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Divorce and Separation Solicitors in London

No one expects to get divorced.  Our family team is aware of the unsettling and upsetting nature of separation and marriage dissolution.  Although relations may start off amicably, as the divorce process gets underway and financial and childcare arrangements are negotiated, things can swiftly turn acrimonious without the support of an experienced divorce solicitor.

Our family lawyers in London are headed by Behzad Sharmin. Behzad has many years’ experience in family law and litigation and is a member of Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers who follow a strict Code of Practice designed to resolve family law matters in a constructive, non-confrontation manner.  Resolution members also campaign for improvements to the family justice system.

To speak to our top family law solicitors based in the City of London, please contact us on 0203 959 9123, or contact us through our online enquiry form.

For more on how our Family team can help you, visit our dedicated Family Law site.

As a law firm, we are committed to helping couples resolve family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner.  As with all the best divorce lawyers, we work to avoid couples ending up in court; we support them in finding workable, long term solutions to resolving disputes over financial settlements and childcare arrangements.  This is achieved by encouraging round-table negotiations and mediation, both of which Behzad and her team have an abundance of expertise.

The basic law of divorce in England

To obtain a divorce under English law, you must have been married for more than 12 months.

The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ due to one of the following factors:

  • adultery
  • unreasonable behaviour
  • desertion
  • separation of two years or more
  • separation of five years or more

Once you have established grounds for divorce, you need to lodge a Petition for divorce in the Family Court and serve notice on your spouse, either in person or by post.  Evidence of service must be shown to the court by the producing of an Acknowledgment of Service Form signed by your spouse or their solicitor.

You or your spouse have the option to defend your divorce; however, this happens rarely, and few divorces are defended successfully.  If you are considering defending your divorce, our divorce lawyers can provide you with the best advice as to how and whether to proceed.

The financial settlement

Aside from childcare arrangements, financial settlements cause the most conflict amongst divorcing couples.  Our family law team has an in-depth understanding of the consequences financial agreements can have on both parties to a marriage.  We will advise you on the information you need to collate to prove the value of the matrimonial property at stake and guide you on the long-term implications of any settlement reached.

If you are unable to reach an agreement by yourselves or via mediation, then the court can determine a financial settlement for you.  The considerations the court must take into account when working out a financial settlement are set out under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 25 and include:

  • the duration of the marriage
  • the current and potential future income and assets of each spouse
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breakdown of the marriage
  • the contribution each party has made or will make in the future to the welfare of the family
  • the age of the parties
  • the conduct of each party, and whether the way one party has behaved would make it unfair to the other party if the Court were to disregard it (note: this conduct has to be extreme, the courts are not interested in who was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage)

If the only way to work out a financial settlement is via a court order, you can trust that our family law solicitors will provide you with exemplary legal advice and representation.

Childcare arrangements

When we advise on separation and divorce, we take the welfare of the whole family into account.  Children who are caught in the middle of battling parents can be adversely affected; therefore, we will ensure that you and your spouse have opportunities to discuss childcare arrangements in a neutral, calm environment.

As members of Resolution, our family law solicitors are dedicated to helping you resolve your childcare arrangements in a peaceful, non-confrontational manner.  There is an abundance of support available to help you and your partner negotiate arrangements for your children and assist you with accessing the services you require.

Dividing the family home after a divorce

The family home is an asset and becomes part of the financial settlement when establishing properties and divorce.  There are several ways you could choose to deal with dividing it including:

  • One partner buys the other’s share in the property
  • You sell the house and split the proceeds
  • One partner continues to live in the family home, with the children, and the other receives assets to even up the distribution or receives the balance when the property is sold after the children leave home or the occupying partner remarries.  This is known as a Mesher Order.

Behzad and her team will help you work out the best solution to distributing your family home and support you to ensure your best interests are protected.

