Family Law Solicitors

Our team of Family Lawyers are dedicated specialists who pride themselves on being highly approachable, sensitive, and supportive.

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Divorce & Family Solicitors

As experienced Family Lawyers we are well aware that the thought of taking advice and talking to anyone about your situation can be an emotional and daunting prospect, but like you, our Family Lawyers are everyday people with families of their own, so we are sensitive to your situation and needs. Every relationship is different, we will look at your situation and begin to plan solutions to help alleviate your worries.

Our Family lawyers cover a range of legal issues including divorce, separation, financial settlements, children, domestic abuse, mediation, pre and postnuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and international family law.

Child Law
Cohabitation Agreements
Domestic Abuse & Injunctions
Family Mediation
Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements
Wills, Trusts & Private Wealth
Property Law

Divorce Lawyers

Divorce is one of the most life-changing experiences you may have to go through. As well as being emotionally difficult, the financial implications can be huge. We pride ourselves on providing clear, succinct advice in an empathetic and supportive way. As a full-service law firm, we can draw on our colleagues in relevant departments to provide a full package of support and advice, something that smaller, boutique, family-only law firms cannot.

If it is clear that your relationship has ended, the first step is to consult a lawyer to discuss the divorce process and to any other relevant issues that may arise, for example the settlement of your finances and arrangements for the care of your children.

Our divorce solicitors services can support with:

  • The divorce process
  • Finance on divorce
  • Children 
  • Domestic abuse
  • Mediation
  • Pension sharing
  • Property

Divorce Services

Child Law

Parental responsibility is the legal term used for the obligations and rights parents have in respect of their child. You and your former partner are likely to share parental responsibility for the child, whatever the living arrangements. This should mean you are both involved in all major decisions such as those about the child’s health, education, and religion.

In most circumstances, same-sex partners will both have parental responsibility if they were married or civil partners at the time of the treatment which lead to conception. For same-sex partners who aren’t married or civil partners, the second parent can obtain parental responsibility by either applying for parental responsibility, or by becoming a spouse or civil partner of the other parent and making a parental responsibility agreement.

We are child-focused lawyers, who place the best interests of the child at the centre of our advice. Our advice draws on years of experience, and we offer practical solutions that aim to minimise distress caused to children. We will give you clear and responsive advice in emergency situations.

Child Law Services

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation is a term used to describe unmarried couples who are in a relationship and live together. It applies to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. If you and your partner share a home, and are not married or in a civil partnership, you are a cohabiting couple.

A cohabitation agreement records the intentions of cohabitants in relation to property and any other assets they own either jointly or individually and what should happen if the relationship breaks down.

Cohabitation agreements are legally binding contracts, provided that they are drafted and executed properly, and are signed as a deed. It is therefore essential to obtain legal advice before entering in to any such agreement.

The family team at Herrington Carmichael are experienced in dealing with all matters in relation to cohabitation. If you are planning to move in with your partner, but do not currently have any plans to get married, we can help you put a cohabitation agreement in place that makes it clear what each of your financial responsibilities are.

Cohabitation Agreements

Domestic Abuse & Injunctions

We have considerable experience acting for individuals and families suffering domestic violence and recognise the harmful impact of controlling and coercive behaviour on its victims. We pride ourselves on being highly approachable, sensitive, and supportive during what can be a difficult and emotional time.

Non-Molestation Orders: In certain circumstances, the court may make a Non-Molestation Order prohibiting someone from using or threatening violence against an ex-partner or instructing a third party to do so. A non-molestation order carries with it an automatic power of arrest if breached.

Occupation Orders: In certain circumstances, the court may make an Occupation Order ousting one party from the family home.

Accused of Domestic Abuse?
If you have been served with court papers notifying you that your partner has applied for an injunction against you and that there is a hearing taking place in the Family Court, it is important that you take advice as soon as possible.

Our team of highly skilled lawyers has experience in handling complex domestic abuse defence cases. We can help you to defend a non-molestation injunction order application and ensure that your voice is heard so that you are able to rebut any untrue allegations.

Domestic Abuse & Injunctions

Family Mediation

Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator assists you with working out arrangements for children and/or finances following separation. A mediator is completely impartial and does not take sides or make judgements. They work with both parties involved to find a mutually agreeable solution to move forward with and prevent the need to go to court.

What is a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?

  • What do we do?
  • Where do we go?
  • What about our children?

These are immediate and important questions for many separating couples. A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting provides an opportunity to ask them and get the answers which will enable you to make informed decisions about how you want to move forward. For families going through the process of separation and divorce, it can be a very effective first port of call for information about children, divorce and finances, physical, mental and emotional well-being, other relevant services and resources as well as getting legal advice.

Mediation Services

Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements

No one goes into a marriage anticipating that it will end, but if divorce becomes a reality, most, if not all, couples would like their separation to be as amicable as possible with minimal uncertainty and worry over financial matters. This is why it can be sensible to sit down with your partner and agree on important financial matters at the outset of your relationship, whilst you are able to communicate openly and effectively.

