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With offices throughout the country, Poole Alcock is one of the UK’s leading divorce and family law firms and is ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leading firm. Contact us today for an initial consultation with our Family Law on-boarding specialists.
We are a leading team of family and divorce solicitors based across the UK. Our services include specialist advice in divorce, separation, child custody and other family law issues. Our team of leading family lawyers is both highly regarded and consistently recommended by clients due to our expert legal advice. Meet the team here. Ranked as a leading firm in Chambers & Partners “The team handles both financial remedy and child law matters related to divorce and separation proceedings, including cases where substantial assets and complex business interests are involved. It also has notable expertise in agricultural divorces. Poole Alcock is always one step ahead and thinking outside of the box.” Arrange a consultation with one of our divorce lawyers and we can provide you with a fixed price for your divorce case. Poole Alcock divorce and family lawyers have offices in Alsager, Birmingham, Chester, Congleton, London, Manchester, Nantwich, Northwich, Crewe, Sandbach and Wilmslow, and offer nationwide legal consultation. If you would like an initial consultation with our Family Law on-boarding specialists to discuss your options, please complete the contact form below or call us for free on 0800 470 0337.
Separation and the ultimate decision to divorce is never easy and is not a step that any married couple will have taken lightly. Many worry of the challenges ahead as they navigate the divorce process; this is where the Poole Alcock Family Law team can step in. Our specialist team of divorce solicitors work with you to ease the burden of the process. We support you each step of the way, providing our expert guidance to ensure fair resolution that will enable both parties to take that crucial step and move on to the next stage in their life. First steps Before beginning divorce proceedings, we ask our clients to take these key steps:
When filing for divorce, courts will charge £593 which is payable by the applicant. You may be able to claim a court fee reduction or remission if you are in receipt of benefits.
Prepare a draft divorce application setting out that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and send to the respondent.
Your divorce lawyer will lodge this with the court who will then issue your application and serve this on the respondent.
You can also choose to make a joint application to enable both parties to apply to divorce each other.
If the respondent does not dispute the divorce (which is only possible in very limited circumstances), the applicant can apply for conditional order 20 weeks after the divorce application is issued.
A judge will consider the documents filed and, if satisfied, will certify that the applicant is entitled to a conditional order.
Six weeks and one day later, the applicant, or joint applicants may apply for the final divorce order.
If the applicant does not apply for the final order the respondent may make an application after 3 months have passed.
We understand that relationship breakdowns can be a difficult, emotional and stressful time. Our team of divorce lawyers offer a complete service, with sensitivity and understanding at the forefront of everything we do. We offer a range of specialist separation and divorce services across the UK, as well as consultations to explain your options and get to know your case.
A prenuptial/pre-civil agreement usually sets out how the couple wishes their assets to be divided between them if they later separate or divorce. Although it is not legally binding, providing the courts are satisfied that the parties freely entered in to the agreement and in the circumstances it is fair to uphold the agreement, the parties should expect to be held to it upon separation.
A separation agreement is used when a couple want to stop living together. The agreement can decide a variety of topics including living arrangements, who will pay the mortgage, division of property, if any maintenance payments are to be made and arrangements in relation to any children.
Dealing with division of finances can be one of the most challenging aspects with regards to divorce, separation or civil partnership matters. Much of the time this area can be fraught with contention and therefore legal assistance from family law solicitors is a necessity. For many separating couples, finances can be the most difficult area to resolve. Our specialist separation lawyers can provide expert support and advise you on the merits of any financial settlement offers. If an agreement is reached, our expert solicitors can formalise the agreement and protect against any future claims, such as a claim against an inheritance. If an agreement cannot be reached, it will be necessary to issue proceedings at court. We can advise on obtaining pension actuary reports, expert valuations of property or other assets, where to pitch an offer or provide advice on the offers received. The Poole Alcock Family Team have a long history of successfully supporting clients in navigating financial issues in a wide range of circumstances and specialist areas, including high net-worth individuals, farming divorces, complex pension sharing, property portfolios and business assets. Our ultimate goal is to negotiate the best possible financial outcome for you and your family. We will guide you through the entire process, from initial exchange of financial information, through to agreement or, if necessary, court proceedings. If there are any children involved, their welfare will be considered a priority during the negotiation process. Our experienced team are here to guide you through this complex process and reduce any potential conflict between parties.
