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We are able to offer an excellent service with respect to any area of matrimonial law from our experienced team.
The partner responsible for the matrimonial department has over 18 years’ experience in this field and can provide an efficient and friendly service at a time when you may need professional and personal support.
In particular we can assist in the following areas:
A petition for divorce can only be presented after 12 months of marriage and in order to obtain a divorce, one of five facts must be proven to establish the only ground for divorce- irretrievable breakdown. The five facts are desertion, 2 years separation with the consent of the other party, 5 years separation, adultery and unreasonable behaviour. If there is a separation within the first 12 months of the marriage a judicial separation can be entered into, setting out the terms of any agreement with respect to the financial aspects of the divorce and such terms can be incorporated within an Order once a Petition for Divorce is issued at a later date.
Following the introduction of civil partnerships pursuant to the Civil Partnerships Act 2004, in the event of a breakdown of a civil partnership, either party may apply to the Court for an Order in relation to the title or possession of property in which either party claims an interest. It is not possible to make an application for dissolution of the civil partnership until one year has passed and the same facts can be relied upon as relate to the seeking of a divorce, although for the dissolution of a civil partnership, adultery cannot be relied upon.
There are certain exceptional circumstances enabling someone to apply for the marriage to be declared void, for example, where the marriage has not been consummated or if the marriage was entered into as a result of undue influence. An application for an annulment of the marriage can be made at any time after the marriage.It is essential that satisfactory arrangements are made with respect to the children of any marriage and at all times the interest of the children are of paramount concern. It is only necessary to apply to the Court for an Order relating to the children, if there is a dispute, otherwise it is in the best interest of the children for amicable arrangements to be entered into between the parties, if necessary with the assistance of their solicitors to avoid unnecessary and costly Court proceedings.
In addition to applying for Orders in relation to contact between the children and the non-resident parent, an application can be made to the Court with respect to a specific issue Order if, for example, there is a dispute relating to the education or religion of the child and also an application can be made to the Court if there is concern that a child may be removed from the jurisdiction of the English Courts.In order to advise properly with respect to a fair and reasonable distribution of the matrimonial assets, it is normally necessary for each party to prepare a statement setting out their financial affairs and once this has been exchanged, every effort is made to agree a settlement, in order to avoid unnecessary costs being incurred.
It is now more common for pre-nuptial agreements to be entered into before parties get married. A pre-nuptial agreement is a sensible and dignified measure for both parties entering into a marriage. Since 2010, their legal viability has been clearly established – as long as both parties freely enter into the agreement with full appreciation of its terms. In practice, the Court will use the agreement as a dependable guide to the intentions of the parties and follow the agreement where it is judged to be fair and equitable. Pre-nuptial agreements are a very useful tool for couples to utilise so that all expectations are met and there is little room for financial discontent should the marriage fail for any reason. A pre-nuptial agreement will form the basis for both the Husband and Wife to know where they stand and provide them with confidence that any children from the marriage will be appropriately supported. Our clients find pre-nuptial agreements are particularly useful where there is an international context to their asset base or background. We find that they are now commonly sought after by engaged couples who want to ensure that if anything were to happen, that any prospective financial dispute would not be either protracted, or impact on their children’s emotional well being. Prior to pre-nuptial agreements being recognised by the Supreme Court, there was a lot of scope for parties to engage in lengthy battles over finances, often lasting years, and which on the whole were fairly undignified, having the potential to severely impact on the parties’ children. However, a pre-nuptial agreement provides the engaged couple and their respective families with a huge amount of security, knowing where they would stand in the event of a marriage breakdown. Pre-nuptial agreements are now considered by engaged couples in a similar vein to wills and estate planning, as their benefits are widely acknowledged.It is essential that both parties are legally represented by separate firms of solicitors and that the agreement is entered into within a reasonable period of time before the marriage and that each party provide the other with full details of their financial assets.
In practice, whilst we can only represent a Husband or a Wife, we are able to provide the other party with a list of local solicitors so that they may be independently represented and the agreement can be drafted and approved with ease. In circumstances where the parties do not want to enter into a divorce or a formal judicial separation, it is possible to draft an agreement setting out any financial settlement agreed, in order to provide some security and certainty for the parties without the need for the formal dissolution of the marriage.We believe in seeking to resolve disputes in an amicable and non-contentious manner if possible, in accordance with the Family Law protocol and with a view to minimising the stress following the breakdown of a relationship.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss further and arrange an initial consultation at a reduced rate.
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.Hugh-Jones LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (registered number OC357903, registered office as above) and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Any reference to partner in relation to Hugh-Jones LLP is to a member of Hugh-Jones LLP. "The word 'partner' is used to refer to a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing/or qualification."