Separation

Separation Deeds

Separating from your partner is an emotional roller coaster and uncertainty about finances in the future can serve to add to the stressful situation. We can assist you to negotiate a financial settlement which can be recorded in a binding agreement.

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When a married couple separate they may not wish to enter into divorce proceedings immediately, perhaps for religious or emotional reasons, or they may rather enter into a divorce based on a 2 year separation with consent.  A separation deed can provide you with financial certainty during this period of separation prior to divorce.  It must be on the basis of an agreement and full disclosure of financial circumstances must be obtained. 

Unmarried couples and those in a civil partnership can also enter into a Separation Deed to confirm a financial agreement.  We can assist in negotiations to reach the agreement and put it in place for you.

Settlement of Property Disputes

Unfortunately when an unmarried couple separates it is not always clear on the share each person should receive, or it cannot be agreed whether the property should be retained or sold. In the event that negotiations do not result in an agreement the Court can make a decision.

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These problems occur more often when the original conveyancing transaction did not deal sufficiently with the intention of the parties on relationship breakdown and shares in the property.  To avoid such a pitfall it is always preferential to enter into a Living Together Agreement and a Declaration of Trust from the outset.  You may have heard this referred to as a Trusts of Land Act claim.

Injunctions

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel threatened by your partner or an ex partner at home your first port of call should always be the police. When necessary we can also assist you to obtain civil orders from the Court to prevent the perpetrator from approaching you, and in some situations to remove them from the family home if you are in danger were they to stay.

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Contact a member of our team to discuss your situation in confidence.  We will act quickly; our first concern is your safety.

Financial Claims for Children

It is possible for an unmarried parent with care of the child to claim financial relief from the other parent in certain circumstances. Many people do not realise this and we can explain the circumstances and assist with your claim.

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You may have heard this referred to as a Schedule 1 claim.  Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 allows a parent to apply for monthly payments, lump sums and transfer of property orders, for the benefit of the children.  Such remedies are awarded over and above child maintenance which can be assessed by the Child Support Agency / Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission.

Wills

It is essential that you have a Will in place because if you live with someone, regardless of whether you are married to each other or not, they will not automatically inherit your assets in the event of your death.

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If you die without leaving a valid Will in place, the Intestacy Rules apply which means that the people you wish to benefit from your assets do not do so because they are not entitled to them under the law.  The Intestacy Rules may also result in complex trusts being set up for your family which can be costly to administer and contrary to your wishes.

The absence of a Will does not mean that your spouse or civil partner will inherit everything – they may not.  To be certain and to ensure that your wishes are properly carried out, you must make a Will – our wills, probate & trusts team will be able to provide you with further advice on this.

Change of Name Deeds

You may wish to change your name. We can take the stress out of this by drafting you a change of name deed and providing you with all of the copies you will need to let the necessary authorities know, (DVLA, banks, council).

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You will need a Change of Name Deed if you wish to change your married name back to a maiden name, or if on marriage you wish to make your maiden name a middle name or double barrel your surnames.  Or you may just fancy a change!

How we can manage your case

Resolution

Each member of our team belongs to Resolution, a family law body who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters www.resolution.org.uk. Accordingly the guidance we provide to our clients promotes settlement and alternative dispute resolution where possible. We are trained to put clients at ease whilst they are going through what can be one of the most stressful experiences they will face.

The collaborative process

When you look back on your divorce or separation, what would you like to feel? That it was a gruelling, gladiatorial battle in Court during which you both attacked each other through lawyers – or that it was a humane, sensible discussion to take you forward into your new life?

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The ending of a relationship is painful but how you choose to resolve financial issues or arrangements about your children can make a big difference.  Court is needed in some cases but need yours be one of them?  The collaborative law process allows a couple to sit at a table with both of their collaboratively trained lawyers to talk through the options before them.  You can have as many or as few meetings (known as “four-way” meetings) as you need : they can be paced to suit the reality of your lives as you work through the roller coaster of emotions of relationship breakdown.  Having a supportive “space” in which to openly work through ideas and worries about your children or money issues can be surprisingly helpful at a time when you may feel that making any decisions is very difficult.  Talk to Andrew Mercer, who is collaboratively trained, to see if this way of resolving differences might help you.

Solicitor correspondence and the Court process

In some cases alternative dispute resolution is not possible. We will support and guide you through the Court process.

Mediation

This is a process designed to resolve disputes without resorting to the Court and with the help of a neutral third party. A mediator cannot give legal advice to either party and will remain neutral whilst giving a general framework for potential solutions.

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If an agreement is reached we can draft the necessary paperwork for this to be approved by the Court for you.  It is important that this documentation is completed properly to prevent any further claims in the future.

FREE half hour meeting

We understand that family matters are sensitive and that's why we offer all clients a FREE half hour meeting at either our Salisbury, Southampton, Poole or Winchester offices so you can meet us before you have to make any commitment.

Need to speak to someone out of office hours?

Call us on 01722 426989.

We're members of Resolution

Which is a family law body which believes in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.

Resolution - first for family law

Collaborative law

We have collaboratively trained lawyers. They will try to help you resolve your issues in a non-confrontational manner. Often going to court can be avoided with this approach.

Recommended in Chambers

Recommended in Chambers

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Recommended in Legal 500

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Meet the team

Partners

Andrew Mercer
Partner & Head of Family Team
Family
Salisbury
01722 426954
07880 703 500
Family
Grant Cameron
Partner
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0488
07467 943444
Family
Juliet Mayhew
Partner
Family
Salisbury
01962 670677
07557 536244
Family
Emma Wilders-Pratt
Partner
Family
Salisbury
01962 670677
07876 334584
Family

Associates

Kimberley Davies
Senior Associate
Family
01202 339028
07388948735
Family
Kate Stovold
Associate
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0511
07881343972
Family

Paralegals

Dawn Gore
Paralegal & Certified Family Law Assistant
Family
Salisbury
01722 426945
07881 343 960
Family
Sara Willis
Paralegal
Family
Salisbury
01722 426963
Family

Legal Assistants

Caroline Nobbs
Legal Assistant
Family
Poole
01202 339010
Family

Legal Secretaries

Charlotte Gee
Legal Secretary
Family
Salisbury
01722 426903
Family
Emma Humby
Legal Secretary
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0453
Family
Laura Sargent
Legal Secretary
Family
Southampton
02380820492
Family
Andrea Smith
Legal Secretary
Family
Salisbury
01722 426958
Family

Office Administrators

Hannah Cheney
Administrative Assistant
Family
Salisbury
01722 426960
Family