Family Law Solicitors

At St Helens Law, our experienced team ensure that we understand the family matters that mean the most to you.

We offer a specialist team of family law solicitors in St Helens, each of which is on hand to provide the support you need, whenever you need it. Whether you are looking for family solicitors to help resolve a dispute regarding children, our divorce lawyers to assist you with the process or if you need support in reaching a financial settlement, we are the people to call. Our experts are well versed in providing the honest, straightforward advice you require during this potentially difficult time.

At all times, our mission is to help you to resolve matters as swiftly as possible, with the minimum stress for everyone involved. Our family law solicitors use our industry know-how to ensure that this doesn’t compromise the required quality of our service, as even though we strive for efficiency, we make sure conclusions are reached with the legalities in mind.

Divorce and financial remedies

When you choose to dissolve a marriage through a divorce, we understand that the process may not always be straightforward, and can present many difficulties and stresses for you and your family. With the support of our expert team of family divorce lawyers, we will ensure that the legal process is managed with the utmost professionalism – helping you to reach your desired outcome quickly and simply with little to no complications.

When resolving financial disputes, every case is dealt with on a totally bespoke basis. Every situation we are presented with at St Helens Law has its own set of unique facts, figures and circumstances, which we study intensely to be the best people to call upon during this period. We have a wealth of expertise in this area, and our experienced solicitors will help you resolve financial matters either by agreement, through mediation, or at court.

It is important that you are represented by divorce lawyers in St Helens who you can trust and who know the legal processes inside and out. At SHL we’ll provide you with all the advice, support and understanding you need.

Please Note:

  • All divorces are issued on the basis of non-fault so any Divorce Petition applied for from 6th April 2022 is following this rule.
  • Once the Conditional Order, formerly known as the Decree Nisi, is applied for we have to wait 20 weeks before we can apply for the Final Order, formerly known as the Decree Absolute, which is another 6 weeks.

Children’s custody arrangements and adoption

If you need any child custody services in Merseyside, then the family law solicitors from St Helens Law are on hand to help. We deal with all child dispute issues, whether they relate to a private dispute between parents, or even if there are complicated and sensitive child care proceedings ongoing.

When children are involved, affected family members and courts are often faced with some of the most difficult decisions they will have to make. Our experienced and highly knowledgeable team of family solicitors provides comprehensive child custody services in Merseyside. We are also able to assist anyone who is in conflict regarding children, or who harbours serious concerns about a child’s immediate safety and welfare.

Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement is entered into before you marry and sets out how you wish your assets to be divided in the event that your marriage breaks down.

Should you wish to create a prenuptial agreement as soon as possible, our team of divorce solicitors in St Helens can guide you every step of the way, providing you with all the support and advice you require. We will be sensitive to the needs of all parties involved and will help you to prepare an agreement that covers every detail, ensuring that all eventualities are considered.

Should your relationship ever break down, you can be sure that your prenuptial agreement will be written in such a way that ensures it is highly likely to be influential in court, providing all parties with reassurance and peace of mind for whatever the future may bring.

Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic abuse, you are not alone. The team of family solicitors at St Helens Law is here to listen to your circumstances and provide the help that you need immediately.

Subject to the details of your experiences, our team may be able to gain protection for you through the courts, through a non-molestation order. This legally prevents the abuser from using or threatening violence against the victim. Alternatively, we could seek an occupation order on your behalf, which will enable the victim to live at the family home, to the exclusion of the abuser.

Whatever advice you need, our dedicated family law solicitors in St Helens are trained to support victims of domestic abuse. We will act with the utmost sensitivity and will work in complete confidence to help the victim get the protection they need from their abuser.

“St Helens Law do not accept service by electronic means.”


Family Law FAQs

No, there are alternatives to divorce. Some people, for instance, opt for judicial separation rather than divorce. This can be considered if there are religious obligations to divorce. Judicial separation ends the legal duty to live together but neither party can then remarry. This should be carefully considered and discussed with a lawyer.
In order to obtain a divorce, there are certain criteria that must first be met. Firstly, you must have been married at least one year and you must show that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. Irretrievable breakdown can be evidenced in 1 of 5 ways:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour (that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live together)
  • That your spouse has deserted you for or at least two years
  • That you have been living apart for two years and your spouse consents to a divorce
  • That you have lived apart for five years

In brief terms, the divorce is started by one party (the ‘Petitioner’) lodging a petition with the court. This document (the ‘Divorce Petition’) sets out the details of the parties, the marriage and the grounds for divorce. If there are children, the court requires a further form (called a ‘Statement of Arrangements’) to be sent with the petition along with the court fee. Once received the court will send a copy of the divorce petition and other documents to the other party (the ‘Respondent’). The Respondent will then be expected to acknowledge service of the divorce petition. Once an acknowledgement has been received a judge will look at all documents and may decide to grant ‘Decree Nisi’. This is the first step towards obtaining a divorce and is the court’s acceptance that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. 6 weeks and 1 day from the granting of Decree Nisi the petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute. Once granted, Decree Absolute brings the marriage to an end. Between the stages of Decree Nisi and up until Decree Absolute the marriage is still legally binding. The parties should therefore make a will at the earliest opportunity. Before applying for Decree Absolute, the usual practice is to agree settlement of matrimonial assets as well arrangements of any children of the marriage.

