Family Law

Family Solicitors Brighton, Hove, Hassocks & Farnham

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Expert Divorce Solicitors & Trusted Family Lawyers

Whether you need advice on a pre-nuptial agreement, separation and divorce, or issues involving your children, including mediation, you can depend on GoodLaw Solicitors LLP. We understand that contacting a solicitor can be daunting and stressful and we make every effort to deal with our clients’ issues professionally and with empathy. For those eligible, we also offer legal aid in family law matters.

We ensure that clients have direct access to their legal representative who will listen to their needs and provide comprehensive and cost-effective legal advice and support. You can also be assured that all cases are dealt with impartially and with total confidentiality.

Do you need family law advice?

Contact GoodLaw Solicitors LLP in Sussex and Surrey.
SUSSEX: 01273 956 270 | SURREY: 01252 471 211

Family Law Services FAQs

Family law is a legal practice area that deals with issues related to family relationships. It encompasses a wide range of matters, including divorce, child arrangements (custody) and visitation rights, child support, spousal support (alimony), division of property, social services involvement with a family and adoption. Family law can also involve protective orders and issues related to domestic violence.

The divorce process in England and Wales is primarily governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and has recently been updated with the introduction of the no-fault divorce under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

The process begins when one spouse (the petitioner) files a divorce petition with the court. As of the 2020 Act, it allows couples to divorce without assigning blame, aiming to reduce conflict. The process includes several stages:

  1. Filing for divorce
  2. The respondent’s acknowledgement
  3. Applying for a conditional order
  4. The application for the final order, which legally ends the marriage.

It’s important to seek legal advice to navigate the process effectively.

Child custody, known legally as “child arrangements,” is decided based on what is in the best interests of the child. The Children Act 1989 guides these decisions, focusing on the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration.

Courts prefer arrangements that involve both parents in the child’s life, assuming it’s in the child’s best interest. Factors considered include the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs; the child’s age, sex, background, and any characteristics the court considers relevant; the potential effect of any change in circumstances; and the child’s wishes and feelings, depending on their age and understanding.

Each family is different and the approach taken by a court when making decisions will look at that family and the children’s needs and wishes and feelings.  Legal advice at an early stage can assist to reduce arguments and issues and ensure there is a focus on the children throughout.

Yes, you can apply for child support if you are the main carer for a child. In England and Wales, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is responsible for handling child maintenance arrangements.

The amount of child support is calculated based on several factors, including the non-resident parent’s income, the number of children they need to support, and how much time the child spends with them. There are different rates and calculations depending on the circumstances, and legal advice can help you understand how much support you may be entitled to.

In England and Wales, grandparents do not have automatic rights to contact their grandchildren. However, they can apply for permission (leave) from the court to make an application for a child arrangements order to give them contact with their grandchildren. The court will consider the application based on what is in the best interests of the child, including the connection and level of involvement the grandparents have with the child, and the potential impact of the proposed contact on the child’s life.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legal documents that couples enter into either before (pre-nuptial) or after (post-nuptial) their marriage. These agreements outline how assets, debts, and financial affairs should be handled during the marriage and in the event of a divorce or separation.

  • Prenuptial Agreements: Entered into before marriage, these agreements can outline the division of assets, responsibilities for debts, and financial arrangements if the marriage ends. 
  • Postnuptial Agreements: Similar to prenuptial agreements, but established after a couple is already married. These are often used when circumstances change, such as receiving a significant inheritance, a change in financial status, or after a reconciliation following marital difficulties.

Both types of agreements can benefit couples by:

  • Providing clarity and certainty over financial matters.
  • Protecting individual assets and financial interests.
  • Simplifying and potentially speeding up the divorce process, if necessary.
  • Reducing the potential for conflict and costly legal disputes over finances.

Mediation is a process where an impartial third party (the mediator) helps couples discuss and resolve disputes related to family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, and financial settlements. It’s a voluntary process that encourages open communication and negotiation to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

The mediation process involves several steps:

  1. Initial Assessment: The mediator meets with both parties to explain the process, assess its suitability, and ensure both parties are willing to participate.
  2. Mediation Sessions: Both parties meet with the mediator in a series of sessions to discuss the issues at hand and negotiate terms. These sessions can be conducted jointly or separately, depending on the circumstances and preferences.
  3. Agreement: When an agreement is reached on all or some of the issues, the mediator will draft a “Memorandum of Understanding” outlining the terms. This document is not legally binding but can be made so through subsequent legal processes.

GoodLaw’s experienced family law team offers mediation services designed to facilitate constructive discussions, helping you reach agreements that work for you and your family.

Personal and Professional Family Law Advice

GoodLaw Solicitors LLP promise you a professional, personal, and jargon-free service throughout. We have a team of leading family lawyers in Sussex and Surrey and may be able to offer you a free initial 30-minute consultation in qualifying circumstances. Once we have discussed your requirements, we will provide a personalised breakdown of the likely costs involved in your case and advise you on what your next steps will be in the legal process. All our fees are transparent and you will always be made aware of any legal charges.

Call us now to arrange your first meeting on 01273 956 270 or 01252 471 211

Family Law Resources

Useful Links

Useful links and resources relating to Family Law

Youth Advocacy Project

E: [email protected]

T: 01273 295510

Text: 07870 68948

YAP is a young people’s advocacy service provided by Brighton and Hove city council. YAP operates as an independent service and has the mandate to challenge BHCC policy and practice.

Survivors’ Network

Support survivors of sexual violence and abuse in Sussex

E: survivorsnetwork.org.uk

T: general enquiries 01273 203380

T:Helpline (support for survivors and their supporters) 01273 720 110

E: [email protected]

AdviceNow

We are legal advisors for the charity AdviceNow. Read some of their guides below:

All Advice Guides

A Guide to Child Arrangements

PDF Downloads

PDF Downloads relating to Family Law

Pensions and Divorce: Exploratory Analysis of Quantitative Data

A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce

A Guide to Protecting Your Assets

A Guide to Our Mediation Services

Family Resource Articles

Our Family Law Team

Resolution Members & Law Society Accredited

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