Meet Gill Wright LL.B (Hons) our specialist solicitor for Family

The breakdown of a long term relationship can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life. You may worry about what the future holds, about property that you own, how you will manage financially and about your children. Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or living together a family lawyer can help.

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Meet Leeanne Pearce LL.B our specialist solicitor for Family

Our Family solicitors are members of Resolution, which means that they are committed by the Resolution Code of Practice to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way.

We believe that family law disputes should be dealt with in a constructive way designed to preserve people’s dignity and to encourage agreements.

A trusted solicitor can play a big part in helping to sort out issues involving the care of the children, the home and the finances.

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Our experienced professional legal staff provide advice and representation in matters of:

  • Divorce
  • Children
  • Finances and assets – including Consent Orders
  • The House and other issues associated with it
  • Violence and non-molestation orders
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Co-habitation
  • Same sex relationships
  • Change of name deeds
  • Contact to grandchildren for grandparents
  • Forced marriages
  • Referral to mediation

Family Legal Services FAQs

We offer initial advice appointments for family advice at a fixed fee rate of £200 + VAT (at the rate of 20%).

Our initial advice appointment includes some initial work for your matter and we will explain when you arrange your appointment what work we can carry out for you and how long you can expect the appointment to take.

If you are not eligible for Legal Aid we have a range of options available to you, including Fixed Fee arrangements which we will explain depending on your circumstances.


Usually you won’t need to attend Court as the divorce procedure is all paperwork based and there is no need to appear in Court.

This first step is to issue your divorce petition citing the details of your marriage and the reason for the breakdown, including the fact on which you are relying. This petition is issued through the Court system and sent to your spouse, who then has to complete an acknowledgement of service form and return this to the court.

At this stage you can then make your application for your decree nisi, the conditional divorce order. This is the stage at which a district judge looks at your petition and decides whether you are entitled to a divorce. The court will then set a date for the formal pronouncement of the decree nisi. The only occasions on which you will need to be present for the pronouncement of the decree nisi is if there is a dispute regarding costs of the divorce itself, (this does not include disputes regarding matrimonial finances – those are dealt with separately). In the usual course of things your names are simply read out in open Court and you will receive a copy of the Order through the post, with no need to attend Court.

The final stage is making your application for your decree absolute, the final divorce order. Again this is done by sending your application to the court, and a copy of the order is sent out in the post.

If both you and your spouse are in agreement that your marriage is over and both agree to the divorce progressing on average a divorce can be concluded in approximately 4 months – this includes the statutory period of six weeks and one day between the pronouncement of the conditional divorce order, decree nisi and decree absolute. This is not a guaranteed period however, and can vary depending on individual circumstances of a case. If the divorce is opposed we will give you a best estimate of timescales on the specific facts of your case.

In relation to the actual resolution of matrimonial finances every case is different and therefore for specific advice on what you are entitled to, or what may be the best solution we would encourage you to speak with a solicitor so that you are fully informed of your options. This could be done in a one off fixed fee appointment rather than instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf.

From this point on there are usually two ways in which matters are resolved. You and your spouse may come to a decision together as to what to do about the matrimonial assets, for example the house will be sold, or transferred to another party for a price etc. if you are already in agreement then your solicitor can draft what is known as a consent order. This is a formal Court Order which when sealed by a district judge becomes legally binding. Your solicitor will not be able to advise you on the contents of the order and whether this is in your best interests but will be able to draft the order based on your instructions.

Alternatively if you and your spouse are not in agreement on certain assets or want to seek further legal advice on a specific issue such as pensions or maintenance then the next step would be to have full financial disclosure through solicitors. You will both fully disclose all the assets to the marriage (this can be done at various levels and your solicitor will advise you on what is appropriate for your case) and then through the help of solicitors we will attempt to settle matters through negotiation.

It may also be appropriate to consider attending mediation at this stage which can be very useful in reaching an agreement where there are just one or two issues which are left to resolve. Again your solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether this is appropriate for you and the process involved.

Finally if no agreement can be reached on a particular issue the last resort is to make an application to the Court to consider matrimonial finances. This is a separate application to the divorce proceedings. Again, each case is different and your solicitor will be able to advise you on the prospects of success of your case.

