civil partnership to an end, the next question is often how to actually go about getting a divorce? The procedure that you must follow if you are seeking a divorce can vary, depending on your circumstances and whether or not the divorce is consensual.

Ownership of the Family Home

One of the key questions people ask their Solicitors is ‘What are my rights to remain in the family home?’. 

The legal terminology for the family home is ‘the matrimonial home’, and this may be either a rented property or a property owned by one or both of the married couple.

When a couple are married, it does not matter who is the tenant or who is the owner, both parties have a right to occupy the house, unless one of them has been excluded by court order. If you or your spouse have made a decision to separate, then unless the court has excluded one or other of you from living in the house, then you both have a right to live there on separation until these rights have been determined on divorce. 

Any other Financial Matters

Every persons situation is different and expert advice as required to help you negotiate the best solution for yourself and your family. If there are children, or if one party earns more than the other there is the question as to whether maintenance should be paid. The CMS (Child Maintenance Service) have a formula for calculating the amount of maintenance that should be paid to children. 

In certain circumstances maintenance can also be paid by one spouse to the other for a period of time to allow the party who is not working, or who is earning less, to adjust to their new circumstances.

Financial issues can be resolved by negotiation, collaboration or by raising court proceedings. In most cases, parties will negotiate, with the assistance of their family solicitor, and will enter into a Separation Agreement. For further advice, contact the team at 1st Legal.

Distanced Couple

Are you looking for expert legal advice on family law or matrimonial issues? We can help. If you are facing a life-changing situation such as divorce or separation, you will want to be sure that you are getting the best advice possible.