Signing a Surname

Husbands Who Take on their Wife's Surname

Signing documents


The BBC has this week issued a report on the increasing number of husbands who have chosen to take their wife’s surname rather than the wife taking the husband’s family name. Whilst there is no reason a husband should not be able to take his wife’s surname, it is often a more difficult process. If a wife chooses to take her husband’s surname, as is the tradition, all that is usually required as evidence of the name change is a copy of the marriage certificate. However, if the husband chooses to take his wife’s surname, the husband may need to execute a change of name deed to avoid any difficulties with the passport agency, banks or other professional institutions.


Our family department at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd offers a range of services, including the drafting and execution of change of name deeds. We also offer expert advice relating to protecting your interests upon marriage, including advice on co-ownership of property and nuptial agreements. We also specialise in separation, divorce, finances and children matters and can offer a personal service to meet your specific needs.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here:

Divorce Split who gets the dog?

Cheryl Cole Dismisses Reports of a Split

Divorce Header

Cheryl Cole this morning dismissed reports of a split from her partner and father of her son, Liam Payne, instead focussing on her new charity project.

It remains to be seen whether the rumours of a break up are true and how this will affect the arrangements for their son, Bear. It is rumoured Liam holds a £54m fortune, Cheryl has only been valued at £20m. Reportedly Liam has called in Lawyers in an attempt to protect his wealth, although the parties are not married.

Here at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd we offer expert advice on all matters relating to children, including advice on contact arrangements and financial provision for children.

Our experienced lawyers also provide advice on all aspects of separation whether the parties are married or not, including advice relating to finances and how best to protect your interests.

We also offer family mediation, collaborative law and family arbitration within our broad range of services.

Call us on 01992 558411 and ask to speak to the Family Department

Or contact us here


tug rope

Reports suggest Judge Rinder & Seth Cummings Split...

Recent media reports suggest Judge Rinder has separated from his husband, Seth Cummings after 11 years together.

Following changes in the law allowing same sex marriages, divorce is treated in the same way for same sex couples as for couples of the opposite sex. When issuing divorce proceedings in both cases, the petitioner must show the marriage has irretrievably broken down and must rely upon one of five facts; Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour, 2 years separation with the other party’s consent, 5 years separation or desertion. It should be noted however, that the law remains the same in respect of Adultery; the petition must show the Respondent has had intercourse with another person of the opposite sex; it cannot be relied upon if the Respondent has had intercourse with a person of the same sex. It remains to be seen whether the law will be changed in that respect.  

Here at Breeze and Wyles Ltd we offer expert advice on divorce whether it is a same sex marriage or couples of the opposite sex. We also offer advice in respect of the dissolution of a civil partnership or separation advice. Our lawyers are highly trained in all aspects of divorce and separation including advice on finances and matters relating to children.

Call us to discuss further on 01992 558411

Divorce Split who gets the dog?

Fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £750 plus VAT plus Court fee

Here at Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Ltd, we offer a fixed fee divorce package at a cost of £750 plus VAT plus Court fee

Our service enables you to be fully represented, by a qualified family specialist Solicitor, throughout your straightforward and undefended divorce for a one-off fixed fee payment.

Our experienced and dedicated family Solicitors will fully explain the divorce process to you and deal with any concerns or queries you may have. They understand that it can be a stressful, difficult time and they will take responsibility for the preparation of all relevant forms and will also deal with the Court on your behalf throughout the entire matter to conclusion.

Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Ltd are also able to offer expert advice in respect of all issues surrounding divorce or a relationship break up, such as advice on financial settlements as well as matters relating to children. We are one of an elite few firms in Hertfordshire and North London to offer all of the alternatives to going to Court such as; Negotiation, Mediation, Collaborative Law and Family Law Arbitration.

Contact us at our head office on 01992 558 411 or email

Brangelina Divorce – A Private Affair?



The tabloids are awash with the shocking news of the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have separated and that Angelina has applied to the courts in America for a divorce citing irreconcilable differences and has also sought an order that the couples 6 children live with her.

