Family Law

Here at BLC Solicitors, we understand that a marital and family breakdown is a very stressful and difficult time that you will experience. We have a friendly team of experts dedicated to providing specialist advice tailored to your individual case and to reduce your stress. We take the sensitive and constructive approach to settling differences within the family framework, whether it is divorce, child arrangement issues or financial settlements and negotiations. We are here to help!

We offer a wide range of services including:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Children Arrangement issues
  • Parental Responsibility
  • Financial negotiations and settlement
  • Clean Break Consent orders
  • Protection of home rights

What is the process for divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce namely, the marriage has broken down irretrievably. One of five facts must be proven to establish this ground:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion for a continuous period of two years
  4. Two years separation (with consent)
  5. Five years separation (with or without consent).

You and your spouse must have been married for over a year in order to apply for a divorce (so long as one of you is habitually resident in England and Wales). The spouse who makes the application is known as the ‘Petitioner’. You can make such an application by completing a divorce petition. Our expert team can assist with the completion of a petition. Once this is lodged at Court, your spouse (who will be known as the ‘Respondent’) will be given the opportunity to respond by way of completing an Acknowledgement of Service form. The Respondent can choose to defend the petition if they are not in agreement to the ground that has been relied upon by the Petitioner.

The Court will then issue a penultimate order called a ‘Decree Nisi’. After a period of six weeks of the Decree Nisi date, the Petitioner can apply for a ‘Decree Absolute’ which is the final order effectively ending the marriage.

I had a Nikkah ceremony, can I still apply for a divorce?

Islamic marriages are not valid under the law and are considered to be ‘non-marriages’. This means you may not have similar rights as a married couple in relation to finances, including assets and pensions. A Nikkah will only be valid if a civil ceremony also took place. There are a number of ways you can protect your legal rights. We at BLC Solicitors are happy to advise you on this.

What can I do if I want to settle my finances differences?

The process for settling finances during divorce is called ‘Ancillary Relief’. Negotiations can take place between the parties with or without the Court’s intervention. Once an application to the Court is made, it will aim to achieve fairness for both parties. There are a number of factors the Court will take into account when considering what is fair, specifically:

  • The welfare of any children of the family
  • The income, earning capacity, property and resources of the parties
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the parties
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage
  • The age of the parties and length of the marriage
  • Any physical or mental disability
  • Any contributions made by each party towards the family
  • The conduct of each party
  • Any serious disadvantage to either party caused by ending the marriage.

The Court will arrange a First Directions Appointment (FDA) date whereby the parties must comply with directions set. There are a number of substantive documents to be prepared prior to this hearing. The matter will then be set for a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (FDR). This is where the Court will assist the parties with reaching a financial agreement. If this is not possible, the matter will proceed to a Final Hearing. A Final Order will then be made by the Court.

Attempting to reach a financial settlement can be a daunting experience. At BLC Solicitors, we have your best interests in mind when dealing with your case.  Our team can assist you with such negotiations as well as providing robust representation in Court. Our team is able to effectively assist you with the Ancillary Relief process in a way that is appropriate for your case as cost effectively as possible.

What about arrangements for my children?

The parties can mutually reach an agreement without the need to take the matter to Court. Once an agreement is reached, this can be documented in an Order. However if an agreement is not reached, an application can be made to the Court. The Court can make an Order determining:

  • With whom the child is to live and spend time with (Child Arrangement Order)
  • A particular issue for example, change of name or medical treatment (Specific Issue Order)
  • To prevent something being done regarding the child such as change of school or being taken abroad (Prohibited Steps Order).

Our expert team can advise you further and assist with taking the appropriate course of action best suited to your case.

Please contact our office on 0121 285 5101 in order to discuss your legal situation and your options to move forward.