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Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) LLP and Pitmans LLP merged on 1 December 2018 to become BDB Pitmans LLP. More details can be found here

Family and Matrimonial

We provide assistance on a wide range of circumstances either at the outset of cohabitation, marriage or civil partnership, or on the breakdown of a relationship.

Sectors and Services
Individuals

 

We act for both UK and non-UK Citizens, offering discrete, comprehensive and tailored legal advice.

We can advise on:

  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Mediation
  • Children and adoption
  • Illness and loss of capacity
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Divorce or separation
  • Domestic violence

We tailor our approach to you and your circumstance. By working closely with our tax, trusts and property teams we can provide you with a full and comprehensive service. We have particular expertise in complex financial cases involving family trusts, businesses and international assets.

As members of Resolution, we will always encourage approaching family matters in the least confrontational way.

  • 1 Marriage or civil partnership
    Committing to a marriage or civil partnership is an important time to understand your legal rights. Every situation is unique, and should there be a dispute we’re here to help you avoid costly battles.

    Marriage

    We can advise on:
    • Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements
    • Divorce and separation

    Civil partnership

    We can advise on:
    • Pre-civil and post-civil partnership agreement
    • Same sex marriage
    • Separation and dissolution

  • 2 Mediation
    Family mediation can help separating couples resolve difficult issues without going through costly litigation and court proceedings.

    It is a voluntary process and the couple are guided by an experienced mediator to enable them to reach informed decisions following discussion and negotiation. The mediator is appointed by the couple jointly and is strictly neutral. Their role is to assist the couple and other family members to reach decisions that are workable and agreed. Mediation often produces individually tailored solutions that are more likely to be satisfactory for all concerned.

    Benefits of mediation:
    • Resolves all issues following separation
    • Keeps costs down
    • Helps minimise distress and conflict
    • Focuses on what is important
    • Keeps control of family decision making
    • Focuses on children’s needs and puts in place workable, long lasting arrangements for children
    • Resolves financial and property issues

     

  • 3 Divorce or separation
    The financial consequences of a relationship ending can be both daunting and complicated.

    We are here to guide you through the proceedings and ensure you are well protected. We will work closely with you to defend your interests, whether through the courts or alternative dispute resolution, and practically advise on any immediate financial concerns, maintenance and the division of assets.

    We can advise on:
    • Division of finances
    • Debts
    • Finalising arrangements with a consent order
    • Future arrangements for your children
    • Hidden assets
    • Mortgages
    • Protecting your business, property and trusts
    • Pensions
    • Splitting a pension pot rather than retirement income
    • Wills
    International Divorce

    International or expat divorces can be extremely complex with laws differing from country to country.

    The English legal system often provides financially beneficial results which are quicker and more effective. It is important to speak with a legal advisor as soon as possible before issuing divorce proceedings.

    We can advise on:
    • Child contact orders, relocation and abduction
    • Financial claims, pensions and tax implications
    • Freezing assets
    • Laws involving multiple jurisdictions
    • Protecting offshore businesses and trusts
    • Location of divorce proceedings

  • 4 Children and adoption
    Whatever the circumstance, caring for your child’s future will always be our priority.

    Children and adoption

    You may be facing divorce, ending a civil partnership, entering a relationship as a step parent or separating with / without a cohabitation agreement. In any situation your children’s future arrangements should be cared for.

    We can advise on:
    • Adoption
    • Appointing a guardian
    • Contact with children
    • Financial support and maintenance
    • Parental responsibility and paternal rights
    • Wills and inheritance

    Child abduction

    With the emotions and stress that come with a divorce, either partner may wish to return to their home country and take their children with them. Removing a child from the country where they live without your spouse’s written consent is considered abduction and is a criminal offence. When questioning your residence during divorce proceedings, you must seek advice as it is likely you will need the courts permission.

    If you are considering entering a marriage, a civil partnership or are moving abroad we would advise you to consider whether your joint financial plans should be recorded in an agreement setting out which financial assets you each own. This can outline, if the relationship were to breakdown, which law should apply and what should happen. The weight given to a nuptial agreement differs from country to country.

    As members of Lexwork international we have contacts with over 2500 lawyers in major cities across Europe, America and Asia.

  • 5 Cohabitation agreements
    No matter the length of time, any couple living together have fewer rights than those that are married or within a civil partnership. It is important to document your intentions in advance to offer legal protection if the relationship were to breakdown.

    We can minimise the legal and financial problems associated with separation through a cohabitation agreement. The terms ‘common law spouses’ or ‘common law husband and wife’ do not confer any legal rights or financial obligations, so if no contract is drawn you could be left with nothing, or a complex and costly dispute.

    You should question the following:
    • Financial arrangements
    • What would happen should you separate or your partner dies
    • What should happen to the children
    • How you will support your children should you break up
    • How you will agree on maintenance, welfare, education and contact arrangements

    Once agreed at the beginning, this can save on the pressures and heartache in the event of a break up.

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