We understand that family breakdown can cause shock, uncertainty and destabilisation. We, as experienced Lawyers, can provide you with reassurance, stability and help reach a solution that is right for you.

We are recognised as one of the leading specialist family teams in the North East of England. Our experience and reputation are such that we receive instructions from clients based throughout the country and overseas. No family situation is the same as another. We do not offer a “one size fits all” solution but will tailor an individual package to suit a client’s particular circumstances.

Divorce & Separation

We understand how difficult it can be when relationships breakdown. Our specialist team will work with you to identify what the main issues are likely to be and the best way to reach a resolution.

We will explain to you the options available for divorce/separation such as mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and the Court. Indeed, Jenny Goldstein (Senior Partner), is also a fully accredited Mediator and Arbitrator.

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We work with clients across the country and overseas. We can tailor our service to meet your needs and can offer consultations via Skype.

You may be initiating divorce or separation, responding to a divorce petition, or a separation. Whatever the circumstances, we will provide you with a significant advantage and make a vast difference to the process and financial outcome.

We act both for parties seeking to protect their wealth and those wishing to claim their fair entitlement from the financially stronger spouse. You may be or are married to, a high net worth individual. There may be valuable assets at stake, by way of example, businesses, farms or large pensions. Having a divorce solicitor who specialises in complex or high-value financial matters is critical to ensure that the best outcome is achieved.

Children issues & support

We have a wealth of experience in working with clients to resolve children’s issues quickly, in the least hostile manner and putting the welfare of the child first.

The contentious issue is often where the child will live and who will they spend time with (sometimes referred to as custody). Disputes concerning children can be some of the most challenging issues faced by families and the Court.

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Our experienced solicitors can help guide you through the best options for you and your children to prevent expensive Court disputes where possible. If making an application to Court becomes necessary, we will advise you on the best approach to your case and provide strong representation and support throughout.

Jenny Goldstein is also a fully accredited Family Law mediator and a child specialist, accredited by national family law organisation, Resolution and the Law Society.

We also provide advice in relation to issues of child support, abduction, adoption and fostering.

Financial provision

Reaching a resolution of financial issues upon divorce can often be complex and require an understanding of business accounts, pensions and trust assets. There is also the issue of company/commercial planning, pension protection, asset distribution and income stabilisation.

Samuel Phillips Law has two highly experienced and expert matrimonial lawyers with over 60 years experience combined. They will approach your case with confidence, knowledge and an unrivalled range of experience, ensuring that the best outcome is achieved.

Civil Partnership

If you are currently in a civil partnership and your relationship has broken down, it is possible to apply to the Court for it to be dissolved. Dissolving a civil partnership provides the parties with the same entitlements as a spouse who gets divorced.

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You can apply for financial provision by way of lump sum, property transfer, maintenance and pension sharing orders. Furthermore, you can also apply for financial provision in respect of any child or children of the family.

A civil partner that seeks dissolution is entitled to not be evicted from the former family home. Each party is also able to apply for an injunction order under the Family Law Act 1996 should there have been domestic violence in the relationship.

Nuptial Agreements and Protection of Assets

A pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement can determine in advance how your assets will be shared should you later separate or divorce.

Production of such documents in advance of marriage or entering into a civil partnership will reduce the financial and emotional trauma that a divorce can bring. It also has the potential to enable you to both move on quickly and ensure that there is provision for the children.

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Pre-nuptial agreements are particularly important for high net worth individuals such as footballers, business owners and farming families.

Post-nuptial agreements are similar arrangements drawn up after a couple has married.

It is important to note that pre-nuptial agreements do not remove the jurisdiction of the Court. Notwithstanding this, a decision made by the Supreme Court in 2010, gave far more weight to pre-nuptial agreements.

Cohabitation

A recent survey commissioned by Resolution suggested that two-thirds of cohabiting couples are unaware that there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’. With fewer marriages taking place, cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK.

Notwithstanding this, there continues to be no legislation in England and Wales that adequately protects such couples on separation or death.  This potentially leaves millions of people financially vulnerable if their relationship fails or if their partner dies.

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Cohabiting couples can protect themselves by drawing up a cohabitation agreement which sets out intentions for finances, property and care of any children if the relationship breaks down.

If you are thinking of injecting capital into a property that you hold jointly with your partner, or that is held in your partner’s sole name, you should ensure that you have an open discussion about whether it is intended that you will acquire a beneficial interest, or an increased beneficial interest, as a result.

You should then enter into a declaration of trust which expressly sets out the legal and beneficial ownership of the property. If the parties are not married, the Courts will treat this declaration of trust as final.

Cohabitation agreements and declarations of trust avoid confusion and potentially lengthy and expensive litigation later down the line, as the Court does view them as conclusive evidence of the parties’ intentions.  The Court will only go behind them if there has been fraud, mistake or undue influence; or there has been a substantial variation of the parties’ intentions since.

Injunction & emergency relief

We strive to act without delay and decisively to obtain protection against the removal of children from the jurisdiction, domestic violence and the dissipation of financial assets.

Inheritance Claims

If someone close to you dies with or without a Will, you may find there is no provision for you on death.  In certain circumstances it may be possible to make a claim against the Estate for financial provision – this is not straight forward.  We have experience of dealing with complex situations for example where there are businesses run by a new partner and children to a new partner and to a marriage.

Frequently asked questions

  • I am the managing director of a substantial commercial property business. The business is established as a limited company. My husband has no shares in this company. How will this be dealt with? I am also a beneficiary of a family overseas trust.

  • I am a consultant and have a substantial pension. Will my wife has a claim over this and if so, how much?

  • I have been living with my partner for more than 2 years but we are not married. Do I have any additional rights?

  • When I obtain Decree Absolute will this end any financial claims that I might have?

  • I am paying maintenance for a child who does not live with me. Does this provide me with extra rights?

Meet the Family Law team

Solicitors

  • Jennifer Goldstein

    Senior Partner - Family Law

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  • Tim Mellors

    Consultant - Family Law

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  • Chloe Syron

    Solicitor - Family Law

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Support staff

  • Hannah Ralphs

    Legal Secretary - Family Law

  • Erin May

    PA to Jennifer Goldstein - Family Law