I’ve received a letter from my estranged husband or wife’s solicitor. What do I do next?

Reading a solicitor’s letter for the first time can be difficult. It will bring up a range of emotions, uncertainty about the future, confusion over the legal terms used, anger that you do not agree with what has been written. It may also bring a realisation that the marriage has come to an end after what may be weeks of talking or it may be a total shock.

Do not ignore the letter

This will not make the situation go away and will only result in further letters being sent.   If you do not engage with the process there is also the risk of family court proceedings being issued.  When a marriage has broken down decisions need to be made.  There are financial decisions such as what will happen to the house, savings and pensions along with what income will each person have. There are also decisions about where the children will live and what time they will spend with each parent.

Do not reply immediately to the solicitor or to your spouse in the heat of the moment

It is tempting to email or phone your spouse’s solicitor to tell them your side of the story but it is important to take time to consider your response and the key points you should make.

Do seek your own legal advice

This is important so that you can get advice on the issues raised, advice on the options for the future and on the best way to respond. Your solicitor can also respond on your behalf.

Do take the opportunity to engage with the process

A negotiated settlement where both parties have input into the decisions made about their own future is preferable for the parties and in particular, any children rather than a Judge in a Court deciding what should happen.

How can Browells help?

The Family Team at Browell’s can assist you with all aspects of family breakdown. If you require advice and assistance then please contact our Family Team on 0191 691 3418 or by email at family@browells.co.uk.

Trans Identity and The Law – Gender Recognition Certificates

Here at Browell’s we understand and recognise that your anatomy does not necessarily determine your gender identity. We respect, appreciate and support gender identity and diversity.

What is a Gender Recognition Certificate?

Under the Gender Recognition Act, it is possible for trans people to affirm their non-natal gender by applying for, and obtaining, a Gender Recognition Certificate.

A Gender Recognition Certificate once obtained allows a person to:-

  1. Update their birth or adoption certificate if registered in the UK
  2. Get married or form a civil partnership in their affirmed gender
  3. Update their marriage or civil partnership certificate if registered in the UK;( if their spouse agrees) and
  4. Have their affirmed gender on their Death Certificate when they die.


In order to be eligible to apply for a gender recognition certificate a person must pass certain criteria:-

  • They must be 18 or over
  • They must have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the UK
  • They must have been living in their affirmed gender for at least 2 years at the time the application is made and intend to live in their acquired gender for the rest of their life

The Gender Recognition Certificate application process

The application process is dependent upon your individual circumstances and by choosing one of the three available tracks. If an application is made using the incorrect track, then this could prove costly both financially and in terms of delay in the application.

How our Family Law team can help

The Family Team at Browell’s can assist you with the process of obtaining a Gender recognition certificate. Please contact Family Team on 0191 691 3418 or by email at family@browells.co.uk

Family Mediation Week 2024

Family Mediation Week runs from 22nd – 26th January 2024, organised by the Family Mediation Council and supported by Resolution, the idea is to raise awareness of Family Mediation and the constructive benefits of mediation within Family matters.

The Courts should always be seen as a last resort and mediation, as an Alternative Dispute Resolution, can be effective for many people in resolving their dispute.

Where appropriate, the Family Team at Browell Smith and Co, encourage parties to mediate.

Mediation can be a far cheaper process than Court proceedings. The fact that parties are fully involved and engaged in mediation can make the process less acrimonious and the ultimate resolution far more palatable.

Assistance with mediation may be available via Legal Aid or the Ministry of Justice’s Family Mediation Voucher Scheme which meets up to £500.00 of mediation costs for families should they need to discuss arrangements for children.

If you currently have an ongoing issue and would like advice and assistance regarding the mediation process then please do not hesitate to contact our Family Team.

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