Family Law Articles & Advice

Read the latest articles on Family Law from our expert Family Law solicitors here at Evolve Family Law in Manchester & Cheshire.

We put a lot of family law legal information on our website and if you have a single question about your situation, you should find an answer in this blog.

If you need a greater level of help, please contact us and one of our team will call you to make an appointment.

Do Both Sides Need a Solicitor in Divorce?

Do Both Sides Need a Solicitor in Divorce?

When you are separating and trying to divorce amicably it is tempting to think that it is the divorce lawyers who will be the problem in reaching an amicable separation. You may assume that divorce solicitors will pit both of you against one another, racking up the solicitor costs, and leaving both of you worse off. There is a way to share one divorce solicitor. At Evolve Family Law we provide a One Lawyer Divorce Service. However, the service is not the best or right option for every divorcing couple. In this article, our family lawyers explain how both sides can share one divorce solicitor and whether our One Lawyer Divorce Service may be a suitable option for you. For family law help call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. The One Lawyer Divorce Service The One Lawyer Divorce Service means both sides to a family dispute share the same family lawyer. You could be a couple wanting to negotiate a separation agreement, an unmarried family trying to sort out the sale of a property and who gets the equity from the sale, or a divorcing couple wanting to get divorced and sort out their financial settlement. Why share a divorce solicitor? Sharing a divorce solicitor is not right for every divorcing couple but it can have potentially massive benefits. These include: You pay for one divorce solicitor and not 2 You are all committed to working together. That may be to achieve your no-fault divorce, negotiate a financial settlement and secure a financial court order from the court or sign off on an agreed parenting plan You share the same information from the shared divorce solicitor as the divorce lawyer will give you both the same information and advice. There can be no saying ‘’well my lawyer says I will get X’’ by your estranged partner when you are adamant that your divorce solicitor says ‘’you will get Y’’ if you go to court for the judge to decide on the financial settlement. A shared divorce solicitor will tell both of you that the court could order X or Y and that there is always a litigation risk if you go to court rather than reach a compromise and ask the court to make an agreed financial court order You avoid delay because documents are not sent back and forth between you and 2 separate divorce solicitors Should YOU share a divorce solicitor? At Evolve Family Law we recognise that our One Lawyer Divorce Service the Service is not right for everyone who is going through a separation or a divorce. As well as you asking yourself if you should share a divorce solicitor with your husband or wife our family lawyers will also explore whether the Service is the best option for you. Sometimes it is obvious that you can make a success out of sharing a divorce solicitor and sometimes it isn’t as clear cut. Whether you should share a divorce solicitor or not is not dependent on the value of your property and assets or the complexity of dividing them to reach a fair divorce financial settlement. Instead, it is more about whether: You can work together with your ex-partner to resolve matters amicably You are both ready to reach an agreement. For example, one of you may feel too raw about the separation to be able to think clearly enough to have direct and open discussions You can be open and honest with your ex-partner and they will be equally open with you to help in achieving a fair resolution [related_posts] The One Lawyer Divorce Service at Evolve Family Law If you want to find out more about our One Lawyer Divorce Service and how we might be able to help you then the next step is for a divorce solicitor to meet with you and your ex-partner in separate meetings. We need to see you separately to check that the process is right for both of you. That is in both of your best interests as you do not want to start a process unless there is a realistic prospect of it being suitable for both of you in reaching an agreement or in securing your no-fault divorce. You may ask how we can assess if our One Lawyer Divorce Service is the best fit for you. We do this by providing the Service through trained expert family law solicitors who comply with the principles, standards, and guidance from the national organisation for family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a non-confrontational manner (Resolution). When you should not share a divorce solicitor Sharing a divorce solicitor may not be right for you or your ex-partner, especially if: During the relationship your ex-partner was controlling and tried to take over decision-making or accused you of trying to exercise coercive control You suspect your ex has been hiding assets from you or you know that your ex-partner thinks that you have been siphoning money from a family business or savings Your ex was violent towards you or your child or accused you of domestic abuse You are concerned about your child’s safety. For example, you may be worried that your ex-partner plans to take your child overseas without first getting your agreement or a relocation order Your ex-partner has very entrenched views and will not be open to discussion about compromise Although it may not be appropriate for you to share a divorce solicitor it does not mean that you will have to ask the court to make a child arrangement order to sort out child custody and contact arrangements for your child or to make a divorce financial settlement. Our divorce solicitors can explore alternative options with you, such as family arbitration or solicitor negotiations, to help you work out the best way forward. For family law help call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Mar 15, 2024   ·   5 minute read
LGBTQIA+ Separation and Divorce   

