Marriage breakdown can be an extremely stressful and complicated process. In addition to dealing with finances and children arrangements, the Court protocol for separation alone is a challenging process. Here at Jeary & Lewis we offer years of expertise, knowledge and support throughout the divorce process, to minimise clients’ stress and maximise satisfaction.

Adultery – voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.

Affidavit – a statement of truth.

Cohabitation Agreement – a legally enforced agreement between the parties during divorce whereby they agree to live under the same roof under an established set of rights and duties.

Decree Absolute – the final part of the divorce which renders the parties legally divorced.

Decree Nisi – the initial part of the divorce certificate issued by the Court, 6 weeks and one day thereafter decree absolute may be applied for.

Desertion – the Respondent husband/wife has abandoned the Applicant for a period of at least two years immediately prior to the petition.

Dissolution – the legal process by which a civil partnership contract is concluded.

Divorce Petition – an application made on your behalf to the Court to begin divorce proceedings; this contains information about the parties and the reason(s) behind the breakdown of the marriage.

Finding of Fact – a Court hearing to establish whether certain facts are or are not true on the balance of probabilities.

Grounds for Divorce – there are 5 grounds upon which a divorce petition may be based, these are separation for 5 years, separation for 2 years with consent from the other party, adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion.

Judicial Separation – a situation where parties are man and wife, but they are separated.

Nullity – Court proceedings which end one’s marriage contract as void or voidable.

Occupation Order – a Court Order which grants the right to refuse the other party occupying the property.

Post-Nuptial Agreement – a contract between parties following marriage setting out how financial matters will be dealt with upon possible separation or divorce.

Pre-Nuptial Agreement – a contract between parties prior to marriage setting out how financial matters will be dealt with upon possible separation or divorce.

Separation for five years – the parties have lived apart for at least five years immediately prior to the Petition.  No consent from the other party is needed.

Separation for two years with consent – the parties have lived apart for at least two years immediately prior to the petition.  Consent from the other party is needed.

Undertaking – a legally binding and enforceable promise made to the Court either to do, or not to do something.

Unreasonable Behaviour – points made setting out how the Respondent husband/wife has behaved in such a way that the Applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with them any longer.

Without Prejudice – generally means that the document cannot be used in Court, with some exceptions.

Family Mediation

Often Court proceedings can be both time-consuming and expensive for clients. Mediation offers an alternative whereby parties can come together and seek to reach an agreement between themselves, as guided and supported by a trained mediator.


When a couple separates perhaps the most complex issue to resolve is that of finances. Whether it is the family home, shared assets and debts, maintenance, or pensions, division of the financial aspects of one’s marriage is a complicated and extensive matter. Our team is dedicated to guiding clients through this process and seeks to achieve the best outcome for each individual we represent.

Clean Break – an Order made in divorce proceedings whereby the parties may no longer make any claims against the other’s finances.

Consent Order – a document setting out the agreement between parties as to how financial assets will be divided.

Declaration of Trust – where persons named on a deed sign a document acknowledging that the property is held on trust for themselves and/or others beneficially, and how this interest is held.

Deed of Separation – a binding contract between parties to determine the division of financial assets following marriage breakdown.

Form E – a complex legal document which aids financial settlement by way of full and frank disclosure of all financial assets.

Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) – a Court hearing which looks at parties agreeing financial settlement.

Financial Settlement – the terms of agreement between parties in relation to finances.

Freezing Order – a Court Order which prevents a party from spending money or using financial assets prior to a final Court decision about financial settlement.

Lump Sum Order – a Court Order that requires a party to make a fixed amount payment to the other, either in one bulk payments or installations.

Non-Marital Assets – those assets brought by only one of the parties to the marriage.

Pension Attachment Order – a Court Order which enables a portion of one party’s pension to go to the other upon retirement.

Pension Sharing Order – a Court Order which enables the sharing of parties’ pensions.

Property Adjustment Order – a Court Order in relation to the transfer of property within divorce proceedings.

Spousal Maintenance – a regular payment by one party to the other following separation. These can be Court ordered.

TOLATA – the existence of a claim against property under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act, where the parties were never married, and the property is not in your name but you have contributed financially to it.


Making decisions about child arrangements can be a very emotional and difficult aspect following marriage breakdown. Depending on the circumstances some clients are able to reach an agreement without having to go to Court, whilst others may require the Court to provide guidance on what is best for the child(ren). Whichever method best suits your circumstances, our team is committed to seeking the best result for you and your family.

CAFCASS – The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is an organisation appointed by the Court to conduct investigations/assessments/evaluations in child proceedings.

Child Arrangement Order – a Court Order to set out where a child should live and the level of contact each parent has.

Gillick Competent – the term to describe a teenager over 13/14 years of age, who is of sufficient age and understanding to express their own independent views in Court.

Guardian ad Litem – a Court-appointed social worker who acts on behalf of the child in the proceedings.

Prohibited Steps Order – a Court Order preventing one party from doing something in relation to a child.

Domestic Violence

Whether there has been a long-standing history of domestic abuse, or whether there has been one incident, we are able and prepared to aid you in all family matters.  If it be children arrangements, financial matters, divorce or issuing of non-molestation orders, our team will provide a safe and comforting source of advice, assurance and guidance.

As a firm we are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency to assess potential client’s eligibility for government funding of legal fees where there has been domestic violence. We work closely with all enquiries in order to determine whether they will gain access to such help, and issue applications on their behalf.

Injunction – a Court Order which prevents someone from doing something.

Government Funding Through Legal Aid

Our contract with the Legal Aid Agency enables us to help clients whose personal circumstances prevent them from otherwise obtaining legal representation. In matters close to our hearts, particularly those in relation to family, we all want to know that we did all that we could and receive the best information and advice. At Jeary & Lewis we can provide this and offer a route to legal solutions for people who may not have been able to otherwise access such help.