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1. Stones Solicitors, Devon
Stones combines compassion and common sense to help you through the trauma of family legal issues. The firm has a strong team with skills and experience in handling all aspects of divorce, cohabitation and separation, including both finances (including high net worth cases), children issues, and domestic violence. We also have a team devoted to both public and private law children's matters, dealing with care and supervision proceedings, adoption and wardship, and all issues relating to private disputes regarding children.

We are committed to solving, not creating or inflaming problems, and we draw upon many years of experience in dealing with these sensitive areas of Law.

We have members of both The Law Society Children Panel and the Law Society Family Panel, and the firm holds a Family Law Franchise with the Legal Services Commission enabling us to handle publicly funded work. We are members of the Solicitors Family Law Association, and work to their code of conduct.

The firm supports mediation and has staff qualified as mediators. Mediation is a means of enabling couples to resolve the issues arising from separation and divorce, and may involve any issues including arrangements for children, financial support, housing and property.

We aim : to achieve growth and success through the provision of first class legal services, of a standard and quality which is perceived by clients to exceed their expectations and which is seen to offer good value for money.
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Rating: [10.00]

2. Stephens & Scown Solicitors ..
We have expertise in all issues relating to financial settlements on divorce and relationship breakdown. We work closely with other professional advisers to provide a complete service to clients.

Our team includes members of the Law Society's Children Panel; Family Law Panel and Family Mediation Panel; Association of Lawyers for Children and the Solicitors Family Law Association.

Two of our Partners are Solicitors Family Law Association accredited specialists.

Stephens & Scown has changed and grown dramatically since it first started business in St Austell in 1936. Many of the senior staff have practised in London before relocating to Stephens & Scown. Our lawyers have expertise in a wide range of legal work. Our principal growth and strength is built on our strong commercial base, we deal regularly with clients and projects both nationally and internationally from our West Country offices.
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Rating: [10.00]

3. Solicitors in Exeter - Cartridges Solicitors
This is probably a journey you do not want to take, where you feel alone with no clear idea of how or where it will end.

We have been there many times before with our clients. We know the routes to take and the ones to avoid.

We can provide the information and guidance you need to help you take control and make a decision which is right for you and the other family members involved.

We started up in 1973. We were the first firm in Exeter to open outside the city centre where law firms normally congregate. Our policy then as now is to avoid the stuffy traditional image of the lawyer and adopt a friendly accessible style.

In our view the buck stops with us. We do not delegate. We do not employ large numbers of non-qualified staff. We are a small team of highly qualified professionals who specialise in their chosen areas of expertise and if you instruct one of us on your case you will invariably get a partner responsible to you only.
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Rating: [0.00]

4. Gowmans
Our experienced team of practioners concentrate on finding practical solutions when a divorce or separation is inevitable. We advise on all aspects including children, finacial matters, pensions and residence contact and care proceedings.

The Firm was established in the 1920s as a branch office of a Torquay firm known as P.H.Smith and Co. The original Partners in the Firm were Herbert Gowman and Thomas Edwin Easterbrook and it subsequently became known as Gowmans Easterbrook Smith and Co., and later Gowman Easterbrook and Co.

The Firm had offices in Palace Avenue, Paignton, and later in Victiroa Street. However, in 1931 the Firm moved to 65 Hyde Road and in 1948 63 Hyde Road was bought and the two premises amalgamated.
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Rating: [5.50]

5. Bedfords Solicitors UK - Online Legal Services
I founded Bedfords in 1996 with the aim of providing innovative services to clients at affordable prices. We are a small practice based in North Devon dealing with customers and clients Nationwide. With the aid of technology we have been able to cut out the bureaucracy, administrative cost and delay often associated with the more traditional practice and bring a fresh approach to legal problems.

Our philosophy is simple:

to provide legal services of excellent quality at a fair price;
to be transparent, open and up front about costs;
to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to obtain legal help.

