Matrimonial & Family

Divorce

When a relationship breaks down, professional and sympathetic advice will guide you through the process and help you plan for the future.

The family law team at Masefield Solicitors LLP is experienced in resolving the problems that can arise when a couple separate.

We will explore with you any possibility for reconciliation. Agreed solutions rather than confrontation will be our goal, but we recognise that determined litigation is sometimes the only way to secure a fair outcome.

To get a divorce, ’irretrievable breakdown’ must be established, by proving one of five grounds. These are adultery; unreasonable behaviour; desertion; 2 years’ separation (by agreement) or 5 years’ separation

We can:

  • explain the divorce procedure to you
  • advise you on choosing or responding to the ground of divorce
  • guide you through the necessary paperwork

If you are suffering from personal assault or harassment, we may be able to apply to court to protect you and your family.

  

Finances

There are usually a number of other issues that need to be considered. We can also provide advice on dealing with practical matters such as:

  • maintenance for you and your children
  • the family home
  • division of property and other assets
  • pension entitlements

We will advise you on all essential steps to protect your position. Whenever possible we will aim to negotiate an agreement out of court. But, if necessary, we can advise about and represent you in court proceedings.

Agreements

Separation agreements

For religious or other reasons, divorce may not always be the immediate or best solution. A separation agreement can lay the foundation for divorce later with a minimum of acrimony.

We prepare and review separation agreements. These cover issues such as where you will live, who gets what, and arrangements for any children involved.

A separation agreement can provide an informal, private and less expensive way of resolving problems that arise when a couple split up. Although such agreements can be set aside by the courts, judges will be reluctant to interfere with a professionally prepared agreement that addresses fairly the concerns of both sides.


Prenuptial agreements

If you are planning to enter into marriage or civil partnership and you wish to protect your assets, a prenuptial agreement can be an important step towards achieving your goal.

At Masefield we will provide a professionally prepared agreement so that your wishes and concerns have the best prospect of being respected in the future.

A good prenuptial agreement will help to:

  • deter speculative claims following a short marriage or civil partnership
  • protect family property
  • determine the content of any divorce settlement, in advance
  • save costs, stress and time in the event of a divorce
  • provide peace of mind – you will have done everything you can to protect your estate for you and your family.

Cohabitation agreements

The courts have wide powers to rearrange a couple‘s finances in the event of divorce. The courts have no such powers when a couple have not entered into a marriage or civil partnership.

If your relationship came to an end, who would get your home and its contents? If there is no written agreement, there could be real uncertainty. That is bad for you and your partner.

Forward planning can prevent arguments in the future, as well as making sure your loved ones are provided for.

We can prepare an agreement between you and your partner, to suit your individual needs. Important financial and property issues will be covered and any current or future concerns can be dealt with.

Here are some of the issues that should be addressed:

  • property ownership
  • investment in your home
  • day to day expenses
  • pensions and life insurance
  • joint bank accounts and other assets.

Children

Disputes over children can be damaging both for the child and the family generally.

At Masefield we recognise the need to deal with these issues in a sensitive and practical manner.

We recommend the use of mediation and negotiation and can help you reach an agreement, where possible.

When agreement is not possible, an application can be made to court.

Most applications are made by a parent but can also be made by grandparents or other relatives in appropriate circumstances.

Under The Children Act, the court can make one or more of the following orders:

  • residence order
  • contact order
  • prohibited steps order
  • specific issue order

Our family team will provide a clear explanation of your rights and responsibilities. Where possible, we will offer constructive advice on how to achieve your objectives. We can:

  • advise you on the most appropriate application to make in your situation or how best to respond to an application
  • prepare the necessary paperwork for you
  • negotiate on your behalf
  • guide you through court procedures and
  • provide or arrange representation at hearings.

Cohabitation

Please see the above section entitled ‘Agreements‘ for more detail regarding cohabitation agreements.

Disputes and arguments between couples can arise when there is uncertainty. With a professionally prepared cohabitation agreement, you will both know where you stand.

When a relationship breaks down, arguments and expense can be kept to a minimum. If you do not have an agreement in place, we can advise you about your rights in relation to your home and children and help you deal with the practicalities involved.

Our family law team specialises in providing practical and impartial advice in the unfortunate event of a breakdown of a relationship, and will give the help and guidance needed to assist you in achieving a satisfactory resolution.

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