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Blandy & Blandy Solicitors
Family Law & Divorce Solicitors in Reading, Henley-on-Thames & Wokingham

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Family Law & Divorce Solicitors in Reading, Henley-on-Thames & Wokingham

With welcoming and conveniently located offices in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham, we are recognised as one of the most established and experienced teams of Family Law solicitors in the South East, meaning you can trust that you are in safe and expert hands. We can also advise you remotely, and you can expect the same legal advice and client care on which our leading reputation is based, however you decide to work with us.

Looking for expert legal advice?

Leading Family Law Solicitors in
Reading, Henley-on-Thames & Wokingham

It goes without saying that any issues affecting your family (from a relationship breakdown and divorce to those involving your children, home and living arrangements or financial position) are often complex, as well as emotionally and financially challenging.

We are experienced in dealing with matters ranging from those that are comparatively straightforward to more complex cases, including those involving children, significant and high value assets (for example, property, business interests, pensions, trusts and crypto currency) and overseas elements.

We act for a broad range of clients and can advise you at every stage of a relationship, whether you are an unmarried couple looking to protect your financial position (pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements), already married or in a civil partnership (post-nuptial agreements) or seeking to end a relationship (separation and divorce/dissolution).

Our team also have extensive experience advising on issues concerning child arrangements following a relationship breakdown.  We are committed to working with you in what can be highly emotive and challenging situations.

More broadly, we can advise on matters ranging from financial arrangements and surrogacy to domestic abuse and court applications, appeals and enforcement.

You will be searching for a legal adviser who is a specialist in Family Law, understands and is sensitive to your situation, and is always on-hand when needed. The area of Family Law is fast moving and only a specialist who spends all their time working in this field can be expected to stay abreast of developments. You may find our blog article, 'Choosing a Solicitor Who is a Specialist Family Lawyer' helpful.

Working With our Leading Team of Family Law Solicitors

A member of our team will listen to and assess your situation, advise on the strength of your case and discuss your options. We aim to work with you to achieve the best outcome for you and your family, whilst helping to carefully manage timescales and costs.

All our  legal advisers are members of Family Law body Resolution and committed to its ethos of adopting a constructive, conciliatory approach to resolving matters, including seeking to avoid court where possible. As such, we pride ourselves on being able to offer alternative methods of dispute resolution  including negotiation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation. We are also experienced in using methods such as round table meetings and private financial dispute resolution hearings (FDRs).  Members of our team are also qualified mediators and collaborative lawyers which means we are in a unique position to tailor our services to suit each individual client’s requirements. 

If court action is necessary, you can rest assured that we are highly skilled in dealing with cases in the family courts, ranging from the magistrates' court to the High Court. As a leading firm, we instruct the same experts and barristers and issue proceedings in the same courts as national and City firms.  This provides you with a more-cost-effective alternative without compromising on the quality of advice and the service you will receive.

Trusted Expertise & Experience in Family Law

We are one of only two firms in Reading and the only firm in Henley-on-Thames or Wokingham to be recognised as a top tier firm of Family Law solicitors in both of the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers UK and The Legal 500. We are proud to have twice been named as a finalist in the 'Family Law Firm of the Year - South' category at the national Family Law Awards, and to have achieved 'highly commended' status in 2022. Our successful approach is further reflected in the excellent client feedback our clients kindly continue to share. 

Our team benefits from Family Law specialists with different levels of experience. This means we can offer clients the expertise required at the most cost-effective price.

We enjoy excellent relationships with other leading professional services firms across the region and are experienced in working closely with other advisers who may be supporting you. This can help to ensure a smoother process and to minimise the likelihood and impact of any unforeseen issues or costly delays. You can also rely on colleagues within our firm for specialist expertise in other areas if required, including Wills and estate planning, property, and advice in relation to any business interests.

Common Questions

Where are your offices located?

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Our offices are conveniently located in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham. We can also advise you remotely and you can expect the same legal advice and client care on which our leading reputation is based, however you decide to work with us.

How quickly can I expect to hear back after making an enquiry?