LGBTQIA+ Separation and Divorce   

The decision to separate and start divorce proceedings or end a civil partnership is a difficult one for any couple. If you are an LGBTQIA+ couple there are particular challenges when separating or getting divorced. For expert advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. Choosing the right family lawyer Your family lawyer needs empathy and to understand the challenges you have faced as an LGBTQIA+ couple and during your separation as well as your concerns and fears. Being a red-hot family lawyer is a necessity and having a good sense of humour and ‘getting you’ and what you are going through is a real advantage. At Evolve Family Law we encourage all our potential clients to give us a call to see how we can help you. We are all specialists in family and private client law and pride ourselves on our friendly approach to advising on LGBTQIA+ separation and divorce. LGBTQIA+ separation If you are separating from your partner finding somewhere else to live may be a challenge for you. It may not be possible or comfortable for you to camp out with mum or dad and all your friends may be mutual ones, loath to take sides. Finding somewhere to rent may be tough on a single salary, especially in an area where you feel safe. You may want to stay at the family home but are unsure if you can take the mortgage over in your name. Alternatively, your ex may have kicked you out and won't let you return to live at the property. You may be wary about anyone believing that you have been subject to domestic abuse if it was psychological, financial or involved coercive control. Our family lawyers can advise you about your rights to stay in the family home, interim spousal maintenance (if you are married or in a civil partnership), and injunction remedies if you were subjected to domestic abuse in your relationship. LGBTQIA+ divorce    With the introduction of no-fault divorce ending a civil partnership or getting divorced has got that bit easier as you no longer have to have been separated for at least 2 years and nor do you have to come up with ways in which your spouse has behaved unreasonably before you can start divorce proceedings. Our divorce solicitors can either start the divorce proceedings for you as the sole divorce applicant or, if it is an amicable separation, we can act for both of you and file a joint divorce application. LGBTQIA+ parenting    Whilst children are the priority in every relationship, it is often the case that if you are an LGBTQIA+ couple you may have had a hard journey to parenthood with IVF, surrogacy or adoption struggles. The preciousness of your children can make it hard to accept that parenting after separation should be shared, especially if one of you is the biological parent or the one who pushed to have children. If only one of you is biologically related to your child, then this is a sensitive issue but our family lawyers can help you understand who has parental responsibility for your child. If your child was born while you were in a civil partnership or marriage you will both have parental responsibility. In other scenarios, you may both have parental responsibility through a surrogacy parental order, adoption order, or parental responsibility order. Our family solicitors can advise if you both have parental responsibility and the implications if one of you doesn’t have parental responsibility. It does not mean you have no redress as you can apply to the family court for permission to apply for a child arrangement order so you can secure a contact order or an order that the child lives with you. You may also have the complexity of children from previous relationships. Your ex-partner may want to maintain an ongoing relationship with their stepchildren whilst you think that the child is busy enough splitting their time between you and their other biological parent. Again, there are legal solutions if you are not able to reach a parenting agreement. At Evolve Family Law we specialise in children law and can advise on parenting plans to help you reach an agreement on residence and contact. If you cannot reach an agreement with your ex-partner, we can help you apply for or respond to a child arrangement order application. LGBTQIA+ financial settlements after separation.     Whatever the nature of your relationship you both need a fair financial settlement after you split up. If you are married or in a civil partnership you have more family law rights than if you are in an unmarried relationship. For example, if you are in a cohabiting relationship, you have no right to spousal maintenance or a pension sharing order, and your claims on the family home or family business are limited to property law rights or business law rights. However, if you are a cohabitee or former cohabitee you may still have a property claim on the family home even if it is owned in the sole name of your former partner. If you are married or in a civil partnership the law on how assets are divided is based on need rather than the strict application of property or corporate law. The legal position and your options may be different again if you are caring for a dependent child. Our financial settlement solicitors can talk through your situation and what you want and need to achieve from your financial settlement. We can then negotiate hard to get you a fair financial settlement or, where necessary, apply to the family court to get you a court order that reflects your rights as a husband, wife, civil partner or former cohabitee. [related_posts] LGBTQIA+ Wills and private client advice LGBTQIA+ couples who are not married don’t always realise the importance of Wills whilst they are in a relationship. It is equally important, if you are married, in a civil partnership or former cohabitees, that you review your Will and Lasting Power of Attorney when you are separating from your partner. For expert advice on LGBTQIA+ separation and divorce call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
  ·   6 minute read
woman listens attentively to man looking at divorce attorney. Attorney in business suit is sitting at office table, listening to discussion of divorcing couple.

