Relationship and/or family disputes? Advice from local legal firm Judge & Priestley.

(1 Post)
LocalEditorBromley Wed 13-Apr-16 21:54:30

Relationship and family disputes can be a difficult time for everyone involved.

Judge & Priestley believes that family law is not simply another form of litigation. Family cases involve personal and emotional issues which needs specialist family law advice, but also a practical and sensitive approach.

Whether it is taking precautions before cohabitation commences, helping to sort out the consequences of a relationship breakdown, guiding you through a divorce, resolving financial claims or dealing with child related issues, we have extensive experience in this specialised area of law.

Our aim is to provide a friendly personal service, which meets your needs whilst seeking to reduce conflict between parties.

When it comes to marital breakdown, there are a number of questions that we are frequently asked - we've answered some of them below.

I want a divorce. Where do I start?

Firstly, if you intend to conduct the divorce without legal advisors you should familiarise yourself with the legal process. Instructing a solicitor may seem like an unnecessary expense, but in many cases this can save you time and anxiety/stress as the solicitor will deal with all the legal issues on your behalf.

There are a number of specific legal steps to follow. In order to be able to get a divorce you must have been married for at least one year and show that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. You can demonstrate irretrievable breakdown in one of five ways:

· Adultery (i.e an extra-marital affair with a member of the opposite sex during the marriage)
· Unreasonable behaviour (i.e the behaviour of your spouse means that you cannot reasonably live together).You will need to provide 4-6 examples of unreasonable behaviour so that the Judge can satisfy him/herself that your spouse’s behaviour is indeed unreasonable.
· Your spouse has deserted you for or at least two years. It is fairly uncommon to pursue a divorce on this fact.
· You have been living apart for two years and your spouse will consent to the divorce. You can still be living in the same property but you will need to satisfy the Judge you have both been living separately and apart.
· You have lived apart for five years.

How long will it take for my divorce to come through?

A straightforward divorce should take approximately take 4-6 months from start of proceedings to the end if your partner co-operates and all steps are taken promptly. However, it is common practice to delay applying for the Decree Absolute which dissolves the marriage and (to preserve pension rights) until the financial order has been made. Concluding the finances and children through court often takes much longer, for example on average from the date of the application 12-18 months for finances and 12 months for children matters. We suggest you use an alternative method to court such as mediation, which can save you time, money, stress and anxiety.

Do I have to go to court?

You will need to go to court if you and your spouse cannot agree about arrangements for the children or about the division of finances and property. This includes pension and maintenance claims. Financial and children matters are usually heard by a District Judge in a smaller private room rather than a large courtroom.

If your divorce is undefended, there are no disputes regarding children and the financial settlement is agreed through negotiation, you will not need to go to court unless there is a dispute regarding the costs of the divorce. Usually this can be resolved between you, which means the divorce is a paper exercise.

Couples are encouraged to use mediation as a way to agree divorce settlements. The mediator will help to ensure any agreement reached will be acceptable to your solicitors and ultimately to a Judge. Mediation is usually substantially cheaper and quicker than going through the court process. It also means you can tailor make your settlement to suit your circumstances and maintain a high level of control over the final outcome, subject to the agreement being fair and reasonable.

How do I keep on top of costs?

During the initial interview we will provide you with costs estimates. After our initial appointment we will send you a written estimate of the costs involved. Throughout your case, we will provide regular costs updates and estimates on further costs to be incurred. Usually the costs estimates we provide at the initial meeting do not need to be revised unless there are unforeseen circumstances, the matter involves complex issues or your spouse is unreasonable. By keeping you abreast of the costs, you should have no nasty surprises concerning costs once the case has concluded.

If you would like to speak an expert regarding divorce, please send us a message using our enquiry form here.

Divorce & Divorce Settlement Clinic

Judge & Priestley’s Family department run a clinic to provide expert legal advice in relation to any divorce and divorce settlement issues.

“Relationship and family disputes can be a difficult time for everyone involved. Judge & Priestley believes that family law is not simply another form of litigation. Family cases involve personal and emotional issues which needs specialist family law advice, but also a practical and sensitive approach which we can offer at Judge & Priestley.”

The sessions will be run by Thowheetha Shaah, Partner in the family department, every Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 5pm at Judge & Priestley’s offices in Bromley.

Each session will last 45 minutes at £100 + VAT. If you are interested in this service and would like to arrange an appointment, please contact Michelle Cullen –

About Judge & Priestly
For 125 years Judge & Priestley LLP Solicitors has been providing clients with expert and professional legal advice. We understand the value of a personal and friendly service but we also recognise the need to move with the times and today Judge & Priestley is a modern, progressive firm providing constructive and effective legal advice to meet our clients' requirements.

Judge & Priestley LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA no 420714). A list of Members is available for inspection at the registered office. VAT Regn No: 205 9727 55

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