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Paul J Watson Solicitor - 116 Borough Road - Middlesbrough - TS1 2ES - T: 01642 293427

Family Law
Our team of specialist family solicitors are focused on getting you the best possible result.

Civil Partnership Solicitors Midlesbrough

family-solicitor-middlesbroughAt Paul J Watson Solicitor, we understand that the breakdown of a civil partnership is a difficult and sensitive time. You can be sure that we provide all our clients with sympathetic and independent advice, guiding you through the separation process.

Our Family Team are all members of Resolution, and we therefore encourage settlement of cases in a non-confrontational way where at all possible.  That does not mean that we will not fight your case in court if this is needed.

We provide a free initial consultation for all clients. If you would like to contact our Family Solicitors please call on 01642 293427. Alternatively, complete the Contact Form, providing your contact details and a brief outline of your case, and we will contact you.

In the meantime, we have included some information about the separation process, including some frequently asked questions.


 Why choose Paul J Watson Solicitor? 

  • Our experienced and dedicated team will fight your case, helping you to negotiate and mediate where possible;
  • We have two fully qualified solicitors, who have in excess of 7 years’ experience each in civil partnerships;
  • Free initial telephone consultation with our solicitor to assess your case;
  • We are very proactive in progressing cases as quickly as possible and undertake most of our correspondence by email, considerably speeding up the process;
  • Legal Aid is still available in some civil partnership cases and we undertake Legal Aid work;
  • Competitive rates and fixed fees are available if you are ineligible for Legal Aid.
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Andy Barrett
recently used these guys for a very complex case, initially met paul in the police station and was then handed over to the very helpful Damian Sabino, these guys are a really good firm of solicitors and I can't praise them highly enough! ! Hopefully won't be needing a solicitor again for a long long time, however, if ever I do then it will be these guys that I shall be using!! Thanks again guys you've kept my family together and for that I shall be forever in your debt! ! Andy Barrettread more
Edna Rankin
Brilliant Solicitors I would recommend them to anyone . The support and up dates you get from this firm are the best .They have helped me and my daughter in two separate situations I would not use any other Solicitorsread more
Tom Cunningham
Very good solicitors, would recommend themEvery day of the week..
Rosena Logan Ayala
Very good people helped me with my case good work Can’t recommend this company enough always go above no matter what time of day or night they wil help you with your case always happy to help you with anything crime or family well done can’t thank Daniel Burke and Paul Watson enoughread more
Lyanne Cooper
Can't thank damian and paul enough for there amazing support help and understanding from the minute we contacted use. Always happy to help. Always go above and beyond no matter what time of the day it is.Can't recommend the company enough. Thank you from me and my familyread more
Shelly Govan
Paul watson and pam are amazing. glad to say have not needed them in 10 years but when I did they helped behond words great family business �read more
David McCarthy
Dealt with Pam Kandola regarding a family court & social services matter and she helped me get my girls back home, couldn't recommend Pam & PJ Watson highly enough �read more
Laura Fielden
were do i start i was haveing problems and from me 1st phone up when inwas so nevers explain what was going on i was spoke to nicely and arrange a meeting and then on pam took my case on and i cant thank u all enough for what urs have done for me and my family if it wasnt for how hard pam and louise worked and fought with us i dont know what would of happend so wanna thank pam and lousie so much xxread more
Ishtiaq Din
Jessica Rose Lewis
I worked with Damion when visiting here - I couldn't of asked for a better Solitior ! He went above and beyond to make sure I was ok and everything was organised! He even checked in with me after it was all over to make sure I was ok! I would highly recommend Paul J Watson - especially Damion to anyone who needs representing! Thanks again �read more
Michael Duggan
Lorraine Thorpe
I used this firm of solicitors when goin thru a special guardian-ship battle and they were fantastic!!!!
Mab Sadiq
Fantastic guy and firm Will always go out of his way tiger the result
Faye Bowman
5*solicitor excellent service, thankyou , Mr Watson
Ashleigh Harrigan
Fantastic solicitors id highly recommend them very friendly and supportive always there when you need them even at short noticeread more
Biancaa Jadee Woodingg
Excellent people and helped me so much thankyou dearly highly recommend to anyone x
Robeena Sadiq
Danial Col
Diane Mylett
Mari Dilworth
Sam Hughes
Leanne Train
David Rodwell
Excellent service Mr watson and all his staff care about there clients and go above and beyond so glad I contacted them for help. Would recommend to everyoneread more
Chelsea Abbott
Wajid Chaudhry
Angela Mcivor
Ellen Holmes
Genda Armes
Steph Maude
Jo Blair
I used this firm for conveyancing when I was in the process of buying my house. As I was a first time buyer I was made to feel very comfortable and at ease with the process and was kept informed throughout. I would certainly use the firm again for other legal mattersread more
Heather Watson
Have dealt with my case against a local authority absolutely brilliantly!!
Ross Linton
Tracy Melbourne
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John Mehes
18:16 07 Sep 17
Excellent service very professional,best in middlesbrough, once again thank you Paul. John m
Joe Roberts
10:17 21 Dec 17
Rebecca dealt with a child arrangements order, In a very delicate situation. She was very approachable and understanding to the situation and dealt with it with the up most integrity and care. We managed to secure more than we where aiming for and in such a way that it could be sensibly supported for both more
11:09 19 Jan 18
i was in need of some advice and help with an interview under caution i had to attend. Paul attended with me and helped me get through the process very easily , and provided excellent advice.thank you again for your more
Yvonne Pallister
14:43 21 Feb 18
Gemma Gouder
10:02 25 Dec 17
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 What do I do if my civil partnership breaks down? 