How to File for Divorce in the UK

Deciding to file for divorce is never an easy decision to make. In this blog, our divorce solicitors take you through the steps of filing for divorce in England. For expert advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form. Starting no-fault divorce proceedings Before you start no-fault divorce proceedings it is worth considering if counselling is an option to help sort out the marital issues that led you to contemplate starting divorce proceedings. For some couples counselling is not appropriate. For others, counselling will sort out the problems or it will help you confirm that a divorce is the best option for you and may help you split up amicably and go your separate ways. Once you have decided you want to start divorce proceedings the next step is looking at whether you have the grounds to do so. You need to: Have been married for at least 12 months – if you have been married for less than 12 months, we can help you get the divorce paperwork ready or assist you with a separation agreement so you can record your financial agreement. Once you have started the divorce proceedings you can convert your separation agreement into a financial court order Meet the court jurisdiction criteria for domicile or habitual residence – if one of you is not a British citizen or is in the UK on a visa our divorce solicitors can look at court jurisdiction in more detail with you but the key point is that you don’t need to be a British national or have settled status to get divorced in England Be able to say that your marriage has irretrievably broken down – but under the no-fault divorce process you do not need to explain why you are separating and you do not need to have been separated for a minimum period Applying for a fault divorce To apply for a no-fault divorce, you file a divorce application and state that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. Before starting the divorce process, it is best to speak to a divorce solicitor about your divorce options. There are 3: You and your husband or wife can apply jointly for a no-fault divorce or You can apply for the divorce or Your husband or wife can apply for the divorce Our divorce solicitors may recommend that you start the divorce proceedings if there are concerns about starting the application quickly. For example, because of court jurisdiction issues or worries that your estranged spouse is selling off or hiding assets or because a history of domestic violence makes you feel uncomfortable starting divorce proceedings together. Whether you apply jointly or individually, the divorce process is similar. Our divorce solicitors generally prefer you to either make the application jointly with your spouse or to make the application by yourself. That is to ensure you have some control over getting your divorce in a timescale that is acceptable to you. The paperwork needed to file for divorce  The paperwork you need to file for divorce is very straightforward. All you need is: Your original marriage certificate Your divorce application – this needs to be completed correctly The divorce court fee Although you don’t need a lot of paperwork to file for divorce, family law solicitors say that it is best to take legal advice before doing so to make sure that divorce is the right option for you and to understand the likely financial settlement options and childcare arrangements and the best timing for you to start the court proceedings. At Evolve Family Law we offer fixed fee divorce services for most divorce applications. Steps to get your no-fault divorce There are 4 steps in the no-fault divorce process: You apply for a divorce – either a joint application or an individual application by one of you There is a court-imposed wait of 20 weeks and the applicant then confirms they want a divorce The Court makes a Conditional Order of divorce (this used to be called decree nisi of divorce) After waiting 6 weeks, the applicant can apply for the Final Order of divorce (this used to be called the decree absolute of divorce) As there are court-imposed delays (the 20-week and 6-week delays built into the court timetable) a no-fault divorce takes about 6 months from filing your divorce application to getting your Final Order. Sometimes it takes a bit longer if your holidays or other things intervene. You will not need to go to a court hearing to get your divorce. [related_posts] Filing for divorce and child custody and contact In no-fault divorce proceedings, the court will not make an automatic child arrangement order to record the residence and contact arrangements for your children after your divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement then either of you can apply to court for a child arrangement order but this is a separate court application. Your divorce will not be delayed if you can't reach an agreement over what parenting arrangements are in your child’s best interests. Filing for divorce and financial settlements In no-fault divorce proceedings, the court will not make a financial settlement order unless one of you either asks the court to decide on the financial settlement by making a formal application or you both file an agreed application for the court to approve a financial court order negotiated by your divorce solicitor/s. Filing for divorce using the Evolve Family Law One Lawyer Divorce Service If your separation is relatively amicable our One Lawyer Amicable Divorce Service may help you both file for divorce, obtain an agreed financial consent order and draw up a parenting plan. The service is provided by specially trained family lawyers who comply with the guidance from Resolution (an organisation for family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve divorce and family issues in a non-confrontational manner). Using this specialist service, one divorce lawyer advises you and your former partner and prepares all necessary legal documents on behalf of you both in your divorce and financial settlement. This service isn’t right for everyone so our expert family lawyers will talk to you to see if the service would meet your expectations and needs. For example, the process won't be right for you if your husband or wife isn’t open to having honest or realistic discussions or is hiding assets from you so they can't form part of your divorce financial settlement. If the service isn’t right for you then we can help you negotiate your financial settlement or child care arrangements with your spouse and their family law solicitor. For expert advice call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Mar 12, 2024   ·   6 minute read
selective focus of couple sitting at table with divorce documents

Should I Sign a Separation Agreement?

