Knowing who to turn to in your time of need.

Knowing that you want to lead separate lives is one thing, but knowing how to make it happen is quite another and that is the time to call Eatons.

We have the experience and expertise to bring you through a divorce in a way that is both practical and sensitive, and provide long-term solutions for you and your children.

The area of family law is one of the most sensitive legal fields, most commonly covering divorce, separation and the complex issues that surround them. While divorce itself is a technically simple process, it becomes complicated by the implications of shared finances, property and children. These critical, personal issues are compounded by the intense emotional stress of separation and it is paramount that they reach the swiftest, most clear-cut resolution. As such, our family law experts are highly specialised and trained to deal with the vast array of situations that they are approached with in a compassionate, straightforward way.

When you do not know which way to turn, turn to us - we are all you need to know.

Other categories of family and matrimonial law:

  • Children Arrangements

    Parents whose relationships have broken down are encouraged to try and agree arrangements for their children's future care between themselves.

    The government have produced a "Parenting Plan" which is a available from the Direct Gov website to help parents agree what arrangements might be suitable for them.

    The Child Maintenance Options Website also has a useful guide and information to help separating parents plan future care arrangements.

    If you are having difficulty coming to an agreement about child arrangements you could consider attending Mediation.

    Mediation is a process of direct negotiation between you and a former partner with the assistance of a trained mediator.

    It is now a requirement before you can issue court proceedings ( subject to certain exemptions) that you first attend a mediation and information and assessment meeting.

    If you are unable to resolve arrangements by agreement you can issue court proceedings.

    These are dealt with under the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families Act 2014

    It is made clear that it is considered that the involvement of both parents in a child's life either directly or indirectly will further the child's welfare provided that can be done in a way which does not place the child at risk of harm.

    Further details about children matters can be found in our Step by Step guide to Family Law which is available as a PDF from this website.

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  • Cohabitees and the law

    Many people living together are under the mistaken impression that after a certain length of cohabitation they acquire rights against their partner's assets and income as a "common law spouse"

    Unfortunately this is a complete myth.

    People who live together, no matter how long for, do not acquire a share in their partner's assets or a right to maintenance simply because of that cohabitation.

    Surprisingly to many people this applies even where parties have children together.

    (Although there may be other claims that can be pursued for provision for children separately).

    Although the government are being pressed to bring in changes to the law there is no immediate prospect of any change.

    Cohabitees are also vulnerable regarding inheritance on the death of their partner.

    At Eatons we can advise you a to your position either at the time you are considering cohabitation eg to draw up a cohabitation agreement with your partner or in the event of a relationship breakdown.

    We offer a free initial half hour advise to give you an idea of the options available to you.

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  • Domestic Abuse

    Many people, both men and women, find themselves in abusive relationships. If they require protection from the courts they potentially have two courses of action :-

    • 1) Involve the Police.
      If a prosecution is felt appropriate the assailant may find themselves guilty of a criminal offence which in turn allows the criminal courts to make a Restraining Order in favour of the victim.

    • 2) Alternatively the victim can make an application to the Family Court for protection.
      The Family Court can make two orders:
      • a) Non-Molestation Order
        This is an order to prevent further incidents of abuse. The wording can be wide ranging but will usually stipulate the assailant cannot use or threaten violence against the victim, cannot pester harass or intimidate the victim and they are not to contact the victim in any way. Breach of a Non Molestation Order is itself a criminal offence and is punishable by way of prison sentence up to a maximum of 5 years
      • b) Occupation Order
        The Family Court also has the power to order people to leave their own homes and having done so not to return to them. This includes putting an exclusion zone around the property. Most people have the legal right to occupy the property they live in. The criminal courts do not have the jurisdiction to order people to leave their own homes – only Family Courts do. Whilst criminal courts can impose bail conditions whilst cases are ongoing these end once the case has concluded and victims can then find themselves without protection. A Power of Arrest can be attached which means the Police have to arrest someone if they have reasonable grounds for believing the order has been breached
        Public funding from the Legal Aid Agency is available for legal representation to apply for either Non Molestation Order or Occupation Order
        Andrew Barker, a solicitor who specialises in family law at Eatons, stated "Although there have been large cuts in public funding for many areas of family law, the Legal Aid Agency have ensured it is still available for the most vulnerable in society namely the victims of domestic abuse. Anyone seeking protection through the Family Court should first obtain legal advice from a solicitor before issuing proceedings to establish if representation is available through public funding"
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  • Finances and property after Divorce

    Dealing with separating your finances after marriage breakdown can be daunting .

    It is important before any settlement is reached to make sure both parties have a full picture of what the financial situation is, after all how can you decide how to share the assets if you don't know what they are?

    Both of you have an obligation to provide full details of your income, outgoings, savings, investments including pensions and debts to the other party.

    This is often referred to as "full and frank disclosure"

    "Financial remedy" is the term given to an application to deal with finances after marriage breakdown. It is also sometimes referred to under it's old name of "Ancillary Relief"

    Each case is different and although there are some situations where simply dividing the assets equally between you is appropriate there are many situations where it is not.

    There are many factors which can mean sharing the assets equally is not fair .

    This may be eg where one party earns a lot more than the other or one party has brought significant capital into the marriage.

    As every case is different it is important to make sure you get professional advice before settling your financial arrangements.

    Eatons offer a free initial half hour appointment to enable you to get an opinion on your case.

    Further details about financial claims can be found in our Step by Step Guide to Family Law available from our website as a PDF.

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  • Procedure for a Divorce

    Getting a divorce is a straightforward process in the majority of cases.

    To obtain a divorce you have to have been married for 12 months and prove the marriage has irretrievably broken down by proving one of the following 5 facts:

    • 1) Unreasonable Behaviour
    • 2) Adultery
    • 3) Desertion for two years
    • 4) Two years separation where the other party consents to the divorce
    • 5) Five years separation

    A divorce petition is completed with details of the marriage, parties and what fact is being relied on to obtain the divorce.

    The papers are issued through court who post them out to the other party to acknowledge.

    Once an acknowledgement is filed an application can be made for Decree Nisi.

    Six weeks and a day after Decree Nisi an application can be made for a Decree Absolute which finally dissolves the marriage.

    The whole process usually takes around 4 to 6 months to complete.

    More detailed information about divorce is contained in the Step by Step guide to Family Law available as a PDF on this website.

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Resolution Resolution Legal Aid Agency Children Law Resolution Specialist

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