FAMILY LAW

Our professional and helpful team can help you personally with Family Law

 

When facing a stressful or an emotional family situation you need a family solicitor who is on your side.  Gordon Johnson is an experienced family solicitor with over 15 years’ experience and offers a friendly approachable yet robust service.

 

Fixed Fee

 

We offer a fixed fee interview at which you will be able to discuss your case in detail, which will then be followed up by a letter detailing your instructions and advising you of the law and procedure, together with, if possible, a proposed plan of action and estimate of the likely costs moving forward.

 

Civil Partnership

 

Civil partnership is where the same sex couples register their partnership and in doing so gain most of the rights that married
couples enjoy.

 

Civil Partnership Rights

 

Registered couples will have the following rights:-

 

  • the obligation to support each other and the children of the family financially;
  • the obligation to pay child support in the same way as married partners;
  • protection from domestic violence;
  • exception from Inheritance Tax on property that passes between partners;
  • recognition of the partnership under inheritance and testacy (dying without a Will) rules;
  • entitlement to pass on bereavement benefits and benefits of occupational pensions to the surviving partner;
  • access to fatal accident compensation

 

There is no requirement that couples live together first for a certain amount of time but without entering into a civil partnership couples will be treated in law as co-habiting heterosexual couples are.

 

Civil Partnership Dissolution

 

Some civil partnership will breakdown and much like divorce proceedings there will be a formal dissolution process where the Court will have the power to make property and maintenance orders.

 

Civil partnership has important financial, children and tax benefit implications so it is important to seek legal advice to ensure you prepare for the future.

 

Co-habitation Rights

 

When setting up home with a partner often the last thing on your mind is what will happen if you separate.  It is better if an agreement can be reached at the start of a relationship regarding.  What will happen should you separate?  The law relating to the separation of an unmarried couple be they the same sex (but registered) relationships or not is governed by the Trust of Land and Trustees Act 1996.  As more couples choose not to marry the legal and financial issues they face with children, mortgages, pensions, separation and death become ever more important to understand and address.  Even though a relationship may be long term and similar in respect of marriage, unmarried couples should be aware that the law treats them very differently from those that are married or in civil partnerships.  Despite popular misconception there is no relationship as common law “husband and wife”

 

If at the beginning of a relationship agreement can be reached as to what will happen should the parties separate then this agreement can be embodied into a living together agreement.  This will set out the parties intentions with regards to any future separation and will hopefully diminish the difficulties which could arise in the future.

 

The firm offers an affordable service where we will prepare a document which meets your specific and individual requirements.  This will deal with all relevant issues in the event of a relationship breakdown avoiding the need to resort to costly Court action.

 

If a relationship breaks down and you have not regulated the arrangement under a living together agreement we are able to advise in a practical and sensible manner, hopefully allowing for the separation to be dealt with as amicably as possible.  Should negotiations prove not to be successful the firm is able to advise on the prospect of dealing with the case through the Courts thereafter if necessary represent you in any proceedings.

 

Domestic Violence

 

Should you be the victim of domestic violence there are certain remedies which you may wish to explore.

 

Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders

 

There are two main injunctions that can be obtained if you are married, in a civil partnership or live together and these are:-

 

Non-Molestation Order

This is put in place to stop your spouse, civil partner or partner harassing you or using or threatening to use violence against you or your child and this is commonly called an injunction against harassment.

 

Occupation Order

This is it enable you to have occupation of your home to the exclusion of your spouse, civil partner or partner.

 

How can I apply for a civil injunction?

In order to apply for a non-molestation order or occupation order under The Family Law Act 1996 you must be an associated person, this means you must be related to each other in one of the following key ways:

 

  • You must have been or be married to each other;
  • You must be or have been civil partners of each other;
  • You are or have been cohabitants;
  • You have lived in the same households other than as tenants, lodgers, boarders or one being the employee of the other;
  • You are related;
  • You have formerly agreed to be married (are engaged), or enter into a civil partnership;
  • You have entered into a civil partnership agreement;
  • You have or have had an intimate personal relationship with each other which is or was of significant duration;
  • You are both parents of the same child or have parental responsibility over the child;
  • You are both involved in Family Court Proceedings together

 

What happens if an injunction is broken?

If a non-molestation order is broken this is a criminal offence and the Police have the power to arrest the perpetrator simply for breaking the Order and bring them before the Court.

 

An occupation order can have a power of arrest attached to it allowing a Police Officer to arrest the other spouse or partner for breaking the Order, even if there is no criminal offence.

 

If you have concerns relating to domestic violence and you believe you need a civil injunction we are able to advise as to the outcome of any application made to the Court and furthermore make any such application as is necessary to represent you throughout the proceedings.

