Family Law

We’ve helped hundreds of couples go their separate ways – and we can help you, too.

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Guiding you through all aspects of separation and divorce

The breakdown of any relationship is a complex and emotional time for everyone involved. Our specialist family lawyers are experienced in helping couples navigate the separation and divorce process while remaining focused on finding the best possible solution for you and your family, particularly your children.

Our family law team work hard to deliver solutions tailored to your individual circumstances. Whether you need family law advice on pre-nuptial agreements, using a single lawyer for the divorce process or advice on children and finances when you are separating, our team can help.

Trust is a vital part of our relationship with you. We take time to understand all the details of your family and the outcome you would like to achieve. We can then draw on our rich experience and knowledge to tailor a solutions-focused approach to achieving your goals.

Our family lawyers are all members of Resolution, an organisation committed to “promoting a constructive approach to family issues that considers the needs of the whole family”.

How we can help?

Divorce or separation will always be laced with emotion. Our expert and well-respected lawyers can help you get the best results in your unique circumstances, protecting your interests and setting you on your future path.

We know that at difficult times you value down-to-earth conversations and honesty. We will take the time to develop a clear understanding of your needs and goals, whether you have straightforward or complex financial affairs, are involved in a dispute in respect of children, suffering from domestic abuse or are looking to protect your or your family’s wealth.

Separation and divorce

The end of any relationship is not easy for anyone involved. The decision to separate and divorce is turbulent for any couple. Our specialist divorce lawyers can help guide you through the process and find solutions that are right for your family, children and individual circumstances.

Collaborative law

Our approach to family law is centred around providing positive solutions for you - while minimising the emotional trauma for you and your family. Collaborative law allows you to find a more constructive way to deal with family law disputes. 


Deciding who gets what following a separation or divorce is often contentious. Whereas many couples can continue to work together for the benefit of their children, finance issues can be more problematic.

Despite this, not all cases need to end in expensive court cases. Our team are experts in negotiating settlements that are fair and reasonable for both parties. We'll look at your unique circumstances as a whole and act as mediators, drawing on decades of experience to construct a strategy and to reach an agreement.

Unfortunately, there are times where a mutual agreement is not possible. In these circumstances, the court can step in to make a financial order, known as the 'contested' route. This means the court will decide how assets will be split, dividing up pensions, property, savings and investments. It can also include arrangements for maintenance payments, including child maintenance.

The court will consider a wide range of variables, including age, ability to learn, living expenses, standard of living, financial needs, roles within the family and disabilities.

Taking the court option takes longer and is more expensive.


Pensions can sometimes be overlooked during divorce or separation – but they are often one of the most valuable assets. It’s also common for one partner to have a significantly larger pension pot than the other, if they have been the main earner for a long period of time.

Pensions can be offset against other assets such as property, or earmarked, allowing the separating couple to split the money at an agreed percentage once the funds become accessible, usually from age 55. A third option is to split the pension into two pots from the date of divorce, giving both people greater flexibility.

Our family team includes wealth protection experts who can advise you on the best route forward to protect your money.

"Higgs LLP works to the highest standard, working collaboratively with its clients, ensuring that they understand every step of the process. Providing timely and measured advice. The team is very client focused. The team is tactically astute and gives great levels of service. The team will fight the difficult cases"

Legal 500

"Excellent empathy during my divorce. Phil Barnsley was very companionate, knowledgeable and provided the relevant information so that I could make an informed choice. I will never forget how they got me through the most difficult part of my life it was like a therapeutic process"

Legal 500

"Sioned Fitt has a uniquely insightful knowledge of her clients and the difficulties that they and their families / loved ones are facing. Sioned works tirelessly, with great care and patience to provide her clients with the support that they need"

Legal 500

Separate Together

Separate Together is our innovative model of working which allows a couple to separate using the same lawyer, saving time and money. No-one wants costly legal battles and for the right couples, one solicitor representing both has huge advantages.

In order for couples to work this way, they must give their informed consent to disclosing all the relevant factual and financial information required in order to reach decisions together.

Instructing a single solicitor is not suitable for cases where there has been any abuse, safeguarding or capacity concerns, or where there is a significant power imbalance.

It is also not appropriate where there are issues around mental or emotional health or substance misuse, where one person isn’t prepared to negotiate or feels under duress, or where either person is likely to hide information, especially about finances.

Separate Together isn’t for everyone, but for some it makes the process much more palatable.

Pre-nuptial agreements

Pre-nuptial agreements are often associated with celebrities or the mega-rich, but an increasing number of people are seeing the benefits of reaching agreements with their spouse prior to marriage.

Pre-nuptial agreements are detailed documents that define and regulate the financial affairs during the marriage, but also in the event of a future separation.

They are very flexible documents that can be tailored to the bespoke needs of each individual couple. Assets or future inheritance can be ringfenced, offering people certainty as to what their financial situation might look like upon separation.

Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK – but they are taken seriously by the court if they are drafted thoroughly.

