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Your questions on family law answered.

I already have a solicitor but I am not happy with the service I receive. Is it possible to change solicitors?

It is very important that you have full confidence in your Solicitor and the service he or she provides. It is very easy to change solicitors and we are happy to travel to you to provide a free consultation to discuss your case, and to advise you as to your options.

I want a divorce but do not know what I need to prove

There is one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To prove the irretrievable breakdown, you must establish one of the five facts below:

(a) Your spouse has committed adultery
(b) Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you could not reasonably be expected to live with him or her
(c) You have lived separately from your spouse for a period in excess of two years and your spouse consents to a divorce
(d) You have lived separately from your spouse for a period in excess of five years
(e) Your spouse deserted you more than two years ago

If your spouse does not defend the divorce, it is not usually necessary to actually prove whichever of the five facts is relied upon, although the court can request further details in certain circumstances.

I want a quick divorce. How long will it take?

There is actually no such thing as “a quick divorce”. The same procedure must be followed regardless of the basis upon which the divorce is brought. For a straightforward, uncontested divorce, matters can be finalised in as little as three to four months although most divorces take around six months.

My spouse lives abroad. Can I still obtain a divorce?

There are complex rules governing when the English courts are able to deal with divorce proceedings. In general, as long as one of the parties lives in England or Wales, and has done so for at least the last six months, a divorce can be obtained. In cases where there is an international element, specialist advice should be obtained from us.

I am thinking of giving my wife my share of the family house in return for her not claiming child maintenance from me. Should I do this?

It is not possible for a parent to contract out of paying child maintenance in this way. The Child Support Agency would still be able to assess that parent for the payment of child maintenance regardless of any such agreement. It is important to reach a fair settlement which will take into account both parties’ needs and responsibilities.

I recently split up with my girlfriend and she is refusing to allow me to see our child. What are my rights?

A father who is not married to a child’s mother does not have parental responsibility in respect of that child. This means that he has few rights, and in the absence of an agreement from the child’s mother, must apply to the court. However, the courts will generally support a father and grant him rights unless there is very good reason otherwise.

I am separating from my husband and he wants me to sell the house. Should I agree?

This is an extremely important decision to make and you should not be rushed. Whether it is reasonable for the house to be sold or not may depend on whether there are children, how long the marriage is, how much the property is worth and whether there are any other assets. We are able to give specialist initial advice by email on such matters for a fixed fee. Please contact us for the details.

The above is to give general advice on some of the most common problems. All cases are different and it is important to obtain expert advice on your situation.

What other areas of law do you cover?

We have arrangements with several other local firms of specialist solicitors who cover a broad range of legal work. Please see descriptions and links below:

Commercial Property and Development, Buying and Selling of houses, Wills, Probate and Estate Administration

Beaufort Law

Personal Injury claims, medical negligence claims

Glynns Solicitors

Employment Law and Issues

Renney & Co

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