Family Law

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The breakdown of a relationship can be a traumatic, life-changing event and Pennine Law take pride on having a pragmatic approach, whilst at the same time showing empathy and awareness of the difficulties both emotional and financial.

Every breakdown is different and we work closely with the client and strive to achieve the right results for you and your family.

Take advantage of an initial free and confidential consultation in a friendly environment to talk through any fears you may have in relation to your problems.

Our services include:

  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  • Post-Nuptial Agreements
  • Divorce and financial matters
  • Separation
  • Separation Agreements
  • Civil Partnerships
  • Residence and Contact with Children
  • Co-habitation disputes
  • Domestic Violence – Non Molestation and Occupation Orders
  • Change of Name Deeds
  • Property Division

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Family Jargon Buster

Acknowledgement of Service

A form sent by the Court to the Respondent and any Co-Respondent together with the divorce petition. The Respondent is required to complete the questions in respect of the divorce petition and return a Form of Acknowledgement of Service to the Court to confirm they have received the papers.


A married person voluntarily entering into sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex to whom he or she is not married.


A formal written statement which is sworn on oath and informs the court that everything in the divorce petition is true and accurate. An affidavit has to be taken to another solicitors or Commissioner for Oaths who will ask you to sign it, say a form of words and will then witness your signature. An Affidavit is the same as giving evidence on oath without having to go to court.


Alternative to swearing a document on oath to promise that it is true.

Ancillary relief

A general term for the possible financial orders a court can make to resolve financial issues arising out of the marriage in addition to a petition for divorce or judicial separation.


The Respondent's formal written defence to a divorce petition.


An application to a higher court for a review of the decision of a lower court


The person who is bringing the proceedings to the Court

Application/Notice of Application

The document by which the proceedings are brought to the Court


The Children and Family Court Advisory & Support Services for England and Wales. A meeting will be held with a CAFCAS Officer should an application be made to the Court for anything affecting your child

Chambers (In Chambers)

When a District Judge considers an application to be private


A charge on a property similar to a mortgage. The purpose is to give the holder of the charge additional security if they are to be paid out of the eventual sale proceeds.

Child Abduction

To illegally remove a child from its home. This may also be relevant if the removal is by a parent who lives with the child, if another person with the rights to make decisions about the child has not given their permission.

Child maintenance/support

Payment from the absent parent to the parent with day to day care of the children, for ongoing financial support on a regular basis for the benefit of the child(ren).

Child Support Agency

A Government Agency which assesses the level of maintenance the absent parent should pay to the parent with care for the benefit of the children of the family.

Civil Partnership

This is a legal union between same sex couples, giving them the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts.

Clean break

A one off order attending to the financial matters agreed by the husband and wife in full and final settlement. There is no ongoing financial arrangement between them either in terms of income or capital, even if circumstances change.


Parties who live together as man and wife who have not gone through a ceremony of marriage.

Collaborative Law

An approach whereby both parties and their legal representatives pledge to work together to negotiate an agreement without the necessity of the Court.


A type of mediation usually in court which helps couples to sort out arrangements for children rather than financial issues.

Consent Order

An order which is negotiated and agreed by both parties and sanctioned by the Court

Contact (formerly access)

Time spent by the children of the family with the non-resident absent parent. Indirect contact involves the exchange of letters and telephone.

Contact Order

An order made by the court in terms agreed by both parties as to when the non-resident parent can see the children. It may contain other provisions such as staying contact, which allows for children to stay with the other parent at regular intervals, eg weekends and school holidays.

Co Respondent

A person joined as party to divorce proceedings with whom it is alleged the Respondent has committed adultery.

Costs orders

An order in court proceedings determining who should pay for each party's costs.


A barrister

Court Order

The recorded decision of a judge, once he has heard and considered the evidence from all parties in the matter.

Cross Petition

A respondent argues different grounds for the divorce than those of the Petitioner

Decree Absolute

The legal ending of the divorce; a final order in divorce proceedings. Once granted your marriage has been dissolved and you are legally single. It cannot be granted less than six weeks and one day following the Decree Nisi.

Decree Nisi

Once an affidavit has been sent to Court the Judge will read the petition and all other papers and if he confirms there is sufficient cause for the marriage to be ended will send a certificate to say the divorce will be granted. The Judge will fix a date for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. This does not end the marriage you have to wait another 6 weeks before the divorce is finalised.


The party against whom proceedings are brought


Instructions given by a judge to proceed the case once he has considered the facts presented by the parties.

Directions for Trial

The stage in the divorce proceedings when the judge certifies that, having considered the petition and evidence filed, he is happy that the Petitioner has sufficiently proved the contents of the petition and fixes a date to pronounce decree nisi.


The process by which the parties provide their full financial details, including income, assets and liabilities. This is either done voluntarily, or within an application for ancillary relief.


The legal process by which a marriage is ended. The divorce itself does not include settling finances or arrangements for any children of the marriage.


A document which is attached to and sworn with an affidavit.


