Family & Matrimonial

Our family team deals with all aspects of family law. Our solicitors are members of Resolution committed to providing a constructive approach and solution to Family problems. Our senior partner is a fully accredited Resolution specialist.   Our areas of expertise include:


  • Divorce and Nullity
  • Financial Issues
  • Cohabitation Disputes
  • Children Disputes
  • Care Proceedings; Social Services
  • Injunctions and Domestic Violence


We aim to combine a practical and sympathetic help in what is often a very difficult time in our clients lives.  We assist people from all walks of life and for those who qualify in both merit and means, funding can be via Legal Aid (public funding). We are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency to provide Legal Aid help in Family law. To find out if you are eligible to public funding contact our Family team.


Our expertise in Family Law is complemented by our extensive knowledge of Immigration Law. Where your case involves an international aspect care should be taken when dealing with jurisdiction. With some countries such as the Philippines a decree of Divorce may not be recognised. 


Family / Matrimonial a brief introduction on terminology and procedure:


Divorce / Dissolution

There is only one ground of divorce/dissolution the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage/civil partnership which must be established due to one of the following 5 facts:


  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Two years separation by consent
  • Five years separation


You will need to have been married or in a civil partnership for at least one year before making an application.


Financial Settlement

There will often be quite complex financial issues that arise both at the time of separation and where divorce or dissolution is contemplated or has been commenced. Whether you are able to reach an amicable agreement or there are disputes as to how assets should be divided we will help to simplify the process for you. From separation agreements to financial orders we will advise you of your legal rights and entitlements and help you to reach a secure legal resolution in your matter.


We can also assist with applying or defending applications to vary financial orders including maintenance and pension sharing orders.

Even where there are no assets to speak of it can be important to formalise an agreement so claims cannot be made in the future. Also where you have been co-habiting but are not married or in a civil partnership you could still benefit from a formal legal agreement to prevent future financial disputes following separation.



Private Law

Where you have children their interests will be paramount during a separation. We can assist you with formalising arrangements for children without the involvement of the court through parenting agreements and mediation. Where the Court is involved there are a number of different types of orders that can be made with respect to children during private proceedings. Details of the different types of orders are set out below.


Child Arrangements Order

A Child Arrangements Order is an order confirming where a child lives, when the child spends time with each parent and when and what other types of contact take place. This order replaces ‘residence orders’ and ‘contact orders’.


Prohibited Steps Order

A prohibited steps order is an order granted by the court to prevent a certain action. These orders can prevent a parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips without the consent of the other parent, where it relates to parental responsibility. However, an order can be made against anyone even if they do not have parental responsibility and are not a party to proceedings.



The family court can grant two main types of injunction. In cases which involve Domestic Violence you may be entitled to public funding (Legal Aid) to cover your legal costs with respect to these applications.


Non-molestation Order

A non-molestation order can protect you and any relevant child from violence or harassment including threatening violence against you. An order can be made against someone who has been physically violent, harassing, intimidating or pestering. Even if you wish to continue living with your abuser you can apply for a non-molestation order.


Where granted a number of restrictions can be placed against the subject of the order including that they must not be abusive, cannot make contact with you by any means and may not attend or contact for any reason your place of work.


Occupation Order

An occupation order deals with who lives at the family home or can enter the surrounding area. They can also limit the places that a person can go within the family home, for example preventing them from going into your bedroom. An occupation order can also require the subject to grant you access to your home where they have prevented you from returning and can require the subject of the order to continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills at your home, even if they are not permitted in or within a certain distance of the property.


Where appropriate the Court can grant applications for both injunctions at the same time and urgent applications can be made without notice so it is not necessary that the subject of the order attend. However, in such cases they will later be given the opportunity to attend and raise objections to the granting of the order at a later hearing. Where an urgent application is granted without notice the initial order where granted will be made on an interim basis.


You may already have a Non-molestation order and/or occupation order in place which is due to come to an end. In such circumstances we can assist you with applying for an extension of the order.


Public Law

Care proceedings are cases in the family court started by the local authority (social services). Parties will usually be entitled to public funding for these types of cases where they meet the means and merits requirements. Our team can assist you with advice and representation where you are involved in care proceedings, including:


  • Care order
    This order gives the local authority parental responsibility for a child so they can make all important decisions with respect to the child with respect to education, health and their day to day life. Although parents will continue to have rights where a Care order is made the local authority will have the final decision with respect to parenting matters for the child. A Care order will be required where a local authority wishes to place a child with foster carers or with a family member or friend of the family.


  • Placement Order
    Where a child is to be adopted the local authority will require a Placement order in addition to a Care order.


  • Supervision order
    This order places a child under the supervision of the local authority and gives them the legal power to monitor the child’s needs and progress. A social worker will advise, help and befriend the child which in practice means they should support the family as a whole. However, they will not have decision making power over the child or parental responsibility.


  • Special Guardianship Order
    This order gives the Special Guardian parental responsibility for the child alongside their parents. The Special Guardian will be entitled to make most decisions about welfare of the child independently of the parents and will effectively be in charge with respect to decisions for the child. The Special Guardian will usually be an extended family member but can also be a family friend or other person.


It is necessary for the local authority to demonstrate to the Court that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm due to the care they are receiving before granting a Supervision or Care order.


If you are involved in care proceedings or wish to seek advice where the local authority have indicated they are contemplating initiating such proceedings come and see us for an initial consultation, in most cases the cost will be covered by public funding.