Family Law

Can a parent change a child's school without the other parent's consent?

A parent cannot unilaterally change their child’s school without the other parents’ consent, if the other parent holds parental responsibility. Important decisions such as a child’s education, medical decisions and religion require the...

We want to get divorced, but neither of us want to leave the family home. Can we start the divorce whilst still living together?

The short answer to this question is yes. It is possible to get divorced whilst still living under the same roof as long as you are genuinely living separate lives. You would be expected to have separate bedrooms, eat separately, socialise...

My spouse has cheated on me. Should I divorce them relying upon their adultery?

As the law stands currently, in order to get divorced before 2 years have elapsed since you and your spouse separated, you have to rely upon a fault based fact to evidence the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage to the court. This essentially means...

What is a Scott Schedule in Family Law proceedings?

Where the court is being asked to consider a finding of fact, the court will direct that a Scott Schedule is prepared in advance. The purpose of the schedule is to summarise and list allegations that need to be decided upon by the court.    ...

What is a Fact Finding Hearing?

A fact finding hearing is a hearing whereby a judge considers a contested factual dispute, usually relevant to the welfare of children or any allegation of domestic abuse .  When an allegation is made and the other party disputes it, the Court will...

What are my property rights as a cohabitee?

When unmarried cohabitees separate there is often a dispute around who owns the “shared” property.  The general starting point is that the couple’s equitable property rights will mirror the legal property ownership shown on the...

What is a Decree Nisi and a Decree Absolute?

The Decree Nisi is a Court order confirming that the Applicant is entitled to a divorce whereas the Decree Absolute formally and legally ends the marriage entirely. Once the Decree Nisi is granted, the marriage still exists and the parties are still not...

What can I do if my spouse ignores my divorce petition?

The respondent to a divorce application must complete the acknowledgement of service form which confirms that the petition has been received and gives the respondent the opportunity to defend proceedings or comment on the contents of the petition if they...

No-fault divorce commencement date to be pushed back

The Ministry of Justice have confirmed that The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which was due to come into force this year, has now been delayed until 6 April 2022. The delay is due to “full and rigorous” testing of the new system...

How do I start divorce proceedings?

Either spouse can commence divorce proceedings provided they have been married for 12 months. Only exceptional circumstances will allow for divorce within the first year of marriage.  The person who starts the proceedings (the petitioner) must show...

How do I gain Parental Responsibility?

Parental Responsibility is defined under the Children Act 1989 as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.  In practice, this allows...

What is a pension cash equivalent value (CEV)?

A cash equivalent value or “CEV” is something that your solicitor may ask you to obtain during financial settlement proceedings .  The value will involve valuing the pension as a final figure, but may be different to the value of your...

Will getting divorced affect my pension entitlements?

Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets and therefore the court will consider them relevant when deciding the financial settlement in divorce proceedings .  Pensions are most likely to be relevant in dividing the matrimonial assets when the...

I am no longer living at the family home. Can I stop contributing to the running costs now that we are getting divorced?

This will depend very much on the circumstances of the case.  You should consider taking advice regarding the level of interim support it would be appropriate to provide (if any). If you are a high earner and have supported your spouse over the course...

We have been separated for two years. Can I divorce my spouse relying upon our separation?

It is unfortunate that in order to get divorced straight away without waiting for two years you have to allege fault against your spouse. There is no question that relying upon two years of separation and the consent of your spouse is a much more amicable...

I don't want to get divorced. Can I just ignore the papers?

If your husband or wife wants to divorce you, while you can cause them delay, frustration and additional expense eventually, they will succeed.  You also need to be mindful of the fact that they could pass those additional costs onto you if they are...

Who are CAFCASS?

CAFCASS is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service and is involved in public law cases involving local authority care proceedings and private law matters, such as where an application is made to the Family Court for a  Child...

Can I have a say in where my child goes to school?

Anyone who has parental responsibility for a child should have the opportunity to be involved in key decisions for that child. This will include decisions in respect of their health, any changes to their name and in respect of their education. As such, both...

Do I have a right to see my Grandchildren?

In most cases following the breakdown of a relationship between parents, the contact that grandparents have simply forms part of the contact that they have with the parent that belongs to that side of the family.  There are however some very...

Should I wait for no-fault divorce?

A bill to introduce no-fault divorces in England and Wales finally received backing from MPs in 2020. The  Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill  has now reached the finishing line of its parliamentary journey and time will now be taken to...
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