Family Law

Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights gives “men and women of marriageable age the right to marry and found a family according to the national laws governing the exercise of that right”.

We believe that marriages are determined in heaven and that it would last for life long time. However that is not the case for every marriage that takes place in the fast moving world today. Many marriages are not successful and may fail for many various reasons. The parties to the marriage then would wish to end the marriage or overcome some temporary difficulties encountered in the matrimonial relationship. This is when a family law solicitor will be needed to overcome the emotional, physical trauma and put an end to that relationship. However the law governing for married couples and unmarried couples are different.

Married Couples

In the case of married couples, there is a broad range of solutions to the key problems. But which measure to be taken will depend on whether you have made a decision to end the marriage or whether a more temporary solution is favoured. If you decide to terminate the marriage then you may do formally by divorce or by way of nullity or you may separate formally by judicial separation. Alternatively, if do not wish to make any final decision about the relationship itself but merely wish to seek advice on a particular problem ie a wife especially in marriage may  be anxious about her position in the matrimonial home or a parent may be being denied contact with the children.


In divorce cases a petition cannot be presented to the courts before the end of a period of one year from the date of the marriage and this rule cannot be waived in any circumstances. The reason behind this restriction is to avoid or discourage over hasty decisions to end such short marriages. In submitting the divorce petition the petitioner must prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably  by one of the following factors ie adultery and intolerability or behaviour or desertion or two years separation and consent or five years separation. One should always bear in their mind that even though divorce is not allowed in the first twelve months but other alternative solutions are available such as nullity and judicial separation or if there are domestic violence involved then emergency injunctions can be obtained.

Unmarried Couples

The term of unmarried couple refers to two adults of opposite sex living together or cohabiting. In the case of unmarried couples, the law is more complex, not straight forward and offers very little protection when their relationship breaks down, however long they have lived together, whatever promises they made to each other and whether or not they have children. They are in same position as two platonic friends or distant relatives or siblings living together. The family law courts do not treat the cohabitants any differently and the concept of common law husband or common law wife is not recognized when there is a dispute of finance.

In order to avoid any difficulties in the future it would be a wise decision for the cohabitants to seek family law solicitor on advice of cohabitation agreements, rights of ownership when setting up home together, writing a will, life insurance, parental responsibility towards their children and immigration status in the event of separation.

Before marriage – Pre Marital Agreements / Pre Nuptial Agreements / Pre Nup

Two adults wishing to get married in the future may enter into a contract to protect their estate earned independently or through inheritance or to protect interest of children from their previous marriage. This contract or agreement is increasingly getting popular in the UK and it is known as Pre Nuptial Agreements or Pre Marital Agreements. However such agreements are not binding in this country by statutory law on the basis of public policy.

So is it worth entering into such agreements at all?

The existence of a Pre Nuptial Agreement can avoid expensive divorce settlements should the relationship break down, head towards separation and divorce finally. Getting a pre nuptial agreement drafted before marriage is definitely a prudent financial planning for a couple wishing to get married.  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 or breakup of marriage. A properly drafted Pre Nuptial Agreement complying with all the contractual rules would be recognized by the UK law.

It is increasingly being taken into consideration by family law judges using their discretion in dealing with divorce proceedings. Further it would be to the parties’ advantage that the division of wealth is negotiated prior to marriage in order to strike a better and fair deal rather than during separation or divorce which may turn out to be bitter, difficult and unfair.

South England Solicitors can provide advice on the above family law matters by taking into account your specific requirements. The matrimonial proceedings can be daunting and we will guide you through the process, steer you clear of the legal pitfalls and offer sensitive but independent service.

We offer fixed fee for all non contested family law matters.

  • Divorce or other related matrimonial matters;
  • Pre Nuptial Agreements;
  • Post Nuptial Agreements;
  • Cohabitation Agreements;
  • Separation Agreements;
  • Consent Order;
  • Residence Order;
  • Occupation order;
  • Child Maintenance;
  • Family Mediation;
  • Dissolution of Civil Partnership.

Jargon Words Used in Family Law:

Petitioner  – The person who initiates or applies for a divorce

Respondent – The person who needs to reply to the divorce petition or the person they divorcing

Affidavit  – Making a sworn statement

Ancillary Relief – refers to the resolution of financial claims within divorce proceedings i.e who gets what

Statement of Arrangements for children – A form that needs to be completed if you have any children under the age of 16 ( or  between 16 and 18 in full time education)

Decree Nisi – It is a statement from the courts that the divorce can go ahead & the divorce papers are approved but you are not actually divorced at this stage.

Decree Absolute – It is when the courts declare that the divorce has been made “absolute”

Deed Poll – Change of name legally

You may appoint us as your Fixed Fee Divorce Lawyers. We would be most competitive Divorce Solicitors in Watford!!!! So call us for free at 08008488991!!!!!!!