If you’re looking to start the divorce process, or if you’ve been served with a divorce petition or papers, you will be looking for expert support, delivered sympathetically and with compassion. Family law is all we do, and it has been our specialty for over 30 years, so we’re also able to help with complex international divorce issues, family law matters and all the challenges that can appear once the divorce process has begun.
The divorce process can be confusing, and for many, it can instil a sense of anxiety and frustration; which is why we take great care to outline the emotional, practical and legal challenges that lie ahead whilst providing next steps so that you can move forward to achieve the outcome you’re looking for.
Children, child arrangements and custody
In divorce proceedings, the welfare of children is of the utmost importance on all levels, including in the eyes of the court. Hostile divorces can have a detrimental impact on children, so the court tends to be more obliging where steps have been taken to protect them through a more amicable resolution. We, therefore, advise all parents that court proceedings should be considered a last resort. Our family solicitors are here to help you and your children during the transitional period of legal separation. That includes connecting you to support groups and informing you of your legal options should disputes arise. Our team also has a great deal of experience in managing cases involving international child law, so if you’re looking for support with child relocation to destinations overseas, we can help you.
Working out your arrangements for child custody can be a difficult and emotional step, and while it can become a contentious issue, it is in the best interests of your children to reach an amicable agreement with your ex-partner. It is helpful to have the support of a child law specialist on-hand to provide guidance on what a fair and workable arrangement might look like for you and your family. Our specialist child solicitors have extensive experience in child arrangement cases and have seen a variety of solutions to suit every situation, no matter how niche. Our goal is to get the best outcome for your children and to help you to maintain a positive relationship with your ex-partner where possible.
Family finances and financial settlements in divorce
Each marriage is different, and this is always reflected in your finances. Trying to unpick years of financial ties can feel overwhelming, and there are often complex financial issues that need to be resolved. Financial settlements (also known as divorce settlements) can cover everything from pensions, to investments, the family home, and even assets you owned before getting married; so getting expert financial and legal help is important if you’re looking to protect your assets while providing for your family once the divorce is finalised.
We have experience in dealing with complex financial matters, property and estates; as well as catering to high net worth individuals and clients with assets abroad, so if you are looking to achieve a fair settlement while protecting your assets, our financial settlement lawyers and forensic accounting team can help you.
Very few cases only involve legally ending a marriage or relationship. Arrangements usually need to be made for any children of the family along with finances including property, investments, businesses, pensions and income.
Other factors affecting financial settlements include the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage and the contribution made by each spouse to family life, assets and wealth.
The same applies to child arrangements. Will they be managed between parents, or will involvement from the Child Maintenance Service be needed?
Many clients return to us long after divorce when their circumstances change. For instance, when amendments to maintenance are sought by a divorced parent who believes that the previously agreed level of maintenance is too low, or too high. On occasions, it may be possible for a former spouse to receive a large ‘capitalised’ sum of money in place of ongoing spousal maintenance to finally achieve a clean break.
Non-confrontational resolution of family disputes
Alternative routes to court (arbitration, divorce mediation and collaborative law) encourage ex-partners to find solutions through dialogue, often reducing conflict and expense later. That’s mainly due to litigation often being required when the parties are at odds on child arrangements (formerly known as child custody) and how finances should be divided. Waiting for a hearing at the Family Court certainly won’t speed things up and will require more of your divorce lawyer’s time – which in turn will have a bearing on cost. It’s for these reasons that we recommend that family disputes be managed in a non-confrontational way. For more information on the methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that are open to you, we’ve outlined each in our guide to out of court settlements.
At the moment, the law does not provide the same protections to unmarried couples as it does to married couples – where the ‘common-law partner’ is actually a myth. This can lead to difficult challenges later should you decide to separate. At Stowe Family Law, we have cohabitation lawyers on hand to provide guidance on how you can legally protect yourselves, often preparing a cohabitation agreement that will outline what should happen when a joint property is sold, how bills should be divided, and how each partner will contribute, and much more. Whether you’re looking to move in together, or if you’re just looking for peace of mind on the handling of your joint assets, we can help. For more information on our support for cohabiting couples, read through our cohabitation guide.
Why choose Stowe Family Law?
Our family law experts have decades of experience and have access to hundreds of years’ worth of expertise from our teams across the country. We’re the UK’s largest family law specialist, delivering tailored service and expertise, locally to you.
Our client-centric approach has seen us recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for our commitment to outstanding client service and client success.
Clients frequently cite our compassion, empathy and our ability to deliver the ‘hard facts’ and clear guidance they need to move forward with their case, and their lives.