Family law solicitors are most commonly associated with divorce and civil partnership dissolution and assisting with the financial agreements to follow. Whilst this takes up a good proportion of our time, it is not all we do!
In fact, there are many other family and relationship situations that we are called upon to advise and assist with. Here is a reminder of some of the other areas in which family law solicitors can help…
In cases where the parents of children have divorced or separated, it is advisable to get a legally binding child arrangement order in place. Where parents can agree on the arrangements between themselves, a family solicitor can help to get this approved by the court. If parents cannot agree, the first port of call is mediation. Should negotiations break down, the last resort is to attend court. At every stage, the guidance of a family law solicitor can prove invaluable.
Family law solicitors can also assist where contact issues arise later down the line – sometimes months or years after a divorce has been finalised. This may be due to one parent wanting to move to another part of the UK or abroad.
Put in place prior to marriage or civil partnership, a pre-nuptial agreement sets out the ownership of assets upon entering into a formal partnership and explains how these will be divided in the event of the breakdown of their marriage. Particularly useful is if you have assets to protect, such as inheritances, property or a business, a pre-nuptial agreement can provide reassurance and peace of mind.
It is also possible to enter into a post-nuptial agreement – this effectively provides the same function as a pre-nup but is entered into after marriage/civil partnership.
Deciding to live with your partner can seem like the next logical step in a relationship. However, depending on your living arrangements and how it is agreed these will be paid for, you may be putting your financial situation at risk. Visiting a family lawyer, either as a couple or independently, can help you clarify your rights in relation to any financial contributions you are making. Many couples choose to have a cohabitation agreement drafted to protect the financial investments of both parties.
Family law solicitors can often provide invaluable advice for unmarried couples who decide to separate. Depending on the nature of the relationship and how long the couple has been together, they may have joint financial commitments, or one party may have made financial contributions towards an asset – situations that need untangling upon separation. The couple may also have had children together, in which case it can be reassuring to seek the advice of a family law solicitor.
Also, when married couples decide to separate but do not wish to enter into divorce proceedings (at least not immediately), consulting with a family lawyer can help put your mind at ease and decide a way forward.
Domestic abuse can take many forms and is not always physical but can be psychological. Seeking the assistance of a family law solicitor can help you break free from an abusive relationship – helping you obtain security by applying for injunctions.
Although grandparents do not automatically have a right to see their grandchildren, the law does recognise a child’s right to a family life. Where divorce or separation has led to obstructed or restricted relationships with grandchildren, family law solicitors can advise on the best way forward. In cases where grandparents have been cut off altogether, having previously enjoyed a strong bond with grandchildren, it may be possible to apply for an order from the court allowing grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren.
Family situations and relationships are complex, and when things turn sour, seeking legal advice to clarify your position and establish the best way forward can prove vital.
Anthony Jones is a Director, Head of Family, and Resolution Accredited Specialist. For more information, please contact him on 0161 641 4555 or email email@example.com