When a relationship breaks down there are many practical things to consider such as the arrangements for your finances and children. Whatever relationship difficulty you may be experiencing our lawyers will advise and can minimise the stress and upset involved by taking a weight off your shoulders. We will guide you through the process of legal separation and help you to negotiate for a fair settlement to the satisfaction of all parties.
If for religious or other reasons, you do not wish to divorce, our lawyers can advise and assist you with judicial separation.
A prenuptial agreement can protect your finances and property in case of separation. You and your partner may need or want to make certain legal arrangements before you get married or enter into a civil partnership. This way, if the relationship breaks down, the agreement will outline how assets should be divided and who should get what. We can advise you on how best to set your wishes down in a pre-nuptial agreement, as well as how to ensure the best outcome for you.
We will however point out that Prenuptial Agreements are not formally binding in England and Wales. The Courts still look at what is fair in the circumstances. Prenuptial agreements are regarded by courts as persuasive and often decisive in many applications for financial relief following the breakdown of a marriage.
The current approach by the Courts is as established in the Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino from 2011:
“The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement [PNA] that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement”.
Couples who live together but are not married are known as cohabitees. The number of couples who are living together has dramatically increased in recent years. The Office of National Statistics reported that, in 2016 the percentage of babies born outside of marriage or civil partnership was 48%; of these, two-thirds had parents who cohabited (lived together). We are increasingly being instructed by couples who want advice on setting up home together. Our family law team aims to advise cohabiting couples on their legal status and provide them with practical advice on how they can protect themselves and their families.
You and your partner may not want to get married or enter into a civil partnership. You may however want to live together and lay out what should happen to property and assets in case of a relationship breakdown. This is called a Cohabitation Agreement. It can protect the rights of unmarried couples, especially those who have shared assets and have been in a relationship for many years.
Disputes over Money and Property
When a relationship ends, you and your partner will need to sort out how assets such as your house, investments and savings will be divided between you. This can lead to disputes over who owns what. We can help you to untangle your shared assets and work out who gets what. If you are concerned that you may not reach a financial settlement that is fair to you, or you simply cannot agree over property we can assist you with negotiation with your partner and throughout the legal process.
As a result of our commitment to the Resolution Code of Practice, our aim is to achieve a settlement by constructive negotiation or supporting you through mediation, thus saving costs for everyone involved.
If a case has to go to court, it can become unnecessarily expensive and stressful. Our team at Mould Haruna Solicitors aims to guide and support you throughout your case to avoid the court room. Mould Haruna Solicitors will tailor its approach to your case as no two family situations are the same. Our personalised service based on the specifics of your case is vital to achieving the right outcome for you.
Domestic violence is controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people aged over 16. It doesn't matter what your gender or sexuality is. It includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. Harassment, stalking, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based abuse are also types of domestic violence and abuse.
Anyone can experience domestic violence. Both men and women experience it.
If you have experienced domestic violence, our family lawyers can help you with the legal arrangements to keep you and your children safe. We will also offer practical and sound advice to help you break free and start a new life.
Check if you are in an abusive relationship…
Does your partner:
• Shout at you, mock you, accuse you of all sorts of things, call you names you do not like? Verbally threaten you?
• Threatening to withhold money, disconnect the phone and internet, take away or destroy your mobile, tablet or laptop, taking the car away from you?
• Take the children away or threaten to do so? Threatening to report you to the police, social services or the mental health team unless you comply with his demands?
• Threaten or attempt to self-harm or commit suicide?
• Withhold or pressure you to use drugs or other substances?
• Lie to your friends and family about you?
• Tell you that you have no choice in any decisions?
• Persistently put you down in front of other people?
• Refuse to listen to you or respond when you talk?
• Interrupt your telephone calls? Take money from your purse without asking? Refuse to help with childcare or housework?
• Lie to you and withhold information from you?
• Present as jealous, have other relationships?
• Break promises and shared agreements?
• Monitor or block your phone calls, e-mails and social media accounts, telling you where you can and cannot go? Prevent you from seeing friends and relatives and shut you in the house?
• Follow you, check up on you and not allow you any privacy (for example, opening your mail, going through your laptop, tablet or mobile)
• Repeatedly check to see who has phoned you?
• Embarrass you in public and accompany you everywhere you go?
• Make angry gestures, try to intimidate you, shout you down, destroy your possessions, break things, punch walls?
• Wield a knife or a gun and threaten to kill or harm you and the children? Threatening to kill or harm your pets? Threaten to commit suicide?
• Use force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts? Have sex with you when you don’t want it? Force you to look at pornographic material? Put constant pressure on you and harass you into having sex when you don’t want to? Force you to have sex with other people? Degrades you with respect to your sexuality or as to whether you are lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual?
• Punch, slap, hit, bite, pinch, kick or pull your hair out?
• Push, shove burn, strangle you?
• Pin you down, hold you by the neck and restrain you?
• Say the abuse does not happen and it is all in your mind? Say you caused the abuse? Say you wind him/her up? Say he/she cannot control his/her anger?
• Behave gentle and patient in public but differently at home?
• Cry and beg for forgiveness and say it will never happen again but then it does?
There are many different legal issues affecting children, which is why it is so important to seek reliable advice from a family law expert if your family is facing any of them. Children’s matters include:
This refers to the legal rights, duties and responsibilities a parent has for a child, as well as property the child owns. If you want to have a say in the important decisions in your child’s life, from where they go to school and where they live, you will need to establish parental responsibility. Birth mothers have automatic parental responsibility, while the situation can vary when it comes to fathers. Arrangements involving with whom a child lives and has contact (child arrangements), child maintenance and other matters following a separation depend on who has parental responsibility. We can advise you on how to obtain parental responsibility for your child.
Arrangements for your Child / Child Custody
Where or with whom children will live, who will have regular contact with them, who will look after them and how these arrangements will be split or shared are all matters that need to be decided for the good of the children. During separation, it can be very difficult for a couple to reach an agreement. Arguments between parents about arrangements for their children can easily reach a point which is harmful to their children. We can work with you towards reaching an agreement that is fair to you, your partner and crucially – your children. When couples split up, the rights of their children need to be protected and upheld in just the same way as their parents. We will assist you to resolve any child arrangements issues in a child-focused way.
Sometimes, Social Services or the Police takes steps to safeguard / protect a child who they believe is at risk of suffering harm. It is very important that you seek legal advice at an early stage by contacting an experienced childcare lawyer. Social Services involvement can be very worrying and distressing for parents. If you contact us at an early stage, our Family Lawyers can explain the law relating to the safeguarding of children and provide you with practical advice and navigate your family towards a positive outcome and avoid the matter progressing to the courts. Where court proceedings have already been issued, our Family Solicitors represent parents, grandparents and others in disputes with Social Services.
Special Guardianship Order
The court on an application can appoint one or more individuals to be a child's 'special guardian'. This order is intended for children who for various reasons cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement. It provides a permanent home for the child (often with another family member) without the legal separation involved in adoption. A special guardianship order does not extinguish the birth parents’ parental responsibility.
An adoption order gives full parental responsibility for a child to approved adopters following an application to the court. An adoption order cuts the legal ties between a birth parent and the child. Adoptive parent(s) then become the child's legal parent(s) throughout the child’s life.
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TALENT AND EXPERTISE
Here are some of our key areas of expertise :-
- Domestic violence
- Children law matters
- Divorce proceedings
- Civil Ligitigation
- Immigration & naturalisation law