We will charge an hourly rate for all work undertaken. A divorce normally costs between £500 – £750 plus the court fee to issue the petition. It is important to note that assistance with financial settlement and children matters will be in addition to the divorce costs and depends on the amount of work that is done. Legal Aid is sometimes available although now very rarely, however we do not undertake Legal Aid work.
The divorce itself normally takes between 2 and 4 months. However it may take longer to agree a financial settlement and/or resolve any child arrangement issues. It is recommended to agree a financial settlement before applying for Decree Absolute (the document which officially dissolves the marriage).
The law provides that, in most cases, each party must leave the marriage on an equal footing and both parties’ income and housing needs must be met. This means that each party must receive a 50/50 share of the matrimonial assets and they must have enough income to live and they must have somewhere to live. The assets must be divided in a way that achieves this principle.

Parties are encouraged to engage in amicable negotiations in an attempt to resolve matters quickly, cheaply and stress free. Sometimes parties are unable to resolve their differences through negotiation.

In most cases, it is now compulsory for parties to enter into mediation. However this is not necessary in cases involving domestic abuse or in emergency situations. Mediation allows both parties to speak openly with an independent person to come to an arrangement without involving the courts. Once an agreement has been reached, it might be necessary to put the agreement into a consent order; this will then become a binding court order.
If parties cannot agree a settlement in relation to the division of matrimonial assets then one party must make an application to Court. Upon receipt of the application the Court will make an order directing all parties to do certain things before a hearing date. This includes disclosing all of your finances and providing documentary evidence, producing a chronology, a questionnaire and a list of the issues e.g. the parties cannot agree the property valuation. The first hearing is known as a First Appointment Hearing, which is used for the Judge to give direction on any issues. If there are no issues then the hearing is used as a Financial Dispute Resolution. Here, the Judge will hear both parties positions for division of assets and will give the parties an indication as to whom he/she favours. The parties can then use this information to continue to negotiate. If an agreement is reached, it will be put into a consent order and the Judge will make it a binding court order. If the parties still cannot agree a settlement then the Judge will list the matter for a Final Hearing. At the Final Hearing, both parties will give evidence and the Judge will decide what the division of assets will be.
We will charge an hourly rate for all work undertaken. It is difficult to give an estimate of costs as it depends on the method chosen to resolve matters. We will however provide you with monthly updates in respect of our fees. It is important to note that assistance with Divorce and children matters will be in addition to the Financial Remedy costs and depends on the amount of work that is done.
Like costs, it is difficult to provide an estimate of how long it takes to resolve financial division of matrimonial assets matters. It depends on the method of resolution and whether parties can reach a swift amicable settlement, engage in lengthy negotiations, mediation, or whether they cannot resolve their differences and place matters in the hands of the Court. Whichever option, we are here to guide, and advise, you through the process.
Disputes in relation to children are quite common following the breakdown of a relationship. In most cases, it is now compulsory for parties to enter into mediation. However this is not necessary in cases involving domestic abuse or in emergency situations. Mediation allows both parties to speak openly with an independent person to come to an arrangement without involving the courts. Once an agreement has been reached, it might be necessary to put the agreement into a consent order, this will then become a binding court order.
It is often the case that mediation is not successful for one reason or another. When this happens it is necessary to make an application at court. There are a variety of orders which the court can make including child arrangement orders which can determine where a child is to live, contact with a parent (or non-parent) and any specific issue concerning a child (such as change of surname, and schooling). When dealing with a child arrangement application, the court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child(ren). In order to apply for a child arrangement order, you must have parental responsibility for the child(ren) concerned. If you do not have parental responsibility but wish to apply for a child arrangement order, you must first ask the court’s permission.
Parental responsibility is a legal term meaning the legal right and responsibility over a child. Without parental responsibility you cannot have a say about a child’s education, medical treatment or any decision affecting their daily life. Married parents automatically obtain parental responsibility (if married when the child is born). If the parents are not married, a mother automatically obtains parental responsibility from birth. However an unmarried father obtains parental responsibility by the following:

  1. By being named as father on the child’s birth certificate with the consent of the mother and the certificate was issued after 1st December 2003
  2. By entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  3. By applying to the court
  4. By being appointed guardian of the child
  5. By obtaining a residence order
  6. By marrying the mother

Parental Responsibility is not necessarily exclusive to parents. For instance, a grandparent can obtain parental responsibility as can a Local Authority.

Local authorities have responsibilities for children in need. If a child is considered to be ‘in need’ the Local Authority must take reasonable steps through the provision of services to prevent children in its area suffering ill-treatment or neglect. This can involve providing accommodation and implementing a child protection plan. In serious cases, a child could be made the subject of a care order or an emergency protection order. If a Local Authority has identified concerns, it is essential you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. You will be given the chance to make submissions to social services and, in some cases, to a court. Legal aid is largely still available for these types of cases. However, it is important to note that we at St Helens Law do not carry out legal aid work.
We do not undertake Legal Aid work at St Helens Law. It is always important to see if you are eligible for legal aid as, depending on your ability to pay, you may be able to access legal aid to get help to resolve your family dispute. Legal aid is also available for cases involving domestic abuse and child abduction cases. The law concerning legal aid changed drastically in April 2013. For further information visit Get Online Advice or telephone 0845 345 4 345.


To arrange a FREE initial consultation with our Family Law team, please call 01744 742360, or click here to email