Roisin McCorry is the partner responsible for the family law department. Roisin is a collaboratively trained lawyer and a member of Resolution. Roisin has over thirty years’ experience in advising and acting for clients in family matters and is able to assist you with Pre-nuptial agreements, Separation agreements, Divorce and financial settlements and matters relating to children.
Collaborative law is a modern approach to resolving family disputes by agreement and without the intervention of the courts. The aim of collaborative law is to enable the parties involved to take control of the issues which need to be agreed or resolved in a non-adversarial context. A key part of the collaborative law process is that the parties agree to deal with matters in a reasonable manner and without recourse to the courts.
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What is a pre-nuptial agreement?
A Pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement made by two people prior to their marriage or civil partnership. The Agreement is used to set out what assets each person has and what will happen to those assets and any assets acquired during the marriage if they later separate. The pre-nuptial agreement can be used to provide the maximum protection over the assets of one partner from a claim by the other in the event of a separation. They are often used when one person has inherited assets from his or her parents or where they have acquired considerable wealth as a single person.
Are pre-nuptial agreements enforceable?
In the event of a financial claim being made by one partner or spouse against the other the Courts have a wide discretion as to how to settle the claims. A pre-nuptial agreement is one factor which the Court has to take into consideration in making a decision. The Court is not bound by the Pre-nuptial agreement but the existence of such an agreement will clearly demonstrate to the court the intention of the parties prior to the marriage or civil partnership.
We can assist you with the preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement to ensure that it is appropriately worded. We can also assist you with the procedures which must be complied with to ensure that the pre-nuptial agreement will be considered by the court.
A separation agreement can be used to achieve an amicable or orderly break-up of a relationship. A Separation Agreement can by cohabitees, civil partners or spouses. They are commonly used to set out the parties intentions in relation to their finances and where there are children residency (custody) and contact arrangements. They are usually used to cover the immediate position after a break-up and will not normally be suitable for settling long-term financial arrangements where the parties intend to divorce.
We can assist you in preparing a settlement agreement and advising on the long-term options available to you.
Divorce and financial settlements
Divorce is the means by which a marriage is brought to an end. Divorce does not settle the matrimonial finances, these have to be settled by the use of a separate but related procedure.
The divorce process
It is not possible for either party to a marriage to apply for a divorce until the first anniversary of the date of the marriage. The person who applies for the divorce is called the Petitioner, the other person is the Respondent.
The Petitioner petitions on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are only five facts which can be used to support this ground, they are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation for 2 years where the Respondent consents to the divorce on this basis
- Separation for 5 years where the Respondent does not consent to the divorce.
The fourth and fifth facts are often referred to as “no fault” divorces as the Petitioner is not required to allege any misconduct on the part of the Respondent.
Where possible we will seek to negotiate an agreed Petition with the potential Respondent to the proceedings. This reduces the risk of the Respondent seeking to defend the Petition needlessly.
Once the court is satisfied that the basis for the petition is accepted by the Respondent (or proved where the petition has been defended) it will issue a Certificate of entitlement to a decree followed by a Decree Nisi. The Petitioner (or later the Respondent) must then apply for the Decree Absolute to finally end the marriage. It is only upon the court pronouncing the Decree Absolute that the marriage is at an end.
Do I really need a solicitor for a divorce?
We can help you to prepare the divorce petition properly and ensure that the most appropriate facts are cited in support of the petition. A divorce petition that is not completed correctly can be rejected by the court and will normally require amendments and the payment of a further court fee.
We can ensure that you are properly advised in relation to matters relating to the matrimonial finances or children. We can also assist where the divorce has an international aspect. These points are often overlooked when dealing with more basis “DIY” divorce services.
Ms. McCorry has a wealth of experience in relation to the settlement of complex matrimonial finances. This includes cases where one party has inherited wealth or where there are assets held abroad or business assets and in more recent times where there are also complex debt issues to resolve. The parties to a marriage or civil partnership have financial obligations to each other. These cannot be resolved simply by obtaining a Decree absolute in divorce proceedings. Similarly agreements reached informally or initially be a settlement agreement may not be upheld at a later date by the Courts.
We can advise and act for you in relation to the procedures involved in negotiating a financial agreement, applying to the court for a financial order or responding to such an application. We can ensure that any agreement reached has legal effect and enforceability.
Children & Family Law
We can advise you in relation to issues concerning children such as residence (custody), contact or disputes as to specific issues relating to children. We seek to approach these cases as sensitively as possible to ensure the minimum impact on the children involved and to limit as far as possible the effect of the dispute on the ability of the parties to agree and arrange other matters relating to the children.
Where it is not possible to reach an agreement we can assist and act for you in making an application to the Court.