Family Law and Divorce Solicitors

Expert Legal Advice on Family Law and Divorce

Family law issues can be extremely sensitive, whether you are facing a divorce, separation, issues surrounding children, or are enduring domestic violence or abuse. The team at Simpson Millar have an excellent national reputation in providing professional support and advice, as well as providing expert legal services.

Cost can be an issue for many, and for that reason we offer several funding options, to find out what funding options are available to you:

Call 0808 129 3320 now and take advantage
of our free initial consultation.

Why You May Need Help:

Marriages and Partnerships - Protecting your assets Living together - legal advice Mediation services to resolve family disputes Domestic violence and abuse advice Divorce and Separation advice Disputes over children Recommend a friend and receive a £100 Love2Shop voucher

Family Legal Services

Disputes over Children

Family law services - disputes over children

Our team of experts are on hand to help you sort out these often delicate and heart-felt issues.

For example, you may need assistance with any of the following:

Arrangements for Children

It can be very difficult once your relationship has broken down to agree who your child should live with and how much time the absent parent spends with the child. A child arrangements order is a formal agreement detailing arrangements on how often the absent parent can spend time with the child. The agreement needs the person who the child normally lives with to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the agreement. Read more...

Care Proceedings with Local Authorities

If your child has been taken into care then they will be the subject of a care order which means the local authority now shares legal responsibility for your child with you as their parents. This is called ‘parental responsibility’ and this gives the local authority the right to decide where your child may live. This could be away from your family home, such as with foster carers or other family members, in certain cases, this could lead to your child being adopted. Read more...

Child Abduction

The criminal offence of child abduction is defined in the provisions of the Child Abduction Act, 1984. It applies slightly differently in each of the four countries of the UK. Read more...

Parental child abduction

It’s a criminal offence for anyone connected with a child (defined as someone under the age of 16) to send or take a child out of the UK without the appropriate consent. Connected parties include parents, guardians or a person with custody of the child or a residence order. Appropriate consent is the consent of the mother, the father (if he has parental responsibility), the guardian or anyone with a residence order, parental responsibility or the agreement of the court. Parental abduction is covered for example, if you take your child on holiday abroad without the other parent's permission, or those with parental responsibility. This could be classified as child abduction. If you are not sure about your rights you can arrange a meeting with one of our team and they will discuss what options are open to you and what you should do if your child has been abducted.

Child Abduction - The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention was set up to help with the safe return of an abducted child to their country of residence. The UK and many other countries have signed this agreement.

If a child has been taken to one of these countries, or a county with another international agreement, this can help in securing their return to you as quickly as possible. If no inter-country agreement is in place, an order from the English court can be issued then a solicitor in the country where the child has been taken can attempt to enforce it in that country.

Child Maintenance

Agreeing maintenance with your former partner can be difficult and sometimes if you cannot agree, the issue will be dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service. They can help with all matters involving child maintenance including; calculating maintenance payments, helping if your circumstances change, finding and dealing with the other parent and taking action if the payments are not made. However, they charge for the use of their services and cannot help if the child goes to university and the absent parent refuses to help meet the costs, if that happens further mediation might be required, or legal action.

Parental Responsibility Agreements

If you have parental responsibility, you are entitled to have a say in the important decisions regarding a child’s upbringing. A parental responsibility agreement is often made between a father who was not married to the mother of the child and not named on the birth certificate. Other people such as a guardian, grandparent, local authority and the courts can acquire a parental agreement. Alternatively, an application to court can be made for parental responsibility and step-parents and those in a same sex relationship can acquire it too. Read more...

Special Guardianship Orders

A Special Guardianship Order helps your children if they cannot currently live with you (birth parents), but where other family members can look after them and avoid the need for adoption. This enables you to keep links with your child as natural parents and ensure your child is cared for in an environment that is not too different to their normal routine. The local authority has to prepare a report before such an order can be granted. Within the order, it will set out the financial support that the guardians are entitled to receive for caring for the child. Read more...


Family law services - Divorce and Separation

Civil Partnership – How to end a Civil Partnership

Ending a civil partnership is the equivalent to a divorce for married couples. The process is known as 'Dissolution of a Civil Partnership' and there are 3 main stages: ‘Dissolution Petition’, ‘Conditional Dissolution Order’ and ‘Final Dissolution Order’. Before you can apply to end your civil partnership, you must have been in a Civil Partnership for at least a year in order to apply for dissolution. Read more...

