Category: Child Law

When Should You Hire a Family Lawyer?

It can be incredibly difficult and upsetting when legal issues arise within a family. There are many different reasons why a family might be struggling with legal issues.  A family lawyer can help manage all of these family affairs, making it easier for your family to get professional advice and sort out any issues you may be having. 

But what sort of legal issues may require a family lawyer? Below, we take a look at some of the reasons you may need a family lawyer. 

Marriage

If you are preparing for a marriage, it is important that you seek legal advice. Although it may seem like a simple ceremony, it can be actually quite complicated legally. A lawyer can help you understand the marital laws of your state and any advice on any marital rights you should know. If you are considering getting a prenup, a family lawyer will also be able to help you navigate this. 

Divorce

Divorce can be incredibly tricky for any family, and ending a marriage can be a long and complicated process. There are various reasons why you will need a family lawyer to help deal with a divorce. An attorney will help you sort out issues like: dividing property and working out property ownership, child custody, and alimony.

Adoption

Adopting a child is incredibly exciting, but it is a long and strenuous legal process. For some people, it can take years to be given a child to adopt, and even then it can take a few months to finalise the documents. A family lawyer will make sure that your adoption papers are all up to standard and will hopefully ensure that your adoption will be successful. 

Benefits of Using a Family Lawyer – Lund Bennett

Whenever you have an issue or a family matter that requires legal representation, it’s essential to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced professional. This is even more apparent in situations such as divorce or matters involving children, as the outcome could be life-changing in regards to your personal or financial situation.

At Lund Bennett, our team of family lawyers based in Manchester specialise in all areas of family law. This means we have a wide range of experience and knowledge at our disposal, having dealt with countless situations involving children and divorce. These scenarios can be extremely stressful for parents, and emotionally traumatic for children, which is why a specialist will prove to be a crucial asset for a swift and smooth resolution.

In-Depth Knowledge of Family Law

Laws change all the time for a variety of reasons, and no matter how minuscule a change is, it should never be overlooked. Many different cases fall under the umbrella of ‘family law’, but these are only a small percentage in regards to the law as a whole. A family lawyer specialises in these specific areas and will maintain an up-to-date knowledge of family law and child law, as well as remain aware of any changes that may affect your case.

A Family Lawyer to Suit Your Needs

Every member of our family law team is an example of the highest-quality family lawyer. With a wealth of experience and a vast range of knowledge pertaining to family law, we have a family lawyer on hand to suit the needs of any client who requires legal assistance. So, whether one of our lawyers handles your matter personally, or as a team when necessary, you will have the peace of mind knowing you’re in safe hands. 

Children and divorce is undoubtedly a tricky and stressful subject, but these feelings can be reduced somewhat when you have a specialist family lawyer in your corner. With years of experience in divorce and financial proceedings, as well as child law, we can guide you to a satisfactory resolution that ensures the best possible future for your children.

Highest Rates of Divorce

  • In 2018, the small Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia had the highest divorce rates in all Europe at 3.1 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants each. 
  • In the mid-1900s, the Nordic countries had shifted to emphasise individual independence even within the family unit, giving way to higher divorce rates. 
  • As a result of strict family laws, divorce rates in England and Wales are significantly lower than other European countries.

A Short History Of Divorce

Throughout history, Europe upheld a series of strict laws regulating divorce. Around the 1950s, many countries allowed divorce if one partner had committed an unspeakable act like adultery or domestic abuse. However, the 1970s gave way to what is colloquially known as the “no-fault revolution,” in which divorce was permitted if mutually agreed upon by both partners.  

From then on, numerous reforms related to divorce took place, with some countries even introducing the concept of unilateral divorce which legally granted separation if requested by only one spouse. Many experts agree that these new laws made divorce easier to obtain, ultimately contributing to the rise of divorce rates in Europe.

Reasons For Divorce

These same experts generally agree that there are numerous reasons for divorce shared by many countries around the world. Some argue that the overall quality and sanctity of marriage has declined, while others insist that our new modern world has provided individuals more opportunities to meet potential partners after having decided to settle down. Victor Martin Organista, an attorney from Madrid, even claims that people grow more mature and independent as they get older and simply decide to follow a different path than their spouse.  

There are, of course, very specific reasons related to each country, particularly in Europe which is a wonderful tapestry of different cultures and people. For example, divorce was illegal in Spain up until 1981, long after the rest of Europe had already progressed well beyond that. Because of these types of reforms, Spain moved away from its Catholic roots to become more secular. Event though Catholicism frowns upon it, this sudden increase in religious freedom made it more acceptable to file for divorce.

Legal advice: The right steps to take when a relationship ends

More often than not, the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship is a traumatic experience. Not only is there emotional distress, but there may well also be serious anxieties around finances and the custody of children.

Following the good legal advice of a reputable family solicitor like Lund Bennett and understanding your rights could, however, go some way towards easing the process.

At what stage during a relationship breakdown should you take legal advice? 

Normally the earlier the better. If you are thinking about leaving your partner or your partner has left you, it is best to get advice from a solicitor specialising in family law as soon as possible to see what your options are.

Why is it so vital to take steps sooner rather than later?

Once the relationship has broken down the family assets need to be divided up. By doing this early on you can ensure there is a fair distribution. It will also help you to move on with your new life once everything has been decided.

How is custody of children determined?

The primary concern is always the best interest of the child – this will always be first and foremost in any arrangement. Depending on the child’s age, however, his or her wishes may well also be taken in to account.

Do entitlements differ depending on whether or not you are actually married?

Yes. Unfortunately, if you are not married you won’t have the same rights as a married couple. In this situation it is therefore even more important to seek legal advice early on in a breakdown.

