Family

Divorce and relationship breakdown

Divorce and relationship breakdown

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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.

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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

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Jo Carr-West

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Henry Hood

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Richard Kershaw

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Richard Kershaw

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Jay Patel

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Jay Patel

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Amy Scollan

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Amy Scollan

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Nicole Derham

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Nicole Derham

Senior Associate

Polly Atkins

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Polly Atkins

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Rebecca Christie

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Rebecca Christie

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Eri Horrocks

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Eri Horrocks

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Anna Roiser

Knowledge Development Lawyer

Anna Roiser

Senior Associate

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