Civil partnerships

Both opposite and same-sex couples in the UK can choose to enter a civil partnership or to have a marriage.

A civil partnership gives your union legal recognition just like a marriage, bringing both rights and responsibilities. Once you have registered a civil partnership, it can only be ended if one person dies, or by applying to court.

Pre-registration agreement can be reached before entering into a civil partnership, which sets out what happens to assets and/or children in the event of a relationship breaking down.

We can help couples formulate a pre-registration agreement - or help with the separation process if there is no agreement in place.

"Personal qualities that we perceive have been instilled across the whole team…the support clients get is honest, to the point, will not be “dressed up” and will be truthful even if it isn’t what you want to hear, but most importantly will be delivered to you in a way that is both supportive and positive."

Legal 500

"Fantastic with clients and really goes the extra mile for them. It’s always a pleasure to be briefed by Phil who tends to brief me on high value cases with high net-worth clients"

Legal 500

"I’ve benefited from timely and great advice. Karen Gray and Rhian Gray are a real credit to Higgs. Warm, very approachable, thorough understanding of my case and robust when needed, neither of them have been fazed by some difficult situations and have always offered clear perspective."

Legal 500


Making the best arrangements for your child when a relationship breaks down can be stressful, but it's absolutely paramount that it is done properly and sensitively.

Disagreements over who the child should live with, how often they should see each parent, who they should holiday with and what school they should go to are common, not to mention child maintenance disputes. Our friendly, caring team will work closely with you to gather the specifics of your case to advise on the most appropriate course of action.

A child arrangement order – formerly known as custody or contact – is used to determine who is to be responsible for a child's care following separation or divorce.  In the vast majority of cases it will be in the best interests of the child that they maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents - and possibly extended family - but it's important that this is discussed and agreed.

Where possible, we’ll strive to reach amicable agreements outside of court, using alternative dispute resolution where appropriate.

Domestic abuse

There is no statutory definition of domestic abuse. It covers a wide range of behaviours, not just physical violence and threats. It might also include sexual violence, emotional or other psychological abuse, harassment, or coercive or controlling behaviour. This can include financial and indirect controlling behaviour.

Controlling behaviour can include a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by:

  • depriving someone of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • exploiting a person for financial gain
  • isolating a person from friends, family or other sources of support
  • restricting or regulating their activities or behaviour

Coercive behaviour can include acts such as physical assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other actions used to harm, punish or frighten someone.

We have considerable experience in advising on the legal options open to those who are suffering from or have been accused of domestic abuse. Our highly trained, sympathetic experts can assist you in taking appropriate steps to move towards a resolution.

"Qualities are instilled by Phil Barnsley, head of the family law team. When negotiating on behalf of clients, the team is highly skilled and knowledgeable. The focus is to obtain the best outcome for the client but, importantly, they are mindful that the best outcome also includes avoiding unnecessary cost"

Legal 500

"Articulate, intelligent, always available and passionate, I never felt alone. All of the pressure was taken off me during my time working with Sioned"

Legal 500

Why choose us as your family lawyers

Family law issues can be complex, as is the law surrounding them. We have a wealth of experience from working with individuals and families both locally and nationally in structuring successful outcomes to the benefit of the whole family.

Our down-to-earth and practical lawyers are renowned for guiding clients clearly and methodically, providing bespoke advice to achieve the best outcomes. We also have a reputation for clear communication, making sure you understand your options and legal responsibilities.

Family Lawyer Rhian Gray
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You do not have to get a solicitor to help you with your divorce. The divorce process itself is typically relatively straightforward. What is most important is to ensure that you get proper advice around how you settle the financial claims between you and your spouse and advise you as to child arrangements.

You should always choose a solicitor who has the necessary knowledge and expertise in this area, and who you feel is a good fit for you. We offer the opportunity for all our clients to have a preliminary discussion with us in order for you to decide whether we are suitable for you.

It is beneficial if you have a recommendation, but this is not the only way to find a good solicitor. A great way to decide is to speak to the solicitor first so that you can decide for yourself whether you feel they are the right person for you. You can also search for someone on which is the regulatory body for over 6,500 family law professionals.

Yes, you can. It’s not appropriate in every case, but there are solicitors who will act for both parties. We offer our Separate Together service where we act for both parties in reaching an amicable outcome on divorce so that you can move on well from your divorce.

Initially this is something for you and your spouse to agree. Typically, the parties will agree to split the cost of the divorce petition and the consent order fee. How you meet any other fees or costs is a matter for you to agree, negotiate, or otherwise for the court to determine in the absence of agreement.

We recognise that different people have different priorities when it comes to their divorce, but it is always sensible to be prepared to give your lawyer as much information as you possibly can as early as you can. We offer a free online service via Settify which can be accessed through our website which enables you to fill in a quick and easy questionnaire providing us with essential information to make our first encounter with you as productive and cost efficient as possible.

The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You must have been married for at least one year before you can make an application to dissolve the marriage.