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We aim to respond to enquiries the same or next day where possible (subject to weekends, holidays and bank holidays).

What will the costs be for seeking family law advice?

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Costs will also vary depending on the complexity of the work and what the matter is at hand. Our team benefits from Family Law specialists with different levels of experience. This means we can offer clients the expertise required at the most cost-effective price. 

As well as solicitors’ costs, there may also be other costs associated with your matter such as barrister’s fees or disbursements which we will always discuss with you as part of your case.

Do I need a family lawyer to help me with my divorce?

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There is a misconception that obtaining a Final Order or Decree Absolute in a divorce/dissolution also means your financial claims against each other end.  That is not the case.  Unless, and until there is a Court Order in place dealing with and dismissing your respective financial claims; it may still be possible (even in the event of re-marriage) for the financial claims to remain open. 

It is therefore key to take informed legal advice from a specialist family lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and obligations in the event of a divorce or dissolution.  Even in cases where you are amicable with your former spouse/civil-partner and can reach an agreement between you; only the Court can ratify that agreement and there a number of factors a Judge will consider before making an Order binding. Without legal advice, you may find yourself in a difficult position if one person later tries to unravel the agreement or if an agreement is submitted to the Court but not deemed fair. Read more.

How long does a divorce take?

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A straightforward divorce takes a minimum of six months from the Application being made, to obtaining the Final Order. Applying for the Final Order is usually delayed pending a financial settlement and depending on how this is reached (e.g. through the Court or non-Court process) will affect the timescales of finalising the divorce.

The process could also take longer if there are complicating factors e.g. there is trouble locating and serving the other person with the papers or the divorce is defended.  With the new ‘no fault’ divorce process, the latter is very unlikely to happen because there are limited reasons a divorce can be defended.

On what ground can a divorce be started?

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The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage is the sole ground for divorce and a statement to this effect is conclusive. There is no longer the requirement to prove or evidence irretrievable breakdown by reference to adultery, unreasonable behaviour or a period of separation.

New legislation in the form of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA 2020) came into force on 6 April 2022 and introduced so called ‘no fault divorce.’ The DDSA 2020 represented the first significant divorce law reform since the 1970s and profoundly impacted divorce law in England and Wales paving the way for a more constructive approach to relationship breakdown. You can read more here.

How will my finances be dealt with upon separation?

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A person’s financial claims and rights on a relationship breakdown will depend on many factors, including whether they are married/in a civil partnership, or if they are in a cohabiting relationship.  There is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’; the rights of an unmarried person are more limited to those of a married person.

A person’s claims and rights may also depend on whether there are any legal documents in place seeking to protect their financial interests; such as a pre/post-nuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement.

The key to resolving finances on separation is to firstly complete a financial disclosure process before then looking at how best to divide assets in order to meet the needs of all parties, primarily any minor children.

It is important to take early legal advice about what you may be entitled to in the event you separate.

What are my rights as a cohabiting couple?

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Unmarried couples do not have the same legal rights and protections as those who are married or in a civil partnership.  There are no automatic rights to the other’s finances upon separation or to receive ongoing financial support from them (other than child maintenance), whatever the length of relationship and whether or not the couple share children.   A cohabitee similarly does not have an automatic right to share their partner’s property or estate in the event of their death, no automatic right to various tax benefits and potentially no rights to receive the deceased’s pension.

It is possible to enter into a cohabitation agreement to set out each cohabitee’s rights and their obligations towards each other and any children during the relationship and what happens upon their separation.  

What are my rights as a parent?

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A parent with parental responsibility has certain rights, duties and responsibilities towards their child. This includes the authority to make important decisions about where a child is schooled, what medical treatment they can have, what their religion is, what their surname is and whether they can travel abroad for example.

It is important to establish who has parental responsibility for a child as only mothers have automatic parental responsibility for their children.  Fathers and second parents in same-sex couples may not automatically have parental responsibility.

Am I entitled to child maintenance?

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It is possible that the parent with whom the children spend less time will be obligated to pay child maintenance to the other parent for the children’s benefit.  This will be the case whether or not the parents have ever been in a long-term relationship. 

