We are highly experienced in providing legal advice and assistance to our clients seeking advice on many aspects of Family Law related matters.
We will deal with your case in a friendly, compassionate and professional way.
The breakdown of a relationship is hugely difficult for the parties concerned preventing meaningful communication and beneficial negotiation. We provide a confidential, informal and safe environment for anyone seeking advice on a Family Law issue.
Some of the areas we advise on:
- Judicial and Separation Agreement
- Civil Partnerships/Co-habitation Agreements
- Child Custody & Access
- Wills/Estate Planning
- Property Settlements
Family Law terms and their meanings:
Separation: this is the first formal step after the breakup of a marriage. It essentially means that parties are living apart but are not free to remarry. A couple must have been living apart for a period of 12 months to qualify for a Legal Separation in this jurisdiction.
Issues such as asset division, custody of and access to children and spousal and child maintenance are dealt with in a formal legally binding Separation Agreement or in default of Agreement between the parties by way of Orders of the Court in Judicial Separation Proceedings.
Divorce: In this instance the marriage is over and both parties are free to remarry. A couple must have been living apart for four out of the last five years to qualify for Divorce in this jurisdiction.
Maintenance, Child Support and Spousal Maintenance
Maintenance is the payment of regular financial support to a spouse or previous spouse in respect of the living expenses either of the spouse/ex-spouse and/or the dependent children of the marriage.
Spousal maintenance is generally payable where there is a spouse/ex-spouse who does not have the financial resources to support themselves adequately. In many cases the spouse will not be working outside the home or may only be capable of working on a part-time basis.
Child maintenance is for the financial support of children and is payable to the spouse who is looking after the children on a day-to-day basis, known as the primary carer.
The amount of maintenance is calculated on the respective financial resources of the spouses and the needs both of the separating parties and of their dependent children.
A dependent child is one who is under the age of eighteen years or between the ages of eighteen and twenty three years if in full-time education.
Custody and Access
Provision for the care of children is obviously necessary when parents no longer reside together.
Custody largely concerns the primary residence of the child. Recognising that although the child will generally be equally attached to both parents the child will, in the interests of maintaining as much stability as possible, need to live most of the time in one house and go to one school.
Access is the term used to describe the arrangements for contact with the children by the other parent with whom the child is not primarily resident.
Many couples agree co-parenting arrangements which usually work well given goodwill on either side. Most parents only wish the best for their children and realise the huge important of contact with both parents and are usually able, over time, to put personal grievances to one side at least where the children are concerned.
Where custody and access is disputed an assessment by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist may be sought by either or both parties. This introduces third party decision makers into the process which may add to the stress of either or both parties and certainly will increase costs. It is always preferable if the parents can themselves agree to plan the care and welfare of their children consistent with a workable agreement for both parents. Children will want to be able to spend a reasonable amount of time with parents and the primary consideration in a relationship is that it is in the children’s best interest and welfare.