Malton - 01653 692247
York - 01904 716000
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Malton 01653 692247
Family & Children

Family Law Solicitors Malton, York & Wetherby

When your marriage or relationship breaks down

When a marriage or relationship breaks down, reaching agreement on the important issues can be challenging for everyone involved. At Pearsons & Ward, we provide clear and reliable support to couples to help them manage their separation and achieve outcomes that protect their interests and those of their children. We aim to avoid stressful and costly court proceedings wherever possible by taking a collaborative approach to reach a consensus. Our solicitors can help you to focus on what is most important, allowing you to make a fresh start as quickly as possible.

Contact arrangements for children – indirect Contact

Along with the welfare issues to be considered when thinking how to meet your child’s needs, parents who are separating will need to decide on practical issues around the contact arrangements with the other Parent.

There are a number of different types of Child arrangements, which vary in terms of the quality of the time spent which occurs.

Indirect contact means the amount of time a parent has with a child that is not face-to-face. In an increasingly digital age, this can now take many formats. If you need advice on the various ways in which arrangements might work or be appropriate for your children, please contact our Family Team.

How do we deal with our mortgage during a divorce?

With interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis in the headlines on a daily basis, mortgage affordability is a key concern for many homeowners, not least for couples who are separating and wondering how this will affect their mortgage arrangements.

Most divorcing couples will have a mortgage on their family home, and the family home is likely to be their largest asset.  The mortgage may be in joint names, or it could be in one person’s sole name. Either way, the house will be considered a matrimonial asset if it is the family home, and it will need to be dealt with as part of the financial settlement.

Whether a mortgage is affected by divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, and the extent to which it is affected, will depend on the terms of the financial settlement or any court order. 

Contact our family law experts who will be able to advise you on the options available to you in respect of your mortgage on divorce. 

Can I amend our divorce settlement due to a chronic health condition?

During a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, there are a number of factors that must be taken into account when dividing financial assets.  These factors include any mental or physical disability of either spouse or civil partner and what their current and future financial needs will be.  This provides scope to make a fair and just settlement for anyone that maybe suffering a chronic health condition - a long term illness which is likely to significantly impact a person’s function, earning capacity and future financial needs. 

What happens if you had agreed a settlement and have been subsequently diagnosed with a chronic health condition which affects your earning capacity? 

When it comes to divorce or dissolution settlements, a chronic health condition can have a significant impact on the financial division of assets.  If your diagnosis was after a settlement has already been reached, then it may be possible to have your settlement reopened to ensure that your financial needs are met.  Contact our Family Lawyer as this is not a simple process and it will require urgent and early legal intervention if it is to have a chance of success.

Enforcing child contact arrangements

Following the breakdown of a relationship, most parents can reach an agreement amicably regarding the arrangements for children.  Ensuring practical working arrangement requires both parents to behave sensibly and in the best interests of each child.  Unfortunately, as any family lawyer will tell you, that does not always happen. 

If a court had to decide your child’s living arrangements, then this will have been determined under a contact or residence order (prior to 2014) or a child arrangement order (post 2014). 

For the majority of parents, when a court order is made, the terms are followed.  Sadly, that is not always the case.  When a court order is breached you have a number of options.  The circumstances surrounding the breach will dictate how you proceed.  Seeking early legal advice is always wise so that you can understand your options and rights.

Parental responsibility and assisted conception via IVF or a donor

‘Parental responsibility’ is a legal term which reflects the rights, duties, powers, and responsibilities you have for a child.  It gives the holder the legal right to make certain decisions about a child, such as which school they attend and if they will undergo medical treatment. More than one person can hold parental responsibility.

It is extremely important that all parties involved in an assisted conception understand what their role will be, if any, in raising the child. 

It is best to obtain early specialist advice in order that the appropriate arrangements and agreements can be put in place if necessary. If you need expert advice on matters relating to parental responsibility or assisted conception, please contact our experienced lawyers today.

Family Law Solicitors Malton, York & Wetherby

Our Family Law department can offer advice on:

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law is an approach used by family lawyers to manage the divorce process in a dignified manner. Solicitors and their clients make a written agreement to reach a settlement without going to court. They agree to work together to resolve outstanding matters, such as provisions for their children and financial issues, that arise from a divorce or separation. The parties use negotiation and other problem-solving techniques to help shape a fair agreement.

The collaborative law process involves you and your partner agreeing with your solicitors to settle issues without going to court. You and your lawyers meet face-to-face to reach an agreement. Both parties are required to provide all information and disclosure from the outset. You will be in control of the process with your solicitors present to provide legal advice and guidance.

What if collaborative law won’t work for me?

If collaborative law isn't appropriate for your circumstances, you and your partner can try mediation to achieve an agreement. A third party (a mediator) can help you to reach a settlement on matters such as money, property, and how your children will be cared for. If mediation is unsuccessful, you might have to go to court to settle your differences. If this happens, you will typically have to show that you have been to mediation and an information assessment meeting (MIAM) beforehand. This is an introductory meeting which explains what mediation is and how it can help.

What happens if we still can’t reach an agreement?

If you can't amicably reach a settlement, you may have to go to court. In England and Wales, disputes over marriage and children are dealt with by the Family Court. The Family Court can make decisions about who is entitled to what after a divorce or separation. It can also decide who should make maintenance payments and how much this should be, as well as decisions about where your children should live and when the other parent can see them.

The Family Court has many locations throughout the country. Judges of different ranks, ranging from magistrates with no legal qualifications to High Court judges, can hear cases. These are assigned based on the nature of the dispute and the complexity of the case. Most hearings concerning children are held in private.

Contact our Family & Child Law Solicitors in Yorkshire

To find out more about our Family & Child Law services and how we can help you, call us today on 01653 692247 (Malton) or 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby), or complete our online enquiry form.