Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors

Call 01883 347823 Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5:30pm

Family Law Solicitors

At Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors we understand that issues regarding marital and family law can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for all parties involved.

We aim to ensure that you receive empathetic, straightforward advice that will allow you to move on with your life. Our compassionate team will take the time to listen to your situation and guide you through the next steps to take. It can be frustrating when matters take time to complete, therefore, we will ensure you are kept informed every step of the way so you know where your situation stands.

If you wish to explore a family topic in more depth please click on any of the links on the left hand side. We have included plenty of information on each service so you can find out more about Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors and your particular area of interest.

If you wish to talk to us at Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors about your matter, please contact our friendly office. If you would like to talk please call us on 01883 347823. All enquiries are handled in the strictest confidence.

Our specialist solicitors can help you in the following ways...

  • Divorce

    If you ask anyone on their wedding day how long they think that their marriage will last the answer will always be “forever”. But sadly, latest figures estimate that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. Our family lawyers at Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors understand that going through a divorce is one of the most stressful life events imaginable. We know that helping you come to terms with the anger and fear caused by the breakdown of your marriage is part of our job and we will work with you, offering sound, solid advice that will provide you with security and confidence during this emotionally fraught time. If there are any children involved we will ensure that their best interests remain paramount in accordance with principle set out in The Children Act 1989. They will also be treated with the sensitivity and compassion throughout the proceedings. What Are The Grounds For a Divorce? To obtain a divorce you must be able to show the Court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and that there is no choice of reconciliation. If you have been married for at least a year and one of you has been habitually resident in England or Wales for at least a year prior to proceedings either party to the marriage can apply to the Court for a dissolution. The person applying for the dissolution (or Petition) is known as the Petitioner and the other party is known as the Respondent. You must be able to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of the following five factors: Adultery Unreasonable behaviour Desertion (two years or more) Two years' separation with consent Five years' separation (or more) Adultery and unreasonable behaviour are used in over 70% of divorce cases as the other three remaining options require the parties to be separated for two years or more. How Are Financial Settlements Calculated? Although the ideal situation is a 'clean' break between parties after the grant of the decree, this is not always possible. For example, if a husband or wife has spent many years bringing up children at the expense of his or her career, he or she may be entitled to ongoing spousal maintenance. The Court has an extensive range of powers when dealing with the division of marital property. The length of the marriage will be taken into consideration as well as the future earning potential of both parties and whether or not either one has entered into a new relationship. If you need advice on separation or divorce law please call our office on 01883 347823 to make an appointment.

  • Mediation

    Family Mediation tends to be the quickest and cheapest way of resolving issues arising from the breakdown of a family relationship, mainly financial and child related issues. On average at least 70% of family mediation cases result in a workable resolution, which suits both parties and their children. The process is voluntary as the parties will be required to actively participate in the discussions. Mediation is mainly confidential to give the parties the confidence to speak openly and honestly about sensitive and personal issues and the ways forward. The Mediator is impartial and will not take sides. Instead, the Mediator will facilitate an agreement between the parties and guide them through the legal framework to reach a fair and reasonable outcome. Our Family Mediator is qualified to see children within the mediation process, thereby giving the child a voice and the assurance that their views are important too. This usually enables the parties to reach an outcome that benefits the children. If you need to make an application to the court about finances or children, the court form will usually need to be signed by an accredited Family Mediator following a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). We are able to conduct the MIAM and sign the relevant form if you decide to proceed through the court process. Our aim is to try and avoid unnecessary stress and costs to our clients, especially when they are facing a difficult time in their lives. This is why we offer and promote Family Mediation with our highly experienced and accredited Family Mediator.

  • Prenuptial Agreements

    If you have just become engaged and are immersed in planning for your big day, the last thing you may want to think about is drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement. Although prenuptial agreements are viewed by many as pessimistic and unromantic, they do offer protection if you have assets that you wish to protect in the event of your marriage breaking down. What is a Prenuptial Agreement? A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by a couple before they get married or enter into a civil partnership which sets out in advance how their assets will be divided between them in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are not strictly enforceable in England and Wales although they are widely considered by the Courts as a intention of the parties. The Court has a lot of discretion when it comes to dividing up matrimonial property in the event of a marital dissolution. However, the 2010 Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino effectively created a rebuttal presumption that a prenuptial agreement freely entered into by both parties, with full understanding of its implications, will be enforced unless particular circumstances make it unfair to do so. A post-nuptial agreement is the same as a prenuptial agreement, the only difference being is that it is entered into after the couple marry or enter into a civil partnership. Why Should I Enter Into A Prenuptial Agreement? There are many situations where it would be prudent to “hope for the best, plan for the worst” before entering into a marriage. You may wish to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement if: You are bringing considerably more wealth into the marriage than your partner. You have children from a previous marriage and you wish to protect some or all of your pre-existing assets for their future benefit. You are the owner of a business and do not wish it to become part of the matrimonial pot. You wish to preserve inherited family wealth. You have been divorced before and your assets have already been reduced. You have assets abroad and wish to keep them separate. Why Choose Us? At Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors we can offer you extensive, unbiased advice which will take into account your best interests when considering a prenuptial agreement and its future implications. Our experienced family lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure that the agreement you reach will provide clarity and certainty if there is ever a need for it to be enforced in the future. If you would like to discuss drafting a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, or you have been asked to sign one and need independent advice please call our office on 01883 347823 to make an appointment.

