Our expert family lawyers are experienced in handling disputes in a sensitive and solution-focused way, and we follow the Resolution Code of Practice. We understand the raw emotions that are involved following a relationship breakdown or death in the family and the need for parties and their families to create stability and move forward.
Our lawyers can be trusted to advise on and explore the full range of dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, negotiated settlement, or litigation through the Family Court. We specialise in the full range of private family law disputes including:
Child arrangements orders to determine with whom a child should live with and how much time, if any, they should spend with the non-resident parent (child contact).
Children Act 1989 proceedings for specific issue orders.
Divorce and financial relief proceedings following divorce.
Family Law Act 1996 injunctions for non-molestation orders; occupation orders and transfers of tenancy.
Enforcement applications and applications for contempt of court.
We also provide private client services for individuals and families as follows:
Drafting lasting powers of attorney for both financial decisions and health and care decisions;
Will drafting and codicils;
Bringing and defending claims by dependents under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
Advising on intestacy, probate, and the administration of estates.
Divorce and Judicial Separation
Our family lawyers are experienced in supporting individuals who are seeking to dissolve their marriage or civil partnership by applying for a divorce or who for a range of reasons, do not want to be legally divorced, but would like to apply for judicial separation to reflect the fact that their union has come to an end.
We provide advice and representation with respect to divorce in England and Wales, as well on international divorce and transnational divorce disputes.
Our Solicitors and Barristers act for both petitioners and respondents all the way from the divorce petition stage until the conclusion of the financial remedies proceedings if a financial settlement cannot be negotiated.
We understand that even if after parties reach a settlement or a final order is made by the court, there may be circumstances justifying a review of the settlement agreed by the parties or an order made by the court. We can be instructed to assist the parties with the following Matrimonial Causes act 1973 applications:
Applications for discharge and variation of orders for financial orders
Applications for alteration of agreements by the court either during the lives of the parties or following the death of one of the parties
Private Family Law Applications
Child arrangements and section 8 orders
On the breakdown of a relationship, one of the most immediate challenges can be agreeing on arrangements for your children. How often will a party who was used to having daily contact with their child be allowed to see them? Where will contact take place given the new living arrangements of the parties? Are there any safety concerns (whether for the child or for one of the parents) that need to be factored in before child contact can take place safely and positively?
In other cases, the parties may have informally agreed on arrangements or there may already be a court order in place, but a party wishes to amend the arrangements or even move abroad which may mean a significant change to the quality and quantity of time that the child spends with the non-resident parent.
An increasingly common situation that arises on relationship breakdown, especially with dual heritage children, is that one of the parties may threaten or attempt to either take the child to another country or from the care of the main caregiver.
Our family law team is experienced in dealing with the full range of scenarios that may arise in the context of contact with children, including where applications are made by relatives and extended family members.
Where you or your child have been subjected to incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, domestic violence or abuse by a partner, former partner or members of your family, we can help you to apply to the court for an injunction prohibiting the perpetrator from continuing their unlawful conduct.
We will guide you through the proceedings until the final order and we will also advise you on any other remedies, such as an undertaking, which might be appropriate to secure your safety and well-being.
If you have been served with an application, we can assist you to challenge the appropriateness of an order being made either at the interim stage or at final hearing and to pursue a cross-application where appropriate in cases where the other party is the actual perpetrator of the abuse and has pursued an application maliciously.
Following separation, former couples often struggle to continue living together in the former family home and the friction often leads to fights and arguments or to one of the parties temporarily leaving the property and it can become necessary for the court to regulate the occupation of the former family home.
The court has the power to enforce one party’s right to remain in occupation as against the other, to require each party to occupy the whole or a distinct part of the property, to restrict the right of one party to terminate the other party’s right of occupation and also to exclude a party from coming within a defined area of the former family home.