As North West divorce and family finance solicitors, we are often asked the question ‘’should I sign a separation agreement?’’ The stock answer is ‘’that it all depends’’. However, our answer hinges on your plans and the specifics of your separation agreement. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form. Should I Sign a Separation Agreement or Get Divorced? In many family situations, a husband or wife will suggest the signing of a separation agreement as they want to split up and divide their property and assets but they do not think that they have the grounds to start divorce proceedings. There is still a common misconception that to start divorce proceedings you or your husband or wife need to be at fault in some way or you need to have been separated for at least 2 years. The introduction of no-fault divorce proceedings in England means you no longer need to explain why you want to get divorced and you do not have to have been separated for a minimum period before you can apply for a divorce. Under the new no-fault divorce proceedings process an application may be made jointly by a couple or individually by a husband or wife. The process to obtain your final order of divorce is similar whether you apply as a couple or as an individual. Although you may now be able to apply for a no-fault divorce there may be reasons why you do not want to get divorced. For example, you may not want to do so for religious reasons. If your spouse wants to apply for a divorce then you have very limited grounds to object because of the rules surrounding no-fault divorce. Talk to a Family Law Solicitor.   Talk to a family law solicitor before you sign a separation agreement or decide to start divorce proceedings as it is best to take advice on whether a separation agreement or divorce proceedings and a financial court order are in your best interests. In most family situations you do not need a separation agreement and a divorce and financial court order because the financial court order will deal with everything that goes into the separation agreement. However, there are some situations where you may need both. For example, if you have separated from your spouse and agreed to a sale of the family home but you have found a buyer before you can obtain a conditional order of divorce and a financial court order by consent. [related_posts] Why is a Financial Court Order Preferable to a Separation Agreement? Divorce solicitors often think a financial court order is preferable to a separation agreement because: A financial court order is legally binding. It cannot be changed (save for maintenance orders) unless there was fraud, misrepresentation or non-disclosure A separation agreement is not legally binding but it will carry a lot of weight if either spouse subsequently decides to start divorce proceedings and make a financial claim that is not consistent with what was put into the separation agreement Although you can agree to share pensions in a separation agreement the pension share cannot be implemented by the pension administrator until a pension sharing order has been made by a court in divorce proceedings and the final order of divorce has been obtained If you intend to get divorced but you want to sign a separation agreement first then you will incur separation agreement legal fees and later spend more on legal costs in sorting out your divorce and getting a financial court order. The separation agreement costs can be avoided altogether if you know you want a divorce as you can start no-fault divorce proceedings It is not all just about the legal fees; instructing a North West divorce solicitor to prepare a separation agreement and to later start divorce and financial court order proceedings is potentially more stressful than instructing your divorce lawyer to sort out the divorce and financial court order When Should You Sign a Separation Agreement?  A separation agreement may be a good option for you if you have no plans to get divorced for religious or other reasons. You should only sign a separation agreement after there has been financial disclosure so you can make informed choices about what goes into the agreement. You should also only sign a separation agreement after you have taken advice from a family law solicitor on the contents. Although separation agreements are not legally binding on the court, they do carry a great deal of weight if either a husband or wife brings a financial claim in later divorce proceedings. You should therefore only sign a separation agreement if you intend to be bound by it. How Can Evolve Family Law Help You. Our family law and divorce solicitors can help you with: Advice on whether you need a separation agreement and the contents No-fault divorce proceedings Financial court orders by agreement after direct discussions or after family mediation Financial court order applications if you are not able to reach a financial agreement Children law orders if you cannot reach an agreement on residence or contact arrangements for your children Converting your existing separation agreement into a financial court order Amicable divorce – one lawyer divorce service Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney if you have separated or you are starting divorce proceedings Our divorce solicitors will provide expert advice tailored to your personal and financial circumstances. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
Feb 16, 2024   ·   5 minute read
Will I Get Half in a Divorce Settlement in the UK?

Will I Get Half in a Divorce Settlement in the UK?