  • Cohabitation Agreements

    Under UK law, a couple who live together have no rights to each other's property. There is no such thing as a 'Common Law Marriage' in the UK. This is important to emphasise because statistics show around 58% of people mistakenly believe that if you live with someone you have some rights over: Their property Their pension Their estate If they die without drawing up a Will The short answer is you may not have any rights to the above if you have not signed a legally binding cohabitation agreement. This can be devastating news to hear if you are separating from someone you have lived and shared your life with for many years. What is a Cohabitation Agreement? A cohabitation agreement is a contract made by a couple (either heterosexual or gay) which sets out how they will divide their property in the event of a separation. It can also describe how they will manage their finances during the relationship. What is Contained in a Cohabitation Agreement? Examples of what information you may wish to include in a cohabitation agreement include: How you will divide any property you have brought together if you separate. If you own a family home jointly the Court will divide the home 50/50 if you decide to go your separate ways, even if one party contributed more to its purchase and maintenance. You need to stipulate exactly how you wish your home to be divided between you. The agreement also needs to cover pensions, savings, furniture and pets. How you will manage your finances whilst you are living together. Who will pay for the heating, car maintenance etc. For example, if one party already owns a home and does not want their partner having a claim to it if they separate, they may specify that they pay the mortgage and maintenance costs themselves in order to avoid any disputes over who has contributed more to the property in the event of a separation. How joint bank accounts and any credit cards will be managed. How debts and inheritances will be managed (you will also need to organise a valid Will) How any children you have together will be educated, and any particular cultural or religious practices you both with to have continued by the other parent in the event of a separation. Is a Cohabitation Agreement Legally Enforceable? If the agreement is entered into freely, with both parties receiving independent legal advice, and the document is drawn up by a qualified lawyer, then it is likely that the courts will enforce the agreement. Let Us Help You Draft Your Cohabitation Agreement If you would like to talk to someone about whether a cohabitation agreement is for you, or you wish to have some independent advice, or have an agreement drawn up, then please phone our office on 01883 347823 to make an appointment.

  • Disputes Over Family Property

    Although a favourite parody for writers and filmmakers, family disputes over property can be intensely stressful and tear the delicate fabric of family relationships apart at the seams. If you are involved in a family dispute over property we can advise you in a way that is sensitive and considerate to your situation. Types of Family Property Disputes We can provide clear, concise and dependable advice on the following types of family property disputes: Division of matrimonial property after a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership Sorting out property issues after a relationship breakdown including ownership Inheritance disputes Arguments concerning family trusts Disputes involving intestacy We Can Help You Manage Your Family Property Dispute At Dollman & Pritchard we pride ourselves on being responsive and dedicated to our client's needs. Although property disputes between families can be emotionally fraught and complex, you can rely on our solid, practical advice to make the best decisions regarding protecting your interests. If you wish to talk to someone about family property dispute then please call our office on 01883 347823.

  • Transfer Of Equity

    A transfer of equity occurs when one or more joint owners of a property transfers or sells part or all of their equity in that land to another. Transfer of Equity Upon Entering A Marriage or Civil Partnership Many people choose to transfer the equity they have in a home they owned before they got married to their new spouse. This can be made as a gift and no money needs to change hands. If you have a mortgage you will need to obtain the lender's permission to put your partner's name on the mortgage deed. Transfer of equity in a divorce If you or your partner decide to divorce and one of you wishes to remain in the family home there will have to be a transfer of equity between both parties. It is likely that you will need to organise and pay for a valuation of the home you own together so you can buy out your ex-spouse's share of the property. You will need to prove to the mortgage lender that you can: Afford the mortgage payment on your own; and Be able to meet the payments on additional loans needed in order to raise the capital to buy out your ex-partner's equity. Things can become tricky when negotiating the transfer of equity during a divorce. There may be disputes as to the value of the property and the share of the equity each party is entitled to. Stamp duty is not payable on the transfer of equity resulting from a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. However, if an unmarried couple separates then stamp duty may be payable on the consideration (payment) made on the transfer of equity. Why Choose Us to Organise Your Transfer of Equity? At Dollman & Pritchard Solicitors we can offer you full, easy to understand advice on transferring the equity of your property. We are aware that in the case of a divorce or dissolution, emotions may run high between parties. We promise to deal with your situation in a sensitive manner and look after your best interests at all times. To contact us to make an appointment you can phone 01883 347823. Alternatively, you can fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you shortly.

  • Wills

    It is very easy to put off making a will, however, if you should die intestate the people who matter the most to you may not benefit from your estate. Important points to note are that Divorce affects inheritance unders a Will. Also, in the UK, marriage revokes any Will made before the date of marriage thereby rendering it invalid. In this situation you could end up dying intestate without that being your intention. For comprehensive information on Wills please click here.

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