Category Archives: Matrimonial


Redcar solicitor calls for change in law for non-fault divorces

Redcar-based solicitor Cygnet Law is calling for a change in legislation to grant separated couples faster access to non-fault divorces.

At present, when a couple decides to end their marriage for amicable reasons, they must be separated for two years to be granted a divorce, unless one party accepts ‘fault’ for the breakdown of the marriage. This can be extended to five years if both parties cannot agree that the marriage should end.

Cygnet Law, which offers a range of legal services including wills and probate, property, family law, and mental health cases, wants to see this outdated approach to divorce revised to reflect modern society.

Supporters of the current law suggest that a change to allow non-fault divorces to be processed more quickly would devalue marriage, and make couples going through difficulties less inclined to attempt to work things out.

John Robinson, a Solicitor and Director at Cygnet Law, said: “Forcing couples who wish to end their marriage to wait at least two years for a no-fault divorce does more harm than good. If the couple have amicably separated, and they just want to start a new chapter of their lives, they can be pushed into one of them taking the blame in order to speed up the process. This can lead to bad feeling and animosity where there needn’t be any.

“It’s the 21st century and things have come a long way since the 1970s, when this law was first introduced. The legal system needs to move with the times, and allow couples to divorce as quickly without fault as they do when there is wrongdoing.”

John added: “I don’t think that it devalues marriage at all. Nobody considers getting a divorce lightly, and once that decision has been made, it is very unfair to make people wait for such a long period of time. For many clients I see, it would save a lot of heartache for both parties involved.”


Teesside solicitor finds dog custody to be a ‘bone of contention’ in divorce cases

Cygnet Law in Redcar is offering advice to separating couples over pet custody, following the recent high profile divorce proceedings of Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong.

Many Teessiders who are ending their marriages are concerned about who will keep the beloved pet following the break up. This can be a particular issue with couples who do not have children.

Ant McPartlin’s divorce, and the suspected custody battle he may face over his Labrador, has highlighted the concerns of many couples regarding pet custody in the event of a divorce.

Pet custody cases are nothing new in the celebrity world, with film stars Jonny Depp and Amber Herd fighting over their two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, following their split in 2016, and singer Cheryl winning custody of Chihuahuas, Buster and Coco after her divorce from Ashley Cole in 2010.

In January this year, Alaska became the first state in the USA to essentially treat pets the same way they do children, and give judges the power to give couples joint custody of pets, if it will be in the animal’s best interest.

John Robinson, a divorce specialist Solicitor and Director at Cygnet Law, said: “As far as the law in the UK is concerned, animals are treated in much the same way as inanimate objects, such as computers, cars, or jewellery. However, owners feel more of a personal attachment with a pet than they would with other belongings, and this can make the custody decision more difficult.

“Courts will usually be reluctant to grant custody of a pet, however in the cases where they do, they will usually look at who bought it, who has the funds to pay for its upkeep, and who has primarily cared for it in the home. There is no hard and fast rule for how the decisions of the court will be made, and it will be treated in the same way as any other household object, rather than the same way a child custody hearing would work.”

John added: “We have helped some couples to draw up a pet pre-nuptial agreement, to give them some reassurance over what will happen if they get divorced down the line. Whatever happens, we aim to help people to resolve the issue as amicably as possible at what is an understandably difficult time.”