Whether you are the owner, co-owner, tenant or joint tenant of a property, or the spouse or partner of a person who is the sole legal owner or tenant of the property and you have “home rights”, our family law team can advise you on your rights of occupation or help you to defend an application for a non-occupation order made against you.
Transfers of Tenancy
One of the most difficult and most important decisions following a relationship breakdown can be what happens to the ownership of the former family home which is rented from the Local Authority or a Housing Association. The property may be in your sole name, in joint names or in the sole name of your former partner, who may or may not still be occupying the property. There may also be young children who will be or have been affected by the separation.
Our family lawyers are experienced in representing applicants and respondents in Schedule 7 Family Law Act 1996 proceedings for transfers of relevant tenancies and can be trusted to advise you on how the housing needs; housing resources and financial resources of both parties, as well as the welfare of the parties and any relevant children, will be taken into consideration by the court in deciding what order it should make and whether compensation should be payable by one party to the other.
Cohabitation and Trusts of Land Disputes
Our family law team specialises in disputes over property which consists of or includes land under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 between unmarried couples, (former) cohabitees, family members and private individuals.
With increasing numbers of people cohabitating, on relationship breakdown, cohabitees fall outside the scope of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which allows the court to determine how marital assets should be shared or distributed. Instead, under a trust of land it is necessary to determine the express or common intentions of the land owners when the property was purchased and to look at whether or not the intentions of the parties changed over the course of their relationship or in the case of investment properties, the period of ownership taking into account all the relevant circumstances.
We can be instructed to prepare notices to sever joint tenancies and to advise and represent parties (including interested parties) who are unable to reach an agreement on how the relevant trust of land is held. We also draft cohabitation agreements for parties who wish to record their intentions to avoid any future disputes.
Even where there is no dispute as to how the trust of land is held between those with a beneficial interest in trust property, the trustees may be unable to reach agreement over the exercise of the rights of the beneficiaries, e.g. whether to sell the land, whether a particular beneficiary can occupy the trust land to the exclusion of the other beneficiaries, etc. and so an application to the court under s.14 Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 needs to be made.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Our family lawyers are regularly instructed to assist individuals (donors) to create a power of attorney (a type of deed) to allow another person (the donee) to act on their behalf in relation to their property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare. The lasting powers conferred are not revoked if the donor later loses mental capacity.
Common scenarios where donors might want to create a lasting power of attorney are:
Where they are elderly and want support from a friend or family member to deal with their affairs because they are confined to the house; have mobility issues and/or are in a care home.
Future planning – not all donors are middle-aged or elderly. In fact, many young people choose to create a LPA because of concerns of what would happen in the future if they become mentally incapable by reason of an accident or illness and their partner struggles to access money in bank or building society accounts, or deal with other assets without an application to the Court of Protection.
“An absolutely wonderful and supportive service. Professional and friendly with outstanding knowledge. Always readily available any time of the day or night. Thank you so much. Such an amazing team that I will certainly use again.”
“I am very happy wth the service at Black Antelope Law. Their professionalism and friendly manner reassures you that the end result will be the best.”
- Fateha Khanom
“Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to you for everything you have done for my son and I. We are so grateful and so pleased it's all finally over. We got there in the end and got a great result for our future. Our first day of freedom and the start to our new life. I'm officially single !! ”
Family Law case studies
Child Arrangements Case Study
The Mother opposed contact on the basis that: (i) she and the children had been the victims of domestic abuse at the hands of the Father; and (ii) the Father’s application was motivated by his desire to regularise his immigration status after the breakdown of their marriage. Both allegations were disputed by the Father.
Financial Remedies Case Study
Black Antelope Law was instructed by LW (the wife), to file for divorce and make a financial remedies application against AW (the husband). The parties had one son, who was 9 at the beginning of the case.
Transfer of Tenancy Case Study
After BB’s marriage with VM broke down, VM issued an application in the Family Court to have BB’s tenancy transferred into her name and SR was added as an interested party as VM was also seeking to extinguish/transfer SR’s interest in the flat to herself.