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Family Law


Family Law refers to rules, regulations and court procedures involving the family unit.

These matters include family members’ financial responsibilities, arrangements regarding children, eligibility, rights of same-sex couples to get married, divorce and adopting a child. Domestic violence and child abuse are also included within this section.

Beacon Wealth Legal understand that making the decision to consult a family solicitor can be a difficult and emotional one. We are members of Resolution, which means our solicitors are committed to resolving any family dispute as quickly and amicably as possible, in a constructive and non-confrontational way. However, we will ensure that your rights will be protected, as will those of any children involved. If court proceedings are deemed necessary we will deal with these in a professional and courteous manner, instructing a barrister where necessary and appropriate.

Beacon Wealth Legal deals with all family and domestic matters such as:


When do I need a family law solicitor?


This will depend on the specific factors to your case.

You would not necessarily need a solicitor when getting married, but may be required should one of the parties ask the other to sign a prenuptial agreement. You can often also benefit from hiring a solicitor when dealing with divorce, child support and arrangements regarding children.

Emotions can run high during divorces. Hiring a Solicitor for their legal knowledge and skills, as well as negotiating with the other party to resolve difficult issues can be invaluable. Contact Beacon Wealth Legal for help and advice on all aspects of Family Law.


Divorce


Here to help every step of the way

You can get a divorce if you have been married for at least one year and your relationship has completely ended. Your marriage must be legally recognised within the UK, and you must be permanently living in England or Wales.

Getting a divorce can have serious long-term effects, both emotionally and legally. There are also strict legal requirements that cover everything when choosing a method of legal separation.

The divorce process can be confusing, especially without legal assistance. It is best to seek quality and professional advice for these issues, Beacon Wealth Legal know that going through a divorce can be stressful and upsetting, so we are there to help you every step of the way.

Divorce

Alternatives to Divorce

Depending on your specific circumstances, you may have other options for ending your marriage besides a divorce:

Legal separations can allow spouses to make some of the same decisions as a divorce regarding their shared property, child custody, and child support. This option does not legally end the marriage and is generally used when couples want to retain their marriage status for religious or health care reasons.

An annulment has the same legal effect as a divorce, but does so by declaring your marriage was never valid in the first place. Reasons for an annulment could be that one spouse was already married, was tricked into the marriage, or was too young at the time to legally marry.

Property Division

Nearly all property obtained after the marriage is classed as a matrimonial asset. As a result, the property in some cases will be equally split after the divorce, unless the court feels the divide of the marital property between both parties should differ due to other circumstances, for example, where children are involved. In either case, courts will normally have to approve a Consent Order.

Maintenance and Spousal Support

Maintenance and spousal support are interchangeable terms that refer to monthly payments following a divorce, from one ex-spouse to another. Court-ordered or arranged by the parties involved, they are intended to account for the adverse economic effect a divorce can have on one party.

All spousal support agreements and amounts are unique and dependent on a variety of factors, including the spouses’ individual incomes and property, their earning capacity, the duration of the marriage, and whether children and child support are involved.

Divorce deals with the dissolving of the marriage. If the court is required to make a decision about money or children a separate application will need to be made, or a Consent Order filed.

What Divorce Cannot Do

  • Guarantee Precise and Equal Division
  • Ensure Civil Relations
  • Resolve Emotional Issues

Beacon Wealth Legal know that going through a divorce or separation can be hard, especially when children are involved. If you need any further information on how we can help, do not hesitate to contact us.


Living together


A natural step in many relationships, living together (also called cohabitation) can sometimes also result in unforeseen legal issues.

Cohabitation is an arrangement made by two people that are not married but have an intimate relationship and are in a long-term permanent relationship. It is essential for cohabitation partnerships to have a valid Will in place, as co-habitats do not automatically have the right to their partner’s estate if they die. However,
if you own the property as joint tenants, the right of survivorship applies, so the joint owner would automatically acquire the deceased share. On the other hand, if you own the property jointly as tenants in common the right of survivorship does not apply.

If you need to ensure your partners security or if you are going through a break-up please contact Beacon Wealth Legal for advice and support.

Living together

Living Together

Whilst many couples live together as a test of a relationship, to discuss whether marriage is right for them. Cohabitating causes more legal requirements than marriage, leaving couples in limbo regarding money, property and children.

