Family & Divorce
We understand that legal issues surrounding family and divorce can be complex and challenging.
With that in mind, our dedicated team on the family department will support you every step of the way; from our first phone call to the final paperwork, and beyond.
What We Offer
Our experienced family department can provide advice on divorce, financial disputes, children’s issues, domestic violence and pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements. Often highly-sensitive matters, we endeavour to treat each case in an understanding and compassionate manner.
We encourage disputes to be settled by mediation and negotiation where possible. If this isn’t possible, it is our job to make sure that any court proceedings are concluded quickly and economically.
Divorce and Civil Partnership Dissolution
We act on behalf of individuals applying for or in a response to the Court when pursuing a divorce (either for the opposite sex or same-sex marriage) or in relation to a civil partnership coming to an end. We understand these are difficult times. As a result, our advice will always be practical, sensitive, and tailored to your circumstances.
Financial settlements and agreements for married couples and civil partners
Often relating to a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, these agreements detail how assets and financial responsibilities are divided.
They are important and far-reaching documents and it is in the best interests of our clients who are entering into them to understand all the details before they are signed and then approved by the Court.
Financial resolution and cohabitation agreements for unmarried parties
Parties who are considering combining their finances with another person (not necessarily in a relationship) should seek advice about what happens if they were to do so, and consider taking proper steps to set out how they wish to move forward.
This may involve a cohabitation agreement. Other individuals who have lived together or have combined their finances and then wish to go their own separate ways may need assistance in how best to separate, and what their rights are. This is something we can advise you on.
Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (ToLATA) applications
These are applications individuals with an interest in a property might apply if there is a dispute, regarding whether the legal title to the property is correct, or not.
This is an area that can cross both the family and general litigation areas. When it does we can provide advice as to whether an application has a basis, then provide representation for either the applicants or respondents.
Financial dispute litigation for married couples and civil partnership
This is where there is a dispute between married parties or civil partnerships with regards to how finances are resolved and where attempts to settle the dispute without the court’s assistance have not been successful. We assist our clients in guiding parties through court proceedings, providing legal representation throughout.
These are agreements between parties that are backed by the Court to make them legally binding. In the family and matrimonial field, Consent Orders are often made in relation to marital/civil partnership finances and with regards to arrangements relating to children. These can be drafted by us or we can advise on the details of the agreements drafted and proposed by others.
We are able to advise those entering into a relationship what the legal impact will be, not only for those that are not married or in partnership, but also for those intending to marry.
We can draft agreements for individuals who may wish to protect their position in the long term.
Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements
These are agreements that can be drawn up, either before marriage or after, to set out how couples would like the financial terms of their relationship to be.
These are reviewable by the parties and tailored specifically to their requirements. Nuptial agreements are not able to restrict the powers of the family courts. However, if the relationship were to break down, such agreements if done professionally and with the correct advice, can be very valuable to the Court.
Financial Remedies and Asset Protection
Resolutions can be sought through the Court with respect to finances where one party feels assets are being disposed of or hidden inappropriately. We can also assist our clients in the tracing of assets and explain the appropriate steps to take with family assets.
These are where parties can apply to the court to change an order the court has already made.
Most commonly these are made in relation to spousal maintenance orders, where circumstances may have changed significantly and parties wish for the Court to order more or less maintenance than is being paid.
Cohabitation Agreements or Declarations of Trust
These are agreements drawn up to show the terms of two or more unmarried parties that intend to live together.
This might be to do with a fixed proportion of ownership or responsibility for payment of the mortgage, or perhaps the steps that will arise if the parties are no longer living together. These are private agreements and do not involve approval by the Court but can ensure each party knows where they stand.
These are often put in place by parties that have been in a relationship but are not yet able to or do not wish to divorce or dissolve a partnership at that time.
These do not bind in family courts but offer a clear and concise summary of the parties intentions with a view that a similar agreement can be drawn up into a Consent Order later, if and when the parties take the formal steps to proceed with a legal divorce or dissolution.
Disputes in respect of children for parents and other relevant parties
Where parties such as parents, step-parents or grandparents have disputes around the arrangements for children, their care and the steps or responsibilities that parties are able to take with or for children, we can assist in advising what can be done.
We will also inform and direct the process of defence proceedings with respect to those children where necessary.
These may be necessary for reference to the protection of adults and/or children. These may involve non-molestation orders or occupation orders and we can assist either those applying for protection or those defending the application where the application is unnecessary.
Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or psychological and for victims of such abuse, court orders, known as injunctions, are available. We can sensitively advise those who seek such protection orders, as well as assisting those who believe such injunctions are being unfairly applied against them, without reason.
Declaration of Parentage
These are court orders confirming that an individual is the child or parent of another party. Such applications can be made when a party is either not named on a child’s birth certificate or has been named incorrectly.
Change of Name
A change of name often comes as a result of a change of circumstances. We can help in drawing up the legal documentation to change a child or adult’s name via consent or applying to the court if there is a dispute over the issue of a change of name.
We look forward to discussing how Tolhurst Fisher can help you or your business.
- 01702 352 511
- Mid Essex:
- 01245 495 111