Family Law

It can be difficult and stressful if relationships break down. Find out how we can help with divorce, separation and financial resolution.

Family Law

It can be difficult and stressful if relationships break down. Find out how we can help with divorce, separation and financial resolution.


Our solicitors have spent over 50 years helping families in and around St Albans. During that time, we have seen many changes in family arrangements.

Today’s families are diverse and varied. Family structures change. Parents can be married, living together or separated. Children can have siblings, half siblings, step siblings or adopted brothers and sisters. Grandparents and extended family are increasingly involved.

It can be complex, difficult and stressful if relationships break down. That’s when turning to an experienced family solicitor can help resolve difficulties efficiently and effectively. We’ll try and help you find a solution amicably but if that’s not possible, we’ll help you through the whole process of court proceedings.

Our family law solicitors have in-depth technical knowledge and years of experience in all aspects of family law. We advise on the practicalities of finance, property and pensions and pride ourselves on giving helpful, focused and sympathetic legal advice. Ultimately, we focus on helping you to find an effective solution.

To arrange your appointment call 01727 869 293 or book online. 


• An experienced, friendly and accessible team
• Members of Resolution
• Law Society Lexcel and Children Panel accreditations

Contact Us

    When you send an enquiry you are giving your consent to receive marketing emails from Bretherton Law. We promise we won't bombard you with SPAM emails, or sell your information to someone else and you can unsubscribe at any time.

    Do you consent to receive marketing information from Bretherton Law?


    Our Family Law Services
    • Divorce & separation

      Divorce can be stressful and we believe choosing and using a lawyer shouldn’t add to that stress. Our family law solicitors provide you with the support and legal expertise to guide you through this difficult time. We offer practical advice and our team is committed to achieving the right outcome for our clients.

      We have set out a brief overview of the divorce process below, but please contact one of our family law solicitors to find out more information and see how we can help you.


      This is the document that is sent to the court to begin the process. The person sending the document is the petitioner and the other spouse is the respondent. The petition requires you to set out why you believe the marriage has irretrievably broken down by alleging one of five facts. These are: the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour, the respondent’s adultery, your separation for two years with the respondent’s consent, your separation for five years, or there being a desertion of two years.


      This is the first formal order the court will make. It means that the court has confirmed you are entitled to a divorce and it is the first stage the court can make an order as to your financial settlement.  The court will also consider the costs of divorce if the petitioner made such a request.


      Six weeks after the Decree Nisi have elapsed the Petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute is the certificate which confirms you are divorced and your marriage has been dissolved.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Financial arrangements

      Within divorce proceedings, the Court can make a variety of orders regarding a couple’s finances. These include

      • Transferring property into one party’s sole name
      • Ordering that one party pays a lump sum to the other
      • Requiring one party to pay periodical payments (spousal maintenance) to the other.


      The Court has discretion in determining how the divorcing couple’s assets should be divided. Each case is dealt with depending on its specific facts. The Matrimonial Causes Act offers guidance to the Court as to what Judges should consider when coming to their decision.

      You should take legal advice as soon as possible – so that we can guide you about what sort of arrangements may be possible.

      The family law solicitors at Bretherton Law have the knowledge and expertise to help you.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Unmarried couples

      The law applies differently to separating married couples and separating unmarried couples. The result is that unmarried couples do not have the same level of protection as married couples. However, there are still rights and options upon which you should seek advice.

      This area of law is complex. We strongly recommend that you speak to one of our  family law solicitors to ensure you know your rights. We aim to make the process simpler and help to remove some of the stress that you will undoubtedly be experiencing as part of your separation. We will carefully untangle the issues with you and give you clear advice on your options.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.


    • Cohabitation agreements

      Cohabitation Agreements are becoming increasingly important as more and more couples choose to live together without getting married. If you live together without getting married you do not share the same legal rights as those who marry. This can make things difficult if the relationship breaks down, particularly in relation to finance, property and pensions. If children are involved, arrangements for their care, accommodation and financial support must still be sorted out.

      We can help you to plan for the future with a Cohabitation Agreement setting out you and your partner’s expectations.

      For confidential, friendly advice about cohabitation agreements contact us today.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements

      Nuptial agreements are contracts which are either signed before (pre) or after (post) your wedding and set out what should happen to the parties’ assets should their relationship breakdown. They aim to provide both parties with clarity and certainty. It also aims to save the you the stress, uncertainty and costs of potentially going through Court proceedings at a later date.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Cases with a foreign element

      Where a relationship breaks down and the couple have different nationalities, or where they have lived abroad, additional complexities can arise that require specialist help and expertise. Decisions about where any proceedings should take place, and connecting with local experts abroad, are important.

      Our expert lawyers are experienced in dealing with cases with a foreign element.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Legal Advice for Grandparents

      The advice we give to grandparents generally falls into two categories:

      1. Contact issues – when grandparents are restricted in their access to grandchildren.

      A breakdown in their relationship with one or both parents can lead to grandparents losing regular contact with their grandchildren. In these circumstances they do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren. However, courts have begun to recognise that a child should have the right to see extended family on a regular basis, particularly when members of the extended family have previously played a significant role in the child’s life. The child’s welfare will be the priority. Bretherton Law’s team of experienced Family Law solicitors will help you to seek an amicable solution, but if that’s not possible we’ll help you through the court process.

      1. Kinship carers – where grandparents become full time carers for a grandchild or grandchildren.

      Increasing numbers of grandparents are taking an active role in bringing up their grandchildren, filling a gap left by parents who are unable to do the job themselves. This may be due to social problems such as drink, drug or mental health issues. The natural parents may have sought help from within their own family, recognising that they cannot adequately fulfil the role of parent, or social services may have intervened on the child’s behalf. In other circumstances, the ill health, life choices or even premature death of the parents may cause grandparents to become involved.

      Whatever the reasons for their involvement, grandparents needing to take on the role of carers for their grandchildren are advised to seek legal advice. Bretherton Law’s expert solicitors can help you apply for a legal order to formalise the arrangements between you and your grandchild. A legal order can confirm that the child is to live permanently with you, and give you the right to be involved in making decisions about their care and upbringing. The orders will usually be in the form of a Special Guardianship Order, or Child Arrangements Order (formerly known as a Residence Order), and they may additionally help you to secure financial and other assistance in bringing up your grandchildren.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Domestic abuse

      Domestic abuse, whether physical or psychological, is unacceptable in any relationship and no one should ever be made to feel scared or threatened in their own home.

      We know that simply walking away from a violent partner – male or female – isn’t always an easy option, particularly if children are involved or you don’t have access to your own finances. That’s why it’s vital to talk to someone you can trust – a legal expert who can provide sympathetic but practical advice; explaining your options and helping you put an end to domestic abuse. You may be entitled to legal aid.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.

    • Change of name

      Changing an adult’s name can be a straightforward process and there are a variety of ways to achieve this, the most common being by way of a Change of Name Deed. The change can be a different forename, surname or both.

      To arrange your appointment call 01727 869293 or book online.


    A sensitive and difficult time for a trans-gendered person.  Thank you for the non-judgemental service.  Is this a new niche market for you? Please thank Heidi, my Solicitor.  I did not expect such kindness.

    I highly recommend this firm. More importantly I cannot recommend Heidi enough! She was very professional, never gave me false hope and I felt she genuinely listened and gave all the support she could with my case. She achieved everything I thought was impossible and I cannot thank her enough for what she has done.

    You treated me with respect and I understood everything.

    Experienced, qualified solicitors. Very polite.

    Words can never express our family’s gratitude.