Family Law

At Bawtrees we appreciate that family complications can be a difficult process, legally and personally.  No matter what it may be, we are here to provide you with appropriate and professional tailored services.

Divorce & Dissolution Proceedings - At this very difficult juncture in your life we can offer a full range of advice whether it be on behalf of the petitioning party for divorce/civil partnership or the respondent.  We aim to simplify matters so that you fully understand the process and guide you through the proceedings.  We seek to abide by the code of conduct set down by Resolution and look to minimise conflict during this difficult time.  Sometimes however, parties may not seek to divorce or there are circumstances where the marriage has been void or is voidable and so divorce may not be considered appropriate.  We can provide you with the advice you require in this regard.

If you have any questions or would like to book a fixed fee first appointment then please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Financial Proceedings – Following the breakdown of your marriage or civil partnership, inevitably proceedings may have to be issued to address the financial side of your relationship to include: the family home, financial support (both during the divorce and post) pensions and various other aspects. The process can be a difficult one but there are a number of factors which the court has to accommodate and these are set out under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  The starting point is a 50:50 division of the assets however the court is entitled to depart from this principal in exercising its discretion, such factors include whether or not there are any children of the family, the length of the marriage but most importantly the needs of the parties.  There are however only a limited number of orders which can be made including: transferring and/or selling property; making provision by way of a lump sum, making financial payments to be made by one party to another; making provision by way of pension sharing or pension attachment.  The court however must give particular consideration to whether it is possible to achieve a clean break settlement: that is a final payment involving no on-going commitment between the parties.  We have considerable experience in this area whether it is advising you, drafting separation agreements, or financial orders and would be happy to advise you on all matters by trying to simplify the process and take you through what can be a difficult and complicated procedure.  Please contact Bawtrees and will be able to assist you.

Since 2014 it is now incumbent upon both parties to seek to resolve matters between themselves before they are permitted to apply to the court for the court to consider financial matters.  Parties are required to attend mediation and while mediation is not compulsory the requirement to attend at a MIAM (Mediation Information Assessment Meeting) is.  You may be exempt and we can advise you when you first meet to discuss matters.  Please be aware that it is always possible for you both to agree terms in respect of financial matters between you or through the assistance of your solicitor or through various other processes such as mediation.

Pre-Nuptial & Post Nuptial Agreements – the changes in the law over the past few years has given considerable support to parties looking to make sensible arrangements in the event of the breakdown of their marriage.  We can offer sound and practical advice and assist you in the drafting of these documents.  It is important to note however that while the court will endeavour to uphold such agreements the court’s jurisdiction, in considering the issues as highlighted above, can never be ousted.

Domestic Abuse – The law in this area has changed considerably over the years but sadly there has been a gradual increase in the level of such abuse whether it be physical violence, emotional harm, financial issues including intimidation, and harassment.  We are very adept at acting on behalf of clients in this area taking all forms of abuse very seriously.  The family court offers a number of remedies including applications for Non-Molestation Orders and/or Occupation Orders under the Family Law Act 1996.  The law does not discriminate between married and unmarried couples but there are limitations about to whom this area of law does apply and we can advise appropriately.  We recognise that this area can be quite emotive and our experience enables us to handle these matters with both a professional and caring approach.

Children Act – Private: This is an area of law which has seen considerable changes with the introduction of the Private Children Law Programme which seeks to play particular attention to the responsibilities of parents in respect of their children.  The courts approach is to assist in the first instance but with strong emphasis on parents, using their Parental Responsibility, to manage their arrangements for their children (Child Arrangements Order).  The use of such language as ‘Custody’, ‘Residence’ and ‘Contact’ is now obsolete.   It should always be remembered that when considering any issues involving children any application is under the “Children” Act 1989 and so therefore the courts paramount consideration is/are the child(ren), not the parents.  The courts take the issue of abuse, violence or neglect of children raised within any private law proceedings extremely seriously and will investigate them and where appropriate orders will be made which may involve Social Services or CAFCASS (Court Welfare Officers).

Other aspects under this umbrella relate to the acquiring (and in some rare cases the loss of) Parental Responsibility.  In addition we can advise on other orders which address matters of specific issue and prohibited steps.

We also have considerable experience in dealing with aspects of international child abduction where children are removed from the jurisdiction without the other parties consent as well as issues involving applications for financial orders for children under the Children Act.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Family Law