 

Living Together Agreement

 

As more couples choose not to marry the legal and financial issues they face with regards to children, mortgages, pension, separation and death become ever more important to understand and address.  Even though a relationship may be a long term and similar in many respects to marriage you should be aware that the law treats them differently from those who are married or in civil partnerships.

 

Whilst no-one wants to contemplate relationship breakdowns, if appropriate arrangements have been made at an early stage, the emotional upset and distress is potentially diminished because each party knows exactly where he or she stands financially.

 

We offer an affordable service where we put together a document that meets your specific and individual requirements.  This will deal with all of the relevant issues in the event of a relationship breakdown avoiding the need to resort to costly Court action.  This is a living together agreement.

 

What does a living together agreement cover?

A living together agreement can record your wishes on a wide variety of matters in the event of a relationship breakdown
including for example:-

 

Your home

  • Where one of you already owns a home and it is intended that your partner should have no interest in it;
  • Where partner are making significantly different contributions to the purchase of the house or the mortgage and wish to reflect that difference in their share of ownership;
  • Effect improvements or paying for major repairs on the family home

 

Your children

How any children are to be supported and details of care arrangements.

 

Your assets

How other assets such as accounts or valuables are to be dealt with.

 

Ownership

Of furniture or other items either brought into the relationship or purchased during the relationship.

 

Your debts

How credit card balances, bank loans and overdrafts are to be discharged.

 

Prenuptial Agreements

 

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Before a couple marry they may decide to try to regulate what would happen to the assets of their marriage (or their civil partnership) in the event of a divorce or dissolution by entering into a prenuptial agreement.

 

Postnuptial Agreements

 

Parties to a marriage or civil partnership may seek to regulate what is to happen about a property or finances if they separate and may decide to do a Postnuptial Agreement.

 

Prenuptial Agreement in the UK

 

Nuptial agreements would seem to be of increasing significance especially as prenuptial contracts are enforceable in many European countries as well as the USA, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

 

At present prenuptial agreements are not however legally binding in the UK.

 

For a long time they have been considered against public policy as they appear to undermine marriage, however there has been a recent change in judicial thinking with more Judges more prepared to consider that a fair and reasonable prenuptial agreement signed in the correct circumstances should be upheld.  This means that although they are not enforceable in the UK Court the Court will now take any such prenuptial agreements into account when making its final decision as to how matrimonial assets should be divided.

 

Divorce Proceedings

 

Grounds for Divorce

There is only one ground for a divorce namely that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is proved by proving one of the five facts.

 

  • Your husband/wife committed adultery and as a result you find it intolerable to live with them;
  • Your husband/wife behaved in such a way that it is unreasonable to expect that you live with them;
  • Your husband/wife has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years;
  • You and your husband/wife have lived separate and apart for at least two years and they consent to there being a divorce;
  • You and your husband/wife have lived separate and apart for at least five years

 

It is preferable to attempt to reach a financial agreement by either attending mediation or entering into solicitor’s correspondence with a Financial Consent Order to be drafted which can then be submitted to the Court upon the pronouncement of Decree Nisi.

 

If it is not possible to negotiate a settlement on the above terms then we would be able to assist you with regards to representation within Financial Remedy proceedings.

 

Children Law

 

In the event that your relationship breaks down the most important thing is to ensure that any children understand what is happening and the less friction there is between the parents the less upsetting your separation will be for the children of the family.

 

Our vast experience in this area allows us to fully appreciate your situation and advise you on Child Law matters.

 

Case Study:

 

A 16 year marriage, two children.  The parties separated after eight years and entered into a Deed of Separation in 2010.  The wife as per the Deed of Separation was due to pay a lump sum payment of £25,000 upon the youngest child of the family attaining the age of 18 years, however the father failed to pay child maintenance for a number of years equating to the sum of £33,000.  The husband failed to attend all of the Court hearings and the District Judge ordered that the Deed of Separation made between the Applicant and the Respondent be varied to extinguish the beneficial interest of the Respondent in the family home.  The Court also ordered a clean break on capital.

 

Testimonial for Family Law

“l recently started using Jarmans to handle my divorce mainly because of their reputation.

 

This is quite a stressful time and I was made to feel at ease with Gordon Johnson who is handling my case.  l was given clear and straightforward advice and information as to what I needed to do and where to proceed next.

 

Any time I needed advice, had a question or booked an appointment it was dealt with speedily, on the same day in most cases.

 

l would recommend Jarmans to anyone needing legal advice and cannot fault their professional approach to matters in hand”.

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please click below and we will direct you to our request forms or call 01795 472 291

enquiries@jarmans-solicitors.co.uk

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