Support when you need it…

Facing the breakdown of a relationship is an emotional and often confusing time, and seeking legal advice can seem like a daunting prospect. 

Thankfully, our specialist team, who deal with all aspects of family law, are on hand to offer unbiased, understanding legal advice and support.

Whatever family-related issue you are facing, from divorce to sorting out the financial aspects of a separation, making arrangements for the children or creating a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, our dedicated in-house team of family lawyers can help.

A family law firm that takes care of your family

Sadly, relationships do break down and in such instances the welfare of any children is paramount.

When it comes to dealing with child care matters, we understand that emotions may be running high. Our experienced team of solicitors are able to anticipate this and, utilising their experience in a wide range of family law matters, are able to offer practical solutions to any child care issues.

When it comes to child care matters, communication is key. This is why we adopt a conciliatory approach to encourage both parties to find a resolution they can agree to that works in the best interests of their child.

For child care cases where the Local Authority are involved, we have a specialist Child Care Department.

A family law firm that cares

The team are on hand to support clients through what can be a difficult time, explaining everything in our characteristic jargon-free, plain speaking way. In fact, we put client communication at the heart of everything we do, keeping clients informed in a way that is best for them whether that is face to face, via email or over the phone.

What’s more, because of our transparent practices, you will be informed of the costs throughout the case with no hidden surprises at the end. Whilst Legal Aid is limited, as an approved supplier of legal services we hold a contract with the Legal Aid Agency, enabling publicly funded work to be carried out subject to the circumstances and financial position of the client. 

A family law firm for you

Family law is an expansive area which is why we offer a wide range of family law services and as such the team deal with matters including:

  • Drafting of divorce proceedings, judicial separation and dissolution of civil partnerships
  • Advising on all children issues including obtaining ‘Live with Orders’ (previously known as residence) and ‘Spend Time with Orders’ (previously known as contact) as well as obtaining ‘Specific Issue Orders’ and ‘Prohibited Steps Orders’
  • Advising on child abduction issues under The Hague Convention
  • Drafting pre-nuptial and post-nuptial contracts
  • Drafting of separation deeds
  • Advising cohabitees on aspects of their separation including proceedings under TOLATA
  • Advising on a full range of financial aspects following marital breakdown, including child maintenance, spousal maintenance, pension sharing/offsetting, attachment orders and the division of capital assets including complex business structures/offshore trusts. We are able to liaise with other professionals both in-house and externally, such as accountants and IFAs
  • Obtaining injunctions including non-molestation (personal protection) injunctions, ‘Occupation Orders’ (regulating who can live in a property) and ‘Freezing Orders’ (freezing/setting aside Injunctions relating to financial assets)
  • Representing and advocating for clients in the courts at all levels
A family law firm with experience

The team’s extensive experience and in-depth procedures relate to all family and relationship issues. As a specialist family law firm, the team provide clients with the very best advice, guiding them through what is often one of the most stressful periods of their lives. 

A family law service you can rely on

Whether you have been separated for a while, are married or are cohabiting, have children to consider or complex finances to untangle, through our expertise in a wide range of family law matters, we can help.

Registered in England, we offer specialist family law services throughout the country. In addition, many members of our team have been recognised by The Law Society and Resolution as being experts in their field. In addition, we've also been recognised by the Legal 500, which describes us as:

One of the leading firms in the Midlands', Smith Partnership handles financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns. The healthcare sector involving care homes or dental or medical practices is a particular area of expertise, thanks to ‘very experienced’ and ‘highly regarded’ practice head Ruth Jones. ‘Extremely compelling advocate’ and head of childcare Muctar Johal ‘is highly respected in the field of child protection’.

Legal 500

Contact our team today

To find out how our expert team of solicitors can help you, contact us today on 0330 123 1229, send us an email via info@smithpartnership.co.uk or complete our contact form.