Collaborative Family Law Advice Service

collaborative family lawyer

We also offer a collaborative law service, as well as a traditional resolution process.

This is a new approach set up by a specialist group of family lawyers to manage the divorce process in a dignified manner for all concerned. During the collaborative process, the solicitors and their clients agree, in writing, to arrive at a settlement without involving the courts. They agree to work together to resolve any family and financial issues arising out of the separation.

For couples who really seek a rational solution, and want to reduce the pain of family breakdowns, it offers the best way ahead. Collaborative law allows you and your former partner to reach shared solutions and agreements away from the court, giving you more control of the situation. You and your former partner will meet with your own solicitors in the same room and work through issues together face-to-face. This service aims to reach the best solutions for you and your family.

Divorce and Financial Settlements

When you are looking to get a divorce, it is important that you get what you deserve out of the financial settlement. We know that reaching a financial settlement can be the most contentious and complicated part of a divorce. You both have to provide detailed information about your financial situation so a fair settlement can be reached and by working together with our divorce law solicitors, this is something that can be achieved. Read more...

International Aspects of Separation and Divorce

If you are an ex-pat, or from another part of the world it can be beneficial to issue divorce proceedings in the English courts, if the necessary rules on residence and domicile are met. The costs are often cheaper and the process can be quicker. Additionally the courts in England often settle more generously than those in other countries. But be mindful that the courts are cracking down on ‘divorce tourism’, where people divorce outside the jurisdiction and then look to the English courts to deal with the finances.

Immigration Advice

Moving to another country can be very difficult; you'll be dealing with a different legal system, possibly a different language, and often feeling that you are in a strange country far away from friends and family. Some issues you may be facing may include wanting to regularise your stay in the UK in order to see your children, or you may have separated from your partner and are concerned whether this will change your right to stay in the UK. Our immigration solicitors have years of experience helping people from all over the world to immigrate to the UK and understand just how lonely and frightening the experience can be. Read more...

Pensions on Divorce

How the court approaches dealing with pensions on divorce is highly technical and often requires specialist advice from an actuary. The main options are to offset one party’s interest in the others pension by awarding a greater share of the assets in lieu of that interest or in the alternative order a percentage of that pension be transferred to the other.

Separation Agreements

Drafted to highlight the terms of a separation that you both have agreed to when a relationship is breaking down, these documents are considered by the judge when looking at the financial consequences of the breakdown of a marriage. If the court feels, the terms of the agreement meet the needs of both of you and are fair and reasonable they are unlikely to challenge them. However, if one of your circumstances has drastically changed since it was executed, the court may decide it is no longer binding and start again. Read more...

Tax Issues after Separation

The last thing on your mind when your marriage, relationship or civil partnership breaks down will probably be the tax man; however, tax implications need to be taken into account and the sooner you can get help to address any pending problems the better. Tax can arise on the transfer of assets or their sale and if business assets are involved the situation can be even more complicated.

Domestic Violence/Abuse – Legal Aid Available

Family law services - Domestic abuse/violence

You should not have to tolerate abuse or violence from your partner and it's important to know that if you are in this position that help is at hand to help protect you and your family. We have dealt with many people in this situation and appreciate it is a very difficult and scary to seek help but help is available. Domestic violence and abuse comes in many forms. It can be physical, sexual, and psychological, it can be controlling where you go, who you can see and denying you access to your finances. You may not be aware that you can apply for legal protection orders: such as non-molestation (this prevents the abuser from violent or threatening against you or your child) and occupation orders (these enable the court to regular who lives in your family home). Read more...

You can also seek immediate help from the following agencies:

Mediation for Family Disputes

Family law services - mediation services

To make everyone feel comfortable the parties involved in the dispute will meet in a neutral location with a different and impartial trained mediator, who is often a solicitor themselves. The mediator will then suggest what the most likely outcome would be if the case went to court. The solicitor meditating will then help the parties draw up a memorandum of the agreement reached that suits everyone; this will then be incorporated into an order. Read more...

Living Together

Family law services - Legalities of Living Together

Cohabitation Agreements

It is quite commonplace now for couples to live together and not get married and in these circumstances it can be worth thinking about a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a formal document entered into by you and your partner, and can cover your affairs in relation to property, money, and can cover children issues. The agreement relates to the time you are living together but also sets out the terms in the event you decide to split up. Provided it meets the necessary criteria, a court will be unlikely to go against it should you split up. Read more...