The charges that the Courts make for applications in marriage and civil partnership proceedings went up at the end of September 2021 when H.M.Courts and Tribunals Service raised the prices for some Court Fees:

The most commonly used fees for marriage and civil partnership proceedings are now:

  • Filing an application for a divorce, nullity or civil partnership dissolution: £593
  • Filing an application for a judicial separation: £ 365
  • Filing a declaration as to marital status, parentage , legitimacy or adoptions effected overseas : £365

For Family Financial Orders the most commonly used Court fees are now:

  • Application for a financial order, other than by consent ; £275
  • Application by consent for a financial order: £53

Applications where there are no fees payable concern family homes and domestic violence applications, but there may be some fees charged to the respondent following the first free attempt to challenge a non-molestation order.

No fees are payable by an applicant to issue Forced Marriage or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Protection Orders, or to apply to amend, vary or extend the order.

For a full list of fees charged in the civil and family courts please see the EX50AHMCTS on

We have come to an agreement on finances but do not want to divorce yet. Is there anything we can do?
Yes. If you wish to regularise your separation and the matrimonial finances but are not in the position to begin divorce proceedings yet (because you have not been separated long enough for example) then you can instruct a solicitor to draft a separation agreement (or deed of separation).

A separation agreement is very similar to what is known as a pre-nuptial agreement but it is agreed post-separation.

When you do eventually decide to  issue divorce proceedings your solicitor can draft a consent order based on the agreement recorded in the Separation Agreement.

The short answer is No.

Currently the rights of cohabitees are drastically different to those of spouses, no matter how long you have lived together, whether you have children etc.

If you are not legally married then you do not have the rights of a spouse. We would always strongly advise that you each seek independent legal advice if you wish to regularise your cohabitation.

This can be done by way of cohabitation agreements or taking other steps to protect your respective legal positions. However as a rule if no such steps have been taken it can be very difficult upon separation if there are disagreements over property or other assets.

We would also advise that both cohabitees make a Will to ensure that in the event of a death the remaining cohabitees position is protected in respect of finance and property.


Making an application to the Court in Children matters is always a last resort. We would always encourage you to try and resolve matters as amicably as possible without the need for attending Court, as this can not only be very costly, but can often deteriorate the relationship between you and your ex.

There are many alternatives to litigation, these can include negotiation through solicitors, mediation through a 3rd party etc. We will be able to discuss your case with you and come up with the most appropriate way to resolve matters. For more information on these processes please contact one of our family solicitors.

It is exceptionally rare for children to ever have to go to Court during these types of proceedings.

The Court does want to know however, what the children’s wishes and feelings are (taking into account their ages and understanding).

This will usually be dealt with by way of a trained person from an independent organisation called CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) speaking to them away from the court.

The CAFCASS officer will then inform the Court of the children’s views.

There have been recent newspaper reports in the press concerning parents who are travelling abroad with their children, but the children have a different surname and the family has been stopped from travelling because they do not carry the correct documentation to prove that the child is their son or daughter.

This happens usually when parents are unmarried, and the child has taken their father’s surname but they are travelling with their mother.

To prepare you may need to take the following documents with you;

  • The child’s birth certificate which shows the name of both parents,
  • If there has been a change of name of the child following a divorce you will need to carry the Change of Name Deed
  • Additionally for separated parents: Evidence of approval from anyone with parental responsibility(this may include extended family if there is shared parental responsibility) and your copy of the Child Arrangements Order.

We can assist with Change of Name Deeds and obtaining the other documents mentioned here.

If you would like to contact us for further advice and help please email or contact us by phone 0191 4555361.

What our clients think

We were treated with polite friendliness at all times

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I would recommend because of the professionalism at all times from the staff

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Recommended by our Estate Agents - easy to make initial contact

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Very polite staff and straightforward procedure

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Advice given was useful and the service was brilliant

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All Our Services


Our conveyancers are accredited by the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) to help with all aspects of residential conveyancing.


Our experienced team of solicitors provide advice on all aspects of Family Law.


Our Solicitors provide specialist support and assistance where local authority proceedings are taking place or when a private application for child arrangements is required.

Wills & Probate

Our solicitors assist our clients at any age to plan what should be put in place after death to ensure that wishes are followed and after death by applying for probate and administering estates.

Elderly Client Services

Our approachable and helpful team assists in all aspects of later life planning, especially when an older person becomes vulnerable and less able to manage their own financial affairs and home.

Court of Protection

Our team can assist with Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputy Orders following the procedures of the Court of Protection.