FAQs

Generally speaking, it is in the child(ren)’s best interest to have a positive and ongoing relationship with both of their parents in the event of a separation. However, sometimes one parent chooses to walk away from the child(ren) and there is nothing in the law which can make a parent be involved in a child’s life if they do not want to be. There can be many reasons for this including drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse. The impact on the remaining parent and the children can be very difficult to deal with. Children in particular can struggle as they may believe they are responsible for one parent’s absence and children who lose a parent in this way can go through a grieving process. In those circumstances, it will be important to offer the children as much reassurance and support as possible.

Generally speaking, it is the right of the child(ren) to have a relationship with both of their parents if the parents’ relationship breaks down. However sometimes it is not in the best interest for of the child(ren) to have contact with one of their parents. This can be for reasons such as domestic abuse, criminal offences, drug and alcohol issues. Stopping a parent from seeing their child is very much a last resort and there are a variety of measures that can be put into place such as the use of a local contact centre, or supervision by social services.

A lot will depend on whether the relationship between you and your partner has broken down and if there is going to be a divorce or a separation. If you do not want a divorce/separation, then you should perhaps talk to your partner, or consider using the services of marriage guidance or mediation to try and resolve the matter and come to an amicable solution. If, however the problems are such that you believe a divorce/separation is inevitable, then consideration can be given to obtaining maintenance for you. If you have children together and the children live with you, this may mean that you can get child maintenance for the children from the Child Maintenance Service, or it may be that your partner has an obligation to pay you maintenance known as spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance however would not be an option if the two of you were not married.

A separation may mean that you are entitled to other benefits in your own right such as child benefit, tax credits etc. You would be best to take fairly urgent legal advice to get guidance on your individual circumstances and the options open to you.

Provided you have been married for a year you can file for divorce, an uncontested divorce normally takes between four and six months. There may be reasons to delay taking the final stage i.e. the decree absolute for example, until such time as finances have been resolved. The amount of time can vary according to the speed the parties process the paperwork, paperwork delays at the local divorce unit and whether forms have been completed accurately.

Mediation is best defined as a process whereby you and your former partner sit down with a mediator who is an independent person, often a solicitor/expert in family law, and you and your partner try and reach your own agreement, whether it be with regard to children issues, financial issues or otherwise, with the assistance of the independent mediator rather than have an agreement imposed upon you by the court. The mediator is there to be impartial and does not give advice to either party but just explores the options and provides legal information.

Currently, to get a divorce in England and Wales you have to have been married to your partner for at least one year and you have to satisfy the court that your relationship has permanently broken down. You have to have a marriage that is legally recognised in the UK; this can include same sex marriages and marriages that have taken place abroad in accordance with that particular country’s own legal requirements.

You do not need to have a solicitor to obtain a divorce, it is largely a paperwork exercise taking place at the local divorce unit to you. However, solicitors can take a lot of the stress, anxiety and uncertainty out of the situation.

To get a divorce you need to send paperwork to the local divorce unit. Alongside the divorce, you and your partner should try and resolve any arrangements for looking after your children and work out how to divide your money and property. Normally there is no need for either party to attend court in person when dealing with the divorce itself.

Forced marriage is against the law and if you are under 18 it is classed as child abuse. You should always have a choice about if you want to get married and who you want to get married to and you do have a right to say no. If you are worried that you are going to be forced into a marriage you do not want, the main thing is that you tell someone, this could be a teacher, or another adult that you trust. You could report it to the police. You can also contact the Forced Marriage Unit (+44(0)2070080151). If you are at the airport, you can speak to the security officers or the police who will be able to help you. If you have already been forced into a marriage, then your solicitors can apply for a forced marriage protection order, (this can also be applied for if you fear that you are being threatened with a forced marriage), such an order is designed to protect you and is normally dealt with as an emergency application without notice to other parties so that protection is in place straight away. If you are worried about attending court, to obtain a forced marriage protection order, then various arrangements can be put into place to protect you.

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