Angell and Co Family Law Services


Children

If your partner has left you and the children, we can help sort out financial matters and any issues affecting the children, such as custody or access.

Where a partner has left taking the children, we would aim to get a court order to return the children. We can do this very quickly in an emergency, sometimes doing so over the telephone where the urgency of the case demands it.

If a child has been taken into care, it can be a very worrying experience for the parents who are pitted against social services and their team of legal advisers. We can help put your side of the case, investigate the evidence and represent you at court hearings.

Some parents worry who will be responsible for your children if you die. We can advise you of the options to take now to ensure that your children will be taken care of in the way you would want, should you die prematurely.

More about the arrangements for children after a divorce or separation:
Click here for the factsheet on the Resolution website. Resolution factsheet

 

Civil Partnerships

Some same-sex couples opt for civil partnership instead of marriage and acquire rights and responsibilities almost the same as married couples.

As with marriages, civil partnerships can sadly break down. Civil partnerships can only be dissolved by court process on the ground of irretrievable breakdown. The grounds for dissolving a civil partnership are the same as for divorce except for adultery. If your partner is unfaithful, the grounds for dissolution may therefore be unreasonable behaviour.

If you decide to separate or dissolve the partnership, you have the right to claim maintenance, lump sum payments, property transfer, or a share of your partner’s pension. You may also be able to acquire parental responsibility of your partner’s child by agreement or court order. You can apply for residence or contact if you have acquired parental responsibility.  Generally, civil partners are treated as married people for the purposes of entitlement to welfare benefits.

To read more about civil partnerships and the law:
Click here for the factsheet on the Resolution website. Resolution factsheet

 

Cohabitation

If you are living together, but are not married, you may still have legal rights and responsibilities.

Couples with children may need help in arranging responsibilities for their care and upkeep. We can provide you with the latest legal advice and the legal support you need to achieve a fair settlement.

Click here for the factsheet on the Resolution website. Resolution factsheet

 

Collaborative Law

Many couples would like to decide on issues such as the future welfare of their children or how to divide property and pensions without going to court.

Collaborative family law is a new approach to manage the divorce process in a dignified manner. It involves family lawyers and their clients agreeing in writing to reach settlement without court involvement. They agree to work together to resolve children and financial issues arising out of the separation. They may enlist other experts, such as child or pension specialists. Collaborative family lawyers use their skills to help their clients shape a fair agreement.

Relationship breakdown will always involve financial and emotional costs. Collaborative family law can help minimise those costs for all concerned. Sarah Angell is qualified to provide collaborative family law services to clients and would be happy to discuss this option with you.

Read more on the Resolution website.

 

Divorce

If you have decided that the differences are such that your marriage is no longer sustainable, we can provide the legal advice and support you need to gain a divorce or a legal separation.

Sadly, every year 120,000 marriages end in divorce. The legal process of ending a marriage can impact on every family member. We try to help separating couples settle their differences in a way which avoids long and divisive arguments and promotes co-operation between parents in decisions concerning children.

Click here to find your nearest Relate counsellor.

To get a divorce, you must have been married for more than a year and your marriage must have broken down for one of these reasons:

  • Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live together
  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live together
  • You have been separated for 2 years and your spouse agrees to divorce;
  • You have been separated for 5 years
  • Your spouse deserted you more than 2 years ago.
The divorce process is in two stages - a 'Decree Nisi' and a 'Decree Absolute'.

A Decree Nisi is an interim stage, granted by the court when the ground for divorce is established. After a period of time, it can be converted into a Decree Absolute, which marks the end of the marriage. This will not normally happen until arrangements for any children and financial matters are agreed. You can stop the process at any time before the Decree Absolute is issued.

If you have children, you must provide their names and dates of birth, where they are living, which schools they attend and what arrangements have been made for their care. You will also need to settle financial matters relating to the family home, maintenance, pensions, and any savings and investments - what is called 'ancillary relief' in law.

How long it takes to get a divorce will vary according to the complexity of each case and the practice of the particular court. Even the most straightforward divorces will take between four and six months.

To read more about the divorce procedure,
Click here for the factsheet on the Resolution website. Resolution factsheet

 

Domestic Violence

Sometimes relationships turn violent, and you or your children are being threatened by a violent partner or former partner. At the time of any incident of serious threat or physical attack, you should always call the police by dialling 999. Most police forces have specially trained domestic violence officers, and you can ask to see a woman officer if you choose.

Where you are worried about a possible attack, you need to act quickly. We can help you to get a court order to prevent a violent partner or ex-partner from abusing you or your children, or to keep them from your home.

If you need to find a refuge, call Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247
Click here to visit the Women's Aid website.

For more on the law and domestic violence, read this factsheet.
Click here for the facts on domestic violence from Women’s Aid Resolution factsheet

 

Financial Issues and Pensions

Settling the financial arrangements is usually far more complex than a divorce itself. We try to ensure that issues relating to children are dealt with separately from financial matters to try and avoid any disagreements over money and property preventing arrangements for children.

Because the court has a wide discretion in applying the law, it is better to avoid the uncertainty of a court hearing. Most people can agree how their finances should be split with each having the help of a solicitor to advise on what might be a fair division.

Mediation services can also help couples reach agreement on key issues but a solicitor must advise on the implications of any agreement and turn it into an order recognised and enforceable by the courts.

Both partners must fully disclose their own personal assets, including the family home, so that everything is included in the 'pot' to be shared. Financial arrangements can be settled through a 'clean break', which ends the financial obligations between the couple if this is appropriate. Maintenance payments may, however, be more suitable. These can be ongoing or for a fixed period of time. Even where there is a 'clean break' agreement maintenance will still be payable for any dependent children: the home will be an important part of this agreement.

The law now allows a pension fund to be shared on divorce. Pension sharing will not always be appropriate and, it will not always be divided equally. Angell & Co will ensure you receive the right specialist financial advice on how sharing can be achieved in your personal circumstances.

Read more about financial issues:
Click here for the factsheet on the Resolution website. Resolution factsheet

 

Grandparents' Rights

If you are a grandparent, you're not alone. There are over 16 million grandparents in the UK.

But being a grandparent carries with it its own mix of joy and trauma. After a divorce, it can sometimes be difficult to continue seeing a beloved grandchild. A third of grandparents under the age of sixty has a dependent child living at home.

If you are a grandparent and you want help and advice on your legal rights in respect of your grandchildren, we can provide it.

You may wish to read more at Grandparents Plus
Click here to visit the Grandparents Plus website

 

Relationship Breakdown

When a relationship breaks down, we can help you sort out important issues including those affecting your children and your finances.

 

Parental Rights

As a parent, you have rights and responsibilities towards your children. You know your children best, so you should be best able to consider the effects of your break-up on them and together devise the most suitable living arrangements.

Negotiation is important as agreements reached together are more likely to work in the long term and be respected by the wider family. Family mediation services can help you achieve this. We can also provide you with the right advice and support.

Sometimes, after a difficult marriage breakdown, it is difficult to agree these issues amicably, and the courts need to be involved. We have considerable experience in ensuring that your rights as a mother or father are protected. If you feel that you are being unreasonably denied access to your son or daughter, we can advise you of your options and where necessary, represent your interests in the court.

If the courts have already decided that you should have regular access to your child - and this is not happening - we can work with you to ensure that the court's original decision is implemented.