As well as helping married couples and civil partners, we also provide services to unmarried couples which includes when a relationship breaks down or planning in case you should go your separate ways in the future.
Separating from your partner is a difficult and emotional time. If you need advice on separating from your civil partner we have the expertise to support and guide you through the process.
If you wish to end a civil partnership, one of the civil partners must petition the court for a Dissolution Order. These proceedings cannot start until 1 year after the civil partnership was registered and we will be able to advise and guide you through the legal requirements to enable you to do so. Once the dissolution proceedings have commenced, either party is entitled to apply for financial provision which can include maintenance or a lump sum, the transfer of a property, a pension share or other assets in sole or joint names.
Even if you decide that you do not want to immediately and legally end a civil partnership, you may still need to resolve financial issues in respect of which we have the expertise to advise and guide you through such a process.
If you wish to protect your position in future should your civil partnership you may wish to consider a Pre-nuptial agreement (link to direct website to pre and post-nuptial agreements).
Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements are becoming increasingly common in the UK for couples hoping to avoid the financial complications which often arise when a marriage breaks down.
Whilst there has been a perception surrounding such Agreements that they are somewhat unromantic, the reality is that they can reduce the time, expense and acrimony commonly experienced with divorce settlements.
The UK is unique when compared to the approach across most of Europe and the world when dealing with Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements. Across most of Europe and the world they are binding, however in the UK the Courts have the power to make alternative decisions if an agreement is unfair or does not meet someone’s needs. However, there has to be a good reason to do so and it is not something courts would consider doing lightly. What this means is that it is of crucial importance that any such agreement is drafted properly so as to avoid the possibility of the court either failing to uphold it or varying its terms.
Just as with any will, it is wise to review marital agreements from time to time, particularly when circumstances change, for example when children are born to ensure that the Agreement meets the wants and needs of each party.
Should you wish to know more about such Agreements, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment where you will be guided through the process.
The law treats those couples who are living together, but unmarried differently to married couples – something often not realised until the relationship breaks down.
Resolving finances when such a relationship breaks down can be extremely complicated and an area where specific legal expertise is necessary. We have that expertise to advise and guide you through such a process.
In addition, should you wish to protect your legal interests without marrying your partner, there are a number of ways in which you can do so and we can advise and assist you in this process too.
There may be a variety of reasons why you may not want to issue Court Proceedings for divorce or disillusion when you separate from your spouse or civil partner. By way of an example, this could be for religious reasons or simply because you are not yet sure that you want to permanently end the relationship.
Even though you may not want to formally end the relationship, there may be financial matters or children matters which you need to agree.
One way of formalising any such Agreement is to incorporate the Agreement into what is known as a Separation Agreement and which is sometimes referred to as a Deed of Separation. We can help and advise you through that process.
Whilst a Separation Agreement will not provide the finality and formality that an Order on Divorce or Disillusion can, it can nonetheless be of considerable benefit to a couple, particularly in addressing financial issues for the future and children arrangements prior to formally ending the relationship.
Although a Marital Separation Agreement is not currently binding in England and Wales, it provides clear evidence of the parties’ intentions should they later issue divorce or disillusion proceedings which requires the Court to become involved in settling, for example, finances. It is for this reason that it is sensible for both parties to provide full and frank financial disclosure and to seek separate legal advice.
If the parties still agree the Separation Agreement terms when divorce or disillusion proceedings begin, if indeed they do begin, an Order can be drawn up in those original terms, then making them legally binding and enforceable, whilst at the same time mitigating the costs involved because much of the necessary preparatory steps would have already been taken in achieving the Marital Separation Agreement.
As with all areas of family law, we are accredited specialist family lawyers able to help and advise you through the process.
If you or your spouse live outside of the UK or are not originally from the UK there can be extra issues to consider. You need an expert family lawyer to help and advise you through the process which is something we can do.
Domicile is a legal point which takes into account not only where you were born, but also where you are living now and what your intentions are for the future. Habitual residence on the other hand refers to where you live and are based for the majority of time. These concepts can be complicated and confusing for which specialist legal advice is advisable.
Even if you and your former spouse have already been granted a divorce in another country, if you have strong links with England it may be possible for the English Courts to deal with any financial matters arising from your divorce. Using the English legal system is often much quicker, cheaper and more effective than attempting to use your local jurisdiction abroad and in many instances expats can be prevented from doing so.
Another important point worth noting is that it may be financially advantageous to divorce in England, so it is important to seek specialist legal advice concerning expat and international divorce law before issuing divorce proceedings abroad.
How to arrange your finances in cases of divorce can be a real challenge and a highly stressful process which can, on occasion, cause considerable disagreement.
We are committed to helping you resolve any issues regarding the division of matrimonial/civil partnership finances amicably, wherever possible by sensible negotiation held in a non-confrontational manner.
Dividing up your finances and ensuring that you are treated fairly is important. We will try to negotiate the best possible outcome that we can for you without the need for contested Court Proceedings. If, however, this is not achievable, we are able to advise you on how the Court process works and what steps you need to take in order to resolve any financial dispute and thereafter to represent you in the court proceedings.
It is important to note that whether agreement in relation to finances is achieved or not, it is always necessary at the conclusion of any divorce or disillusion proceedings to obtain a Financial Court Order so that there is no ongoing future liability towards your former spouse or civil partner. Without such an order this would continue indefinitely and could result in your former spouse/civil partner pursuing you many years after your relationship has been formally ended by the court.
In order to achieve a fair settlement, we consider the entire financial picture of both you and your partner. We analyse all the available financial data before advising you on what a sensible settlement might be.
We have the expertise and resources to assist and guide you through this process.