Month: May 2014

The Increase in Family Breakdown is Well Documented

The increase in family breakdown is well documented; with around 42% of marriages ending in divorce and 23% of children now living in a single-parent homes. The dissolution of a marriage is often a very traumatic experience for the married couple who are going through the split and particularly for their children of all ages. The nuclear family unit will cease to exist as they all know it, and it usually takes considerable time to adjust to the disruption of their normal routine.

However, there are members of the family that also feel the pain of divorce. The function of a grandparent in a child’s life can be a very unique and significant one. Grandparents can offer a sense of security to children. So when parents separate, grandparents can often offer invaluable support both emotionally and practically.

However, some grandparents may experience isolation from their grandchildren when the parental relationship breaks down. They are unable to see their grandchildren, or things may become hostile towards grandparents from the other side of the family.
So what rights do grandparents have if they are blocked from seeing their grandchildren? It is always advised that all parties involved try to reach an amicable arrangement, perhaps with the help of another family member. Mediation can also be a useful place for parents and grandparents to create a solution with a trained third party.

If these negotiations still fail to produce a solution for the grandparents, a specialist family solicitor can provide experienced guidance. Having prior experience dealing with difficult family situations, they might be able to broker an agreement for contact or possibly advise on whether a submission for the right to see grandchildren should be made to the court.
The court can sort out permission for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. This is known as direct. A judge can recognise the importance of having grandparents have to play in the lives of children but the welfare of those children, often intrinsically linked with that of their parents, is their paramount concern.

This is a highly emotional area of family law for the entire family. Consulting our specialist lawyers in our Altrincham offices is a great first step, and we can talk you through your options and help you to decide what is the best way to proceed. Please contact us on 0845 548 1007 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Single Family Court is Introduced in the UK

The 22 April 2014 is when the most noteworthy modifications to family law in recent memory have taken effect. This is when the new single Family Court was introduced and is also when the bulk of the requirements in the new Children and Families Act 2014 began.

The purpose for the changes is to make it simpler for individuals to gain access to the appropriate avenues of the justice system. A key change for the public is there will no longer be a need to determine in which court to make an application. All submissions will now be processed to the Family Court at one point of entry, which will then be assigned to the appropriate judge for consideration. In most cases, this will take place at the Designated Family Centre. If there are children involved in the case, more often than not it will take place local to where the children reside.

A major benefit of the new Family Court is it will mean consistency with the same judge. This is in stark contrast to how it was in the past, where different judges would be involved at varied points and some may have missed out on crucial information presented to a previous judge that could have a direct impact on the final judgement.

From a real-world point of view, some family court forms have been modified to mirror the modifications to the law, but we are told that courts could still consent to some previous forms of law for a regulated period during the transition.

The most note-worthy development introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014, is the institution of the presumption of parental involvement – an opinion preserved in law that it is in the best interest of a child’s to have a regular, ongoing association with both parents. There is no longer any notion of “residence” (where a child was to live) and “contact” (defining how much time a child should spend with the non-resident parent). These terms are superseded by an abridged “child arrangements order.”
Regardless of these apparent refreshing changes, separation is a very unnerving change in their own lives and the lives of their children. If you are in the process of separation or divorce and want to know how these changes could potentially affect you and your children, our specialist lawyers in our Altrincham offices can talk you through your options and help you to decide which option would be the right decision for your situation. Please contact us on 0845 548 1007 for a free 20 minute consultation.