Law can be complicated and confusing at the best of times, and when you are experiencing the distress of a relationship breakdown, expert assistance is invaluable. At F Barnes we have a recognised and highly respected specialist Family department dedicated to providing a personal and professional service to help resolve your situation in as straightforward and pain-free a manner as possible.
If you and your partner have come to the decision that your relationship has completely broken down, you can formally end the marriage by issuing divorce proceedings.
There are 5 grounds on which you can issue divorce proceedings and the one that is most appropriate for you depends on the circumstances. There is no such thing as a quickie divorce. Whatever ground you rely on the divorce procedure is exactly the same. The time it takes will depend not only how quickly you deal with the papers, but also your partner and the Court.
Divorce Proceedings from beginning to end will normally take between 6 to 7 months. Some people chose to act in person and issue their own divorce proceedings. If you are not familiar with the process and in particular where your partner is not being co-operative it can be easy to hit a stumbling block. There are a lot of advantages to instructing a solicitor who can ensure that the process is a less stressful experience.
Arising out of the divorce not only do arrangements for the children have to be resolved but also finances.
In family proceedings finances are known as Financial Remedy. It is very important to instruct solicitors to advise you on financial settlement. It is rarely as simple as dividing all the assets equally between you. Many different factors need to be taken into consideration in deciding on what is a fair division. Many things that clients think are important such as the other party’s conduct are not taken into account by the Court in financial settlement. It is essential to take advice.
Ideally agreement can be negotiated through solicitors. We also encourage parties to attend mediation in the hope that agreement can be reached through that service. If agreement cannot be reached, then Court proceedings are issued. Rarely does it go to a final hearing and agreement is normally reached in between.
Once you have agreement, whether it is through mediation or solicitors it needs to be approved by the Court to be binding. An agreement needs to be drawn up by the solicitors which is quite complex and then submitted to the Court for approval.
Our Solicitors are experts in the field of financial settlement. Tiina Juhanson has been conducting financial settlement proceedings for over 25 years and is an accredited specialist.
Living together (Cohabitation)
More and more couples are choosing to live together, perhaps having a mortgage and children together. However, contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “common law marriage” and the law does not recognise such relationships in the same way it does marriage: offering little protection when such a relationship ends. In such an instance your rights would only be similar to those of two people that are flat-sharing.
How assets and responsibilities are divided between parties when a cohabiting relationship ends is a very complicated area of law. F Barnes can provide you with specialist advice.
There has been a lot of publicity about prenuptial agreements. We can prepare a prenuptial agreement for you but what a lot of people do not understand is that there is a lot of work has to go into preparing a prenuptial agreement to ensure it is valid. It requires both parties to have solicitors, it requires full disclosure of each other’s income and assets, etc. It often involves negotiations. Consequently the costs can be quite significant. If you then take into consideration the Court do not have to uphold a prenuptial agreement and will only do so if they think it is fair. What was fair at one time may not necessarily be fair 5,10,15 years later.
There will be some occasions when a prenuptial agreement is appropriate, indeed when one party has significantly more assets than another, and will justify the cost. We can help.