THE FAMILY AND
CHILD CARE TEAM

OUR FAMILY LAW TEAM

Our Family and Child Care team has a local and national reputation for its work in all aspects of child and family law. We are committed to providing a thorough, high-quality service to our clients. We have several members of the Law Society’s Children Panel, domestic violence specialists, and lawyers who deal with the financial aspects of divorce.

The Family team consists of Joint Heads of Department Sheila Donn, Beverley King, consultant  Claire Turney, and solicitors Denise Hoilette, Giuseppe de Sica, Linda Lusingu, and Somia Siddiq. The team is supported by trainee solicitors Joanna Walker and Ceylan Kahya.

Our dedicated staff have been closely involved with various campaigning groups and charities, including  Gingerbread, Refuge, Family Rights Group and The Grandparents’ Association. We are members of Resolution, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association, the leading organisation for lawyers committed to resolving family disputes in a constructive way. We also provide pro bono advice and law student training at London South Bank University Legal Advice Clinic.

HOW WE CAN HELP

Divorce, dissolution of civil partnership and financial matters

We understand that when a marriage breaks down, dealing with divorce and separation is difficult and often distressing. As well as the emotional fall-out from the breakdown of any relationship there may be practical legal issues concerning children and division of financial assets. We will deal with your case sensitively and sympathetically and try to ensure that it proceeds at a pace you are comfortable with.

We aim to do everything we can to minimise the emotional and financial costs of separation. Whether your case is straightforward or complicated, we can help with:

  • Getting divorced/separated
  • Understanding your financial rights and obligations
  • Agreeing living arrangements for your children

Our experienced team of solicitors will offer you expert, practical and clear advice. When the situation demands, we will deal robustly on your behalf with other lawyers and professionals.

We offer a fixed-fee package for divorce.

Living Together

It is a common misconception that when a couple has lived together for a certain period they acquire “common law” rights.

At present, a couple who have been living together do not have any of the legal rights of a couple in a formal marriage or civil partnership. When a couple separates after living together, their financial rights and obligations are radically different, even if they have children. If your relationship breaks down, we can use our expertise to help you come to the best arrangement.

We also provide advice to couples who are considering moving in together, setting out their rights and obligations in “living together” contracts or prenuptial agreements.

Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse and Injunctions

“Domestic violence” or “domestic abuse” can happen to anyone in all kinds of relationships. People suffer domestic abuse regardless of class, age, race, disability, sexuality, gender or lifestyle. It is not limited to incidents of physical violence, but includes any threatening or intimidating behaviour – psychological, emotional, financial or physical – and any form of abuse that might harm somebody else, such as a child, or create a risk of harm.

Domestic violence cases can often receive legal aid. We will check whether you are eligible for legal aid at an initial meeting and will help you to fill in the relevant forms and paperwork. We will tell you what your options are and if necessary can apply to court for an injunction to protect you.

An injunction is simply a court order with conditions attached – for example, preventing threats, use of violence or harassment. It might forbid an abusive person from making contact with you or from coming within a certain distance of your home. Where appropriate, injunctions can be applied for and put in place quite rapidly – often within 48 hours. At this kind of emergency court hearing, the opponent will usually not be present.

Breaching an injunction can be an arrestable offence, and someone who has breached an order may face a prison sentence of up to 5 years, or a fine, or both.

If you are on the receiving end of court papers concerning domestic violence, we can tell you what the implications might be, what you might need to do, and what options are available to the court in dealing with the application. We can come to court with you at short notice and provide detailed advice as the case develops.

Children Matters

Please see our child law page.

FUNDING YOUR CASE

If you are on certain benefits or have a low income you may be entitled to legal aid to help with your legal costs. When you come to see us for advice, we will check whether you are eligible.

If you do not qualify for legal aid we may be able to arrange a different way of paying for your case, such as fixed fees. We will be as clear as possible about the costs of your case and what we will charge.

If you have a family matter that we can assist you with, contact us on 020 3207 2074 or by email at postroom@philcoxgray.co.uk.