Providing sensitive service

Experience has provided the family law team at OTS Solicitors with an understanding of the stress divorce, and legal separation can bring.  During negotiation and/or mediation, we will protect you from any pressure to make a decision you are not yet ready to commit to.  We will also ensure that any resolution and/or court proceedings are conducted in a respectful manner, with both sides having a fair chance to state their case.

Legal orders

In cases of physical and/or emotional abuse, you can trust that we will use every legal tool at our disposal to protect you and your children.  We are experienced at obtaining quick Non-molestation and Occupation Orders.  Our team will also move speedily to get a freezing order in place if you believe your spouse will attempt to hide money and assets.

At OTS Solicitors, we understand divorce and how to obtain the best settlement for our clients so that they can move on to a positive future.

For a more detailed discussion regarding your divorce, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123

To find out how our family law team can help you, visit our dedicated Family Law site.

Your Questions and our answers about Divorce and Separation

You may be able to apply for an order such as a Specific Issue Order or a Prohibited Steps Order, that can address matters regarding children, including permission to take a child abroad. A Specific Issue Order is used to address a particular issue concerning a child’s upbringing when parents cannot agree, such as whether a child should travel abroad.

However, before applying for such an order, it’s advisable to attempt to reach an agreement with the other parent regarding the proposed travel plans. If an agreement cannot be reached and there are concerns or disagreements about taking the child abroad please contact us regarding the next steps on 02039599123 or click here 

We are sorry to hear about your relationship difficulties.

Firstly, you should not leave the family home without taking legal advice.

As you jointly owned the property with your partner, you do have legal rights. The extent of your interest in the property will depend upon a number of factors. We need a lot more information from you to advise you on your legal rights in relation to the property.

If you do leave the property you will retain your legal rights over the family home but leaving the property may not be in your interests or those of your daughter. It may be possible to look at ways that your partner could be asked to leave the property. Again, we would need to see you to discuss your situation in more detail before being able to advise you on those options and legal remedies.

There are a number of ways in which the family team at OTS Solicitors can help you. Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.

The family team at OTS Solicitors

Thank you for your enquiry.

You may need to start financial court proceedings so that there is a court timetable in place to help you reach a financial settlement, and if you cannot reach an agreement, a judge can make a financial court order.

If you have what is known as a beneficial interest in the buy to let property you could warn any potential purchasers of your potential beneficial interest in the property by registering your interest with the land registry. If you do not have a legal or beneficial interest in the property, you still have a financial claim because of your marriage to your husband.

If you think that your husband is going to sell or dispose of the buy to let property in order to defeat your financial claim then you could apply for what is called a section 37 injunction order. This application may not be necessary if there is other secured money that will satisfy your financial claims, such as the equity in the family home or savings.

Another option would be to agree that your husband should sell the buy to let property and for your husband to agree that the proceeds of sale of the property should be retained by his solicitor until you have reached an agreement with your husband or a judge makes a financial court order.

You do need family law advice on starting financial court proceedings and applying for a section 37-injunction order. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.

Family law team OTS Solicitors

Thank you for your enquiry. We would recommend that at the time of the divorce proceedings you reach a financial settlement with your husband. The financial settlement can be sorted out by agreement with your husband and the agreement can then be converted into a financial court order.

As you have separated amicably from your husband and anticipate being able to enjoy a good business relationship with him then one option would be to continue in business together. This could be achieved after you divorce by the preparation of a financial court order and shareholder agreement. These documents could put measures in place to protect both of you from future fallouts.

Another option is to explore one of you buying the other’s shares in the business. You mentioned affordability of this but with expert advice you may find that this option is affordable through one of you getting more of the other assets, such as the equity in the family home or pension. Alternatively, it may be possible to raise money on the value of the business so one of you can get a business loan to buy the other’s shares.

Divorces involving family businesses and shareholdings can be complicated so it is important that you get expert advice.

You do need family law advice on the business and your financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.

Thank you for your enquiry.

