At Apple Tree family law we specialise in family law and advise about nothing else. We are a small focused team of experts so we can offer the very best advice and representation. We make optimium use of digital technology to deliver the very best quality of service to our clients, in a cost effective way. From start to finish the whole service is delivered by an exceptionally experienced divorce solicitor, so you avoid the frustration, expense and disappointing outcomes which mistakes and inexperience will bring.You can find out more about what makes Apple Tree Family Law special by clicking on 'about' in the menu above. You will find useful information and introductions to various aspects of family law and divorce law by following the links below, or in the drop down menu under 'family law' in the menu at the top right hand corner of this page.
John Pratley has more than 25 years' experience as a solicitor advising exclusively in family law. He set up Apple Tree Family Law to work in a leaner, smarter, and more focused way than most law firms. That also means we can charge less.
He will advise you clearly and accurately about your legal position from the outset, and make sure you avoid pitfalls which can be expensive and can cause you real difficulties in the long term. He will help you to agree a sensible arrangement which is satisfactory to you and negotiate fairly but firmly on your behalf if you ask him to. If your case has to go to court, he will provide expert representation and present your case in the most persuasive way possible. Good preparation and presenting your case with skill right from the outset are as important as great courtroom skills when it comes to getting the best outcome. He follows the Resolution Code of Conduct and he will not cause unnecessary ill-feeling between you and your former partner.
We have offices in Bristol and Exeter, but we do most of the work off-site, making optimum use of technology to provide you with the best service as efficiently as possible. That avoids the expense of maintaining large offices with multiple staff, at a cost which would ultimately be passed to our clients.
Because of these efficiencies we charge typically 25% less than most large firms of solicitors. We are also crystal clear about how much we will charge you – it is agreed in advance and there will be no nasty surprises.
We specialise in family law and this website includes introductions to various aspects of family and divorce law which we hope you will find helpful. But like other areas of law you need years of experience to know how it actually works in practice. That's what we can give you and you should speak to us. The issues you face are too important to deal with by trial and error.
As you read you need to bear in mind that although many of the issues they face are the same, the law treats married couples very differently from the way it treats unmarried couples if their relationship breaks down. The drop down menu or the links below should help you to find the right information.
The decision to divorce, or to dissolve your civil partnership, is a major life choice, and it is not one you will take without thinking very carefully. But, once you have made that choice, you will find that the legal process does not question your choice, or ask you to justify it. Read more
Civil partnerships were created by the Civil Partnership Act 2004, and remained the only option for same-sex couples until same-sex marriage was legalised in March 2014. Read more
You don’t have to go through the formality of a divorce or dissolution to end your relationship, if you are unmarried and have not been through a civil partnership. But sorting financial issues out can be more difficult. Read more
FINANCES AND DIVORCE
If it is handled correctly the process of getting divorced, or dissolving a civil partnership, in itself can be made quite simple, but sorting out finances is often more difficult. This can lead to expensive and acrimonious disputes and even court proceedings. Read more
BUSINESSES IN DIVORCE
Businesses raise particularly difficult questions in divorce. If you, or your husband or wife has a business you should definitely get special advice about your own situation. Read more
YOUR HOME IN DIVORCE
For many families their home is their most valuable asset, and also their biggest worry if they separate. In all but a short marriage the court is likely to start from the assumption that in the value of the equity should be shared, but not necessarily 50/50. Read more
Pensions have become one of the most techincal and difficult areas in family and divorce. This introduction aims to help you understand some of the basic concepts so that you can aproach the topic informed. Read more
MAINTENANCE FOR ADULTS
Maintenance can be a particularly contentious subject. Maintenance for children tends to be less contentious, because most people wish to support their children financially and the level of Child Support is set by the Child Maintenance Service, using a relatively simple formula which applies in virtually every case with very limited scope for individual variation. Read more
CHILD SUPPORT & THE CMS FORMULA
Child maintenance starts with the CMS (‘Child Maintenance Service,’ previously known as the ‘Child Support Agency’) which provides a formula to calculate how much child support should be paid. Read more
Collaborative Law is an alternative approach to addressing the issues you will need to deal with if you seaparate and divorce. For most people it is much better than the tradtional routes of letters passing between solicitors, and court proceedings. Read more
I just wanted to thank you very much for your support and guidance over the last few years. You may not know how invaluable your input has been but I am certain I could not have been in safer hands.