Get financial peace of mind with a Fixed-Fee Divorce. We will be able to provide you with the divorce cost figure at the outset, allowing you to budget in advance. Speak to our Fixed-Fee Divorce Solicitors to find out more. Providing your divorce is undisputed and does not have any added complications, you can expect to pay around £1,540 plus VAT. The court fee is £593 and is payable by the applicant. Depending upon your financial circumstances you may qualify for a fee reduction, this is assessed by the court. Read more about Fixed-Fee Divorce here.
Dissolving a civil partnership (after at least one year) is very similar to divorce – you will need to make an application to the court, pay a court fee of £593, and show the reasons for dissolution. Providing your partner agrees, you will receive a conditional order and can then, 6 weeks later, apply to the courts for a final order which legally ends the civil partnership.
There is often the misconception that cohabiting couples hold the same legal rights as married couples. However, this is not the case and therefore the term ‘common law’ husband or wife holds no standing in law. For couples who choose not to marry but rather live together in a long-term relationship, it is crucial that they understand their legal standing should they separate. They may wish to take steps to ensure they are both protected should a separation occur in the future. Areas of consideration for couples living together are finances, property and children, and what would happen with each should they choose to separate. The team at Poole Alcock Family have vast experience in supporting clients who wish to seek to protect their assets and outline specific terms for living with a partner. We work with both parties to outline an amicable and fair solution should the relationship break down.
Sadly, domestic abuse can be a feature in many relationships, and is something that many victims require legal support with in order to understand their options and be able to safely move on with their lives. The definition of domestic abuse includes, but is not limited to, physical, verbal, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological harm, as well as controlling or coercive behaviours, all of which can be perpetrated against individuals from all backgrounds and circumstances. If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, you may be eligible to apply for public funding in order to obtain an injunction against the perpetrator. In emergency situations, we can act quickly to apply for funding and get your case before the courts as soon as possible. We guide clients through the various legal options available to them. Each case is unique and therefore we approach each with a high level of sensitivity to ensure that our clients are able to find a solution to their current domestic situation. We also work closely with domestic abuse support services to assist survivors of domestic abuse. Read more about Legal Aid and Domestic Violence services here.
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See our most asked questions below:
If you are considered a ‘proven victim of domestic abuse’ or your child is at risk of harm, you may qualify for legal aid. There is also a financial test that will apply and you should contact our legal aid team for a Legal Aid pack, if you think that you may be eligible.
Yes you must attend a MIAM (Mediation Information Assessment Meeting) before making an application to court- unless you are exempt due to domestic abuse, or there is an applicable exception, such as urgency.
You should ensure that the agreement reached is binding and enforceable upon you both. The only way to do this is to draw up the agreement within a financial consent order. It is important that this document is drawn-up by a qualified specialist and if your ex’s solicitor draws up the agreement, ensure you also obtain independent legal advice on the contents.
No. If you are married or in a civil partnership you will have a financial interest as the family home will be considered a matrimonial asset. You can apply to protect your interest in the family home by registering a Notice of Home Rights. This is something that you should talk to our team about urgently. For unmarried parties, you can seek to claim a beneficial interest in the property, even if you are not named on the legal title.
If parents are not able to agree the arrangements for children to see both parents then it may be necessary to ultimately apply to the court. There are a number of alternatives available, including; solicitor-led negotiation, mediation, family based counselling and parenting courses to help separated parents learn to work together. We can guide you through the options and try to reach an agreement without the need for court involvement. In high conflict cases we will fight your case through the court route.
The aim in all cases will be to ensure that both parties and the children’s housing needs are met. Depending upon the assets available, it may be possible to enable one of the parties to remain living at the former family home post-separation. Our experienced family law specialists will be able to talk to you about your options and work with you to achieve your best outcome.