Cohabitation Disputes

Disputes can happen when people are living together and these can arise between friends and not just between people in relationships. With more and more people having to share houses due to the difficulty getting onto the property market, cohabitation disputes are becoming more common.

Declarations of Trust to Regulate Property Ownership

Usually, parties who own property together will hold it as beneficial joint tenants or tenants in common in equal shares, meaning that each has as much interest in the property as the other. However, if you hold the property as tenants in common, one of you can leave your interest in the property to a third party under the terms of your will. You should consider holding a property as tenants in common, if one of you has put down more money than the other by means of a trust deed, to reflect the greater contribution.

The Common Law Marriage Myth

This is probably the biggest myth in family law. There is simply no such thing as ‘Common Law Marriage’, ‘Common Law Wife’ or ‘Common Law Husband’ in England and Wales. Sadly, many people still believe that if they have been in a relationship and lived with someone for a period of time they have the same rights as a married couple. This is not true.


Family law services - Marriages and Partnerships

Civil Partnerships - What are my Rights?

When entering into a Civil Partnership it’s important to understand your rights. A Civil Partnership gives you a number of rights such as, joint treatment for income-related benefits, joint state pension, fair arrangements for dividing property if the relationship breaks down, and parental responsibility for each other’s children. Read more...

Pre-nuptial Agreements

Most people when getting married don’t want to think that a marriage might fail but with over 40% of marriages ending in divorce in the UK, having a pre-nuptial agreement from the start will help protect you and your wealth if your marriage doesn’t work out. Although still not legally binding, more and more judges are taking notice of what was originally stated in the agreement. If it still meets the parties needs and other criteria are satisfied concerning its preparation and drafting, the court may well uphold its terms. However, it's important to note this area of the law is developing on a case by case basis. Read more...

Wealth Protection

Those of you who are marrying later in life or entering second or subsequent marriages may have a great deal of assets acquired over a lifetime that you wish to preserve for your children from earlier relationships, or other relatives. Appropriate use of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements, well-drafted and thought out offer the best way of preserving these assets and putting them beyond the reach of the predations of divorce proceedings.

Whatever your family law needs might be, from the start to a relationship to the point where a relationship is breaking down; our specialist solicitors are here to help. PDF file

Why Choose Us?

  • A dedicated team of friendly family lawyers who strive for excellence in everything they do
  • Recommended in Legal 500 and Chambers as a respected practice
  • Flexible fee options from legal aid, privately paying to fixed fees
  • Out of hours appointment service
  • Collaborative and mediation services offered to help resolve disputes amicably
  • We are a national law firm with offices in:

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Funding Options – Fixed Fee (Set fees), Paying Private and Legal Aid

Most family law cases can be funded in a variety of ways and we offer many different options. You can find out more about the possible funding option available to you here. If you have any questions about funding please contact Simpson Millar, we are sure we can help.

Family Solicitors - fixed fees available

Want to see a Family Lawyer out of Working Hours

Make an out of office hours appointment - Family Law Solicitors - Leeds

We have family ourselves and know just how hectic family lives can get and taking time out during the working day can be hard so we offer face-to-face or telephone appointments on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings:

By Appointment Only

  • Thursday Evenings from 5pm - 7pm
  • Saturday Mornings from 9am - 12 noon
  • Please make sure you book your appointment in advance regardless of whether it is by telephone or face to face

Booking appointments

To book either:

  • Call us on 0345 357 9000
  • Use the enquiry form on this page

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms


Simpson Millar LLP is ‘committed to its clients, who are often legally aided or vulnerable’. Victoria Walker is ‘fast becoming an established name in Southwest London’.

Simpson Millar LLP has a strong association with trade unions, with other clients including directors and shareholders of SMEs, and domestic violence survivors. Emma Pearmaine leads the team.
Legal 500 2015



Respected practice handling a wide remit of issues including legal aid agency work and publicly-funded cases involving childcare and domestic violence.

Also advises on all aspects of divorce and separation.
Chambers & Partners UK 2016

Family Law Solicitors

Contact our solicitors now to get the family law advice you need. We can help you by completing our, no obligation, online enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on freephone: 0808 129 3320.

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Emma Pearmaine - Director of Family Services - Leeds

Emma Pearmaine
Director of Family Services

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