The idea of an online law shop is borne out of this philosophy. We are all familiar with purchasing goods and services in relation to most areas of our daily lives - why not legal help? It is perfectly understandable that we want to know in advance the exact cost of something we are thinking of buying, yet for so long clients have been offered only hourly rates. Whilst such time-costing is certainly appropriate in some cases it does often leave clients very much in the dark about their potential liabilities and can of course lead to problems.

We adopt a sensitive, conciliatory and constructive approach to the resolution of family disputes whilst making every effort to ensure that the position of our client is protected.

Our general family service covers:
relationship breakdown
divorce procedure
separation agreements
children matters
financial and property disputes
cohabitation & parental responsibility
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Rating: [0.00]

6. Bartons Solicitors, Kingsbridge, Totnes and Salcome, Devon
Our family department advises on:

Instant communication means a shrinking world. Location is no longer a prerequisite of delivering quality personal service.

Bartons is an eclectic mix of International Specialists and Westcountry Lawyers delivering a quality service to clients both locally and across the world.

Established as a Law firm in 1897 in Salcombe, Bartons has attracted a team of high calibre legal professionals united by a common goal - to provide an unparalleled legal service working from offices in one of the most beautiful parts of England.
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Rating: [10.00]

7. Karen O'Neill - Family Law Solicitors, Newton Abbot
Karen O'Neill & Co is a modern law firm in Newton Abbot Devon that specialises exclusively in the field of Family Law.

Sole Principal, Karen O'Neill, is one of only a few solicitors in the South West accredited as a specialist by Resolution (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association), a group dedicated to the solution of family problems by negotiation rather than confrontation.

They are specialists in Family Law which essentially covers:
Financial Settlements
People who live or have lived together

Because they make efficient use of technology, they can offer competitive hourly rates as well as fixed costs review limits and an easy monthly payment facility so that payments can be spread over the duration of the case. Unfortunately, they cannot offer assistance under the public funding scheme (formerly Legal Aid).

The most difficult part of a divorce is often not the procedure that takes a couple from being married to being not married, but the emotional and financial consequences, especially if there are children.

The rules for deciding what happens with property and finances on divorce are laid down in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Court looks at a large number of factors when considering a case brought before it. Because going to Court is never cheap, it is obviously better if the couple concerned can sort out as much as they can before seeing a solicitor, or seeking the help of the Court to sort out the financial side of a divorce (known as "ancillary relief" in technical jargon).

The approach the Courts tend to take is to start at the point of who needs what - mainly a home to live in. The Court does not punish the person who caused the breakdown of the marriage by allowing them less financially, unless that person's conduct is extreme. If there is enough to provide each party with a home, then the court will look at who paid what in. With a long marriage - generally over five years - the Court will tend to say that contributions are equal. Short marriages are a bit different as there is often less opportunity for the parties to become financially dependent on each other. If there are children under 18 years of age, then that can also affect a division, but the court seeks to ensure that the final arrangements are fair to each party - fair not necessarily meaning "equal".

Once those arrangements are in place, the Court is duty bound to consider a "clean break" so that neither party can go back to the other, or the other's estate if they die, and make any further claims. Obviously, it is better if the parties can agree most or all of the arrangements, and the Court then only has to approve the final agreement to make a "Clean Break Court Order".

Where the parties agree that there should be ongoing financial commitments to each other, e.g. maintenance to the other party (as separate from children's maintenance), then there cannot be a Clean Break Order as such. However, the other variables can still be resolved, limiting the opportunity for the finances to be brought up again and re-opened at a later date.

If the parties cannot decide between themselves, then Court proceedings are likely, which will use up some of the value of the matrimonial "pot" of assets. It is, therefore, much better if the parties can agree the terms between them, although it is not always easy, and in some cases, impossible.

The practical starting point for division in most matrimonial cases is half each. This can then be slanted either way by adding in factors such as what each party needs to rehouse, what contributions each party has made, where the children are going to live etc. Generally, now there is more emphasis on Child Maintenance, the non-residential parent's contributions tend to be by way of maintenance rather than paying it all in one lump sum ("capitalisation"). So where possible, the parent with the children will not get "extra" capital because the children are with him or her. Even if that does happen, e.g. because s/he needs all the assets to buy another home - it is not necessarily forever; s/he will have to pay the other party back at some point - usually when the children are 18 or leave full time education.

