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First consultations are free.


Based in Bristol and Exeter we offer the very best advice and representation in family law and divorce, and the very best service at a  clear and sensible cost.


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 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. With us you get clear advice, excellent service and sensible prices. First consultations are friendly and informative. They are free of charge and put you under no obligation.


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 - first consultations are free - use the contact page to set one up. 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


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 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


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 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 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

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 30% 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.



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. 


April 2018

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