Family & Divorce
Family & Divorce
The experienced divorce lawyers at O’Neill Morgan Solicitors will guide you through the different processes, keeping you informed at all stages. We will work hard to secure a satisfactory outcome for you and your children.
Before our divorce solicitors can issue a divorce petition on your behalf, you have to be married or have entered into a civil partnership for at least one year. The only acceptable ‘grounds for divorce’ is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage demonstrated by:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Adultery (not if a Civil Partnership)
- Separation for at least two years, when both parties agree to a Divorce
- Separation for at least five years, when one of the parties does not agree to a Divorce
- Desertion for two years or more
A judge will grant a Decree Nisi if there are sufficient grounds in the divorce petition. A Decree Absolute can be obtained six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi has been granted. The marriage or civil partnership ends when the Decree Absolute is granted.
A divorce does not deal with financial arrangements. For this a separate court order is required; see the section on Financial and Property Orders. Once you are divorced you may also want to think about other issues such as reviewing your Will.
Going through a divorce can be a very emotional time. O’Neill Morgan’s divorce lawyers understand this, and will advise and guide you through the process.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding the division of financial and property assets on divorce. However, there are several issues that the Court will consider when deciding on the division of assets, including…
Capital, income and other assets – first of all our family lawyers will advise you to identify the full extent of your assets. This will require you to have your home and other assets valued, including an up to date valuation of pensions.
The Court will look at the income of the husband and the wife, and their earning capacity. Welfare of the Children will be the Court’s first consideration, ensuring that the children’s housing needs, as well as their day to day needs, are met. Where there are limited assets available, the children’s main carer will usually receive most or all of the liquid assets of the marriage to enable them to re-house the children.
Financial needs to re-house the children, as well as the husband and wife, will need to be estimated. It is usually necessary for each spouse to prepare a breakdown estimating how much they need to meet all of their outgoings on a monthly basis.
Differing contributions will be taken into account where either the husband or wife had significant assets prior to the marriage, or where one of them brought inherited assets into the marriage. The husband and wife are viewed as having contributed equally to the marriage, where one of them stayed at home to look after the children whilst the other one worked.
Other issues that are considered include: the ages of the parties, the length of the marriage; the standard of living before the breakdown of the marriage; and any physical or mental incapacity.
If you are involved in a dispute over children, it is important that you seek quality legal advice as soon as possible. The family law solicitors at O’Neill Morgan are both knowledgeable and approachable.
As part of the 1989 Children Act there is a “no order” principal therefore, as a matter of course, the court does not make Orders with regards to children. However, the court will intervene if there is a need to do so. The court can make the following orders:
- Residence Order– to determine where a child will live
- Contact Order– to determine when a child will see the parent or other relative with whom they do not live
- Specific Issue Order– to determine a particular issue which the parents cannot agree on
- Prohibited Steps Order– to prevent one parent taking action in relation to a child
The family law solicitors at O’Neill Morgan can support you in the drawing up of any of these orders, or advise you if an order is not complied with.
An absent parent must pay a percentage of their net income in maintenance. The level of maintenance depends upon the number of dependent children. The Child Support Agency (CSA) formula is:
- For one dependent child the level is 15% of net income
- For two dependent children the level is 20% of net income
- For three or more dependent children the level is 25% of net income
- For each night in the week that the children stay with the absent parent, the figure is reduced by one seventh.
In addition, a dependent spouse may also be entitled to spousal maintenance on divorce. There are a number of factors which determine if a spouse is entitled to such maintenance, including whether there are young children and if childcare issues will have an impact upon the spouse’s earning capacity, as well as where the spouse is working, and if there is a large disparity between the two spouse’s incomes.
O’Neill Morgan’s Family Lawyers can advise you on what you should receive, and can make a maintenance application on your behalf.
Domestic violence can include physical abuse, sexual assault and verbal threats. It can also include psychological harassment, isolation and constant breaking of trust. It can affect partners in all types of relationships.
It is quite often a big step for the individual to recognise that they are a victim of domestic violence, let alone do something about it. Our specialist domestic violence solicitors understand this and are sensitive to the situation.
Under the Family Law Act 1996, we can help our clients to apply for:
- An order that will protect you from threats and/or actual violence and abuse (a Non-molestation Order)
- An order that will regulate the occupation of your family home (an Occupation Order) by removing your abuser and allowing you to remain safely in your home.
As a firm, we have a great deal of experience when dealing with domestic violence, harassment and abuse issues. Our lawyers will be available throughout the course of the legal proceedings to provide advice, guidance and support should you have any concerns or queries.
We regularly help clients initiate legal proceedings in domestic abuse cases throughout Stockport and Cheshire