When you are going through a separation or divorce you need to know what you are likely to end up with as your divorce financial settlement. Without that information, or at least a broad idea of what you might reasonably expect to get, you may find the whole process of separating and getting divorced that much more traumatic. In this blog, our family law solicitors answer your questions on whether you will get half in a divorce financial settlement and explain why some people may end up with more or less than half. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form. Does everyone get half the assets when they divorce? There is no guarantee that you will get half the assets when you divorce. You may get less than half or you may get more than half. Every family is different and although the court starts from the premise that assets should be shared equally there are many reasons why a financial court order might be made that does not equally divide the assets and money equally between husband and wife. Who decides if you get half the assets? In an ideal world, you will reach a financial agreement with your separated husband or wife after having spoken to a family law solicitor or you will ask the solicitor to negotiate an agreement for you. Another alternative is to go to family mediation and reach an agreement in mediation. If you reach an agreement your financial settlement then needs to be converted into an agreed financial court order as part of the no-fault divorce proceedings. If it is impossible to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse then either you or they can apply to the family court for a financial settlement. After financial disclosure and a series of court directions hearings, a final hearing will take place where the judge will hear evidence from each of you. The court will then make a binding financial court order. The court will decide what percentage of the assets you will get based on statutory criteria and case law. As well as deciding whether you will get half the value of the family assets the court can decide if the family home should be sold or if you should get to keep the house but not get to receive a share of your spouse’s pension or the value of their investments or shares in the family business. There are normally many different ways in which a judge can split assets equally between husband and wife. Who works out what half is in a divorce financial settlement? Your husband or wife may tell you that they want to keep things amicable and split the money and property equally but to do that fairly you may need assets to be independently valued.  For example, if your spouse says that you can keep the family home you need to know how much equity there is in the property if your spouse’s financial proposals are based on them keeping their pension or their shares in the family business. You will also need to know the true value of your spouse’s pension fund or the value of the family business. To get an accurate valuation of assets you may need to instruct a surveyor, pension actuary or forensic accountant to carry out valuations. If assets are not accurately valued then you may not end up with half unless your agreement says every single asset will be sold and the money divided equally rather than some assets being retained by one of you as part of the negotiated deal or financial court order. [related_posts] Could I get more than half the property and assets? There are some scenarios where you could receive more than half the money and property as your divorce financial settlement. For example: If you signed a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that said you would get to keep more of the assets and the court thought it was fair to uphold the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in its entirety or partially You owned a house or pension or family business before your marriage, the marriage is relatively short and your spouse can have their reasonable needs met without having to share all or some of your pre-marriage owned assets You agree to receive more than half the assets but the deal is that you do not get ongoing spousal maintenance as your spouse is getting less than their half share of the property or other assets You are the main carer of the children and you need more than 50% of the total asset pot to buy a new home for the children taking into account your reasonable housing needs and your mortgage capacity Your spouse received an inheritance during the marriage and their housing or other needs can be met by using this inheritance whilst you need more than half of the family assets to meet your needs Should I argue that I want half the assets as my divorce financial settlement? A family law solicitor will tell you if you have a good case to get half or more than half the family assets as your divorce financial settlement. You can then decide whether it is worth the time and the potential legal fees of going to court and asking a judge to make a financial court order in your favour if your spouse will not agree to your requested financial settlement. You may decide that it is best to compromise and reach a negotiated financial settlement or come to the view that as your estranged spouse is being so unreasonable about financial disclosure and the financial settlement that you have no alternative to ask the court to order that you get half the assets as your divorce financial settlement. Your best option is to talk to a family law solicitor so you understand your rights and options to help you reach a fair divorce financial settlement. For expert family law advice call our team for an appointment or complete our online enquiry form.
Robin Charrot
  ·   6 minute read
How to Deal With Parental Alienation

How to Deal With Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is one of those topics that parents feel embarrassed to talk about. If you are being prevented from seeing your child after a separation or divorce you may be worried that family, friends and colleagues will judge you assuming you must be the one at fault if you cannot get to see your child. At Evolve Family Law our solicitors are experts in child arrangement order applications involving allegations of alienating behaviour. If you are being stopped from seeing your child our family law solicitors can help you sort out post-separation parenting arrangements for your child or enforce a child arrangement order if your ex-partner still will not let you see your child. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form. Are you to blame for parental alienation? Lots of people assume that if parental alienation has taken place the parent who is not having contact with their child must have done something ‘’bad’’. However, the definition of parental alienation is one parent turning the mind of a child against the other parent and the child’s negative view of the parent is not justified by any parental behaviour. Instead, the child is being alienated from one parent by the other parent’s deliberate or unintentional psychological manipulation of the child. How to deal with parental alienation Sometimes it is obvious to everyone involved with a child, from family to schoolteachers and health professionals, that parental alienation is taking place. In other families, the process is more subtle but just as insidious. For parents who fear parental alienation is taking place there are some tips on how to deal with parental alienation and maintain a relationship with your child. We recommend that you:  Take legal advice quickly If you think, your ex-partner or former husband or wife is talking inappropriately about you in front of your child it is important to act quickly.  If you wait then the situation may get to the stage that the child is so alienated that they say that they do not want to have contact with you. If you are not able to speak to your former partner directly then you could try speaking to a family member or you could suggest a referral to family mediation or family counselling. If those options do not solve the difficulties, do not delay in taking legal advice and looking at the option of applying for a child arrangements order. If you delay in acting then if the parental alienation behaviour continues it will become harder to resolve the situation and repair the psychological damage experienced by your child. Do not blame the child It is normal to think ‘’my daughter is behaving just like her mother’’ or to say ‘’the apple does not fall far from the tree’’. When a child is playing up or refusing to speak to or see you, it is easy to transfer your frustration with the situation onto the child. After all, why can’t your child stand up for themselves and demand more contact with you or why can’t they at least look cheerful when they do see you? As frustrating as it is, blaming a child or showing your exasperation with the situation is likely to make the situation worse. Do not blame the parent When you get frustrated about parental alienation, it is easy to think that the solution is to tell your side of the story. In the process, you are likely to denigrate the other parent. Taking that approach is likely to make your child more insecure and anxious, and less inclined to have contact. Do not walk away The statistics of how many parents lose contact with their children after a separation or divorce are appalling. Many of those cases do not involve parental alienation but it is sometimes easy to think that your child would be ‘’better off’’ without you. Most children law professionals believe that a child needs and deserves a loving relationship with both parents, even if that has to be achieved through the making of a child arrangements order. Find time for other things in your life If you experience parental alienation, it is easy to obsess over your ex-partner and their behaviour. By doing that you can play into their hands. It is important that you find time to enjoy other aspects of your life during any children court proceedings. [related_posts] What will the court do if it thinks that alienating behaviour is taking place? If you make an application for a child arrangement order the court will carefully consider whether contact is in your child’s best interests. If a child is saying that they do not want contact because of parental alienation, the court can take some proactive steps to try to help you rebuild a relationship with your child. In extreme situations, where a judge finds that the alienating behaviour has caused emotional harm and that the primary carer does not understand the damage created by their actions, the judge can make an order to change the primary carer of the child. How can Evolve Family Law help you? Evolve Family Law is a specialist family law firm with offices in Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester. Whatever your children or family law concern, Louise Halford and the children law team at Evolve Family Law solicitors will work with you to help you reach a solution. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.
Louise Halford
  ·   5 minute read
Home for sale. Sign in front of new home