The final version of a document

Ex parte

Without notice or the knowledge of the party against whom the action is being brought


Documents sent to the court for sealing and service.

Financial Dispute Resolution Appointments/FDR

The second court hearing in the ancillary relief application when the judge considers offers made by the parties and gives an indication as to likely settlement without hearing any evidence.

First directions appointment/FDA

The first court hearing when the judge considers what other information is needed to determine financial matters.

Form E

A sworn financial statement which contains details of a parties income, capital assets and liabilities.

Former matrimonial home/family home

The last dwelling in which the parties resided together.


Unacceptable behaviour such as acts of violence, pestering, unwanted attention or the unpleasantness associated with the breakdown of a close relationship.


A court order which tells someone to do or refrain from doing something. Breaking the order can have serious consequences

Interim order

An order during the course of court proceedings which is not the final order


A Judge's final decision

Judicial Separation

A court order ending in a decree of judicial separation which enables the court to make orders about finances and other orders similar to divorce cases.


The power of a court to entertain an action, petition or other proceedings.

Lump sum order

Order for the payment of a capital sum from one party to another

Maintenance pending suit

An interim maintenance order before the final order


A sum of money paid by one party to support financially on a regular basis the other party.


A legal contract between two individuals which creates the concept of joint assets and liabilities.


The process by which separating couples seek to reach an agreement about such things as their children, finances and property in discussions in the presence of a trained, independent third party, the mediator.

Minutes of Order

Draft terms of agreement which go before the court with a request that they be made into a Consent Order

Nominal Maintenance

A maintenance order consisting of a very small amount that it is not anticipated will be paid but is simply to keep maintenance rights alive

Non-molestation order

An order to prohibit someone using or threatening violence or intimidating or pestering

Notice of application

The document by which the proceedings are brought to the Court

Occupation Order

Regulates the occupation rights to the matrimonial home; excluding a spouse from all or part of it.

On Notice

Where the other party is given notice of and served with the application


A Judge's final decision

Parent with care

The parent with whom children normally reside and who has day to day responsibility for them.

Parental responsibility

This refers to the established rights and responsibilities a parent has for his or her child before, during and after the divorce proceedings in respect of education, religion where they live and whom they see. Mothers automatically have parental responsibility however non married fathers can acquire it by marriage to the child's mother entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child's mother by being named on the birth certificate after 1st December 2003 or applying to the court

Party Cited

A person joined as a party to a defended divorce with whom the Respondent is alleged to have committed adultery.

Pension Sharing

Division of pension between two parties

Periodical payments, maintenance

Final order for payments to be made by one party to the other, usually weekly or monthly to provide maintenance for the other.


This is the main document in divorce proceedings. It will contain factual details of the parties, full names and addresses, date and place of marriage and brief details why the marriage broke down. The document also contains a request for the court to dissolve the marriage and may contain claims for maintenance and other details regarding assets of the marriage.


The party who files the petition at court is known as the Petitioner.


Part of the Petition or Answer which asks the court to make an order(s) in favur of the Petitioner or Respondent

Prenuptial agreement/Premarital agreement

Formal agreement which a couple record their rights in relation to the division intentions to any property, debts, income and other assets purchased together or acquired individually (possibly through inheritance) or that they have bought into a relationship, should the marriage break down. There is no obligation upon the Court to enforce such agreement although the courts are moving towards accepting them.

Prohibited steps

A court order that specifies prohibited actions of the parents such as moving out of the country or changing the child's surname.

Property Adjustment Order

An order within divorce proceedings providing for the transfer of the property from one part to another.

Residence Order

A Court Order that indicates the living arrangements for the child.


The party against whom proceedings are brought

Separate households

Living apart under one roof so that there is no shared cooking, cleaning etc.

Separation agreement

This is for couples who may or may not have been married but who intend to separate and want a legal document drawn up to confirm arrangements for their finances


Process by which court documents are set to the spouse

Specific issues order

An order by the court to resolve a specific issue concerning a child, eg schooling, holidays etc.


Husband or wife you are married to

Statement of Arrangements for Children

A document used in divorce proceedings to provide the Court with information regarding the children's future arrangements e.g., housing, schooling etc.


To make a solemn declaration in confirmation of and witness to the honesty or truth of such a declaration.

Sworn Statement/Affidavit

A written statement which is sworn and used as evidence

Tenants in common

Where more than one party owns a property and each party has a specified share.

Trial/Final hearing

The examination and decision of a matter of law or fact by a Court of law at which the Judge hears evidence and makes a decision which is the final order.

Undefended divorce

Proceed by agreement or when there is no answer.

Without Prejudice

A form by which you can prevent the court at the final hearing from knowing about negotiations which did not result in agreement. It is usually stated at the top of correspondence

- Click Here for Family LawJargon Buster Fact Sheet

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Johanna R AllenJohanna R AllenPenistone and Hoyland
Bill HoylandBill Hoyland Hoyland and Penistone

Pennine Law Solicitors inc Dransfield, Hodgkinson & Lofthouse and William Hoyland Solicitors
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