If your civil partnership has broken down and you want to achieve the legal equivalent of a divorce, then this process is known as “dissolution of a civil partnership”. The process involved is much the same as the divorce process and we can deal with such a case for you. To obtain dissolution of your civil partnership, you must have been in a registered civil partnership or a recognised foreign relationship for at least 12 months. You must provide evidence that your partnership has broken down irretrievably, using one of the following facts;-

  • Your partner has behaved unreasonably to such an extent that you can no longer be reasonably expected to live with them.
  • Your partner has deserted you and will not return.
  • You both agree to the dissolution and have lived separate lives for a period of at least two years.
  • Your partner does not consent to the dissolution, but you have lived separate lives for a period of at least five years.

Living apart usually means in separate households, although there are sometimes cases where the parties still live in the same house, but essentially lead separate lives i.e. they do not share a bed, do not eat together etc.

If the Court is satisfied that your grounds for dissolution are sufficient, then a Conditional Dissolution Order will be granted. Six weeks and a day after that Order, you can apply to the Court for the final Dissolution Order.

 What information does my solicitor need? 

We need to obtain as much background information as possible about your partnershipso that we can fully assess your circumstances and grounds for dissolution.  Whether you would like to do this by telephone, email or in an appointment, you will need to provide the following information;-

  • Why you would like to apply for dissolution.
  • The date upon which you and your partner separated (or the approximate month and year if you do not know the exact date).
  • The names and ages of any children who are part of the family.
  • The children’s current living arrangements and your proposals for the future in this regard.
  • What contact you/your partner currently have with the children.
  • Whether there is a marital home and if so, whether it is owned in the parties’ joint names.  An approximate value of the property would also be helpful, together with details of the value of any mortgage.
  • A list of your assets, savings, income and pension, together with those of your partner (if you know them).
  • Details of any ongoing problems, such as substance abuse or gambling debts.
  • Details of any incidents of domestic abuse.
  • Your original civil partnership certificate.

Any other relevant documents, such as letters from your partner’s solicitors.

 What if I do not want to dissolve my civil partnership? 
If you do not wish to apply for a Dissolution Order at this stage or if you have not been separated for a period in excess of 12 months, then instead you could apply for a Separation Order.

