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Family Law

The breakdown of personal relationships is a difficult experience. Our Family Law team are experienced in all aspects of family law including divorce providing a sympathetic but practical and efficient approach to assist you.

Our team will take time to listen and discuss your options in relation to your financial position or arrangements for children. Our team will guide and support you and provide you with realistic timescales and information about costs. We will advise of legal and practical issues to assist you at a difficult time.

 

Common Questions and Answers

I am separated but what financial settlement am I entitled to if I divorce?

On divorce all the property acquired by you or your spouse during the marriage is considered matrimonial property and should be shared fairly between you at the end of the marriage. Usually "fairly" means equally although there are cases where this will alter to take into account all of the circumstances of a particular case.

Matrimonial property includes the family home, including a property bought prior to marriage for use as the matrimonial home, savings, business interests, pensions and life assurance. Gifts from third parties and inherited wealth are exceptions. Where either of you invested resources of your own which you had prior to marriage this can also affect the division of the matrimonial property. The date of separation is important because that is the date upon which most matrimonial property is valued.

Any debt incurred during the marriage has to be taken into account. You should resolve any issues in connection with joint debt and accounts now as you could be responsible for the whole amount due on any joint account.

You can claim money in the form of a lump sum or periodical payments. This is appropriate when one party needs extra financial support to adjust to the financial effects of separation, the loss of the financial support of their spouse/partner or because the divorce will cause them great financial hardship.

You may apply for the transfer of property to you, such as the family home or an order transferring a share of a pension to you.

I have split up with my partner but do I have financial rights because we were not married?

A cohabitee has rights including rights in certain property, the right to apply for financial provision on separation and on the death of a partner. This right for financial provision is not automatic. On separation economic advantages or disadvantages to each cohabitant during the relationship must be considered. There are strict time limits for making such claims. These are one year from the date of the breakdown of the relationship or six months from the date of death of the cohabitant.

Why do I need a pre-nuptial/cohabitation agreement?

Agreements are legally binding contracts and can deal with a variety of matters such as dividing property and other assets. A pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement may be used to protect assets from any future claim or set out how a jointly owned property is divided in the event a relationship breaks down. Once agreement is reached this is put in writing and the Separation Agreement then registered to create a legally binding contract enforceable between the parties.

How often can I see my children and what happens if we can't agree?

Separation and Divorce is an emotional and difficult time for all involved including the children and it is preferable to agree arrangements for the children between you if possible. This will allow you both to put in place a proper agreement about where the children live and the contact they have with the other parent which are in the best interests of your children and appropriate for you. There is also assistance available through mediation services who assist you to reach an agreement. The court may be asked to make a decision and to regulate the arrangement for the children.

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