As one of Hollywood’s hottest couples it is hardly surprising that such unexpected news would be met with such a furore of press attention and intrigue. However, Brad and Angelina have historically been fairly guarded in respect of their private lives in comparison with other celebrity couples and more particularly have sought to shield their children. With the rumour mill working overtime with suggestions of a possible affair it is also unsurprising that the couple have requested that they are given space at this difficult time.

It is comforting to see that whatever has happened within their relationship to lead them to this point, both parties continue to have the children at the forefront of their thoughts and hopefully that will seek to deal with process as amicably as possible.

Whether the press will respect the plea for privacy we will have to wait and see. With the proceedings to take place in America, it will be the privacy rules there that will apply. However high profile divorces also happen in England and Wales and so divorcing couples here may also have concerns about publicity and privacy.

Since the 27th April 2009, accredited representatives of newsgathering and reporting organisations and any other unaccredited person whom the Court permits to be present may be present for hearings in all family proceedings except hearings conducted for the purpose of judicially assisted conciliation or negotiations. The rules also provide that the Court can exclude such representatives. Whilst the media are allowed to attend family proceedings; the Court will have power to restrict both attendances by them and what can be reported.

Whilst the majority of family court cases do not garner press intention, if you are concerned that this might be the case, it is really important that you ensure that your solicitors are aware of your concerns and can advise and act appropriately. Where this is a likely issue there should be full exploration of the alternative processes such as Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Solicitor Negotiations which by their nature are confidential and, where an agreement can not be reached, Family Arbitration offers an opportunity for parties to seek a decision within a process which is also confidential.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, our highly experienced and sympathetic team of family law solicitors can help and advise you on the full range of family law matters and divorce related issues. We are able to give you clear advice on the legal aspects of your situation, whether it is to assist you with a situation that has already arisen or whether to assist you in preventing a situation from arising in the future. We can also represent you whether by negotiating on your behalf, using the Collaborative Law process or in applications to the court or to arbitration. Karen Johnson is additionally a family law mediator and Olive McCarthy is a Family Arbitrator.

For more information, call our Family Department on 01992 558411

New Year’s Resolution

As family solicitors, we often receive an increase in divorce instructions from clients in the first few weeks of the New Year.

It is the unfortunate case that parties have often spent so much time with one another in close proximity over the Christmas period that tempers are at breaking point and as a result they decide they no longer wish to continue with their marriage. Another reason parties may delay matters until after the Christmas break is the effect a divorce may have on any children and parties are therefore willing to put in the effort to spend ‘one last Christmas’ together as a family before instigating divorce proceedings.

It is now the case that divorce is simply a ‘paperwork exercise’ and it is relatively straightforward to obtain a divorce provided the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the Applicant, i.e. the party starting the process, can show one of the five facts of divorce which are 1) 5 years separation 2) two years separation with the other party’s consent 3) desertion by one party 4) adultery or 5) unreasonable behaviour.

In the case of two years separation with consent and adultery it is necessary that the other party cooperates and agrees to the divorce based on that fact. It is often the case that emotions are high and the other party does not want to agree to a divorce or admit their alleged adultery. In those circumstances the most appropriate fact for divorce would be the other party’s unreasonable behaviour in which the Applicant will provide 4-5 examples of such behaviour.

The first stage of the divorce process is to send the divorce petition to the Court together with the Court fee and original marriage certificate. Provided the Court is happy with the content of the petition, the Court will then issue the petition to the other side together with an acknowledgement of service. It is then necessary for the other party to sign and return the acknowledgement of service to the Court to confirm they have received the petition. At that stage the Applicant will be invited to apply for Decree Nisi and the Court will then provide a certificate of entitlement confirming the date on which the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, the parties must wait a minimum period of 6 weeks and 1 day before being able to apply for the final stage of the divorce, the Decree Absolute. The period in between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute is provided in case either party changes their mind or if there is any other reason not to grant the final divorce.

It is important to note that the divorce process is completely separate from financial matters. If an agreement can be reached between the parties in terms of the finances, that agreement should be recorded in a Consent Order and it is the period between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute that any Consent Order should be submitted to the Court for approval. It is only once the Consent Order has been sealed by the Court that it becomes binding. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then it may be necessary to consider mediation, negotiations through solicitors, collaborative law, family arbitration or Court proceedings.

