Family Law

No one wants to think that they could experience problems in their family life that would require legal intervention. If you do, however, you need to know that you can go to a Solicitor who will guide you through what may be one of the most traumatic experiences and most vulnerable of times in your life in full knowledge that your solicitor will not make a bad situation worse.

Our niche Family Team have an enthusiasm and passion which is reflected in our commitment in assisting in all areas of family life and in our desire to support children and parents when they face the legal process.

Our team includes accredited members of the Law Society Family Panel, Law Society Children Panel and Resolution Panel. We also have one trained Collaborative Lawyer and two specialist Family Mediators.

Our specialist services include:

 

Separation and Divorce

Let us sensitively guide you through the legal complexities of divorce and/or separation at a time when you feel you’re most vulnerable. We will advise negotiate and conduct matters so as to assist you in achieving a constructive settlement in as amicable way as possible. We recognise you will need time to adjust to your new situation and we will work to protect your interests throughout.

Matrimonial Finances

Financial arrangements arising out of divorce, separation and/or the ending of civil partnerships can be complicated. The guiding legal principal is to achieve a fair settlement for you both. How better to achieve is different for every family as different considerations are taken into account according to each family’s varying circumstances. This is further complicated where there are children involved.

We have experience in dealing with cases of both high and more modest monetary value and our team of family lawyers will give you sound advice to achieve a fair settlement for you whatever your situation.

Increasingly couples are opting to enter into a prenuptial agreement and, although not legally binding, the Court can take this into account upon marriage breakdown when financial settlements are considered.

Ancillary Relief Procedure

Where there are financial matters to be addressed within a Divorce, which is in most cases, we need to establish at any early stage whether it is appropriate to issue what is known as an Ancillary Relief Application. Making such an Application to the Court should not be regarded as a hostile step or a last resort, but rather a way of starting the Court timetable.

When addressing financial matters, it is incumbent upon both parties to provide full financial disclosure. There is an obligation upon the parties to make full and frank disclosure of all material facts, documents and any other information relevant to the issues. The duty of disclosure in an ongoing obligation and includes the duty to disclose any material changes after initial disclosure has been given.

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Civil Partnership

The Civil Partnership Act came into force on 5th December 2005. A “Civil Partnership” is defined as a relationship between two people of the same sex, which has been formed by registration in England and Wales or, alternatively, a relationship which has been formed overseas but that is recognised in England and Wales.

The registration of a Civil Partnership must not be in religious premises which are defined as a place used solely or mainly for religious purposes and each of the parties must give notice of the proposed partnership to an authority for registration. Once notice has been given, the parties must wait a further fifteen days.

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Cohabitation

Despite general public perception, there is no such thing as a “Common Law spouse”. If you live together with your partner but are not married/formed a Civil Partnership then your rights and obligations relating to property, children and maintenance are very different compared to couples who have undertaken a formal Ceremony. This can often lead to situations which, in the general sense, seem very unfair.

Society has changed extensively over the years and the trend is that more and more couples are living together. According to the National Statistics Office, between 1996 and 2004 the number of cohabiting couple families increased by over fifty per cent. The Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005, has enabled same sex couples to register their relationship and create what is known as a Civil Partnership. (See Civil Partnership Fact Sheet). Civil Partnerships bring with it certain rights which are similar to those of a Married couple. However, what about those who live together but are neither Married nor have entered into a Civil Partnership?

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Pre-marital Agreement

In order for a Pre-Marital Agreement to have any standing in a subsequent Divorce it is important that the following guidelines are adhered to: -

  1. Each party should have independent legal advice.
  2. Full financial disclosure should take place – this means that each Solicitor should be given the complete picture in respect of your assets, income and debts and this information shall subsequently be exchanged between Solicitors.
  3. Pre Nuptial Agreements should preferably be completed three months before the Wedding. The sooner the better, but if there is a whirlwind courtship or the matter is overlooked, it is best to compete a late Pre Nuptial Agreement than none at all.
  4. No undue influence should be exerted. If one party is pressured into signing then this is a relevant factor which will be taken into account later if the Marriage fails.

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Domestic Violence


If you are a suffering from domestic violence within your relationship, this can be an emotional, frightening and difficult time. Our experienced family law solicitors understand this sensitive situation and are sympathetic and alert to the issues surrounding it including the effect that this behaviour has on children, and your life outside of the home.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of their social group, class, age, race, disability, sexuality or lifestyle. Abuse can begin at any time – in a new relationship or after many years together.

Here at Susan Howarth solicitors, we understand that if you are experiencing domestic violence you may feel humiliated, alone and confused. We know that you are not to blame and we are here to help you.

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Childrens Act Proceedings

Sometimes if matters in relation to the children cannot be resolved amicably between the parties, it is necessary to issue an Application to the Court. Applications can be issued to cover any matter which may be affecting the children following separation of the adults such as education, medical treatment, holidays or matters of residence/contact or protective measures.

Proceedings can be filed in either the Family Proceedings Court or the County Court. If there are connected Divorce Proceedings, the Application will need to be made in the same County Court as in a Divorce.

The purpose of such Proceedings is to resolve any disagreement regarding future arrangements for your children.

For more information, please click here to download our fact sheet.

Susan  Howarth
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41 Chesterway
Northwich
Cheshire
CW95JE
01606 48777
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41 Chesterway
Northwich
Cheshire
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Kirsten Grotte
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41 Chesterway
Northwich
Cheshire
CW95JE
01606 48777