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Family Law Solicitors in Leicester

How we can help

Our Family team is made up of extremely experienced solicitors, all of whom are members of Resolution including Accredited Specialists.  There is very little between them that they have not encountered and resolved for their clients.

At Josiah Hincks we have a specialist family law team headed by Jonathan Foster who works closely with Radmila Balac & Dawn Salter.  All are members of Resolution and Radmila is an Accredited Specialist. Dawn and Jonathan are collaborative lawyers whilst Jonathan was President of Leicestershire Law Society (2017 – 2018).

Our advice is clear, concise and comprehensive.

We are clear about our costs from the outset and throughout your matter, as well as being able to offer fixed fee services so you will know how much your legal fees will be.

We act for a broad range of clients based both in the UK and abroad, and for those where the family home is the main asset to high net worth individuals with businesses and trust assets. With our professional advice and assistance, you can be confident of achieving the best outcome for you and your family.


Separation / Separation of unmarried Couples

Resolving Financial Issues – personal, business, pensions & trusts

Prenuptial (prenup) & Post Nuptial agreements

Civil partnership dissolution and same-sex marriage

Child arrangements

Domestic violence cases

Cohabitation (Living together) agreements for unmarried couples


One off consultation service

Josiah Hincks Family Law Team and Family Solicitors in Leicester are committed to providing a professional and efficient service in respect of divorce, separation, children issues or finances. Our experienced team of solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to deal with family law matters that can arise.  We listen to your needs, ensuring you are supported through your case by a solicitor with the right experience and approach to suit you, and we shall always act in your best interests.

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Our Family Law Team

Why choose our Family Law Solicitors

Outstanding service

Making sure you receive outstanding service is our number 1 priority.

Competitive rates

We offer genuinely competitive rates to make sure we can help as many people as possible.

Clear & concise advice

We won’t over-complicate things. We don’t use unhelpful legal jargon.

We’re recommended

We tend to find that after our clients use us once, they use us for all future matters. 98% of our clients would recommend us.

Attention to detail

We won’t rush your matter. We make sure we check everything, even the smallest details.

Nationally endorsed

We sit on the NFU’s national panel of recommended legal firms.

Family Law FAQ’s

To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least 1 year. You or your spouse must also meet certain residence conditions or be domiciled here.

The divorce process is generally administrative and is now dealt with online. Usually neither of you will need to see a Judge to obtain a divorce as it is almost always agreed by the Judge online. The process is simple, and cannot these days be defended provided that you were legally married, and the Court has jurisdiction.

The process begins with a Divorce application. This can be a sole application or joint. The court will require a copy of your original (or an official copy) marriage certificate to be filed with the application and also an approved translation of what it says if it is in a language other than English. There is a court fee of £553 payable to start the process.

To begin a divorce, you (or your Family Lawyer, on your behalf) must file an application online. The application gives the court information about you and your spouse and tells the court that you feel that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You do not have to provide any evidence as to why the marriage has broken down.

Once the application has been accepted by the court, then a copy is sent to the Respondent by email and in the post. The Respondent then has to log into the online portal to acknowledge receipt of the application.

20 weeks after the application has been issued by the court, the Applicant can make application for a Conditional Order of divorce. This requires confirmation as to the truth of the content of the divorce application. The court will then ask a District Judge or a Legal Advisor to check that all legalities have been complied with and that everything is in order. If it is, then a date will be given for the pronouncement of the Conditional Order in open court. You do not, though, need to attend as this is merely a formality. The Conditional Order means that the court has agreed that you are entitled to a divorce but has not yet made it final.

At any time after the pronouncement of the Conditional Order the Court is able to make a binding Financial Remedy Order setting out your arrangements for finances and property on divorce, either by consent or as a result of separate court proceedings. It will not do so unless you ask it to or your separate financial court proceedings have come to a conclusion.

