Family Law & Divorce

At Crystal Law Solicitors we are experts in all aspects of family and children law. Our expert family law Solicitors have extensive experience in all matter of family and child law issues including divorce; domestic abuse; forced marriage; child contact; child residence and parental abduction. At Crystal Law Solicitors we offer our expertise to clients from all income levels. We are one of the few law firms that have the strength and depth to handle every type of case from the most straightforward divorce to distressing situations involving children or complex financial affairs. We have experience in tackling cases up to the highest court and we have close links with specialist barristers, forensic accountants, independent financial advisors, surveyors, actuaries and counsellors who can, where necessary, provide additional support and assistance. Our team includes members of Resolution Accreditation Panel who are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Our Solicitors follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems whilst encouraging solutions that consider the needs of the whole family and in particular the needs of the children. We offer a free initial consultation, either face-to-face or over the telephone.

Areas of Specialism
  • Divorce law
  • Children law
  • Matrimonial Finances
  • Domestic abuse - harassment & stalking
  • Dissolution of civil partnerships
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements & disputes
  • Mediation
  • Wills and probates

Getting a divorce is a difficult process for all parties concerned. As well as the emotional impact there are many decisions you will have to make. It is advisable to obtain legal advice right at the outset of any divorce which often helps costs be reduced and ensures the divorce is completed sooner. At Crystal Law Solicitors we provide representation nationally in divorce proceedings. With over 15 years of family law experience our expert team have handled thousands of divorce matters and have the knowledge and ability to provide representation regardless of where a person lives, at home or abroad, if the divorce is to take place within England or Wales irrespective of how complex the circumstances may be. We follow The Law Society’s Family Law Protocol and Resolution’s Code of Conduct and with our wealth of expertise and experience we aim to finalise a divorce in the most efficient manner and shortest possible timeframe whilst keeping you abreast at each step of the proceedings. Divorce is often one aspect of family law which needs resolving and others may include child contact and finances. In some instances these matters can be tackled in tandem with the divorce proceedings and in certain cases separate proceedings may be required – as experts in the field of family law we aim to provide a holistic and bespoke service in respect of all your family law matters to suit your particular needs and budget. We offer fixed fees when acting for the petitioner or respondent within divorce proceedings. For further details please do not hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation.

As Solicitors and Family Mediators we specialise in child law issues and know how much the welfare of your children matters to you. We are committed to providing advice and information to help you resolve issues in a discreet, sympathetic and honest way. If your marriage or relationship has broken down we can help to make arrangements about the children in an amicable way. If matters are not agreed then mediation may be able to assist. If it is necessary you may need to apply to the Court. We can assist you to apply to the Court for them to reach a decision as to:

Contact often referred to as “access” – we aim to achieve a compatible arrangement with a child and parents or relevant relatives taking into account the best interests of the child.

Residence often referred to as “custody” – we understand that a child may need to stay in more than one household depending on the composition of the family and particular circumstances involved. We aim to achieve a suitable residence agreement with or without the need of a Court Order.

Specific Issue  – there are certain issues that parents cannot agree upon which may include schooling, religion and travel etc which may need to be resolved with or without the need of a Court Order.

Prohibited Steps – there may be a need to stop a party from doing something relating to their children for example, to prevent one parent from changing the child’s surname or to prohibit a child being moved abroad without all relevant parties’ consent.

Leave to remove (out of the jurisdiction) – where it is a parties’ intention to move abroad with a child as part of an international relocation, it is important to consider the implications of this to that child but also the other parent. Such issues can also involve a removal of a child (often referred to as abduction and consideration should be made of the Child Abduction Act 1984). It may also be necessary to obtain the approval of that parent (providing the written consent of each person who has Parental Responsibility) either by way of a Declaration or Court Order. We have a considerable amount of experience on this areas of law.

Parental Responsibility – it is important to be aware of your responsibilities surrounding your children. We can advise on the various methods of obtaining Parental Responsibility.

Finances – depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may need to consider not only child maintenance but other financial applications for the benefit of your children under the Children Act 1989.
As members of Resolution our family law solicitors are committed to adopting a conciliatory approach to family law that best benefits the client and children of the family.
In situations where there are serious concerns about a child’s immediate safety and welfare, we are able to act urgently and seek protection through court orders.

