Phone
+44 (020) 8676 3449

Email
info@rsosolicitors.com

Address
252 Kirkdale Road
London SE26 4NL
United Kingdom

Divorce and Family Law

 

Divorce and Separation:

We understand that the decision to divorce or separate is never easy or one that is taken lightly. We will deal with your situation sensitively and provide you with the best possible legal advice. We will advise you on the grounds for a divorce and on the law and process.

Divorce proceedings are commenced by one party to the marriage, known as the Petitioner. The other party is known as the Respondent. In every case a Divorce Petition and original Marriage Certificate must be submitted to the Court. If your Marriage Certificate is not available, it is possible to obtain a certified copy from the Central Registry or the place where you were married.

The Divorce Petition contains general information concerning your marriage, e.g. details of the date and place of your marriage, the children of your family, if any, any other relevant Court proceedings.

Grounds for Divorce:

You can only obtain a divorce on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and this can only be shown by demonstrating one of the 5 facts:

  • Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living with
  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living with
  • Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years or more
  • You have been living apart from your spouse for two years or more and you both consent to the divorce being granted
  • You have been living apart from your spouse for five years or more, whether or not your spouse agrees to the divorce.

As long as the divorce is not defended there will usually be no need for either party to attend Court.family law

You will be required to pay a Court fee when the divorce proceedings are issued unless you eligible for a discount on the fee because you are on a low income or in receipt of certain state benefits.

The average time for a divorce from start to finish is around six months but sometimes the divorce can take longer especially if there are complications, for example, regarding service of the papers on the Respondent. Also it is sometimes advisable to hold back the Decree Absolute Application until financial matters have been resolved if for example you would lose a potential benefit under a pension scheme by being divorced.

Dissolution:

We are able to advise and represent you should you wish to bring your civil partnership to an end which is known as dissolution. The dissolution of a civil partnership is usually a paper based exercise and is conducted through the post. We can deal with this on your behalf at a fixed fee, providing it is a straightforward and undefended dissolution. We can also advise you on matters such as arrangements for any children or financial claims.

Family LawPrenuptial agreement:

This is an agreement which a couple might sign before getting married or entering into a civil partnership. Its main purpose is to set out the basis on which the couple will divide assets if and when the marriage or civil partnership ends.

By signing a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage, both parties know exactly where they stand in relation to asset division, should the marriage dissolve in the future. We can help to guide you through this process and ensure that a robust agreement is prepared on your behalf.

Cohabitation agreement:

Cohabitation Agreements are becoming increasingly popular as more and more couples are living together, and want to protect their individual assets and income in case of separation. Rose, Samuel, Odele & Partners Solicitors can tailor your Agreement to your circumstances and needs and include who owns what at the start of a relationship, how any property acquired during the relationship will be owned, who will be responsible for mortgage and other property costs etc.

Financial Relief (formerly known as Ancillary Relief):

Financial relief is the name given to resolve the financial issues arising out of any divorce or judicial separation. When a Court considers resolution of financial issues, the starting point is an equal division of the capital assets of the marriage. The Court strives to achieve fairness and equality in all cases. The Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of any child of the family under the age of 18 years of age.

In determining financial relief matters, the Court has to have regard to the following matters:-

  • The income earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each spouse has, or is likely to have within the foreseeable future, including, in the question of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which it would be, in the opinion of the court, reasonable to expect a person to take steps to acquire.
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities that each spouse has, or is likely to have, in the foreseeable future.
  • The standards of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
  • The ages of each spouse and the duration of the marriage.
  • Any physical or medical disability of each spouse.
  • The contributions which each spouse has made, or likely to make in the foreseeable future, to the welfare of the family, welfare of the family, welfare of the family, after the home or caring for the family
  • The conduct of each spouse, if that conduct is such that it would, in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard.
  • The value of each spouse and any benefit which one spouse, because of the divorce, will lose the chance acquiring (most usually pension provision).

There is a duty on you and your spouse and to the Court to disclose fully your financial position so that a financial arrangement can be made.

This is an ongoing duty which continues until an order is approved or made by the Court.

In the majority of cases, the parties manage to avoid having to attend a Final Hearing (where the Judge will determine how the assets of a marriage are to be divided) by reaching an agreement as to how the assets of the marriage are to be divided.

If an agreement is reached, it will be recorded into a Consent Order. This document summarises the terms of settlement and, once agreed by the parties, it is submitted to the Court for approval by the Judge. The Consent Order has the same weight as an Order imposed by the Judge after a final hearing.

If the parties have not divorced or judicially separated the court does not have the same jurisdiction to deal with financial relief issues. The parties can of course still resolve financial arrangements upon separation and record those arrangements into a contract called a separation deed.

Family - Domestic Abuse:

family law3

There is no standard legal definition of domestic violence and different definitions of domestic violence and domestic abuse are used. The government definition of domestic violence and abuse was introduced on 31st March 2013 and defines domestic violence as: “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can include, but is not limited to: Psychological Physical Sexual Financial Emotional

If you have one of the following family relationships, we can assist you with applying for protective orders (Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders) sometimes on an emergency basis in order to ensure that you and your family are safe. You can apply for protective orders if you are a victim of abuse and:

  • are or have been married, civil partners or lived together
  • have agreed to marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • have a child together
  • have been in an intimate personal relationship for a significant time
  • have lived in the same household
  • are relatives

 

Non-Molestation Order:

A non-molestation order is an order made by the Court prohiting a person from molesting the other person or a child. “Molestation” includes lots of different kinds of behaviour from physical violence and threatening behaviour to harassment and intimidation. The Court will consider all of the circumstances including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of you and your children. If a non-molestation order is made and your partner breaches the order they can be arrested by the police. A breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence punishable by a fine and/or up to 5 years in prison.

Occupation Order:

An occupation order is an order which regulates how the family home is occupied. An occupation order can be tailored to your needs and can require your partner to let you enter and live in a property; exclude your partner from the property or an area around your property. There are a number of different ways in which people can make an application for an occupation order and we can give you advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you live in a rented property we can help you to secure the tenancy and ensure that your partner cannot end the tenancy without you knowing or to transfer a joint tenancy into your sole name in some circumstances. Public funding (legal aid) is not available to defend the non-molestation, occupation or transfer of tenancy orders unless the person who wishes to defend the orders has proof that they were victims of domestic abuse.

Important information

Mediation:

Since April 2013, it has become a requirement for people involved in a family/childcare dispute to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before they can issue Court proceedings although there are some exceptions such as if one of the parties has suffered domestic abuse from the other within the preceding two years. Mediation is an informal and flexible dispute resolution process by an impartial mediator, to try and resolve family disputes on separation or divorce, such as arrangements for the children or sorting out the finances. The mediator's role is to guide the parties toward their own resolution. Through joint sessions and separate caucuses with parties, the mediator helps both sides define the issues clearly, understand each other's position and move closer to resolution.

We are able to refer you to specially trained mediators who may be able to help you facilitate and assist you with trying to resolve issues that arise in the break-up of your relationship.

Call Us

+44 (020) 8676 3449

Visit Us

252 Kirkdale Road
London SE26 4NL