• 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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  • A Will is for everyone, not just the elderly

    This common misconception means that sometimes people who really should make a Will do not. If you die without a Will, this is called dying intestate. This means that the Intestacy Rules determine who inherits what, which means your loved ones could miss out and a large chunk of your estate could go to HMRC. In order to avoid this situation and to ensure that your estate passes to people of your choice, it is highly recommended that you have a valid Will.          If you live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, and …

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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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  • Will your child maintenance be taken into account when you are applying for a mortgage?

    In January 2016 the Ipswich Building Society announced that they would consider 100% of income from child maintenance when assessing mortgage affordability.  They join a list of other mortgage lenders, including NatWest and Virgin Money.  However, there are some other banks and building societies that will not take child maintenance into account, or only take a certain proportion of that income into account.   This new approach by Ipswich Building Society will make it easier for separated parents to obtain a mortgage but the child maintenance does need to be supported by the Child Maintenance Service (the successor of the …

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  • Resolution’s Parenting Charter

    As part of the Resolution Manifesto for Family Law, Resolution proposes a Parenting Charter which clearly sets out what children should be able to expect from their parents if they are separating, and what separating parents need to do in the best interests of their children.   This part of the manifesto differs from the other aspects (the full manifesto can be found here) as it does not call for a change in the law or public policy.  Resolution hopes that the charter will be a tool for lawyers, mediators and others working with separating couples, as well as for …

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  • Parenting Plans

    When parents separate, one of the most difficult issues to deal with can be the arrangements for the children. Care arrangements for the children may have worked seamlessly when the parents were together but on separation difficulties can easily arise. The best way to avoid problems with the arrangements for children is to sit down with your ex-partner as soon as you can and talk through the arrangements in detail. This may sound obvious but it can be easier said than done, especially where the separation has been acrimonious. It is important to remember that even though your relationship with …

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  • Court cases relating to children not in decline

    Litigation over children is not decreasing significantly despite the government’s push for parents to attend mediation. In April 2011, the government made it compulsory for parents to consider mediation before making an application to court in relation to arrangements for children. The idea was that parents should attend a meeting to find out about the mediation process before they could make an application to court, and that this should significantly reduce the number of court cases issued each year. However, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, the number of cases has fallen slightly but not dramatically. In the …

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