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Freeths - Law firm

Oxford Family Solicitors

Ranked in Tier 1 for all family law matters

Our Expertise

Our family solicitors in Oxford deal with more than just divorce. They are ranked in the top tier for family cases by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Our highly-regarded Oxford team were recently praised for offering “The quality of service that would be expected of a magic circle firm”.

The team, led by leading family lawyer Rachael Oakes, can assist with everything from resolving the financial issues of a divorce to making arrangements for children. As well as divorce, our friendly Oxford lawyers can guide you through pre and post-nuptial agreements, civil partnerships and cohabitation agreements. We also assist with fertility and surrogacy law, taking children abroad, child maintenance issues and school appeals.

Our family solicitors are renowned for being discreet and sensitive to you and your family’s needs. We have many years experience and will use our skill and knowledge to help you get your life back on track. Best of all, we offer legal advice and representation equal in quality to top London firms, without the London pricing.

If you’re based in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas, give our family law team a call to see how we 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.

How much will it cost to sort out the financial issues during divorce?

The cost of resolving financial issues between separating or divorcing couple depends upon how contentious those issues are between the parties. Both parties should prepare a Financial Consent Order which sets out how financial issues have been resolved, and if couples can agree matters between themselves then this will involve a fixed fee for dealing with paperwork plus the Court fee. Mediation can help to keep costs to a minimum, whilst resolving difference, but if agreement can’t be reached, going to Court can be a costly exercise.

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

Our Oxford family team will guide you towards the best outcome for you, your family and particularly your children. We always consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, collaborative law, solicitor-led negotiation or arbitration. These can help reduce your exposure to costs and delays in court.

However, if you do need to go to court, our Oxford family solicitors will ensure you’re in safe hands. We will support you every step of the way and you will find us friendly and approachable throughout.

We are particular experts in complex family law cases involving business trusts or pensions assets. Our knowledge of wealth preservation is helpful in preparing agreements for cohabitation and pre-nuptials. With specialists in tax, trusts, property, employment and company law, we have a huge breadth of understanding. Give our Oxford family law team a call today to find out how we could help you.

Why Choose our Oxford Divorce Solicitors

  • We’re located in the Oxford Business Park, just a short drive from the centre of the city
  • 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

Rachael Oakes – Top ranked Family Law Partner based in Oxford

Rachael Oakes leads the family law team at Oxford. She deals with all areas of family work – including divorce, civil partnership proceedings, issues relating to cohabiting couples, and cases involving children. She has particular expertise for complex high-net-worth situations and provides services to many high profile clients. Rachael is ranked as one of the top family lawyers in the UK by Chambers and The Legal 500, and is also a collaborative lawyer and an accredited mediator.

Rachael strives to resolve cases without having to go to court, offering alternative dispute resolution methods to aim for an amicable agreement. She is a member of Resolution, a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and an active member in national and local mediation committees.

Examples of family law cases by Rachael Oakes

  • Wealth preservation advice from Rachael with the preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement for a couple marrying who came from very wealthy families and needed to protect family trust assets and valuable assets being brought into the marriage.
  • A private mediation conducted by Rachael involving a high profile professional footballer where the couple wanted to reach an amicable settlement and keep everything out of the media and the public eye.

Rachael OakesFor further information about our Oxford divorce solicitors, please contact Rachael Oakes, Partner & Head of Family Law at Freeths, on 0845 128 6960 or submit a secure enquiry form.

Oxford Family Solicitors

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“Now that things finally seem to be coming to an end I thought I would take the opportunity to thank you so much for all you have done over the past five years (yes, really!). I can’t begin to tell you what a source of strength and support it was knowing you and your team – but especially you – were there in the background.” (Client)

“Sources say that Rachael Oakes ‘is particularly impressive, extremely hard-working and approachable – a star in her field’ Oakes heads the national family team and has a wealth of experience in complicated financial remedy matters, often involving trusts, tax international assets and pensions.”(Chambers & Partners, 2017)

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.

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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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