For Individuals

The Matrimonial and Relationships department deals both with issues arising out of divorce and the breakdown of relationships as well as those concerning children.

When marriages and other relationships break down, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved.  Our approach is to be proactive in helping clients through a difficult time.  Our aim is to achieve a timely and cost effective outcome but also be sympathetic to the individual client’s needs.

As well as being specialists in divorce and financial settlements, we have expertise in the following:  

  • Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Civil Partnership Dissolution
  • Deeds of Separation
  • Change of Name

Costs

We understand the financial pressures which individuals are under when they have separated or going through the process of a divorce. We will do our best to ensure we are clear about the likely legal fees in your case and the options available.

At the initial consultation we will discuss with you how we may be able to help by providing fixed fee services or simply dealing with aspects of your case, or otherwise giving you a seamless beginning to end service charged at an hourly rate. We will always aim to keep you informed as to costs and work together to deliver our services within your budget.

If you are a parent who is separated, you will need to consider how you or the other parent is going to continue their relationship with your child. How often will they see them? Where will the contact take place? Should there be overnight staying contact? How will the holidays be dealt with? Can you move abroad or to another part of the country with a child? Which school should they attend?

There are lots of things to consider when trying to make arrangements for the children between the two of you and deciding what is ‘reasonable’, taking into account your respective circumstances and the age of the child, is often a stressful process. If you are experiencing problems in reaching an agreement with your partner or spouse about these arrangements then you may want to consider mediation or collaborative law  in order to resolve these difficulties. We can also negotiate an agreement about arrangements for the children by corresponding directly with your partner/spouse or their solicitor.

If these methods are unsuccessful, or if you or your partner/spouse is unable to engage in this process, then you may need to make an application to the court for a Child Arrangements Order (as they are now known under the family rules introduced on 22nd April 2014 – this replaces the previous use of ‘Residence’ and ‘Contact’), Specific Issue Order or Prohibited Steps Order, for the Court to decide the outcome.

Our team of Solicitors provide an ‘in-house’ advocacy service which means that we are experienced in representing clients in the Family Court daily and can provide you, the client, with a seamless beginning to end service.

We can deal with all types of matters involving children, including:

  • Child Arrangements Orders
  • Prohibited Steps and Specific Issues Orders
  • Parental Responsibility
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Enforcement of Child Arrangement Orders & Committal Proceedings
  • Domestic and International Relocation Cases
  • Paternity issues / DNA testing
  • Step-parent Adoption

Costs

At the initial consultation, we will discuss with you how we may be able to help by providing fixed fee services or simply dealing with aspects of your case, or otherwise giving you a seamless beginning to end service charged at an hourly rate. We will always aim to keep you informed as to costs and work together to deliver our services within your budget.

In certain circumstances, you may qualify for legal aid and we will discuss this with you during our initial consultation. You can see further information on legal aid and how you might qualify on our Legal Aid page.

 

Looking after children can be a challenge to any parent. Sometimes Social Services may become involved with a family if there are concerns about the health and wellbeing of a child or children. If this happens, access to expert legal advice is clearly essential, and at Avery Naylor we have one of the most experienced specialist teams in the region who provide sensitive, practical and expert advice during this difficult time.

We advise and represent parents, other family members, children and Children’s Guardians in all Public Law proceedings. These include proceedings where the Local Authority have applied for Emergency Protection Orders, Care Orders, Secure Accommodation Order, or Adoption Orders or where parents apply for contact with children in care and discharge of Care Orders.

We can also advise and assist where children are voluntarily accommodated or in situations where a child might be on the Child Protection Register or other social services involvement. We are there to support families and provide them with advice and empower them during this difficult time.

It is essential that where Social Services are involved with children, parents do not delay in seeking legal advice.  This is particularly important as under the Public Law Outline process the intention is that all proceedings conclude within 26 weeks.  Whilst this may seem like a long time, the reality is that it is a very short period of time for parents to demonstrate that they have addressed the concerns of the Local Authority and are capable of sustaining those changes.

Legal Aid is available as a matter of right to all parents involved in the public law outline (PLO) process or care proceedings.  This is one area of law where there is no assessment of financial eligibility for Legal Aid.  It is therefore essential that if you believe you may be involved in care proceedings, you contact us immediately.

All of our Child Care Solicitors are accredited by the Law Society Children Panel and provide an ‘in-house’ advocacy service which means that we are experienced in representing clients in the Family Court on a daily basis and can provide you, the client, with a seamless beginning to end service.

As a firm we have been involved in many high profile and complex cases, which have reached the High Court and Court of Appeal, including cases which have involved serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse, fabricated illness, and poisoning cases, amongst others.

We can deal with all types of matters involving children, including:

  • Social Services involvement with your child
  • Child Protection Conferences
  • Public Law Outline procedures (PLO)
  • Care Proceedings
  • Secure Accommodation Orders
  • Long Term Foster Care
  • Adoption
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Contact with a Child in Care
  • Domestic and International Relocation Cases

We understand that sometimes domestic abuse can cause serious difficulties within families. It can be an issue that people are sometimes too embarrassed or scared to talk about.

We will listen carefully to any difficulties you may be having with your relationship and advise you on the potential options you have to deal with them, ranging from a referral to Women's Aid, referral to the Police, the writing of a warning letter, the initiation of court proceedings under the Family Law Act 1986 either to obtain a Non-Molestation Order or Occupation Order or both.

Domestic violence is now defined as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 and over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:-

  • Psychological
    •Physical
    •Sexual
    •Financial
    • Emotional

If you think that you are subjected to this then it is important that you seek advice for yourself & your children. If you are unsure whether you fall within this definition of legal aid then we can advise on the same. We offer emergency appointments in addition we also have a Solicitor who specialises in Domestic Abuse and is a member of the Advanced Family Law Panel in this area of Law.

Depending on your financial circumstances, Legal Aid may be available despite recent changes to the Legal Aid system. However if Legal Aid is not available to you we will discuss how we can help you.

- If you need police assistance then please call 999 if it is an emergency.
- We can also put you in touch with Womens Aid (Freephone 0808 2000 247 or info@womensaid.org.uk, Helpline helpline@womensaid.org.uk), or Men’s Advice Line (freephone 0808 801 0327), and the Domestic Violence Unit and various other support organisations.