Legal Advice should always be sought before agreeing to any financial settlement to ensure that the agreement is fair. Financial matters that often need to be agreed upon divorce can include:

  • Division of Property
  • Division of Pensions
  • Division of Assets
  • Joint Debts
  • Financial Provision for Children
  • Maintenance

Although Property and Financial issues can be dealt with at the same time as divorce proceedings they are not dealt with within main divorce proceedings themselves. It is important to note that a Decree Absolute does not dismiss any financial claims between the parties. As members of Resolution we will attempt to reach an agreement through careful negotiation without the need to attend court. If an agreement is made between the parties then this can be formalised in an agreement called a “Consent Order” which is then sealed by the court. This dismisses any future financial claims by either party.

Our dedicated team of specialist Solicitors are able to support and help victims of domestic abuse and their children to get the protection that they need from their partners, ex partners or other family members. Domestic abuse can take a number of forms such as:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Harassment
  • Threats
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional and Mental Abuse

You may also be able to obtain protection from the Courts to prevent the abuser from coming near you or to force them to vacate the home. These orders are dealt with under The Family Law Act 1996 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. These Acts gives the Court powers to grant two orders:

  • Non-Molestation Order
  • This prevents the abuser from harming you or your child(ren). In some cases the Court can attach a Power of Arrest which means the abuser is automatically arrested should they breach the terms of the Order. Our expert team have helped over 500 victims of abuse secure non-molestation orders against violent partners.

  • Occupation Order
  • This Order indicates who can live in the family home and order the other person to leave the property.

In December 2004 the government introduced the Civil Partnership Act, which allowed same sex couples similar rights to married couples. Dissolving a Civil Partnership is a similar process to divorce and our specialist family law Solicitors can assist and advise you in relation to this as well as other issues that may arise including matrimonial finances and children matters

These are agreements made between those contemplating marriage or entering into a Civil Partnership. The content of a Prenuptial Agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce, breakup of marriage, separation or dissolution of a Civil Partnership.

These agreements appear to be now given increased recognition in English Law. Significant weight was given to them in the case of Radmacher v Granatino [2009] FLR1566 Court of Appeal. In that case the Judges decided the division of marriage and assets on the basis that “decisive weight” should be given to the [Prenuptial] agreement.

A Cohabitation Agreement is normally drafted to reflect the terms of any agreement reached at the start or during a relationship. Alternatively, they can reflect agreements made between family members or friends. Whether you are about to move in together or you are already in cohabitation, our team can advise you of your options and the type of items you should include in the agreement. The practical guidelines laid out in a Cohabitation Agreement will make it clear for both parties what will be expected of them should the relationship break down. This could save thousands of pounds in legal fees in the future. As advised in the guide to cohabitation disputes the Courts do not recognise ‘a common law marriage’. It is also important to consider what you would want to happen should you separate from your partner or in the event either of you passed away. Cohabitation Agreements can be drafted to reflect this and to make sure your position is safeguarded in the event your relationship breaks down. However, whilst Courts are showing more willingness to consider Cohabitation Agreements there is still no guarantee that they will enforce the terms of one. Should you require further advice in relation to Cohabitation Agreements and whether this will suit your needs or if you require an agreement drafting please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team who will be able to assist you.

Areas of specialism
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Cohabitation disputes
  • Property advice
  • Financial advice
Cohabitation disputes - unmarried property

Cohabiting couples are partners who live together but are not married or part of a Civil Partnership. Cohabitation disputes can also arise between friends who live together or even family members. It is becoming increasingly common due to the housing market that many people are purchasing properties with friends, partners or family members. Courts will not take into account the length of time you have lived together or even if one of the parties has contributed to the household by raising children and being responsible for the running of the family home. We will strive to reach a solution to your case and every attempt will be made to make the agreement without the involvement of the Courts. Should a dispute arise we would suggest you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the breakdown of your relationship does not result in the loss of your home and other assets.

Areas of specialism
  • Advice following separation from an unmarried partner
  • unmarried partner separation agreements to confirm a settlement
  • Court action to enforce rights
  • Dealing with Trustees in bankruptcy
  • Cohabitation Agreements

Mediation helps you reach decisions about things that are important for you and your family. It helps you to find a way to plan for the future whether that be about children and/ or money/ property and to agree what will work best for you without having to go to court. Mediation can save you time, money and stress. Also, from April 2014, before an application is made to a family court for Children or Financial matters, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) unless exempt from doing so.
As members of Resolution and the Family Mediation Council our family mediators are committed to adopting a conciliatory approach to family law that best benefits the client and children of the family.

Our Solicitors have a vast amount of experience dealing with all issues relating to Wills, Probate and estate administration matters. We offer services to write a Will as part of our Family Law services. Many people don't know what happens upon death when a Will is not made. Our Wills and Probate Solicitors can help you with all aspects of making a Will and help you with estate administration issues.