Family

Jane Lodeto runs our Family Department. She is a member of Resolution and is keen to ensure that family matters are settled with as little acrimony as possible. The services we provide include:

Change of Name

There are many reasons we are asked to prepare Change of Name documents but mainly these requests are from women who wish to share the same name as a partner they live with (particularly if they have children together), or from women who wish to change their name back to a former name following a divorce.

This is a simple procedure taking no more than a 30 minute appointment at the office and we charge a fixed fee for this service.

Children Matters

If parents are separating, the needs of children require special attention. Children love both their parents and if separating parents can agree arrangements for who the children will live with and when, there will be less disruption for the children.

Older children may want to be involved in decisions that affect them and this needs to be taken into account.

Research suggests that those children who have regular contact with both their parents are the best adjusted children.

However, things are not always easy to agree and sometimes help is required.

We offer a free 30 minute appointment to discuss your situation and answer some of your queries. As a member of Resolution our specialist Solicitor is keen to help you and your family resolve any dispute without, where possible, the matter being referred to a Court. She will discuss with you the merits of mediation and improving communication between you and the other parent to move forward in the best interest of the children.

If this cannot be achieved, we can assist you with applications to the Court for assistance with determining with whom the children should live, what time should be spent with each parent, holiday arrangements and, where necessary, other issues such as where the children should go to school or be allowed to be removed out of England and Wales.

Cohabitation Agreements

If you are considering living with a partner, whether in a property owned by one of you or a jointly purchased property, you should also consider a contract to reflect any agreements reached by you at the beginning. This can be amended if those agreements change during the cohabitation. This can save lengthy and expensive Court proceedings if your relationship breaks down and gives you both certainty. We base our fees for this type of agreement on a fixed fee.

Divorce

We are available to guide you through the paperwork and procedure of the divorce itself and the issues relating to finances and children which run along side it.

When divorce proceedings begin we hope that you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement as to the settlement of financial matters. We will advise on a likely outcome if the matter proceeds to Court, assist you with negotiations and if appropriate, refer you to mediation to assist you. We will then assist with finalising financial aspects through the Court by way of a Consent Order within the divorce proceedings.

If agreement cannot be reached, and an application to the Court is necessary, a District Judge will try and assist you in reaching an agreement. If this is unsuccessful a District Judge can ultimately decide how the assets of the marriage are to be distributed. We will work with you through the Court proceedings to try and reach settlement at every opportunity where it is appropriate.

Domestic Violence

If you are in immediate danger call 999.

Both the criminal and the civil law can assist you in matters concerning domestic violence.

Domestic Violence encompasses a wide range of behaviour and not exclusively physical violence. You may feel mentally abused, at risk of violence or harassed by a spouse, partner or former spouse or partner and these are all forms of Domestic Violence.

The police can assist you and should be your first contact if you are in immediate danger. Even if you wish to proceed using the civil law you should contact the police to have incidents of domestic violence recorded. Most police stations have a Domestic Violence Officer. If you have been sexually assaulted you should contact the police or Rape Crisis Centre. Do not wash or change your clothes.

If you have visible injuries take photographs of them to use as evidence in the future even though you may not wish to bring proceedings at this time. You should seek medical advice to ensure your injuries heal and you can ask your Doctor to record what has happened for future reference.

You need to protect your children. By taking no action in relation to domestic violence, you are not protecting them and there is a risk that your doctor or the police could report this to Social Services.

The civil orders available to you are a Non Molestation Order (an order to stop the behaviour by your partner/spouse which, if breached, can result in their arrest) and an Occupation Order (an order to force your partner/spouse to move out of your home or only occupy certain parts of it).

We can assist you with the application to the Court including preparing your statement. If necessary we can arrange to apply to the court on an emergency basis and without notice to your spouse/partner. The Court may grant an interim order to protect you until the Court is able to hear your opponent’s case.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Although not binding on a Court in England and Wales, agreements reached either before you marry (Pre-Nuptial Agreements) or during your marriage (Nuptial Agreements) are a factor taken into account by the Court when assessing financial settlements.

Therefore, if you have assets you wish to try to protect if your marriage were to breakdown and end in divorce, consideration should be given to a Pre-Nuptial or Nuptial contract so that your agreement can be recorded. This can save lengthy and expensive Court proceedings. We base our fees for this type of agreement on a fixed fee.

Separation Agreements

You may be considering separating from a partner or a spouse but not yet wishing to divorce. A Separation Agreement is a contract between you both setting out any agreement you have on the financial aspects of your separation.

We can advise you on a fair and equitable settlement and prepare an agreement on that basis or on the basis of an agreement you have reached without our help. We base our fees for this type of agreement on a fixed fee if matters are agreed.

Arrange your free 30 minute consultation