Six weeks and one day after the grant of the Conditional Order, the Applicant can make application for a Final Order which will formally end the marriage. Not everyone should apply for a Final Order as soon as it is available and you should make sure that you have discussed whether you should do so with your Family Lawyer. It may not be sensible to apply immediately if, for example, financial arrangements are not yet settled. You should discuss your specific circumstances with your Family Lawyer as in some cases the grant of a Final Order will prevent certain types of financial claims being made. However, if the Respondent is keen to end the marriage and wants to apply for the Final Order, they can ask the Court to make the order three months after the date that the Applicant could have applied. The Court would usually grant such an application unless there are pressing reasons not to do so, which could be related to financial issues not having been resolved.

Many couples are able to agree upon the arrangements for their children following their relationship breakdown.  They are able to agree on which parent children will live with, and what time they will spend with the other parent.  Where parents are unable to agree, either directly or with the help of mediation, then they may need to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order.

A child arrangements order (CAO) is an order that regulates arrangements for a child that relate to any of the following:

  • with whom the child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact
  • when the child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person

Contact simply means the time that a child spends with an adult. There are several ways that contact may take place:

  • direct contact between the child and the person named in the order;
  • overnight staying contact
  • supervised contact, and
  • indirect contact through letters or cards

In rare circumstances, where the best interests of the child dictate, the court can order that there is no contact.

A CAO that regulates with whom the child is to live and when, will last until the child is 18 (unless the court orders an earlier date). A CAO that regulates when the child is to have contact with a person will usually end when the child is 16 but in limited circumstances can last until the child is 18.

An application is made on a specific court form, which sets out the details of all the adults and children in the case. It then requires you to say what orders you are asking the court to make and why.

When the court receives the application, it will set a time and place for you and the other person or people involved to have a first court appointment (called a first hearing dispute resolution appointment (FHDRA)). Information about this appointment and a copy of the application form must usually be sent to any other adults involved so that they have time to prepare a response. The person starting the court process is called the applicant and the other parent, and any other adult with parental responsibility or looking after the child, is a respondent.

The respondent(s) must complete certain forms and send them to court to confirm they have seen the papers.

The FHDRA is when the court investigates the issues and enquires into the possibility of settlement. If agreement cannot be reached the court will identify the outstanding issues and will direct how the case should proceed. The court might order that a Cafcass (Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service) officer prepares a report to help the judge at the final hearing, or it might order that the child be legally represented in the proceedings. An order may be made for the parties involved to prepare written statements of the evidence that they want the court to hear. Sometimes the court will adjourn the case for mediation to take place.

If the issues can’t be sorted out the court will hold a final hearing. Here, a judge will hear evidence from the adults involved, the Cafcass officer and any other necessary experts, and then make a binding decision.

When deciding what order to make, the first concern of the court is the child’s welfare. The Children Act 1989 provides a list of considerations for the judge who has to decide the case, which help guide them in making a decision, including:

  • the wishes and feelings of the child concerned
  • the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • the likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision
  • the child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics that will be relevant to the court’s decision
  • any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering
  • the capability of the child’s parents (or other relevant people) in meeting the child’s needs, and
  • the powers available to the court

Additionally the court must presume when considering an application for a CAO, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of each parent (of some direct or indirect kind but not any particular division of a child’s time) in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare. That presumption applies if that parent can be involved in the child’s life in a way that does not put the child at risk of suffering harm. Your family lawyer will explain how this presumption may be applicable in your circumstances.

The court must also be satisfied that making an order is better for the child than not making an order at all.

There are couples who are able to sit down and work out together how they are going to divide their property and reach agreement over their finances.  Some couples are able to do so with the assistance of services such as Mediation or by using Collaborative Family law.  For those divorcing couples, however, who are unable to reach agreement, then an application to the Court may be necessary.

Either spouse or civil partner can make an application to court to resolve financial disputes arising from divorce or civil partnership dissolution. The person making the application is the applicant and the other person is the respondent.

When either of you makes the application to court, the court automatically generates certain standard directions for helping to progress your case. These are:

  • the date and time for the first court appointment (sometimes referred to as a first directions appointment or first appointment
  • that five weeks before that appointment you must each file at court and exchange a completed financial disclosure form (Form E) giving full details of your financial circumstances, and
  • that two weeks before that appointment, you must each file with the court and exchange certain documents.

