Family

At Swinburne Maddison, we understand the strain and distress that can be caused by unresolved family issues. That is why our Family team approach all matters with professional empathy and sensitivity and work hard to ensure that their clients feel completely supported at all times.

hree female family lawyers in meeting discussing a client matter. They are all smiling.

In the area of relationship breakdowns, the team can offer an alternative approach to resolving disputes thanks to the specialist skills and qualifications within the team. Catherine Lowther, Managing Associate in our Family Team, is a collaborative lawyer, which means she is specially trained to assist couples in reaching an agreement in a constructive and non-adversarial way, without the need for court intervention. For clients who wish to maintain an amicable future relationship with their spouse or partner, whilst also minimising unnecessary costs and delays, collaborative law is an excellent option.

With over 35 years of combined experience dealing with all aspects of Family law, the Family team at Swinburne Maddison are never deterred by legal complexity or any degree of difficulty in personal circumstances and are able to inspire real confidence in their clients by providing expert advice and support on a wide range of matters.

In cases where this approach may not be appropriate, clients can rely on our experienced advocates, Catherine Lowther and Ellie Straughan to represent them effectively in any court proceedings.

Ultimately, what works for one client will not necessarily work for another and our team works closely with their clients to find the most suitable option for them.  Swinburne Maddison’s strapline is “legal solutions that fit” and we do exactly that.

Family Specialisms

Co-habitation agreements

When people choose to live together it’s important they understand that the law will treat them very differently to a married couple should they separate. One of the services we provide offers up-front advice to those who have decided to set up home together, covering financial and capital issues such as buying property, nominations under life policies, as well as mortgages and wills.

Should a co-habitation relationship unfortunately come to an end, you can be sure we are also experienced in advising sensitively on disputes between co-habitees during what can be a very difficult time.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with co-habitation agreements, please call us on 0191 384 2441

Children related matters

If you are experiencing problems with a parent or other family member over issues that relate to children, we can help.

Using our in-depth experience of representing all types of close and extended family members, we aim to resolve any child-related issues without resorting to the courts. However, court proceedings can sometimes be necessary and the types of applications we are able to make to the court are Contact, Residence, Prohibitive Steps and Specific Issues.

If you have already received court papers, a letter from a solicitor, or a referral from a mediation service, we would encourage you to contact us immediately.

Please note that since 1st April 2013 Legal Aid is no longer available for the applications outlined above. However, funding is available for parties who are willing to take part in mediation. Also, if you are a victim of domestic violenceLegal Aid may still be available to you. Qualification for Legal Aid is subject to your financial means and also the merit of your case.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with child-related matters, please call us on 0191 384 2441

Divorce and separation

Whether you are a Petitioner or Respondent in divorce proceedings, our skilled and sympathetic lawyers can help with any legal issues you may be facing.

If you are currently experiencing relationship difficulties it’s never too soon to ask us for advice. Alternatively, if you have already received divorce proceedings from the court or a letter from a solicitor, we would encourage you to contact us immediately.

Legal Aid is not generally available for divorce work, but we can discuss the funding of your case at our first meeting.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with divorce and separation matters, please call us on 0191 384 2441

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is an extremely serious and difficult issue to have to face.

The first action victims of domestic violence should take is to report any incident to the police, after which, protection may sometimes be sought for the victim in the form of an injunction.

Should this apply to you, you can rest assured that at Swinburne Maddison we are highly experienced in representing husbands, wives, co-habitees and children in injunction proceedings such as Non-Molestation Orders and/or Occupation Orders. You can also be assured that we handle all such matters with the utmost professionalism, empathy and sensitivity.

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic violence, please contact us so we can explore the ways forward for you. And if you have already received a letter from a solicitor, or you have received court papers, we would encourage you to speak with us immediately.

Please be aware that Legal Aid is available for some cases of domestic violence, but is subject to your financial means and the merit of your case.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with instances of domestic violence, please call us on 0191 384 2441

Financial issues

The team here at Swinburne Maddison is highly experienced in dealing with the many financial issues following a relationship breakdown, including dividing assets such as the family home, savings, pensions, and so on.

While we always do our best to find an amicable solution to such issues, if this proves impossible we are well versed in advancing our clients’ cases through the courts if necessary.

If you are currently experiencing difficulties in your relationship where finances are involved, early advice can be key, so please contact us to discuss your situation as soon as possible. If you have already received an application from the court or a letter from a solicitor, we would encourage you to contact us immediately.

 Legal Aid is not generally available for financial issues, but we can discuss the funding of your case at our first meeting.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with financial issues arising from divorce and separation, please call us on 0191 384 2441

Pre- and post-nuptual agreements

Helping people plan for their financial future is something the Swinburne Maddison team has much experience in, including providing expert advice for those who are seeking to enter into a financial agreement either prior to, or during, their marriage.

Such agreements have become more important since a recent change brought about by the case of ‘Radmacher v Granatino’, which resulted in courts now accepting that in certain circumstances parties may agree to limit the extent of a financial settlement on divorce. This means the courts now give more weight to such agreements in the event of divorce.

To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you with pre- and post-nuptial agreements, please call us on 0191 384 2441

To find out more about the ways in which our Family Team could assist you, please call us on 0191 384 2441, or complete our online enquiry form.

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Our team can also provide expert advice and support on a wide range of children issues, from standard residence and contact applications to more challenging situations involving international relocations.

For clients looking to take pre-emptive steps to protect their position and avoid potential issues in the future – perhaps through the creation of co-habitation agreements or a pre/post-nuptial agreement – all members of our team are highly experienced in such matters and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs in more detail.

Whatever the nature of the matter, all of our clients can be assured of level-headed guidance and clear, practical legal advice that is carefully tailored to their own unique circumstances.

At our modern offices on the outskirts of Durham City, in Aykley Heads, all of our client consultations take place in private meeting rooms, which provide a comfortable setting in which to discuss any personal and emotive matters in complete confidence.

“The practice made the whole divorce process easy to navigate. They were accessible, approachable and I never struggled to find any information I required.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2020 edition

“Your advice and calmness helped me so much in a very difficult time. Day by day I’m dealing with this situation but feeling much better equipped to deal with the future thanks to your support.”

Anon

“The team’s strength is most definitely its welcoming, friendly and calm demeanour.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2020 edition

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