Divorce and Selling the Family Home

As Manchester divorce and family finance solicitors advising separated couples we get a lot of calls from husbands or wives concerned about divorce and selling the family home. In this blog, our family law solicitors look at the issues and your best options when it comes to divorce and selling the family home. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form. Should I sell the family home? Sadly, some divorcing couples don’t have a choice: the family home has to be sold. For others, you can make the financial or personal choice to either sell up, transfer the property to your husband or wife or keep the property yourself. Often people have a strong knee-jerk reaction that they must keep the family home at all costs whilst others are equally adamant that they don’t want to stay in the family home because of the memories associated with it. Undoubtedly selling a family home involves hassle so it is best to consider all your options and the practicalities of a move, such as: How much is the family home worth and how much will I need to spend to buy a new property? If I stay at the family home would the mortgage company agree to transfer the mortgage into my name? If I sell and buy another property what is the maximum mortgage that I could get? Can I afford the monthly mortgage payments and the upkeep on the family home if I get spousal maintenance or child support or if I have to make those payments out of my salary? Is it better to make a fresh start or to downsize so I can have some cash to spend on holidays or little luxuries? Will my husband or wife agree to the sale of the family home? The effect of market conditions on your decision to sell the family home. Experienced family law solicitors encourage separating couples to look at whether they should sell the family home or not from a short and long-term perspective so you make the right decision for you and your family. However, the current housing market conditions may inevitably have some influence on your decision-making process because: You are worried about the time to achieve a sale and getting your sale price You are concerned about getting the mortgage on the family home transferred to you or taking out a mortgage on a new property and mortgage rates You don’t feel that your job is secure or you are worried that your husband or wife could be at risk of being made redundant and redundancy will affect their ability to pay you child support and spousal maintenance With or without the pressures of a cost-of-living crisis the decision to sell the family home, or resolving which one of you should stay at the family home, is always stressful. That is why it is best to take time over your decision and not be too influenced by the views of teenage children who may be leaving home to go to university soon leaving you with a house that is too large for you and without sufficient money to pay for life’s little luxuries or to pay for car repairs. If you end up with the family home the trade-off may be that you don’t get a share of your husband or wife’s pension. That may mean you eventually have to sell the family home to fund your retirement. However, the released equity on the sale of the family home won’t necessarily give you the same income return that a pension sharing order would have done. That’s why it is best to carefully consider if the short-term hassle of selling the family home and moving is in your long-term best interests if it means you get a pension sharing order. [related_posts] The best way to divorce and sell the family home. If you are getting divorced and thinking about selling the family home here are our tips on selling the family home whilst separating from a partner or getting divorced: Is it realistic for you both to live at the family home until it is sold bearing in mind that once the property is sold it will take time for the conveyancing process to reach completion? It is advisable to always take legal advice before leaving the family home as doing so may make your husband or wife less keen to achieve a sale. However, if the atmosphere at home is affecting you, then one option would be for one of you to rent a property or stay with family until the family home is sold Consult with your husband or wife about the sale price and choice of estate agent and make sure that the estate agent keeps you both informed about viewings and feedback from prospective buyers. That way if the estate agent recommends a reduction in the sale price your spouse is more likely to be willing to consider this Get your paperwork in order as requests for documents from your buyer’s solicitor can delay the sale of the family home. If you have had work carried out at the property you need to locate your planning and building regulation documents, electrical, gas and FENSA certificates or organise duplicate paperwork Agree on how you will divide the household contents as the last thing that you are likely to want to do is try and sort out household contents at the date of the sale. It is best to list the household contents and both sign the agreed schedule and the division of contents between the two of you and highlight what items, if any, will be sold with the house Think about whether you want to sell the family home if you haven’t reached a financial settlement with your husband or wife. It is common for a sale of the family home to be achieved before you reach a full financial settlement including how pensions, business assets and investments are split as well as whether spousal maintenance should be paid and for how long. If you are happy with the sale price of the family home and fear that you will risk losing your buyer if you delay you could agree with your husband or wife that the net proceeds of the sale (after discharging the mortgage, conveyancing solicitor and estate agent fees) are kept in a joint account or by a solicitor until an agreement is reached or a financial court order is made. In some situations, you can agree to the release of some extra money to allow you to buy your planned new property or to discharge family debts If your spouse won’t agree to a sale of the family home get a court order. If you are certain that the family home has to be sold as it isn’t financially possible for either of you to take it on because the mortgage company won’t transfer the existing mortgage into one of your names or you won’t be able to afford the mortgage on one salary then speak to Evolve Family Law about starting financial proceedings for an order for sale of the family home. If your husband or wife won’t cooperate with the sale of the property then a family judge has the power to make orders about the sale price, and the choice of estate agent. The judge can even sign the paperwork to sell the property if your ex-partner refuses to sign the contract to sell the house or the deed of transfer How can Evolve Family Law solicitors help? At Evolve Family Law we recognise that deciding to separate and sell the family home is hard. Often, the decision is finely balanced so you need specialist help to look at all your financial settlement options and work out whether the option of selling the family home is the best one for you. We will support you in negotiating a financial settlement with your ex-partner so you can move on with your life. For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.  
Robin Charrot
  ·   7 minute read
Planning Together for Children