Usually, at the first appointment the court will consider what more information is necessary to decide what should happen: the judge will order questionnaires to be answered by a certain date, consider what other expert evidence (eg on the value of property, or regarding pension details etc) should be obtained and by when, and then it will fix the date of the next court appointment.

The idea is that before the next court appointment each of you and the court will have enough information available about the financial picture to enable you to negotiate constructively about your financial matters.

Immediately before every court appointment, each person must file at court and exchange a statement of their legal costs.

The FDR (financial dispute resolution) hearing is usually the second court appointment.  The FDR is a ‘without prejudice’ hearing, which means each of you is able to make proposals for settlement that cannot be referred to openly in court afterwards. The judge will try to assist you to come to a settlement and may give an indication of what they think could be an appropriate solution. If you reach an agreement the court can potentially make an order that day to formalise your agreement and end the court proceedings.

If you cannot reach an agreement on the day the judge will give any further directions about what is needed to get the case ready for the court to make a decision, which may include asking each of you to prepare a detailed statement, and will fix a date for the final hearing (or ‘trial’).

If it is not possible for the two of you to agree, the court will make orders at the final hearing about how your property, assets and income should be shared. You should bear in mind that very few people’s cases get to final hearing stage—most people agree (‘settle’) before then.

At a final hearing, the applicant presents their case first, then the respondent says what they want to happen. Each of you, and any experts you have asked for an opinion, will have to give evidence and be cross-examined by the other (or their legal representative if they have one). After hearing all the evidence and submissions from each of your legal teams, the judge will make an order about what should happen.

There is limited scope to have your costs paid by the other person in financial proceedings. The general rule is that each person pays their own legal fees.

The court follows the legal principles from legislation and case law in making its decision, although each judge has a discretion to do what they perceive to be appropriate on the evidence in each particular case. This means the precise outcome of financial court proceedings can be quite difficult to predict.

The statutory principles are set out in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The court’s first consideration is the welfare of any children involved. Alongside that, when determining an appropriate division of resources, the court considers

  • each person’s income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources, available now or in the foreseeable future, including earning capacity
  • each person’s financial needs, obligations and responsibilities relevant now or in the foreseeable future
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
  • each person’s age and the length of the marriage
  • any physical or mental disability
  • contributions made or likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any non-economic contribution
  • the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it (although it is rare for conduct to be taken into account and the reason for the marriage or civil partnership breakdown is very unlikely to be a conduct issue for the purposes of a financial application), and
  • the value of each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which that party will lose the chance of acquiring

Other principles have become part of the law through the decisions of senior judges in important cases. These dictate that the court must be fair, considering each party’s needs, any compensation payable to one party for eg loss of career opportunity through marriage, and the sharing of any wealth above that which fulfils each party’s reasonable needs.

When dividing assets, the court will measure the end result against a benchmark 50/50 asset split to assess whether anything other than that is justified. It would be usual to expect that there would not be a 50/50 asset split where one person’s (or the children’s) needs require a higher proportion of the capital assets, eg for housing, or sometimes where one person came into the marriage with significantly greater assets than the other.

The court can decide to do any of the following:

  • it can order a sale of a property, a transfer to one person (or to a child) or put it into a trust
  • it can order a lump sum (whole or in instalments) or a series of lump sums, eg to pay off a mortgage
  • it can order one party to pay maintenance to the other either for the rest of their joint lives/until the recipient remarries or enters into a subsequent civil partnership, or for a fixed period (a non-extendable or extendable term), eg until retirement; it can order money for educational expenses etc, but not usually for general child maintenance, except at higher income levels.
  • it can order that a pension be shared, or attached—sharing is where funds are transferred or split between the parties; attachment is like maintenance direct from a pension, but can also be a lump sum.

Josiah Hincks are solicitors in Leicestershire. Contact us now for expert advice on all family issues.

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