Obtaining the best results in family law cases in Brighton
The knowledgeable and dedicated family lawyers at Stowe Family Law assist many people in Brighton and throughout East Sussex with issues related to divorce, separation, financial agreements, and child custody.
The case study examples below demonstrate the dedication of the Brighton team, led by Managing Partner Emma Newman, to providing their clients with the top legal counsel and representation.
Whether you are going through a painful divorce, trying to reach a financial settlement, or finding it difficult to agree on your child arrangements, we are confident that our record of success will provide you the assurance and peace of mind you need.
Civil partnership dissolution
According to the most recent census, Brighton and Hove is the same-sex capital of England and Wales, with a higher percentage of residents participating in same-sex weddings or civil partnerships than any other council area.
This is reflected in the work of the Brighton divorce solicitors, who frequently support people looking for help with a civil partnership dissolution.
One such client approached Stowe last spring, as they were looking to dissolve their civil partnership. However, direct negotiations between the couple had broken down, and they needed the support of solicitors to reach an agreement.
Having entered the civil partnership 10 years ago, the couple had built up a substantial portfolio of properties (in joint names) and two successful businesses: a coffee shop and hairdressers. They did not have any children.
The team worked with the client to detail all the assets of the marriage and arrange independent valuers to get an accurate valuation of both businesses and all properties.
As all the assets were purchased, and both businesses started and grown during the relationship, they were all classed as matrimonial assets and added to the ‘pot’.
With a clear and accurate picture of the assets to be divided, the team worked with the client to create a fair proposal for the division of the assets between the couple.
After lengthy negotiations with the other legal team, an agreement was reached. This was drafted and submitted to the court, who granted a consent order, legalising the agreement.
The couple could then move forward in life following their civil partnership dissolution.
Working out the division of household items
Many people separating must face the decision to sell the family home and divide the household items between them. This can be very difficult and often causes conflict for clients of the Brighton divorce team.
There is no specific law about the division of household items. However, the general principle is that any assets acquired or built up during the marriage are added to the matrimonial pot and divided fairly.
For one of the Brighton clients, the division of household items was proving to be a sticky point in the financial settlement agreement.
Following a long marriage of 35 years, the couple had separated because of an affair, leaving our client living in the former family home as her ex-spouse moved in with his new partner.
They had already agreed that our client would retain the family home as part of the settlement, but struggled to finalise the division of household items.
The team advised the client to make a full inventory of all household items with estimated re-sell value, and identify any gifts and items purchased before the marriage.
This gave the team a clear list to negotiate from, and they supported the client to work through and look at the fairest way to split the items.
Once a proposal was finalised, the Brighton team liaised with the opposite legal team and reached a fair solution that met both parties' needs.
The details were then included in the consent order to ensure compliance, and the household items were divided between the ex-couple.
How do you deal with the division of debts?
It is common to consider how debts will be handled during a divorce, given that the average family debt in the UK is about £10,000 (excluding mortgages).
Choosing how to divide a couple's debt can be difficult and upsetting, especially if one of the parties incurred it.
The Brighton team recently handled a case where both parties had accrued sizable debts over the course of the marriage.
Married for 20 years, the couple had two teenagers at the time of their separation, who were 17 and 13 years old, and lived in a mortgaged home with £300K in equity.
Despite earning an average of £100K+ year, both partners had accumulated debt through expenditures on cars, holidays, dining out, clothes, and house upgrades totalling £65K across credit cards, loans and overdrafts.
Spiralling out of control, the stress caused by their financial worries had caused many arguments and was one of the main reasons for the relationship breakdown.
When a couple files for divorce, the majority of the assets they have accumulated or built over the course of their marriage are added to the "matrimonial pot," which is then divided between them. Any accumulated debts are subtracted from that fund.
The couple had separated amicably, and early on it was decided all the debt would be paid off. Even after their debts were settled, they both had enough money to buy a family home, as well as some savings, because they were asset wealthy and had a large amount of equity in their home (which was sold).
The Brighton team recommended a court-approved financial consent order be put in place to ensure that the division of debts was properly taken into account in the financial agreement, and a clean break clause added to prevent disputes from arising in the future.
Contact Stowe Family Law in Brighton
Stowe Family Law is the largest family law firm in the UK, with over 60 offices nationwide.
One of the firm's many locations, the Brighton office in East Sussex, provides legal assistance to clients facing problems including divorce, division of assets, and nuptial agreements.
The lawyers at Stowe Family Law's Brighton office, including Emma Newman, Niamh Mccarthy and Gemma Thew, are available to assist you whether you're going through a challenging divorce, need assistance in reaching a financial settlement, or need guidance on child arrangements. Our Brighton office can be found at Room 525 in Mocatta House on Trafalgar Pl, just a five minute walk from Brighton train station. If travelling by car, use the A23 then turn onto the A270. The nearest car parks include Sainsbury’s and London Road Car Park. Our team of family lawyers in Brighton can be contacted on 01273 568542.
Emma joined us in September 2017 and is the Managing Partner of our Esher, Guildford & Brighton offices. She advises on all aspects of family law and assists clients going through a separation whether they are married, in a civil partnership or unmarried.