Family

Divorce and relationship breakdown

Divorce and relationship breakdown

If a marriage or civil partnership breaks down, it can be ended legally. Frequently this brings with it issues of finance, and also concerning children, which must be resolved. The Court can become involved in this if necessary.

A separation agreement is another possible approach. This has no initial Court involvement at all. It is simply a contract by which the parties agree issues that are of relevance to their particular situation. They might need one to govern a period of separation leading up to a divorce, which might set out who is to live where, and who is to pay for what. It might apply where the parties are neither married nor in a civil partnership at all.

If you are not married, you do not need the law to end your relationship, but its breakdown can bring with it identical legal issues to resolve, particularly if the relationship has lasted a while or has involved cohabitation (see below).

We are skilled and experienced in handling all such situations.


Cohabitation and the unmarried family

Fewer people are formalising their relationships by marriage and civil partnership than was ever the case before; more of us are simply choosing to live together, and approaching half of all children in the UK are born to parents who are neither married nor in a civil partnership. The breakdown of such a relationship can present all of the complex issues we see on divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

The big difference is the law, or the lack of it. The legislation that can be used by a couple who were in a marriage or a civil partnership is not available to a couple who are in neither. For them there is no provision in English law by which one party can obtain financial support from the other in their own right; such support has to form part of orders made for the benefit of the children of the family. Disputes about the division of property have to be resolved under principles of Trust and Property Law.

This means that people, often when at their most vulnerable, are faced with a daunting and complex series of steps to take to resolve financial issues with their former partner.

Family Experts

We identify our clients’ needs and tailor our work to each set of circumstances, providing high quality, cost effective advice. We are a multi-disciplinary practice and work collaboratively to provide a comprehensive service across all of our practice areas.

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Jo Carr-West

Partner

Jo Carr-West

Partner

Henry Hood

Senior Partner

Henry Hood

Senior Partner

Richard Kershaw

Partner

Richard Kershaw

Partner

Olivia Piercy

Partner

Olivia Piercy

Partner

Amy Scollan

Partner

Amy Scollan

Partner

Mark Stiebel

Partner

Mark Stiebel

Partner

Polly Atkins

Associate

Polly Atkins

Associate

Eri Horrocks

Associate

Eri Horrocks

Associate

Philippa Kum

Associate

Philippa Kum

Associate

Constance Tait

Associate

Constance Tait

Associate

Anna Roiser

Knowledge Development Lawyer

Anna Roiser

Senior Associate

Bertie Cornett

Paralegal

Bertie Cornett

Paralegal

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“A really excellent firm. Strength across the board in the family team and at all levels from senior partners to associates. Providing excellent value for money. Dedicated and committed and extremely supportive of its clients – providing sound and realistic advice with a proper eye on costs”

The Legal 500 2021

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The Legal 500 2020

“All of the partners are extremely able, headed up by the king of rainmakers, the indomitable Henry Hood. The department now also has some of the best associates in London. It has such strength throughout”

The Legal 500 2021

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