Family Law

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Life can present all sorts of situations in which you require expert assistance; some happy and some sad. Whatever situation you face, your family law solicitor needs to do more than take the time to understand your personal situation. They should be right there with you, every step of the way; an expert guide, a strategic thinker and importantly, an empathetic advisor helping you to guide your way through whatever chapter in your life you currently face.

Managing difficult situations 

With a team of family law experts we can help manage difficult situations, protect your future and help find a solution that works for you including:

  • divorce and relationship breakdown: finding the best solution to enable you to move on with your life and help you fully understand your options and what your entitlements are;
  • private children cases: helping you navigate the emotional difficulties that a disagreement about a child can create; and
  • keeping you safe: giving you the right powers to protect a child you are concerned about, or if you are in a dangerous situation yourself.

Protecting your future 

  • Protecting your finances: helping you put arrangements in place to protect your business, income, inheritance or pension if your relationship breaks down 
  • Planning with your partner: advising on prenuptial, postnuptial and living together agreements so you have the proper protection in place 

Finding a solution that works for you 

You will want to overcome any concerns, issues and difficulties you face as efficiently and quickly as possible. How to do this will not be the same for everybody.

Different personalities mean different approaches are required and we can work with you to decide on the best choice for you, which may be:

  • mediation;
  • collaborative law;
  • arbitration;
  • private financial dispute resolution hearing/early neutral evaluation; or
  • court application.

We will always explain what each method involves and take the time to advise you as to the pros and cons of each in your particular circumstances.

How we’ve helped our clients

“Paris Smith is by far the largest and strongest team in Hampshire, and possibly the south. It is set up like a London magic circle firm and is packed with stars. As a result, the team is able to provide a premier service to all levels, including very high net worth individuals. Top-rated in every respect. ”

Name withheld

Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2021

The Family Law team is known to be a standout firm representing high net worth individuals in matrimonial disputes concerning trusts, inherited wealth and property, with additional expertise in drafting high-value nuptial agreements. Also has experience in handling highly acrimonious private children matters. Offers litigation expertise and also provides mediation services for clients seeking alternatives to litigation, as well as collaboratively trained lawyers.

One source lauds the team’s “very helpful and skilled lawyers,” adding: “We trust their advice and receive timely replies.”

Another interviewee says: “The lawyers are technically able and work constructively.”


Legal 500 Directory 2022 – Top Tier

The family law practice at Paris Smith LLP takes on a host of high profile mandates for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The team is especially well regarded for its capabilities in complex financial remedy matters, where multiple business, property, and financial interests are concerned – often with a multi-jurisdictional aspect. The team is jointly led by Frank Prior and Huw Miles, who are based in the firm’s Southampton and Winchester offices respectively. Prior draws on decades of experience handling matrimonial finance proceedings with an international aspect. In addition to running the Winchester office, Miles has expertise in nuptial agreements and cohabitee disputes. New partner Lisa Bray concentrates on cases with a corporate element, while Sarah Passemard and Rachel Osgood are further key contacts for high-net-worth cases. Heather Souter is noted for her agricultural sector knowledge. Neil Davies is also recommended.

Clients say:

  • “The family finance team at Paris Smith is the clear leader in the field in Hampshire and the south. It has great strength in depth and is capable of handling cases both of very high-net worth and lesser values with the same degree of care and expertise”
  • “Solid, reliable team and experienced in dealing with a wide range of family law issues including financial remedy, Children Act and Schedule 1”
  • “Large, very well-established and well thought of regional firm who are a match for any City firm. They have a superb family law department and a number of excellent fee earners both at partner level and associate level”

Introducing your key contacts

Frank Prior
Partner – Head of Family, Southampton

Contact

Huw Miles
Finance Partner – Family, Winchester

Contact

KEY CONTACTS

Family Law Resources

19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The “Common Law Spouse”

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19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The “Common Law Spouse”

With cohabiting couples the fastest growing family type in England and Wales, the rights and responsibilities surrounding cohabitation are of growing importance to couples who are (or are looking to) cohabit. The myth goes that after a qualifying period of cohabitation (usually thought to be either 2 or 5 years) cohabitants acquire the rights and responsibilities of marriage in the eyes of the law.

However, this is not the case and is very misleading as to the reality of the legal position. Listen to our podcast from Family Solicitor Danielle Taylor to hear all about the truths behind this legal myth

Show notes:
00:45 What myths do people believe about cohabitation? Dani introduces the myth of the ‘Common Law spouse’
01:07 How does legislation define cohabitation? The misleading language that fuels misconceptions: Dani explains what this really means in the eyes of the law
01:47 What constitutes a cohabitant?
02:17 What happens when a your relationship breaks down with the person you live with? Where do you stand and what are the risks?
03:20 The court jurisdiction: how can they divide assets?
03:45 Dani explores where you stand legally when children are involved and child maintenance
04:36 Dani explains what you can do to protect yourself under the current laws if you are a cohabitant – what should you agree on before you commit financially?
07:35 Dani concludes, what are the three things you should do before you move in together

LISTEN

19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The Decree Absolute

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19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The Decree Absolute

Whilst divorce proceedings frequently appear in the media, there remain some myths and misconceptions surrounding divorce proceedings, and in particular the effect of decree absolute. Danielle Taylor from our Family team explains the stages of getting divorced.

Show notes:
00:35 Dani talks through the four stages to a divorce proceeding: divorce petition, acknowledgement of service form, decree nisi, and decree absolute
00:17 Dani explains how long a divorce normally takes
01:41 Is Decree Absolute the end? Dani talks through what the decree absolute does not cover
02:03 What happens if couples come to an amicable agreement between themselves? Dani discusses how informal agreements do not prevent a financial remedy application being made and what you should do in this situation
03:27 What are the legal implications if one party re-marries?
03:50 What happens when divorce is based on 2 or 5 year separation?
04:15 The timing of decree absolute, how will this affect you financially? Dani discusses wills, death of a spouse and pension payments
06:41 Reasons you might delay Decree Absolute
06:55 How does Decree Absolute your matrimonial home right?

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19th June 2019

Man’s Best Friend: What happens to pets when you separate?

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19th June 2019

Man’s Best Friend: What happens to pets when you separate?

Upon divorce or separation, often the presence of the beloved family pet continues to provide one party with well needed support and consistency. Be it the family cat, the children’s gerbil, the exceptional tortoise or man’s best friend; there are a variety of pets to be considered upon separation. But where should the pet go on separation – who should they stay with, and what legal advice should you seek in this situation?

Show notes:
00:32 Dani examines how pets are viewed in the eyes of the law
01:00 What do you need to consider when separating in relation to pets?
01:06 What do the courts in England and Wales say?
01:35 Financial proceedings: Dani discusses at what happens when you can’t agree on what happens to a pet on separation
02:40 Dani explores what happens to pets which have a significant monetary value
03:27 Dani looks at the emotional ties we have to our pets and how they can affect divorce proceedings and legal costs
03:45 Dani concludes the podcast by summarising what advice you should seek from your lawyer when it comes to separation, divorce and pets

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