What Does a Family Law Solicitor Do?

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Last updated:
Geoffrey Alan Lorkins

Senior Associate Solicitor , Family Law

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A Family Law Solicitor deals with legal matters that involve you and your family, such as your spouse, your partner, your children and the family home.

There are lots of things a Family Law Solicitor can do, and there is a lot they can help you with. They are there to provide you with legal help, advice and representation for a wide range of family law cases and areas.

While not true in every case, a Family Law Solicitor is typically needed following the breakdown of a relationship, particularly in separation or divorce if there are assets to divide or childcare arrangements to make. A Family Law Solicitor can also help put Court Orders in place, draw up legal agreements, such as a prenup, and assist with dispute resolution.

For initial advice, get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors.

a couple looking over documentation with their solicitor

Our Family Law Solicitors can help you with:

Get in touch today!

To find out more about how our team of Family Law Solicitors can help you, call us on 0808 239 3465 or

Divorce, Children, Separation and Civil Partnership Dissolution

Whether you are separating, getting a divorce or a civil partnership dissolution, there will likely be many legal and practical matters to resolve. When you instruct a Family Law Solicitor, they can manage everything on your behalf, such as:

  • Advising on the grounds for divorce or civil partnership dissolution
  • Handling the entire divorce or civil dissolution process for you
  • Managing an international divorce
  • Drafting a Separation Agreement

Whatever your situation is – whether you may be separating, divorcing or dissolving a civil partnership – Family Law Solicitors can guide you through the process.

At Simpson Millar, our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors are here to act as a friendly and approachable point of contact for advice, as well as representing you along the way. This area of the law doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing, with our team behind you at all times.

Financial Issues

If the breakdown of a relationship means that assets and debts must be divided, then it might not be as simple as a 50/50 split. A Family Law Solicitor can clarify the rights and responsibilities of each person, as well as:

  • Advise what a reasonable financial settlement would look like in your case
  • Request financial disclosure from your ex to ensure all their assets are disclosed
  • Negotiate a financial settlement
  • Make the agreement legally binding with a Court Order
  • Get a Consent Order, cutting the financial ties between you and your ex

Splitting the finances and assets at the end of a relationship, whether you’re going through separation, divorce or civil partnership dissolution, can be difficult. This is even worse when you’re not on the best terms with your ex – it can be difficult to come to a fair decision especially if you are leaving a controlling relationship. That’s why instructing a Family Law Solicitor can really help everyone involved in the case come to the right decision.

a man counting coins into piles

Children Law

When parents are no longer together, it can lead to disputes about where their children should live and how much time they spend with the other parent, or even step-parent or grandparent. Disagreements can also arise regarding a child’s upbringing, such as what surname they should have and whether they can be taken abroad. If so, a Family Law Solicitor can:

  • Negotiate childcare arrangements, including contact, residence and access for parents and other family members
  • Negotiate child maintenance payments
  • Make an agreement legally binding with a Child Arrangement Order
  • Resolve specific issues that arise in relation to the child’s upbringing
  • Prevent a parent from taking a certain action, such as taking a child abroad
  • Handle child abduction proceedings
  • Obtain Parental Responsibility on behalf of a parent or family member

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

If you’re locked in a dispute with your ex, or even with another family member, you need to explore amicable ways of resolving the situation. It can be difficult to know what to do in these situations, especially if you’re not on good terms with your ex or family member. This can cloud judgement, and resentment can lead to people being unable to make logical and fair decisions that are best for everyone involved.

A Family Law Solicitor can suggest suitable methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration, providing independent legal advice throughout.

Should alternative dispute resolution prove unsuccessful, your final option is to take the matter to Court. If it comes to that, we strongly recommend that you instruct a Family Law Solicitor to represent you throughout. He or she can present your case and fight to achieve the outcome you are hoping for.

Legal Agreements

Sometimes in life you need to put a legal agreement in place, either with your current partner or with your ex. Often these set out the financial arrangements between you. A Family Solicitor can draft these for you, and can advise what implications the agreement might have on your life. These legal agreements include:

  • Separation Agreements
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
  • Court Orders

There are various kinds of Court Order that relate to family law including:

  • Consent Orders
  • Clean Break Orders
  • Pension Sharing Orders
  • Freezing Orders
  • Non-Molestation Orders
  • Occupation Orders
  • Mesher Orders
  • Variation of Maintenance Orders

Each Court Order suits a different situation. For instance, if you are getting a divorce, then a Consent Order or Clean Break Order can be beneficial. A Family Law Solicitor can advise whether or not you require a Court Order, and if so, can make an application to the Court.

Legal Help for Unmarried Couples

The law in England and Wales for unmarried couples differs significantly to the law for married couples. When you are cohabitating (meaning you live together but you aren’t married), you don’t have any rights over each other’s assets. Should the relationship break down, it can result in disputes as to who owns what, especially if there is property involved.

To prevent this from happening, it’s prudent to put a Cohabitation Agreement in place, or if you are getting married soon, a Prenuptial Agreement. These set out how your assets and debts will be divided if your relationship does break down in the future.

A Family Law Solicitor can:

  • Draft and advise on Prenuptial Agreements
  • Draft and advise on Cohabitation Agreements
  • Help resolve property disputes that arise in the presence or absence of a legal agreement
  • Obtain the correct financial provision for children

Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence, or you feel like you are in danger, it’s a terrifying position to be in. You might feel unsure of where to look to get help. In addition, you may be unable to get help at this current moment, especially if you still live with your abusive partner.

If you find yourself in this situation, the first and most important thing is to get yourself and any children involved out of the home as quickly as possible, whenever you have the chance to do so safely.

There are people and resources you can contact, as well as organisations and places you can stay. This should be your number one priority when it comes to dealing with your situation of domestic violence. Whatever you do, make sure your safety is at the top of your priority list, as well as the safety of any child or children you may have.

It’s so important to make sure it’s safe to leave. There are several ways you can do this, from silent 999 calls to reaching out to different resources and organisations to help you get advice on what to do.

Once you’ve done this, you can look into how the law can help you stay safe and away from your abusive ex. Unfortunately, domestic abuse cases rose in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, and numbers are still high. That’s why, when you’re free from your abuser, and when you’re safe, it’s a good idea into looking into getting legal representation and advice.

A Family Law Solicitor can take action to protect you and your children, such as:

Writing warning letters to the perpetrator

Obtaining Court Injunctions against the perpetrator, such as an Occupation Order or a Non-Molestation Order.

Our Family Law Solicitors Can Help You

We can provide legal advice to those facing family law, divorce and/or child law issues, and can explain in plain English what your options are.

We understand how difficult it can be to go through Family Law issues and cases, and how stressful these things can be. Whether it’s a difficult and messy divorce, or if it’s a domestic violence situation, we can help you navigate your situation and build your case, so we can get the right result and decision for everyone involved, to make sure each party is protected wherever possible and necessary.

Our friendly and approachable team are here to provide support and advice to all our clients, making this area of the law as accessible as possible.


House of Commons Library. (2021, March 30). Domestic abuse and COVID-19: A year into the pandemic. Retrieved from https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19-a-year-into-the-pandemic/

UK Government. (n.d.). Non-molestation orders: Eligibility. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/injunction-domestic-violence/eligibility-non-molestation

Geoffrey Alan Lorkins

Senior Associate Solicitor , Family Law

Areas of Expertise:
Family Law

Geoffrey is a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Family Law department, based in the Leeds office.

Geoffrey began his legal career in 1987, after he got his law degree from Anglia Ruskin University. His passion for the law, especially in family matters, made him pursue a career dedicated to advocating for his clients' rights.

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