Planning Together for Children

Planning Together for Children is the name of a course run by the organisation CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support) for separated or divorced parents.    In this blog, our children law solicitors look at the Planning Together for Children course and explain your options if you are a separated parent struggling to reach an agreement with your ex-partner on post-separation parenting arrangements for your children.  For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.   Planning Together for Children has replaced the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) If your friends have told you that after they separated from their spouse, they went on a SPIP (or Separated Parents Information Programme) then you need to be aware that the Planning Together for Children has replaced the SPIP.  Can you use the Planning Together for Children resource? Access to the Planning Together for Children resource is limited to those parents and carers who are ordered by a family court judge to attend the course or who are referred to the course by a Family Court Advisor in children law court proceedings.  You therefore cannot access the online E-learning resources or attend the Parenting Together for Children workshop if you are a separated parent who is looking for information to help you reach an agreement about the parenting arrangements for your children. Nor can you use the resource if you are struggling with sharing parenting responsibilities with your ex-partner but neither of you has applied to the court for a child arrangement order, prohibited steps order, specific issue order or relocation order.  Options if you cannot use the Planning Together for Children resource If you want help in parenting together after separation there are a lot of useful books and online resources. If you need help with family dynamics speaking to a family therapist or counsellor may help as they may be able to assist you both in understanding the priorities of the other parent and help you focus on the best interests of your child when reaching a compromise about shared care, contact arrangements or parenting styles.  If you are struggling to reach an agreement about parenting after a separation or divorce you may not need to apply to court for a child arrangement order as you may be able to reach an agreement through:  Solicitor round table meeting  Solicitor negotiations  Family mediation   Once you have reached an agreement it is a good idea to record what you have agreed in a parenting plan. These types of plans need to be reviewed as your child grows up or circumstances change. For example, if your child wants to go to football sessions on a Saturday or ballet on a Wednesday after school or if one parent has to move house out of the area because of a job move.  You might also be interested in:   [related_posts] A Planning Together for Children referral If you are ordered by a judge to attend the Planning Together for Children course or a Family Court Advisor makes a request to the court for a referral there is no charge for accessing the online resources or going to the workshop.  Whilst you may not be a fan of e-learning or workshops it is important to try and get as much as possible from the course to give you the best shot possible of reaching an agreement with your ex-partner or being able to tell the family judge that you did so.  If you do not go to a Planning Together for Children course when ordered to do so by a judge the court may reorder your attendance on the course. This may delay your court application. Any delay or refusal to attend may make it less likely that the court will make the type of child arrangement order you are seeking.  What does the Planning Together for Children course cover? The e-learning section of the course will look at matters such as:   What happens if you go ahead with the child arrangement order or specific issue order court application?   How a separation and how you handle the separation can affect your child   Conflict and its impact on your child     Looking at the family situation from your child’s perspective   Supportive co-parenting – what it is and how it works   Communication skills to help you listen to your child and co-parent    Once the e-learning section is completed you move on to a workshop. This will normally take place online. Although the workshop is normally held online there are never more than 6 parents in a workshop group. Your ex-partner will not be in the same workshop as you.  The workshop focuses on the negative impact of parental conflict on children, how best to manage conflict and how to improve communication with your child and ex-partner so you can effectively co-parent.  The course will encourage you to discuss and agree on a parenting plan for your child to set out the residence, contact and other important care details for your child to avoid the need for you or your ex-partner to go ahead with your child arrangement order application.  How can Evolve Family Law help you? At Evolve Family Law all our family law solicitors are committed to resolving parenting disputes outside of court wherever possible. For example, through providing legal support during family mediation or helping you negotiate a parenting plan. Reaching an agreement is not always possible. For example, if you fear child abduction as your ex-partner has threatened to take your child overseas or if your ex-spouse is displaying alienating behaviour and refusing to let you see your child, or if you are concerned about contact arrangement because of a history of domestic violence.  Our family law solicitors will listen carefully to your needs and priorities and help you secure the agreement or court order you need for your children.   For expert family law advice call our team or complete our online enquiry form.    
Louise Halford
Jan 29, 2024   ·   5 minute read
Divorce Agreement Decree Document Break up