It is advisable that divorcing couples settle the finances before applying for Decree Absolute as once the Decree Absolute has been issued, the parties will lose any benefits they may have acquired as a ‘spouse’ such as any pension rights. The finances will remain ‘open’ until a Consent Order has been agreed or a Court has made a final Order and there is no time limit on when an ex spouse can make a financial application in the future. This was illustrated in the recent case of Wyatt v Vince 2015 where the wife was awarded a large lump sum nearly 20 years after the grant of Decree Absolute, following her ex husband becoming a millionaire.

Once the period of 6 weeks and 1 day from Decree Nisi has lapsed and once the finances have been resolved by way of a Consent Order or final Order sealed by the Court then the Applicant is free to apply for the Decree Absolute. If the Applicant fails to apply for the Decree Absolute, the Respondent may do so after 3 months. The granting of the Decree Absolute is the final stage and the parties will then be divorced.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, we offer a fixed fee package in relation to divorce which includes dealing with the divorce up until the grant of the decree absolute together with 1 ½ hours of legal advice. Our current fixed fee is £499.99 inclusive of VAT plus the Court fee and any other disbursements. We also offer expert advice and assistance in all aspects of financial matters and can assist in negotiations or by other means of resolution such as mediation, collaborative law or family arbitration. We also represent parties in the event Court proceedings are issued.

Lisa Honey is a family solicitor at Breeze and Wyles Ltd specialising in family law and deals with matters covering a range of issues including divorce and financial settlements, separation following the breakdown of a relationship, children matters and declarations of trust. Lisa is also an honorary solicitor providing advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Cheshunt.

Social Media comes to the rescue in Service of Proceedings

A Supreme Court Judge in New York City, Justice Matthew Cooper has this week ruled that a wife may serve divorce papers on her estranged husband via Facebook. Justice Cooper had found that the wife in the case only had contact with her husband via telephone and Facebook and that the husband had moved from his last known address in 2011. The husband had also claimed to the wife that he had no fixed address and was unemployed. As the husband had refused to make himself available for service, Justice Cooper ruled that the papers could be served via the private message facility on the social networking site. A message with the divorce papers attached would be sent to the husband once a week for a period of three consecutive weeks or until he acknowledged receipt. After the three weeks, service will be deemed to have occurred.

In England and Wales, once a divorce petition has been filed with the Court by the applicant, a copy of the paperwork is then sent to the respondent to the proceedings by post together with an ‘acknowledgement of service’ which is a form which the Respondent is asked to sign to confirm that they have received a copy of the petition. A divorce cannot progress until the respondent has signed and returned the acknowledgement of service or until it is proved that the respondent has in fact received a copy of the petition.

It is quite often the case that the respondent may choose to simply ignore the divorce papers or refuse to sign and return the acknowledgement of service. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to employ a private agent or Court bailiff to personally serve the documents and confirm service to the Court.

But what is the situation where a husband or wife seeking a divorce is no longer aware of the whereabouts of the other party? If service can be proved then the Court will view this as deemed service, but it is extremely rare that a Court will dispense with service altogether.

In England and Wales, service of documents in the Family Court is generally made by first class post, by personal service via an agent or on occasion, a Court may allow service via email. In times of improving technology, social media and world travel, it makes sense that the procedures we use reflect the entirety of the resources at our disposal and the manner in which we routinely seek to communicate to each other.  It is not unusual for one party to be on the other side of the world and in these circumstances; service via email or social media may be preferable.

In addition to New York, other countries such as South Africa and Malaysia have previously allowed service of Court documents via Facebook and even by text message. This recent case in New York City may provide a persuasive argument in future cases in England and Wales where it appears impossible to serve an estranged husband or wife with divorce papers and underlines the need to sometimes think outside the post box.

Lisa Honey is a Trainee Solicitor at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd and is currently undertaking her third seat in the Family Department. Lisa has gained experience in all  aspects of family law, including divorce, financial settlements and matters relating to children. Lisa has also undertaken seats in Private client and Conveyancing