Family Department

How long will it take to get divorced?
Generally up to eight months. If there are financial issues to resolve then these can take longer and mean that the Decree Absolute may be delayed.

Will I just be a weekend father?
No, a child should grow up knowing both parents and through mediation and conciliation the children’s needs can be met to suit both parents.

We are not married but separated, where do I stand with the house?
There is no such thing as a Common Law Wife. When a couple are not married their property entitlement is assessed differently, normally dependent upon the legal ownership of the house and issues such as financial input.

I don’t think that child is mine, what do I do?
To be certain, DNA testing is normally undertaken and can be directed by the Court.

How much will I have to pay for child maintenance?
If not agreed, the Child Maintenance Service will make an assessment. There are set percentages of an absent parent’s income, dependent on how many children are to be maintained.

Conveyancing Department

What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process by which ownership of a property is transferred.

How long will it take?
It is difficult to put a time scale on the likely length of your transaction. There are a number of factors which affect the speed of the conveyancing process, and often we may not have any control over these.

Delays can arise for a number of reasons e.g. how long the chain of transactions is, problems getting mortgages agreed, waiting for information from the other person’s solicitors etc. Generally speaking the longer the chain of buyers and sellers the more dependencies there are and the more likely that there will be a delay at some point.

We would estimate a period of approximately 6 to 8 weeks. We will always do what we can to progress the transaction as quickly as possible.

Do I have to pay any money up front?
Yes, we will require a payment on account at the outset of your transaction. We will advise you within your initial paperwork of the amount required, however we would ordinarily require a payment on account of £200.00, with the exception of a sale file where we would require £100.00. These funds will be used towards the costs of disbursements and our fees

What are disbursements?
Disbursements are the expenses which are incurred in relation to the transaction and do not form part of our legal fees. Disbursements are those expenses payable to other outside agencies, eg for Local Authority searches, Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Registry fees. We will provide you with details of the anticipated disbursements at the outset of your transaction. Generally disbursements should be the same for all law firms.

Can I take someone off/ add someone on to my title deeds?
Yes, this process is called a Transfer of Equity. If the property being transferred is subject to an existing mortgage then you will need to ensure you have your mortgage lender’s written consent to the change of ownership, unless you intend to pay off that mortgage upon completion of the transfer of equity.

I am a Council Tenant and have been offered a ‘Right to Buy’ my home, can you deal with my purchase for me?
Yes, we can deal with your purchase of the property from the Local Authority. Once you have returned your Acceptance Notice to the Council, along with providing the Local Authority with confirmation that we are acting for you, they will provide us with the relevant paperwork to enable us to deal with your purchase.

Can I complete on a Saturday?
Completion of your transaction must take place between Monday and Friday (except public holidays) as the banks and most solicitors offices do not open over the weekend.

When do I get the keys to my new property?
The keys to your new property will be released, probably by the estate agent, when all of the money due to complete your transaction has been received by the seller’s solicitor, this stage may also be referred to as legal completion.

When do I get my sale proceeds?
Net sale/re-mortgage proceeds will be submitted to you upon the day of completion by means of BACS transfer to your chosen bank account. This transfer will take up to 3 working days until the funds are cleared in your account. It is possible for us to send the monies to you upon the day of completion by CHAPS transfer which would mean that you receive the funds that same day – though an additional fee is levied for this means of transfer. Should you require it we could also send your funds by cheque.

We are buying in joint names – how will that work?
Unfortunately this is not a simple question to answer and careful consideration will need to be taken by you both as to which choice you wish to make. There are essentially two ways in which you can hold the property; ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. Where you hold the property as joint tenants a right of survivorship exists which means that upon the death of one of you the property will automatically pass in its entirety to the survivor. On the other hand, if you hold as tenants in common, the deceased’s share will not automatically pass to the survivor and will instead pass under the terms of the deceased’s will or the rules of intestacy at that time, should a will not have been made. Holding the property as tenants in common also gives you the opportunity to decide what share each one of you will own – you do not need to hold the property in equal shares – should that be your wish.

When will I get the deeds to my new property?
Registration at the Land Registry generally takes a couple of weeks. As title to land is now electronically recorded you will receive a Title Information Document evidencing registration in your name. This is what you would now refer to as your title deeds.

What is the difference between registered and unregistered land – does it matter if my property is ‘unregistered’ at the Land Registry?
Unregistered land is simply land which has not yet been formally registered at the Land Registry. The main reason land remains ‘unregistered’ is that the property hasn’t been sold/mortgaged since 1990, as registration was not compulsory until that time.

There should be no problems in selling unregistered land provided that all of the original documents are to hand. Should you be purchasing a property which is currently unregistered, submission of your application to the Land Registry will of course now trigger compulsory registration and a formal title will be electronically created in your name.

What is the difference between leasehold and freehold property?
Leasehold property – A lease grants the leasehold owner the right to use a property for a specified period of time (traditionally 99, 125 or 999 years) granted by a landlord to a tenant and recorded in a document known as a Lease. Various obligations including legally binding promises, restrictions and regulations are created in the lease. Payments of Ground Rent and Service Charges are usually payable to the Landlord during the term of the Lease.

Freehold property – Freehold property is owned outright by you and there is no landlord or management company to whom you owe obligations.

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