To apply for a Separation Order, you do not need to be living separately from your civil partner, but with that exception, you do still need to prove one of the facts given above in order to apply successfully for a Separation Order.

Please note that because your civil partnership is not actually dissolved by way of a Separation Order, neither you nor your former partner will be able to register another civil partnership until you have obtained a Dissolution Order.

 What if there are children of the family? 

In exactly the same way as in divorce proceedings, the Court will only dissolve a civil partnership if it is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the children of the family. Those with parental responsibility for the children must say how they will be cared for in the future, what contact arrangements will be put in place for contact with the other partner etc.

Where children are involved in a civil partnership relationship breakdown, your children’s welfare should come before anything else. It is very important that the children should not become involved in the proceedings and that they are not encouraged to take sides. You should carefully consider what you intend to tell the children about your separation and you can find excellent resources on the Resolution website

Disputes between you and your partner

Our Solicitors are committed to helping you resolve matters as amicably and cost effectively as possible, without the need to go to Court. Resolution has a Code of Practice to which all Resolution lawyers required to comply. The Code encourages the parties to resolve their differences out of Court, avoiding the need for costly, stressful court battles.

By keeping communications between you and your partner polite and non-confrontational, you can keep down the legal costs, cause less heartache for you and your children and allow you to deal with the dissolution of your civil partnership more easily, allowing you to get on with the rest of your life.

We would therefore encourage you to settle any disputes in relation to the separation, which typically involve finances, property or issues relating to the children, by one of the following methods;-

  • Between you and your partner directly. Negotiating between the parties directly is obviously going to be the cheapest option, but not everyone remains on good terms. You should still ask us for legal advice on any terms that you do agree with your partner direct before making any final decisions.
  • Through mediation. A trained independent third party would meet with you and your partner face to face. The mediator will help to identify those issues on which you cannot agree and will help you to try to reach an agreement. If you can reach agreement, then the mediator will prepare a summary to send to us. Once both parties have received legal advice, we can convert the agreement into a legally binding document.
  • Through collaborative law. Both parties and their solicitors meet face to face, instead of writing letters, to see if an agreement can be reached by negotiation. This is a relatively new process and you can find more information on the Resolution website;
  • Through negotiation via solicitors. Obviously, each party’s solicitor is focused on their own client’s interests and the outcome of negotiations usually depends on what solicitors would expect the Court to decide at the end of a hearing, based upon the circumstances of your case. If negotiations by this method are exhausted, then an application would need to be made to the Court for it to make a decision, which can be a lengthy and costly process. It is for this reason that court proceedings should be avoided if at all possible.
 How much will it cost? 

The cost of obtaining dissolution will largely depend upon how complex the case is and how far you and your partner can come to an agreement. For example, if both parties agree to dissolution and there are no issues such as financial or property matters to resolve, then you can instruct us to act for you on our fixed fee scheme. The fixed costs are £650 plus VAT as Applicant and £325 plus VAT as Respondent.  Court fees will also apply.

If the case is complex and cannot be settled out of Court, then the costs can run into thousands of pounds. This is one of the reasons why we encourage clients to undertake negotiation outside of the Courts.  In complex cases, our charging rates are £175 per hour, plus VAT.

You should not only think about costs however; the involvement of a solicitor who is approachable and sympathetic should also be of concern and we strive to achieve the highest levels of client care.

 How long will it take for the dissolution to be finalised? 

Usually, dissolution takes 4-8 months, from start to finish, assuming that the case is straightforward and is not defended by your partner. As you may appreciate, the process varies vastly from case to case and can be affected by simple factors such as how quickly you or your partner deals with paperwork. Finances and property issues often take much longer to resolve, particularly if the case has to go to Court.

The information that we have given is intended to be a basic outline of the process involved. You should still seek legal advice regarding your specific case.