If your separation is amicable, you and your husband should talk about what you want to do with the joint savings account. If the separation is amicable and you take all the savings or half the money out of the joint savings account without first discussing your plans with your husband then this may make it harder to reach an agreed financial settlement.

As your savings account is a joint account, either you or your husband could take the savings from the bank account. In addition, if the account has an overdraft facility potentially either of you could take money out on overdraft. This means that if your separation is not amicable your husband could withdraw all the money. If money is taken out on overdraft then because the account is a joint one you and your husband are both jointly and severally liable for the whole of the overdraft.

Accordingly, if there are trust issues between you and your husband and you are worried that the account has an overdraft facility on it you could ask the bank to freeze the account. That means neither one of you could take any money out of the account nor use the overdraft facility until the account is unfrozen.

Whether you should take out money from the joint savings account depends on your detailed personal and financial circumstances. You should therefore take legal advice on your separation, including whether you are both going to continue living at the family home during the divorce proceedings and your financial settlement options. This discussion will help determine what steps you should take about the joint savings account, although if you fear that your husband will quickly withdraw the money without his discussing it first with you then you could chose to freeze the account to preserve the funds and then take legal advice.

You do need family law advice on starting divorce proceedings and your financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.

Thank you for your enquiry.

It is possible to start divorce proceedings without including your address in the divorce petition or in any of the court paperwork sent to your husband by the divorce court.

If you need to resolve financial claims, for example ownership of the family home or maintenance for yourself or a share of your husband’s pension, it is possible to start financial court proceedings without having to disclose your address to your husband.

If you have ongoing domestic violence or harassment concerns, you could also consider the option of applying to the family court for an injunction order. This type of court order is called a non-molestation injunction. The injunction order would prevent your husband from harassing you.

If you have children and are worried about their safety or welfare then the family court can also make orders to protect your children.

As you do need expert divorce advice we would ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment with a member of the family law team to discuss your divorce options and to see how we can help you.

Thank you for your enquiry.

If you have decided to separate from your civil partner, you can apply to the family court to dissolve your civil partnership. Dissolving a civil partnership is like starting divorce proceedings, as it is a very similar court process.

Under current English family law, it is not possible to get a no fault divorce or dissolution of civil partnership. That means that in order to start dissolution of civil partnership proceedings you would need to prove one of a number of grounds to dissolve the civil partnership. We would need to meet you and discuss your situation in order to advise you on the relevant ground for the dissolution of your civil partnership.

When the court dissolves a civil partnership, the court also has the power, on the application of either civil partner, to make financial court orders. These orders can be made either by agreement or after a court hearing when the judge decides how family assets should be split. A judge can order the sale or transfer of property, cash or lump sum payments, pension sharing orders or maintenance.

It is important that you take legal advice on your financial settlement options and if civil partnership dissolution proceedings are started that you secure a financial court order. This is important as without a financial court order either you or your civil partner could bring future financial claims against one another.

You do need family law advice on your civil partnership dissolution and financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.

Please note the answer provided above is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. In order for OTS Solicitors to provide legal advice you would need to instruct OTS Solicitors family law team. If you would like to proceed with legal advice and consult with our family law solicitors please call us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for your enquiry. We are sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing in seeing your children as much as you would like after your separation from your former partner.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your former partner over the amount of time the children should spend with you then you could apply to the court for a child arrangements order. This order is the new name for an access order or contact order. A child arrangements order will set out how much time the children should spend with you each week and can cover holiday contact as well.

When the court is deciding on an appropriate child arrangements order and contact the court will take into account the children’s wishes.

In relation to costs, the general rule is that a mother and father will pay their own legal costs of applying for a child arrangements order or responding to an application for a child arrangements order. It is very rare for in a children court case for a judge to order that one parent pays all or a share of the other parent’s legal fees. The conduct of one parent would need to be quite extreme for the court to consider making a costs order.

If you take legal advice, you may be able to agree an increase in contact with your children with your former partner through solicitor negotiations. That would avoid the need for a court application.