The entitlement to maintenance depends on the age of the children (they must be under 16 or under 20 if they are in full-time education) and the amount of maintenance is calculated based on the paying parent’s gross income and the number of nights the children spend with them.  It is possible for parents to agree maintenance between them or for the Child Maintenance Service to arrange this.  The Court have limited involvement with child maintenance and only retain jurisdiction to deal with it in certain circumstances.

What happens if arrangements for the children cannot be agreed?

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As Resolution lawyers (Resolution is an organisation of family law professionals committed to resolving family matters in a conciliatory manner) we would encourage you and your former partner/spouse to first try and agree arrangements for the children between you.  If that is not appropriate, it may be that mediation is a useful forum for you to have some constructive discussions about the arrangements with the assistance of a neutral third party.  The hope would be to try and reach an agreement using this process or another out of court alternative. However, if it is not possible to agree how much time the children spend with each parent post separation, it is possible to make an application to the Court to determine this. 

What is mediation?

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Mediationis an out of Court forum where couples separating or divorcing can discuss, negotiate and agree arrangements for themselves and their children.  A mediator is a trained, neutral third party who does not provide legal advice, but instead guides the parties to try and come up with their own solutions.

There are other methods to trying to resolve disputes outside of the Court process and we can discuss Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with you if this would be appropriate in your case.

How do I protect my financial position given a relationship breakdown?

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You can put a prenuptial or pre-civil partnership agreement in place before your wedding or civil partnership.  These agreements are not automatically legally enforceable in this jurisdiction.  However, there are guidelines in place which will help ensure the agreement is upheld by the Court in the event of a divorce or dissolution.  It is also possible to make these agreements after you have married/entered into a civil partnership – these are known as post-nuptial agreements.

If you are in a cohabiting relationship, you may want to put a cohabitation agreementin place to regulate the financial arrangements between you and your partner and what would happen if your relationship ended.  It may also be sensible to put a Declaration of Trust in place to formalise how you co-own or intend to co-own a property.

How can I be protected from domestic abuse?

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In an emergency situation and if you are at all concerned about yours/another’s safety, you should contact the police in the first instance. We can assist you to seek the protection of the family Court if you are concerned about the risk of harm towards you or your children.

The Court can make a non-molestation order protecting a person and any relevant child from abuse and harassment (or threat of) and/or an occupation order relating to who can live in the family home and access it/the area around it. These orders can only be made against “associated persons” but can include spouses and ex-spouses and other family members. Read more.

  • Why Choose Us?

  • LEADING REPUTATION

    We are widely acknowledged as one of the Thames Valley’s leading firms of Family Law solicitors, with conveniently located offices in Reading, Henley-on-Thames, Wokingham and London.

  • APPROACHABLE SERVICE

    Listening carefully to your needs and aims, we are committed to providing clear, practical and effective legal advice, a responsive and highly personal service and, crucially, value for money.

  • OUTSTANDING CLIENT CARE

    You can be reassured that in our recent annual survey, 98% of clients said that they would recommend our firm to others, while 99% rated their experience as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

  • ALTERNATIVE METHODS

    As well as court litigation, we can offer the alternatives of mediation, collaborative law and arbitration and early neutral evaluation, allowing you to deal with matters in a more constructive way without the need to attend court.

  • A JOINED UP APPROACH

    You can rely on our specialist expertise in areas other than Family Law, ranging from Wills and estate planning to residential property, if needed.

Our Family Law Solicitors

For expert legal advice call our Family Law team
Reading 0118 951 6800 Henley-on-Thames 01491 572 323 Wokingham 0118 951 6888

Tasha Bevan-Stewart

Tasha Bevan-Stewart

Partner, Family Law

Download vCard 0118 951 6801

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Claire Clarke

Claire Clarke

Partner, Family Law

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Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer

