I have been forced to marry someone I don’t love, what can I do?
Forced marriage is against the law and if you are under 18 it is classed as child abuse. You should always have a choice about if you want to get married and who you want to get married to and you do have a right to say no. If you are worried that you are going to be forced into a marriage you do not want, the main thing is that you tell someone, this could be a teacher, or another adult that you trust. You could report it to the police. You can also contact the Forced Marriage Unit (+44(0)2070080151). If you are at the airport, you can speak to the security officers or the police who will be able to help you. If you have already been forced into a marriage, then your solicitors can apply for a forced marriage protection order, (this can also be applied for if you fear that you are being threatened with a forced marriage), such an order is designed to protect you and is normally dealt with as an emergency application without notice to other parties so that protection is in place straight away. If you are worried about attending court, to obtain a forced marriage protection order, then various arrangements can be put into place to protect you.
My partner has had an affair, what can I do?
Marriages/relationships can be saved even where there is infidelity. Marriage guidance counselling services such as Relate may be able to assist. However, you may want to have legal advice about whether or not you should divorce/separate. Adultery (having an affair) is a ground for divorce, however if you carry on living together for a period of more than six months after you have discovered about the affair, then you would lose the ability to divorce on that particular ground.
If you decided that the marriage/relationship has broken down as a result of the affair, then you should get legal advice as to all the implications of your relationship breaking down i.e. financial implications and children issues. Please note that having an affair would not normally prevent a party from having ongoing contact with their children, but there may of course be issues about whether any new partner should meet with the children and the timing of the same.
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I have suffered domestic violence, what should I do?
Domestic violence can manifest itself in many ways. Many people just think of physical violence but domestic violence is much more than that, it can include controlling behaviour, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual or financial abuse.
Solicitors at Smith Partnership can help to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. We can seek injunctive orders, the main types of orders are non-molestation orders which prevent someone from using, or threatening, physical violence, it also prohibits intimidation, pestering etc. If this order is breached, it constitutes a criminal offence. Occupation orders can also be obtained, this order relates to who lives in the family home. Smith Partnership work closely with the police, refuges and Local Authorities to help victims of domestic abuse become safe and obtain the protection they need.