• Thinking about Christmas…

    Although it is only just October and Christmas may still feel far away, for separated parents it is worthwhile spending sometime sorting out the holiday arrangements early, if this has not already been done. Christmas is a special and magical time for children and any conflict surrounding the arrangements can dampen the celebrations considerably.  Each December, we are contacted by clients who are having difficulty finalising the arrangements for the Christmas holidays.  Sometimes we are asked to sort things out as late as the week before Christmas, which can be incredibly stressful for parents (as well as the children). Some …

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  • Separated Parents Information Programme

    When a couple separates there are many difficult issues that may need to be resolved, from what should happen to the family home to who should keep the car. There is often a difference of opinion as to the appropriate outcome, but what people generally agree is that they want the best for their children. What is not always clear is how to achieve this. Contemplating an ongoing relationship with an ex-partner can be daunting, but where there are children involved it is something that is worth thinking about at an early stage. Communication can be challenging and many parents …

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  • Is an “out of court service” more appropriate for my family than court?

    The number of court cases relating to children has increased significantly since the beginning of 2016, and there is no sign of this trend slowing down.  Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, is conducting a review of the system and has said the family courts are having to “run up a down escalator” due to the increased burden. The president of the family division has said that some parents needs to be persuaded not to bring their cases to court, in order to reduce the pressure and begin to stop the delays that are …

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  • What does normal look like?

    This is a question we are often asked by separating parents deciding how to agree the arrangements for their children. Parents often ask what other families do and what is considered usual or normal when deciding how many nights per week their children should spend with each of them, or how they should divide school holidays.   The advice that we often give is that there is no normal. Each family, and each child, is unique and therefore the arrangements that will be in their best interests will also be unique. What works for one child may not work for …

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  • Early Neutral Evaluations

    If you are trying to agree the arrangements for your children or your finances with your spouse/ex-partner directly, it is likely that you will be greatly assisted by obtaining an informed, neutral and expert opinion as to likely outcomes were your particular case to be brought before a court. At Family Law Associates we are pleased to offer Early Neutral Evaluations directly to members of the public who are trying to resolve their issues directly, or within mediation.   An Early Neutral Evaluation is a meeting which both parties would attend, and at which both parties would have an opportunity …

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  • Children Arbitration Scheme

    In July 2016, a new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme will be rolled out.  At present it is possible to arbitrate financial family disputes, but not matters relating to children.  The new Children Scheme will allow disputes concerning arrangements for a child and the exercise of parental responsibility to be resolved using arbitration, rather than the court system.   The benefits of arbitration are now well established in the area of financial disputes.  One of the main advantages of arbitration is the speed with which disputes can be resolved.  When children are at the centre of a dispute, resolving matters …

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  • Are we heading towards no-fault divorces?

    At present, the law sets out the circumstances in which a divorce can be obtained.  If a couple wishing to divorce would like to do so without apportioning blame against one another, the current law requires them to wait for a period of two years before they can proceed.  If they do not want to wait that long, then one of them will need to cite another reason for the divorce – usually either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.   The apportioning of blame can make an already difficult process much harder.  An element of unpleasantness can be introduced at a …

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  • Litigants in Person

    On 1st April 2013 the government withdrew legal aid for most family cases. The purported rationale behind this decision was to encourage people to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation. This actual reason was to save money.   The problem is that where there are many cases in which ADR is appropriate, there are many cases in which it is not. It is also worth noting that even if you, as a client decide to attend mediation you will still need legal advice to understand your position and your options so that you can negotiate properly. You will …

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