The Covid-19 Pandemic and resulting Lockdown has meant that we have all had to change our arrangements to keep in touch with family members since the “Staying At Home” announcement by the Prime Minister on 23rd March 2020
Many separated families found this particularly challenging as they tried to maintain stability for children and minimise the anxieties we have all had about keeping within the rules and staying safe whilst taking into account everyone’s varying attitudes to risk.
When separated couples divorce, before they can reach a legally binding agreement about the resolution of financial issues or when a court application is made for financial orders, they both have to provide details of their pensions.
This is a specialist area and we recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer and independent financial adviser before making an application to the court or signing an agreement.
Children usually receive vaccinations in accordance with the school vaccination programme up to the age of 16 – but what happens when there is a dispute between the child’s parents about whether the child should receive a vaccination?
We are often asked to help when, following separation, a married couple have agreed how their finances are to be dealt with and they want to make these arrangements final so that neither can change their minds.
This is a very good idea as, without a court order, financial claims can be made at any time after the first divorce order, Decree Nisi. These claims do not end on the making of the final divorce order, Decree Absolute.
When couples can’t agree how to resolve issues on separation/divorce, most people immediately think they have to apply to the Court.
But, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Family Court process was becoming slower and more frustrating for many people. Now there are staff shortages as well as a backlog of cases that are not suitable for remote hearings, using the Court to resolve issues could take over a year (if you are lucky).
So should you consider Family Arbitration?
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions answered by our specialist family lawyer, Barbara Richardson.
Many separating couples are wary of seeking legal advice because they do not want to have to face the emotional and financial cost of court proceedings.
They know that either they or their ex can apply to the court for a decision about the arrangements for their children and/or resolving financial issues, for example whether the family home should be sold. They also know that court proceedings can feel like a “fight” and that even if they achieve the outcome they seek the process can be very stressful and damaging for future family relationships.
The good news is that there are other ways that a specialist family lawyer can support separating couples to reach an agreement and make it legally binding without anyone having to attend court.