There are a number of options, including; using income and capital, financial support or loans from family and friends, commercial lending from banks, credit cards, a specialist litigation loan, an agreement with your former spouse that they pay, or court order directing them that they must pay, and Legal Aid funding. Talk to our team about the funding options available in your case.
Parents should try to decide together what the living arrangements should be for children. If you can decide between yourselves, there is no need to take the matter to court. Under the Children Act 1989, the court will always rule that no order should be made unless it is in the best interests of the child, and will only intervene if absolutely necessary. This is often only required in more complex cases where there are safeguarding concerns.
In England and Wales the majority of settlements will not be taxable income, but circumstances do vary on a case by case basis. There may be other tax considerations you need to take into account, including issues of Income Tax, Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty and Capital Gains Tax. Your solicitor will be able to advise on these.
After ascertaining the value of the property, you need to decide whether someone wants to keep it. Any person keeping property will need sufficient borrowing capacity for the existing mortgage and outgoings, and might need to ‘buy out’ the other person’s financial interest. In some cases, it is possible for the other party to retain a deferred interest in the property — this is usually so that dependent children can remain in the family home. In other cases it may be possible to offset the property’s equity against other assets such as a pension pot, savings and investments. Often there are financial reasons that mean a 50/50 split of the equity in a property is not a ‘fair’ division. There may also be good reason to argue that a greater share of the equity in a property should be retained by one party over the other.
No, your Will remains valid and it’s vital that you amend or update it when going through divorce. For the purposes of inheritance, the Will will treat your ex-partner as though they have died during the divorce proceedings, so you will need to update your beneficiaries to ensure any inheritance is divided as you wish.
Begin by consulting a solicitor; we offer a free initial consultation without obligation to begin the process. Once instructed, we will draft a divorce application on your behalf and file with the court. After your spouse responds to the application, 20 weeks after the date of issue you can apply for a conditional order and then 6 weeks later a final order finalising the divorce. It’s worth noting that this process is purely the divorce side of things – resolving finances is often an area of difficulty which requires expert legal advice.
Yes, but none of the fine details of a divorce are available to the public. The only thing on public record is the Decree Absolute, which just contains the parties’ names and the date of the proceedings.
Our solicitors are all members of Resolution – a national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce and separation.
We are accredited by the Law Society and have members on the Advanced Family Panel of Solicitors.
Richard Barratt – the head of the Divorce and Family Team – is also a qualified Collaborative Lawyer.
What does this mean? Well, under the collaborative process, each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer and you and your respective lawyers all meet together to work things out face to face. Both of you will have your lawyer by your side throughout the process and so you will have their support and legal advice as you go.
Resolution Specialist Accredited Members
Helen Stoller is also a Specialist Accredited Member of Resolution in relation to finances and children matters.
It will take at least 20 weeks from the date the divorce application is issued to the date of the conditional order (the first stage). It will take a minimum of a further 6 weeks before you can apply for the final order ending your marriage or civil partnership. This means, a straightforward divorce can take around 6-8 months. Often divorces can take longer because parties are negotiating and finalising a financial settlement arising from their separation.
In England and Wales, it currently costs £593 to pay the court.
We can arrange a consultation to discuss your reasons for divorce and offer fixed fees so we can continue to process your request. Throughout the entire process, our professional divorce and family law solicitors will support and represent you with our expert advice to achieve the very best outcome.
You may qualify for a court fee reduction from the government. We can offer Fixed-Fees Divorces and Payment Plans, depending upon your circumstances
Deputy Managing Partner
If you have a question about family law or divorce of if you would like to speak to our team, please complete the contact form below or call us for free. No matter where you live in England or Wales, consultations can take place in one of our local offices or, if you prefer, over the phone or via an online video/Zoom call. The consultation can be arranged at a time and date that is convenient for you and we always endeavour to work with the utmost sensitivity with regards to your personal circumstances.
I want to thank you all, for the work you have done. Helen you are great at your job. Fingers crossed I can try to get on with my life. But if I do need your help in the future I will get in contact with you. – Family Client
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