Cohabitation and Property

Those divorcing need to divide their property and money legally, but the end of a cohabitation relationship has no set guidelines, which can create greater conflict as to who gets what, unless they entered into a prior contract. This can result in a partner accustomed to being supported, facing unexpected financial hardship after the split.

Cohabitation and Children

While children born during a marriage are presumed to be the offspring of the husband and wife, this is not the case for cohabiting couples. The unmarried father of a child is not entitled to a legal presumption of paternity and may have to prove paternity. However, if an unmarried father is named on the birth certificate, they automatically acquire Parental Responsibility. A parent can ask Child Maintenance Service to get involved regarding maintenance and they would only question paternity if the issue was raised by the father.

Cohabitation Agreements

It is a good idea to set up a cohabitation agreement to set out what each person brings to the relationship and in the event of the relationship ending, clarifies property ownership, and list each party’s rights and responsibilities. Married couples also have some advantages when it comes to tax, which Cohabiting Couples should be aware of, if you do not wish to get married.

Beacon Wealth Legal can help put previsions in place to protect yourself and your partner if you are a cohabiting couple. If you require assistance on any aspect of cohabitation, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Children


Reaching an amicable agreement

Beacon Wealth Legal can also make referrals to appropriate organisations such as mediation or family counselling, and can assist in negotiations with a view to reaching an amicable agreement. Sometimes it will be necessary for an application to be made to the Court for an Order, usually to deal with the issue of arrangements for the children. However, the court can also make orders to determine a specific issue, such as which school a child should attend (Specific Issue Order) or an order to stop a particular thing from happening.

Beacon Wealth Legal knows that children are often at the forefront of the parents’ minds.

We can advise on all issues regarding the children, such as:

  • Who they should live with
  • Contact arrangements
  • Parental responsibility
  • Adoption and Fostering
  • Child Welfare
Children

Child Arrangements Orders

Often parents work out these arrangements between themselves, with or without the assistance of their solicitor or a mediator. When a decision is unable to be reached (married or unmarried couples), the court may intervene and a make a decision based on the child’s best interests.

Child Support

The legal right to child support is possessed by a child for their proper care and upbringing, regardless of who actually receives child support payments. This means the Child Maintenance Service may order the “non-resident” parent (married, divorced or unmarried) to pay a certain portion of their income as child support. In circumstances where neither parent is looking after the child, the Child Maintenance Service may order them both to pay child support to a third party who is caring for their child. There are only exceptional circumstances where the court deals with this matter.

Adoption

There are many ways to adopt a child including:

  • Through an agency – public or private regulated agencies
  • Independently – direct arrangement between birth parents and adoptive
  • Identification – independently arranged but an agency controls the process
  • Internationally – the most complicated as you have to satisfy two laws
  • Step parents – a parent’s new spouse adopts the parent’s child
  • Same-Sex couple – in the UK gay or lesbian single and same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual singles and couples
  • Relative – a child’s relative steps forward to adopt
  • Adult – rare but often used where they have no children of their own, and want to secure inheritance for someone they are fond of

Paternity

Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father. This can take place through DNA testing, often used in child support, custody, adoption and inheritance. Establishing paternity helps the mother enforce child support and/or reunite estranged fathers with their children.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Known as “parental responsibility”, all mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent. The most important tasks include providing a home and protecting and maintaining the child. If you have parental responsibility for a child you do not live with, you do not necessarily have a right to contact them – but the other parent must keep you updated with their well being and progress.

Guardianship

A “guardian” is someone who is chosen or appointed to make legal decisions for another person who is unable to make those decisions on their own. Often over a child or an individual who has become incapacitated through age or disability.

Foster Care

Foster care is a temporary measure, which can in some cases lead to adoption. Providing complete care and support for children who are without parents or legal guardians.

Surrogacy and Artificial Conception

Complicated procedures where the mother who gives birth to the child is always the mother of the child.

Making the decision to consult a family solicitor can be difficult and emotional.

At Beacon Wealth Legal we recognise that any issues regarding children can be difficult and emotional, our expert can offer the best advice and put you and your priorities first.

If you need further information on how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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