Can I Get a Divorce Online?

Evolve divorce solicitors can confirm that you can get divorced online with us. However, many of our North West family law clients like to pop into one of our offices in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire or North Manchester to meet their divorce solicitor face-to-face.  The decision is yours to make – whether you are divorcing online or meeting with us at our offices you get a named divorce solicitor to handle your no-fault divorce and to answer any queries. Of course, you get the same level of excellent client service whether you decide to meet with us or not.  If you need help with applying for a no-fault divorce call our team or complete our online enquiry form.   The no-fault divorce   With the introduction of no-fault divorce proceedings, the divorce process in England became a bit more streamlined. Sadly, the divorce timescales have not speeded up as you are still looking at around 7 months from the start of your divorce application until you get your final order of divorce.  The process and timeframe are the same whether you are applying purely online or after meeting with your divorce solicitor. It takes around 7 months to get divorced because the law imposes time delays on how quickly you can finalise your divorce. Our divorce solicitors understand that these delays are frustrating when you know your own mind and you do not want to back track on your decision to divorce your husband or wife.  The good thing about the no-fault divorce process is that you can choose to apply jointly for a divorce with your husband or wife. There is no requirement to do so. Whether you apply as a sole divorce applicant or jointly with your husband or wife the divorce process is very similar. In addition, even if your spouse does not agree to the divorce there are very limited ways to oppose the divorce.  [related_posts] Why see a divorce solicitor if you can divorce online?   ‘Why see a divorce solicitor if you can divorce online?’ is a good question. There are many different reasons why you may want to meet us in person. For example, your divorce is an immensely distressing personal experience for you and you do not want to feel like a ‘number’. Alternatively, you may feel confident about Evolve Family Law handling your no-fault divorce online but you want to meet with a specialist family law solicitor to discuss the parenting, custody and contact arrangements for your children or the potential financial settlement.  Sometimes nothing beats sitting down with your family law solicitor to understand your legal options and to work out the solution that works best for you and your family. It may be that you are comfortable having discussions online after a first meeting or that you need the reassurance of a face-to-face meeting to help you make some of the most important decisions that will affect your life and that of your children. For example, will the care of the children be shared by co-parenting or will the children reside with you? Will you keep the family home or should you agree to the sale of the property and to the making of a pension sharing order? Should you agree to a clean break financial court order and what would that type of court order mean for your family if you lost your job and could not return to work?    A personal online divorce   Whether you instruct us online or in person we provide a personal and professional divorce service.  At Evolve Family Law we recognise that every client and family is different. That is why we discuss with you how you want us to work for you. It could be online, email, phone, in person or even using old-fashioned post. We aim to find the divorce process that is the least stressful for you.   How much does a divorce cost?  If you apply for a no-fault divorce as a sole applicant or jointly with your spouse, we can provide a fixed-fee divorce service.  We offer a range of other fixed-fee services. For more information on our fees Download Our Price Guide.  If you need help with applying for a no-fault divorce call our team or complete our online enquiry form. 
Robin Charrot
Jan 23, 2024   ·   4 minute read