The purpose of a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement is to record who owns what and how those assets will be divided between the parties if the marriage breaks down. Whilst they are not currently legally binding in England and Wales, these types of agreements are carrying significantly more weight in the courts following the landmark decision in Radmacher v Granatino [2010].

At an initial meeting we will explain the law in relation to marital agreements, and their advantages and disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision about whether an agreement is right for you and your partner.

We can also advise on the enforceability and recognition of marital agreements and the setting aside of agreements which may be unfair.

Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements

Wills, Trusts & Private Wealth

Herrington Carmichael LLP has been advising families and businesses for over 175 years providing increasingly specialist legal practice. Our Private Wealth solicitors offer a wide range of services, beyond that of a traditional private client law firm to meet the demands of UK and international clients.

We can help you with:

  • Wills – Creating your Will so you have complete control over what happens to your assets when you pass away.
  • Trusts & Estate Planning – Setting up your trusts so your assets are protected and your loved ones are looked after.
  • Probate & Estate Administration – Validating a deceased loved one’s Will and assessing their assets and liabilities.
  • Inheritance & Tax Planning – Minimising tax impacts when dividing out your inheritance.
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) – Assigning your Lasting Powers of Attorney if you lose your mental capacity in the future.
  • Wills & Inheritance Disputes – Help provide a solution if you have been unfairly left out of a Will.
  • Court of Protection – Appointing someone to help make decisions when a loved one has lost their mental capacity.

Private Wealth & Inheritance

Property Law

Our property team is one of the largest and most experienced in the region. Our professionals provide a specialist service across a range of practice areas.

Our strength across residential development, commercial investment property and real estate finance is shown through our growing list of over 40 active regional house builders and national developers including Cala Homes, Barratt, Bovis, David Wilson Homes and many more.

Our teams are very experienced and can answer all of your property needs, from plot sales through to purchase of your brand-new home.

Property Law


I have been married for less than a year – can I get divorced?

In order to divorce in England and Wales, parties must have been married for at least one year.

In the event that you have been married for less than one year but you wish to formally record your separation and any agreement you have reached in relation to your finances, one option is to enter into a Separation Agreement which can remain in place until such time as you can divorce.

I am in a same-sex marriage – is the divorce process the same?

Yes. Same-sex couples can obtain a no-fault divorce in the same way as heterosexual couples.

What is the process of settling matrimonial finances?

At the meeting we will run through your assets and explain to you what further financial disclosure you might need to be able to make an informed decision about settlement. For example, this might include property valuations where a property value is in dispute; an independent accountancy report if there are business assets which are disputed or a pension sharing report to understand the pensions and how they might be divided between you. We will also explain what factors the court will take into consideration if the court was being asked to make a decision and the various orders that can be made.

We will also run through the various options available to you and your spouse/civil partner to reach a financial settlement. Insofar as possible, we will work with you to negotiate a financial settlement with your spouse or their solicitor without the need to attend court. We take a pragmatic, realistic and commercial approach to settlement for all of our clients. Where court proceedings become necessary, however, our team are able to advise effectively on the strategy to ensure a fair outcome for you. We can also discuss with you alternative options to dispute resolution.

Who are Cafcass?

Cafcass stands for “Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service”.

Cafcass is an organisation that represents a child’s best interests in family law court proceedings. They provide reports and recommendations to assist judges in making decisions about child arrangements, and other issues affecting children.

Can family court decisions be appealed?

In most cases, you will have to ask a judge’s permission to appeal.

The judge will only grant this permission if they think the appeal has a real chance of succeeding or in family proceedings, there is some other valid reason for your appeal to be heard. If you are considering making an appeal, we would recommend that you seek independent legal advice from a family law solicitor.

What is the court’s approach to inheritance?

The starting point is that inherited assets are ‘non-matrimonial’ and are therefore not subject to the sharing principle, i.e. the party who inherited the assets will get to keep them. However, in some circumstances where there are insufficient matrimonial assets to meet both parties’ reasonable needs, the court may consider it fair to redistribute inherited wealth.

In other circumstances, the inherited assets may have been mingled with matrimonial assets (those that have been acquired during the relationship as a consequence of joint endeavor). It may be the case that the inherited assets have been matrimonialised and that they are, by reason of this mingling, subject the sharing principle.

The sharing principle provides that the starting point is equal sharing but there are always exceptions to the rule.

What can I do to protect my inheritance from a claim by my spouse?

If you would like to protect an inheritance, you may wish to consider entering into a nuptial agreement (a pre-nuptial agreement and/or a post-nuptial agreement). This would not prevent the court from making an order on divorce that your inheritance be shared (where needs required it) but would strengthen your case against sharing.

If you do not want to share your inherited capital, it will be crucial that you do not mingle it with matrimonial assets. For example, do not use it to reduce the mortgage on a jointly owned property or to pay off joint debt. Keep it separate. And if you do invest it in joint or otherwise matrimonial assets, obtain written agreement from your spouse that they acknowledge that they have no interest in the inheritance. However, even with such an agreement, the court will retain the ultimate decision-making power as to what is to become of it on divorce.

If you expect to inherit money or assets in the future, you may also wish to consider appropriate trust planning.

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