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  • 14 Jan 2019

    I'm thinking about getting a divorce or ending a relationship, where do I start?

    The breakdown of a relationship can be an emotional and confusing time. At Hegarty Solicitors, our family law specialists help you see the full picture and, where divorce or separation is the right thing to do, guide you through it step-by-step:


    If you have been married for at least one year and think that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in your relationship, you can apply to the court for a divorce. Of course there is usually a lot more to a decision to divorce than that. Emotions run high, practical considerations can be overwhelming and you may be worried about how much the process is likely to cost. We are here to give you straight answers and to hold your hand through the process, making sure that you get the best result as quickly, inexpensively and painlessly as possible.

    Separation Agreements

    Couples (married or unmarried) who are splitting up can formalise financial, family and other arrangements in a separation agreement. These sorts of agreements can be a useful stop-gap for couples who want to move on with their lives while waiting to finalise their divorce. We can advise you on the sorts of things you should be considering, as well as making sure that a properly prepared document is put in place.

    Children & Contact Agreements

    Divorce or separation is an unsettling time and, if you have children, you are probably anxious about how they will be affected. We understand this, and we make it our job to help you put in place the very best arrangements for your family’s future. Our family lawyers can advise you on your rights and on the practical possibilities when it comes to ensuring that your children – your main concern – are as settled and content as they can be.

    Parental Responsibility

    Parental responsibility is being able to make decisions about your child, from where they go to school to the medical treatment they receive. If you are an unmarried father, you do not automatically have parental responsibility unless you are named on the birth certificate, but it can be established by a court order. Speaking to us about your own status, or that of your partner, should make things clearer.

    Financial Settlements

    Unpicking the financial relationship between two people is rarely straightforward, but it need not involve a courtroom stand-off. We get to the heart of things quickly, usually negotiating a settlement between parties out of court. We can give you advice on your rights and responsibilities when it comes to dividing assets and sharing these with your partners and can help you and your partner reach a final agreement about your finances.

    Ancillary Relief

    Ancillary relief is the legal name for resolving the financial arrangements during a divorce. It can include maintenance payments, a lump sum and an order for property to be transferred into one of the party’s names. Regardless of whether the settlement is negotiated out of court or is decided by a judge, there is a formal court process for approving the terms. With our help it can be straightforward.

    Dissolution Of Civil Partnerships

    Ending a civil partnership is a big step to take. The dissolution process is the equivalent of divorce and the rules about when and how it should happen are strict. If this is something you are thinking about, we will help focus your mind on the practical steps you might need to take, and the wider considerations involved in any dissolution.

    Changing Your Name

    If you are going through a divorce or dissolution then you may be thinking about returning to a previous surname. This can be a relatively straightforward process, using a specially drafted change of name deed which we can prepare for you. If children are involved, the decision about whether, and how, to change your name will be more complex. With our help, you can be confident that you are making the best decisions.

    Domestic Violence & Abuse/Court Orders & Injunctions

    If you are being abused by your partner, husband or wife, there are things you can do to stop it. Physical, psychological, sexual and emotional abuse – including threats of abuse - all count as domestic violence and the effects can be hugely detrimental. If this applies to you, talk to us. We will act quickly, applying to the court for orders protecting you and your children. Talk to one of our family lawyers as soon as possible.


    The end of a relationship often leads to the sale of the family home. We recognise that this can add to the emotional challenges that divorce or separation present, and also that you are likely to want the sale process to be as quick and smooth as possible. That is where our residential conveyancing specialists can help, with expert property advice and practical, proactive support to push the transaction through.

    Wills & Trusts

    Divorce or separation changes your personal circumstances and those of the people around you, including any children. Talk to us about making a will, reviewing your existing will, or setting up trusts for dependents. Contact our Wills, Trusts and Wealth Management specialists for more information.

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