To discuss your situation and your children law options we would need to see you. We can give you expert children law advice and advise you on the best way forward and the cost of applying for a child arrangements order. Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.

Please note the answer provided above is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. In order for OTS Solicitors to provide legal advice you would need to instruct OTS Solicitors family law team. If you would like to proceed with legal advice and consult with our family law solicitors please call us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for your enquiry.

Under current English divorce law you normally have to be married for at least one year before you can start divorce proceedings. You could separate from your husband now and get divorced in six months if you have the grounds to start divorce proceedings. We would need to speak with you to discuss whether you have the grounds to start divorce proceedings.

It is important that you are aware that you do not always need a spouse’s agreement to get a divorce. Agreement is only necessary if you start divorce proceedings based on two years separation with your spouse consenting to a divorce. There are other ways or grounds to get a divorce.

If you decide to separate now it may be sensible to sign a separation agreement. At the time of the divorce proceedings, the separation agreement could be converted into a financial court order to prevent either you or your husband making any further financial claims against one another.

If you are not a UK citizen, it is important that you take immigration law advice before you separate from your husband or start divorce proceedings. This is because your immigration status could be affected by the separation or divorce.

You do need family law advice on a separation agreement or divorce proceedings and your financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.

Please note the answer provided above is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. In order for OTS Solicitors to provide legal advice you would need to instruct OTS Solicitors family law team. If you would like to proceed with legal advice and consult with our family law solicitors please call us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for your enquiry.

Although there are no children court orders in place to stop you from taking the children abroad (a prohibited steps order) the law says that if you take the children to Pakistan without the agreement of your former wife or a UK court order giving you permission to take the children abroad on holiday you are “abducting” the children .

You should therefore not take the children out of the UK without first getting the agreement of your former wife in writing to any planned trip or a court order giving you permission to take the children out of the UK for the purposes of a holiday.

It may be the case that your former wife is objecting to the trip for the children to see your parents if the children spent the whole summer in Pakistan last year? If that is the case you could agree that the children spend longer with her during the week or during other shorter school holidays or that the children will go to Pakistan every year but for say three or four weeks or on alternate years for the full summer holiday.

If you cannot resolve matters with your former wife then you will need advice on starting children court proceedings for an order to let you take the children to Pakistan. When deciding whether to make an order the court will look at what it considers to be in the best interests of your children.

You do need family law advice on taking your children abroad on holiday. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.

Please note the answer provided above is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. In order for OTS Solicitors to provide legal advice you would need to instruct OTS Solicitors family law team. If you would like to proceed with legal advice and consult with our family law solicitors please call us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for your enquiry.

You do not mention if the family home is owned by your husband or is owned by you or in your joint names. If your husband owns the family home, it is important that you register a matrimonial homes right notice to protect your interests. The notice will expire with the decree absolute of divorce but can be extended if you have not reached a financial settlement or you can delay applying to finalise the divorce proceedings.

If you cannot reach agreement on whether you should continue to live in the family home then if one of you starts divorce proceedings then either one of you can start financial court proceedings and ask a judge to decide how your assets, including the family home, are split. When deciding on whether it is feasible for you to stay in the family home the court would look at a range of factors, including your housing needs and the options of the house being sold or transferred to you.

We would need more information about the family home and your other assets before being able to advise you on the likely financial settlement options , for example information on the equity in the family home as well as details of other investments.

You do need family law advice on starting divorce proceedings, the likely prospects of your staying at the family home and your financial settlement options. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.

Please note the answer provided above is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. In order for OTS Solicitors to provide legal advice you would need to instruct OTS Solicitors family law team. If you would like to proceed with legal advice and consult with our family law solicitors please call us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for your enquiry.

You may be able to request a non-molestation order lasting longer than six months depending on the evidence. We would need further information on the aspects of the custody situation to determine the scope of the order. For more information, please call 02039599123 or click here 

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