Ipswich - 01473 213311
Colchester - 01206 584584
Felixstowe - 01394 834557

Family, Relationships & Divorce

Family, Relationships and Divorce Lawyers

In Ipswich, Felixstowe and Colchester

Kerseys’ specialist team of qualified Family, Relationship, and Divorce Solicitors are always on hand to help you through even the toughest times with practical and straightforward advice.

Our team of experienced divorce and family lawyers are sympathetic people dedicated to helping clients – whether married or unmarried – through serious family troubles. The team has many years of experience in acting for clients in difficult matrimonial cases and childcare proceedings.

If you have any questions or queries regarding family, relationships and divorce law, then get in contact with our lawyers in either our Ipswich, Felixstowe or Colchester office.

I need help with:


When a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, parents are not always able to reach agreement about issues such as who the children will live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent.


Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is a form of alternative dispute resolution for family issues such as divorce, finances and children arrangements.

Collaborative Law


We understand that the breakdown of a marriage or a civil partnership is a highly stressful and emotional time. Whether you want to obtain a divorce or dissolve a civil partnership, the court has to be shown that the marriage/civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.



Family mediation is a process where a Mediator supports and helps you and family members to communicate more effectively and to find consensual resolution during times of dispute.



We can help you through the most delicate and emotionally upsetting of family problems with sensitivity coupled with practical efficiency.


Cohabiting Law

With more and more people choosing to live together rather than marrying, it is a good time to review this area of law.

It remains a myth that two people living together are “common-law spouses” and it is also a myth that you somehow acquire an interest in the other person’s property or assets after you have lived together for six months.

Cohabiting couples remain the least protected section of society, but there are things you can do.

Cohabitation Agreement

A Cohabitation Agreement sets out who owns what and in what proportion and gives couples the freedom to set out how they intend to divide their property and assets should the relationship end.

They can also be used to record how the relationship will work, such as who pays the mortgage or food or who pays for refurbishment or renovation to the property and whether that in itself will give rise to an interest in the property or, whether they intend to take out life insurance or make a Will.


If you die without making a will (to die intestate) there is very restrictive rules governing who gets what.

Unmarried couples are not recognised under law.

Therefore the only way for an unmarried partner to inherit, is under a Will.

Buying a Property

Great care needs to be taken when buying a property as unmarried couples, or where couples are together but a property is bought in only one partner’s name.

Trust Law can be a legal minefield, so advice on setting up a declaration of trust, for example, is critical.

A declaration can set out who provided what to the purchase price and can regulate who gets what proportion if the property needs to be sold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce FAQs

We have a question and answer page to give simple answers to commonly asked questions regarding divorce.

Divorce FAQs

Children FAQs

We have a question and answer page to give simple answers to commonly asked questions regarding children and child law.

Children FAQs

What is a legal separation (often referred to as Judicial Separation)?

A judicial separation is a formal separation which is sanctioned by the court. It enables the court to make orders about the division of money and property, similar to the orders which can be made on divorce, without actually terminating the marriage.

What are legal proceedings?

Legal Proceedings are court based applications such as divorce, finances, children arrangements as well as Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act applications which cover unmarried couples with property disputes.

Is a name change legal?

Yes, as long as it is correctly undertaken. We offer a Change of Name Deed service. If seeking to change a forename or surname of a child, both parents need to consent. Where consent is not given, a court application can be made to deal with this specific issue.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legal?

Pre and post nuptial agreements are yet to “bind” courts to their content should they be disputed. However there has been a raft of case law since the leading case of Radmacher in 2009 in which Courts are now attaching significant weight to their existence as long as the criteria for their formulation has been strictly adhered to. Ultimately however, a court will always consider the content of such an agreement when deciding financial relief cases.

The way we work

Fair, acceptable settlement through negotiation is always the preferred solution, to save you stress and expense. If that’s not possible, then we will fight your case strongly through the courts.

We encourage you to gather as much relevant information and documentation as you can, in order to lessen your costs. Our initial advice will include assessing whether you can handle the case, or elements of it, yourself. It’s another potential way you can contain expense.

We prefer to give you a firm quotation of costs upfront. If that isn’t possible in your case, we will explain why.

Do you offer a free or fixed fee appointment?

Where applicable we offer a 45 minute fixed fee appointment in which we will provide you with bespoke legal advice which includes setting out your options on how to move forward our fee is £145.00 plus VAT (£195.00 in total) which also includes within the price the fee for Anti Money Laundering checks we have to perform. The fixed fee is payable in advance of the meeting. However, don’t worry if your meeting runs over, you will not be charged any additional fee.

Can I ask the court to change our financial settlement?

This is a difficult one. There is a route for applying to the court to change a financial settlement because of an unforeseen and unforeseeable event since the court made the financial order. However it is not a given that this will be enough to persuade the court to change a settlement. In a recent case the former husband asked the court to reduce a lump sum to be paid to his ex-wife because his school meals business had suffered a financial downturn due to the covid pandemic. This downturn did not occur until September 2021 when in fact most children had returned to school. Prior to that the furlough scheme and business interruption loans propped the business up. On this basis the ‘event’ – the return to school and reduction of government support, was foreseeable. This is not to say that the covid pandemic would not potentially be deemed unforeseeable and unforeseen in some other cases. But you should always think first as to whether any other legal avenues are available to remedy matters before launching this type of application.

Is a Divorce Settlement Taxable?

Lump sum payments made between spouses and pursuant to a court order are generally tax exempt, although crucially the Order will need to be first in time which means ahead of any application for a Final Order. Disposals of assets such as a transfer or sale of a business, or shares or properties other than the martial home can all give rise to Capital Gains Tax (“CGT”). Even the disposal of the martial home, in certain circumstances could end with a tax bill. Recognising this means we involve a tax expert such as an accountant at an early stage to advise on any tax issues to ensure that whatever the agreement, there are no nasty surprises lurking around the corner when the parties come to implement the Order.

Does my spouse have to pay the bills until we are divorced?

This is not a straight forward answer. The answer will depend on the circumstances of the case, the income of both parties, who is living where and what the bills are – certain bills like Council Tax carry criminal penalties if unpaid. Credit ratings can be adversely affected by the non-payment of a mortgage or certain utility bills. Not paying your buildings and contents insurance could be fatal to any claim should something unforeseen happen to your home and it can also invalidate your mortgage terms – a bespoke, case by case analysis is required here and the advice given will reflect that approach.

Family Team

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