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Freeths - Law firm

Derby Family Solicitors

Ranked in Tier 1 for all family law matters

Our Expertise

Our Derby family solicitors are part of a team who are ranked top for all family law matters by both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. They deal with more than just divorce. Derby’s team comprises of Diana Copestake, who is recognised as a “Recommended Lawyer” in Family Law by a trusted legal directory.

From making arrangements for children to resolving the financial issues of relationship breakdown, Derby‘s family team offers specialist legal advice. Our supportive Derby lawyer can also guide you through civil partnerships, cohabitation agreements, and pre and post-nuptial agreements – as well as divorce and separation. We can also help with taking children abroad, child maintenance, and school appeals.

Our Derby solicitors can be trusted to be sensitive and discreet at all times. Diana Copestake has over 35 years’ experience and can use her skill and knowledge to get your life back on track. Our renowned family law team offers legal advice and representation equal in quality to top UK law firms, without the expense.

If you’re based in Derbyshire, contact our family law team today to see how they can help.


How are pensions dealt with during a divorce?

When the division of pensions is being considered, a pension scheme Cash Equivalent Value may be used as a starting point. The advice of a Pension Actuary may be needed to look at providing an income for both parties on retirement. Offsetting (where one party is compensated for the loss of pension rights by receiving other assets) or earmarking (a percentage of the pension is set aside for the ex-spouse to claim on retirement may) also be considered, which require a Court Order to be effective.

This is a complex area of law and requires careful consideration, so we ensure our clients obtain advice about the right options for them.

What is family mediation?

Rather than going to Court, mediation is a flexible way of resolving disputes, arising around separation or divorce, saving time and money. Our accredited and experienced mediators resolve issues through face-to-face meetings, helping couples arrive at a solution that suits them both.

Mediation enables couples to communicate directly with each other, rather than via solicitors or across a Court Room. Our mediators act as impartial third parties whose job it is to discuss options to help craft a solution to suit both parties and their family. Common topics include childcare, co-parenting plans and resolving the financial issues.

How are divorce costs calculated?

Some of the cases we deal with are very straightforward and for those we offer fixed fee services. For example if you want to deal with the paperwork yourself, a divorce paperwork checking service costs £250 plus VAT. For us to deal with all paperwork, a fixed fee of £600 plus VAT applies, provided both parties agree upon the basis the divorce paperwork is going to be presented to the Court.

If there is disagreement about who is going to file the divorce petition with the Court and upon what basis, we charge for the time spent this would not normally exceed £1,200 plus VAT.

Anyone filing a divorce petition has to pay a separate Court fee which is currently £550.

To learn more about how much it will cost to sort out financial issues, please READ MORE here.

Do I have to pay child maintenance?

If you are separated from your child’s other parent you are required to have child maintenance which is calculated, in most cases, through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) which can seek information from the Inland Revenue. If you earn more than the maximum CMS threshold, the court can award top-up maintenance to the other parent. Calculating payments is not always straightforward, but you can use this calculator:

If you do not agree to the amount of maintenance, you can ask the CMS to re-consider and ultimately appeal the decision to an independent tribunal.

What is the purpose of a Cohabitation Agreement?

There is no such thing as Common Law husband and wife, even if you have lived together for many years. You only acquire the rights of a spouse if you marry or enter into a civil partnership. So if you separate, the only assets which you can claim against are those owned jointly, or that you have made a direct financial contribution to and about which you have agreements in place. If you are planning to cohabit, a Cohabitation Agreement outlines who will contribute towards what during the course of your relationship. This will also establish what rights you both have to each other’s assets and the future claims that you understand will or will not be made.

How do I appeal for a place for my child at school?

It is possible to appeal any decision relating to a school placement – this involves completing a written application, with evidence, where relevant. An appeal is successful if the admission criteria do not comply with the school admissions’ appeal code, if admission arrangements have not been properly followed or the decision to refuse your chid a place was not reasonable.

The appeal is initially made in writing and a hearing date is set. You must comply with the appeal process and timetable. Your appeal is heard by an independent tribunal where evidence will be given about the admission criteria and how it has been applied.

Our Process

Derby’s expert family team will help you and your family towards the best possible outcome. To reduce your exposure to costs and delays, we can use alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law and solicitor-led negotiation. However, if you still need to go to court, our friendly Derby family solicitors are more than capable of representing and supporting you throughout the court process.

Our Derby family solicitors are known for dealing with complex cases involving pensions assets or business trusts. With Freeths experts in property, tax, employment, trusts, and company law, we have a breadth of understanding. Our knowledge of wealth preservation is useful for preparing agreements for cohabitation and pre-nuptials. Give Diana Copestake in Derby a call today to find out how we could help you.

Why Choose our Derby Family Solicitors

  • We’re located on Nottingham Road, just a short drive away from the city centre
  • Both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners rank our team of family solicitors in the top tier
  • By using alternative dispute resolution, we help you to avoid costly litigation fees
  • If court is the only option, we will offer you robust representation, support and clear advice
  • We offer a range of competitive fees, while still offering quality to rival top city firms


Diana Copestake – Experienced Family Law Partner based in Derby

Diana Copestake is an experienced Partner based at our Derby office, specialising in all aspects of family law. She has over 35 years’ experience in the field and is named as a “Recommended Lawyer” by The Legal 500 for her work in family law. Diana specialises in helping her clients deal with the financial issues caused by divorce and relationship breakdown. She also has a wealth of knowledge in issues relating to children.

Diana is a trained collaborative lawyer and a member of Resolution, which means she can help you resolve disputes without going to court. She aims to achieve quick, cost-effective legal solutions. She has a breadth of knowledge and can also help with cohabitation agreements, civil partnerships and pre/post-nuptials.

Examples of family law cases by Diana Copestake

  • Applied for and obtained for a mother’s leave to change the surname of her son, where the father had parental responsibility – an unusual order to obtain except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Successfully advised and guided a client through the court process where the only asset was his company interests held in Europe. This enabled him to retain those company interests free of claim.

For further information about our Derby divorce solicitors, please contact Diana Copestake, Partner, on 0345 272 5674 or submit a secure enquiry form.

Diana Copestake

Derby Family Solicitors

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“I wanted, now back in the office and with access to my PC to thank you properly for conducting this tortuous financial settlement for me. You have really been a great comfort and I am very relieved to have achieved an agreement which allows me to move on with my life.” (Client)

“Thank you Diana, and thanks you very much for all you have achieved for me, I am extremely grateful.” (Client)


Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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