LGBTQ couples and families have the same rights as heterosexual and cisgender couples and families, but when legal issues arise, there are unique factors to take into account. Obtaining the advice of a family lawyer who specialises in LGBTQ and same sex family law is essential to ensure that you and your family receive the right support.
At hpjv solicitors, we offer a wide range of tailored family law advice to LGBTQ families across Newport and South Wales. Our expertise includes same sex divorces, civil partnership dissolutions, issues arising out of cohabitation, children related issues and adoption. Wherever you are in your relationship we can provide sound advice and expertise not only to protect your individual needs but to offer the reassurance and peace of mind you may require.
We know that speaking to a lawyer can be daunting and choosing the right one for your matter is of critical importance. We approach all matters with sensitivity and will set out practical options so that you can make informed decisions about how to proceed. We have been independently recognised for our specialist family law service with the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation and the Children Law Accreditation.
How we can support you and your family
When a same sex marriage or civil partnership fails and you decide to end the relationship, there are many legal matters to sort out, including:
- Applying to legally end the marriage or civil partnership
- Addressing arrangements for the children
- Dividing your assets
We can offer advice and the practical guidance of taking you through the process of dissolving your civil partnership or securing a divorce. Our focus will be on achieving the best and right outcome for you.
We understand that with a relationship break up comes uncertainty, whether about where your children should live or about sharing your assets and maintaining your home. Whatever the issue, we adopt a sympathetic approach, answering your questions and steering you through the legal process.
With fewer societal expectations surrounding marriage and cohabitation nowadays, more couples are choosing to live together before marriage or civil partnership or even choosing not to get married or enter into a civil partnership at all.
Getting married or entering into a civil partnership is a step you want to be sure about, so living together with your partner before making that commitment is a wise decision. However, it is important to remember that, as a cohabiting couple, you do not have as many legal rights as spouses or civil partners.
There is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ in the UK. If you and your partner break up, you will have no claim to your partner’s assets or income. However, there are ways you can protect yourself.
Our family law solicitors can help you safeguard your financial interests, including:
- Living together agreements (also known as cohabitation agreements) – this is a legal document that sets out who owns what in your relationship and how finances will be divided if you ever break up
- Conveyancing – buying a home with your partner? There are different ways you can split ownership to define exactly who owns what and what should happen if you break up or one partner dies
- Wills – if you do not leave a will, your partner cannot inherit your money and property (other than jointly owned property). We can provide advice on making a will to ensure they inherit
Getting married or entering into a civil partnership effectively combines your finances from the moment you say, ‘I do’. This means that if you ever break up, all financial resources – including money and property you acquired in your sole name during the marriage or civil partnership – must be split fairly between you and your partner.
For many, this is not ideal. For example, if you are getting married later in life or it is your second marriage or civil partnership, you may already own significant assets that you want to leave out of any future financial proceedings or preserve for your children. We can help you safeguard your financial interests in the form of a prenuptial agreement.
This is a legal document that sets out exactly who owns what and how your finances should be dealt with upon divorce or dissolution. Provided your prenup is fair to both parties, it will be given significant legal weight by the courts during any divorce or dissolution proceedings.
Already married or in a civil partnership? We can also help you make a post-nuptial agreement. Post-nups have the same effect as prenups and are also taken into account by the courts during any separation proceedings.
Relationship breakdown can be incredibly stressful and confusing for children. You will be forced to make difficult decisions over matters such as:
- Where the child should live
- Whether you should stay in the family home to provide them with stability
- How much time they should spend with you and your former partner
- Childcare arrangements if both parents need to work full-time
- Whether they should change schools
- Other key decisions about their upbringing, such as whether they should change their surname
- How you and your former partner will split their day-to-day expenses – do you need to agree child maintenance payments?
- How much time they should spend with other relatives, such as grandparents
- Whether they can go abroad, either on holiday or to live
We understand that your child’s happiness and emotional and physical wellbeing will be your main concern. We can provide practical advice, making sure your child’s welfare and safety is central to all the options we outline for you.
In most cases, we are able to help couples come to an agreement out of court, using methods of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation wherever necessary. However, if you and your former partner cannot agree or there are other issues such as domestic abuse that make it inappropriate to use mediation, we can help you apply to court for a range of court orders, including:
- Child Arrangements Orders
- Specific Issue Orders
- Prohibited Steps Orders
Adoption is a great option to expand your family while giving a child a much needed loving home. We can talk you through the adoption process and handle all the legal aspects on your behalf, such as obtaining the Adoption Order. The process is slightly different depending on how you want to adopt, for example:
- Step child adoption – if you or your partner already have children from a previous relationship
- Fostering to adopt – becoming a foster carer for the purpose of eventually adopting a child
- International adoption – adopting a child from overseas
- Agency adoption – adopting a child in the UK through an agency
We can also assist with other parenthood matters, such as advice on parental responsibility and legal parenthood
Anyone can be affected by domestic violence, regardless of sex, gender, sexuality or another personal characteristic. You have the right to feel safe in your own home. Whether you are facing abuse from a partner, former partner or family member, we are here to help.
We are proud to support FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors), an organisation devoted to helping women access legal support and protection against domestic abuse. As a FLOWS partner, we have been fully vetted and are trusted to provide expert advice to individuals across Newport and south Wales.
We can take legal action to obtain protection on your behalf and guide you towards other support services that can help you break free of the abusive situation. The legal protections we can help you seek include,
- Non-Molestation Orders (Injunctions)
- Occupation Orders
- Protection from harassment