Family law – what are my options

40% of marriages breakdown. For the many going through divorce it is a very difficult time but seeing a specialist family law solicitor can make it a lot more bearable.

Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne offer a dedicated service to separating parties and, indeed, anyone with a family law problem. BH&O has a team of seven qualified solicitors dealing with separation, divorce, and children matters. All of us aim to resolve matters as swiftly and as amicably as possible.

Since opening in September 2018, we have developed a strong team, which now includes not only qualified and experienced solicitors, but also a family mediator. We cover most forms of family dispute resolution. One of the three founding partners Ruth Hawkins says “At BH&O, we believe in focussing on the key issues, and promoting a creative and problem-solving approach wherever possible, to our client’s family difficulties. Where there are children involved, we encourage our client’s to focus on their needs, and on the most constructive solutions for the family as a whole.”

According to recent statistics, the number of cohabiting couple families continues to grow faster than married couple and lone parent families, with an increase of 25.8% over the decade 2008 to 2018 to 3.4million individuals. Many cohabitees think that they have, or gain, rights if they live together with their partner for a period of time. Not so. Common law marriage has not existed since the eighteenth century. BH&O regularly advise those who have been in unmarried relationships about their position.

The statistics also show that people aged 45 to 64 years and 65 to 74 years have experienced the largest increases in living alone in recent years. This cohort represents a good many “silver splitters”; middle aged people whose relationships, particularly marriages, have broken down.

On separation, marriage or otherwise, financial matters need to be resolved. Must the house be sold or can I keep it? Will maintenance be payable? What lump sum will be awarded? What will happen to my business? All these are questions which BH&O experts can deal with.

BH&O also offer solutions to those entering a relationship. Our experts can advise those unmarried individuals about to embark on living together and prepare for them declarations of trust or living together agreements. The team is also accustomed to drafting pre-nuptial agreements. For example, this may be for someone intent on re-marriage who wants to make provision for children from their first marriage.

When it comes to arrangements for children, BH&O’s lawyers have a good deal of expertise. We can advise you about contact and issues related to where they should live. We can advise you about adoption and other options for caring for, or having a family. We also can help if you want to move abroad with your children in the face of opposition from the other parent. We have noted specialists in child protection work, and complex childcare litigation, and often advise grandparents and extended family members about their rights in relation to proceedings brought by the local authority.

We at BH&O can represent you on your personal protection matters with injunction proceedings. Acting urgently is our speciality so we can apply for interim maintenance and can also freeze assets where your spouse is trying to put them out of your reach.

Being up front about legal costs is a given for BH&O. We can advise you when you might be able to seek costs from your former spouse or partner and where a matter is suitable for a legal services order. We can tell you if you might be eligible for legal aid and offer details of litigation loans.

If you are worried about going to court, we can reassure you. Most divorces and many financial applications do not involve any attendance at court. BH&O offer most forms of out-of-court dispute resolution, mediation, and have good links with collaborative lawyers and arbitrators..

Alongside our team of lawyers, BH&O has formed links with a group of family therapists who can support clients where necessary.

BH&O has just been shortlisted by Jordan’s Family Law as Family Law firm of the year – South – and is unequalled in its expertise in family law in the Thames Valley. Call us for a confidential no-cost chat with one of our solicitors.

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