The Courts treat non-financial contributions, such as looking after children and the home, as equal to the financial contributions of a breadwinner. This is why pensions and other assets are still considered to be joint assets after a long marriage, rather than just the property of the person in whose name the pension or other asset is held.

Before an application for ancillary relief can be made to the Court, divorce proceedings have to be underway, and the Court cannot make any final orders until the Decree Nisi stage has been reached. Interim orders can be made, but are limited effectively to temporary maintenance until a final decision can be made. The Courts have a strict schedule for dealing with ancillary relief cases, which is intended to prevent cases dragging on for years, so it is not necessarily a lengthy process, although it can be a costly one.

Every case is different and there are huge variations in circumstances between cases, so it is important to seek advice at a fairly early stage to reduce the possibility of prejudicing the case as well as to improve the possibilities for settling without the need for a Court application.

Because there are so many considerations, and the attitudes of the individuals concerned is also significant, there can be no fixed costs guidelines as such. However, if the finances are simple, say a property and some savings, and the parties are mostly in agreement in principal, then the costs of negotiating, preparing and submitting a Clean Break Order by consent should be no more than 500 pounds. Where there are many documents to look at, difficulties in obtaining details of assets, or lots of points in dispute, then the eventual costs might be nearer to 1,500 pounds.

For a fully contested case, i.e. where one or many issues are in dispute, and the Court has to fix a final hearing date, the costs can extend higher as clearly there is more time involved in dealing with the case, as well as Court fees. Costs can then reach 5,000 to 10,000 pounds or more, but fortunately such cases are the exception rather than the rule.
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Rating: [1.00]

8. Chilcotts Solicitors, Tavistock, Devon
With marriage breakdown affecting one in three households, it is important to consult a solicitor who is able to deal with the numerous complex issues involved in an understanding manner.

Breakdown of marriage leaves the parties vulnerable and confused. It is therefore vital that the solicitor you choose has the experience and vision from the outset to advise you on the goals to be achieved and that you are able to place your trust in your solicitor's ability.

The practice can be traced back over 150 years when Edward Chilcott and his son were involved during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The modern practice developed in the 1950's and 1960's under the then senior partner John Barker. He was the driving force behind the probate, wills and conveyancing side of the practice.

The present partners have continued to expand the practice to provide services required by its clients in an ever changing society. They intend to continue to offer all our clients, both existing and future, as high a standard of service as possible.
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Rating: [7.00]

9. Tozers
Tozers Solicitors combines the experience and traditional values of more than two centuries of legal practice with a modern progressive outlook.

We make clients our first priority by listening to you and understanding what you want. We act with tact and discretion, communicating effectively and giving practical and commercial advice. In short, we promise dedication to the highest professional standards.

Our teams of both male and female experts include members of the Law Society's Family and Children Panels, as well as members of Resolution - first for family law, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA). We deal sensitively with all types of family problems in accordance with the Resolution Code of Practice. In every case we will try at the outset to give you a general appraisal of the problem, outline the best strategy for dealing with it and tell you what expenditure you are likely to incur. We offer a complete and specialist service.
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Rating: [10.00]

10. Eric Cowsill Solicitors
Difficulties in relationships can result in serious personal and financial problems which are highly stressful and emotionally challenging. When a relationship breaks down, there are so many things to consider, not least the living and visiting arrangements for the children, so there is a need for sympathetic yet realistic advice.

It may be that the Mediation process of informally discussing both points of view at an early stage, could help identify the root cause of your problems and result in settling your differences. If this is not the case, we will advise and represent you throughout the process towards the most beneficial settlement possible.

Whatever relationship difficulty you may be experiencing, we offer a wide range of services to assist you.

Free parking, adjacent to a big new megastore, dog friendly and occasional babysitters ? that?s what makes the clients of Eric Cowsill Solicitors keep coming back ? it feels like home!
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Rating: [0.00]

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