Partner, Family Law

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Gemma Kemp

Gemma Kemp

Partner, Family Law

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Shashi Sachdeva

Shashi Sachdeva

Consultant Solicitor, Family Law

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Catherine Currie

Catherine Currie

Associate Solicitor, Family Law

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Peter Hilton

Peter Hilton

Associate Solicitor, Family Law

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Rebecca Ledgerwood

Rebecca Ledgerwood

Associate Solicitor, Family Law

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Hannah Gibbons

Hannah Gibbons

Solicitor, Family Law

Download vCard 0118 951 6837

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Elizabeth Owen

Elizabeth Owen

Solicitor, Family Law

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Emma Hillier

Emma Hillier

Associate Legal Executive, Family Law

Download vCard 0118 951 6811

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Anisha Ali

Anisha Ali

Trainee Solicitor

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“Without a doubt the top family law firm in the Thames Valley. From the most senior partner to the most junior solicitor, they ooze class throughout their team!”

The Legal 500

“Blandy & Blandy’s wealth of experience in Family Law is second to none.”

Chambers UK

“Blandy & Blandy’s family team are without a doubt the leading firm in the Thames Valley area.”

The Legal 500

“A formidable reputation in the region for complex and high-value divorce cases.”

Chambers UK

“They have a fantastic strength in depth that no other firm practising in family law can rival in their area. From the senior partners down, this firm oozes quality in the way they service their clients.”

The Legal 500

“Blandy & Blandy is adept across the full suite of family law issues, with a robust track record for handling complex, high-net-worth divorce proceedings and sensitive child cases.”

The Legal 500

“They have some fantastic lawyers and such breadth in the team that they can cover things from all angles.”

Chambers UK

“If you are considering support for a divorce or a legal battle, then Blandy & Blandy is the firm you want on your side. Even the magistrates were impressed by their work.”

Client

“The support from Blandy & Blandy was brilliant throughout and I would recommend them all in a heartbeat.”

Client

“It's easy to look at the cost of really high quality legal help and to want to reduce it as much as possible. I would urge you to prioritise quality over cost. I could have saved money on cheaper solicitors (or spent more on more expensive ones), but it would have cost me orders of magnitudes more overall.”

Client

“I was recommended to use Blandy & Blandy by another legal professional and it was honestly one of the best decisions I've ever made. If you're in the same situation that I was, I'd encourage you to get Blandy & Blandy on your side. I am immensely grateful - thank you!”

Client

“The service offered by Blandy & Blandy to date has been exceptional. They renewed my faith in solicitors!”

Client

“You're not just getting legal expertise. They excel at the overall strategy, negotiating and making absolutely certain that, although nothing can be guaranteed, they'll give you the best chance of getting a fair outcome.”

Client

“The Family Law team at Blandy & Blandy have been fantastic throughout, and simply cannot be recommended highly enough. Through a difficult time, they have offered insightful, constructive and knowledgeable advice, and offered support on a personal level.”

Client

“Thank you so much for all of your help & expert advice, I can see why you come so highly recommended. You have got a forever client who will recommend you to everyone I know and will use your services and expertise in the future.”

Client

“Blandy & Blandy have done a wonderful job and I am very glad to have had them representing me.”

Client

“I can't thank Blandy & Blandy enough for all the help you have given me, not only with the divorce but also with the children. I will have no hesitation in recommending you to friends or colleagues.”

Client

“I cannot recommend Blandy and Blandy highly enough. My case was handled with care and compassion by an amazing solicitor, clearly at the top of her game. Use Blandy and Blandy with confidence.”

Client

“The standard of care, advice and attention I received was second to none.”

Client

Awards & Accreditations

Top tier firm, Chambers UK

Top tier firm, Chambers UK

Top tier firm, The Legal 500

Top tier firm, The Legal 500

Members of Family Law body Resolution

Members of Family Law body Resolution

Highly Commended, 'Family Law Firm of the Year - South', Family Law Awards 2022

Highly Commended, 'Family Law Firm of the Year - South', Family Law Awards 2022

Finalist, 'Family Law Firm of the Year - South', Family Law Awards 2018

Finalist, 'Family Law Firm of the Year - South', Family Law Awards 2018

Members of the Thames Valley Family Lawyers Society

Members of the Thames Valley Family Lawyers Society