Your Child Arrangements during Coronavirus

During this uncertain time as family lawyers we are receiving a significant number of enquiries from separated parents about how and whether they should continue with arrangements in light of the spread of coronavirus, school closures and further government advice.

It is very important that we continue to follow government guidelines. If you are not aware of the current Government Advice we have covered this below:

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, appeared on both Good Morning Britain and BBC Breakfast News on 24 March 2020. In his initial interview he indicated that all children should remain with the parent in whose care they currently are. In his second interview he both apologised for his lack of clarity in the earlier interview and helpfully clarified the government’s advice which is that all children of separated parents under the age of 18 should continue to see both of their parents.

The clear government advice is welcome news for separated parents and means in general that:

  • If there is a Court Order in place that defines the time children spend with each of their parents this should continue; and
  • If there is no Court Order in place then the normal arrangements should continue.

Everyone at Lund Bennet appreciate that each case will be very different and every family will have their own particular set of circumstance they have to contend with. We would encourage all separated parents/families to discuss matters openly and honestly and agree with a plan which works best for the children. If unfortunately, you’re a parent who is being refused time with their child and are unsure if this is reasonable, or if you’re a parent who doesn’t know whether to allow their child to visit their other parent’s home, you may need some legal advice at this time. We can offer telephone appointments with our experienced solicitors who can provide practical and sensible guidance at this difficult time. Contact us to book a telephone consultation today.

Adultery is decreasing

It is encouraging to note that fewer couples are now citing adultery as grounds for divorce, as shown by the recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. Adultery was cited in 9,205 divorces in 2018, down from 20,765 in 2008 and 36,310 in 1998.

It is encouraging because adultery petitions are often filed when there is a heightened level of animosity between the parties and make it more difficult for the parties to progress the divorce, and their related financial matters, amicably.

We are, of course, all waiting for the Government to change the law so that parties can obtain a ‘no fault’ divorce.  This will save parties from the upsetting process of having to place blame on each other just to progress their divorce, even when not doing so would be their preference, reducing conflict so that the parties can move forward as amicably as possible.

Experienced and understanding lawyers, contact Lund Bennett’s team of family lawyers have the empathy and the expertise you need. Call us now on 0161 927 3118 or contact us online today and we will call you.

Advice for easing the stress of a separation for children

Tension and emotions can run high during a separation, so it’s important to take steps to reduce stress for any children involved.
It’s normal for children to feel upset, angry and anxious if their parents are separating or getting a divroce. It can feel like their whole world is being turned upside down, so it’s important to do everything you can to make the transition less painful and confusing.

You can help your child to cope with the upheaval of a separation using the following advice.

Avoid the blame game
No matter what the circumstances of the separation, it is important to avoid playing the blame game in front of your child. Keep hurtful or distressing details about the reasons behind your separation private from your child to prevent them feeling torn or stressed about their relationship with either parent.

Minimise conflict
Try to keep all communications civil and polite in front of the children. Avoid talking about legal proceedings or conflict within earshot of your child to minimise confusion, stress and worry.

Minimise disruption
At a time that is filled with turbulence, it’s important to retain as much consistency and routine in your child’s life as possible. Maintaining routine will help to comfort them and keep them feeling safe and secure.

Keep them in the loop
As soon as decisions have been finalised about living arrangements, discuss them openly with your child. Chances are they will be worrying about what is going to happen next, so keeping them in the loop and talking honestly with them as much as possible can help to reassure them.

Make time for your child and tell them you love them
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to be there for them, holding them and reassuring them that you love them. Life can be hectic, emotional and stressful during a separation, but don’t forget to take time out for 1-on-1 quality time with your child. Go out, do something fun and laugh together, you will find that it makes you both feel better.

Listen to them and acknowledge their feelings
Whilst communicating clearly with your child is very important, so is listening. Let your child express their worries, feelings and emotions to you, whether that’s using their words or through their behaviour. Acknowledge that this is a hard time for them and legitimise their feelings. Let them know that it is ok to feel sad or angry now and that things will get better.

For help or advice with separation law or children law, get in touch with our team of specialist family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

Christmas Arrangements for Children

It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas, but over the past few weeks the weather has well and truly changed, and winter is in the air. Now is the time that separated parents are starting to sort out arrangements who and where their children will spend time with over the Christmas period.

It’s not easy to undertake this. Christmas at the best of times is an emotional time of the year and there is a lot of pressure on parents to give their children a magical and memorable time. Splitting the 12 days of Christmas amongst more than one family can be challenging and often brings up feelings of resentment and nostalgia for times past. Balancing these two aspects is no simple task.

For the majority of families, parents are able to navigate this tricky time without the need for legal representation. Others however, for a number of reasons, need some additional help and guidance to formalise arrangements appropriate and fair to the individual circumstances. Court proceedings should always be the last resort but if these are initiated our advice is that legal representation should always be sought if possible.

If you have a family law query, then please contact our team at Lund Bennett Law LLP on 0161 924 0079.

Who decides where a child lives after their parents separate?

Any separation can be difficult, but one that involves children can be particularly challenging and emotional.

The biggest decision that couples with children will need to make if they separate, is the children’s living arrangements.

Where possible, it is always easiest and less stressful for everyone involved if the family can come to an amiable agreement together.

However, this is not always possible. In instances where parents do not agree on where a child should live, they may need to seek help from one or more of the following:
•A solicitor specialising in family law.
•Mediation.
•The Family Court.

No matter which route you take to help decide the best living arrangements for your children, the welfare of the children is always considered first and foremost.

Family law solicitor
A family law solicitor will be able to advise you on all avenues open to you and provide you with sound legal advice and guidance.

Mediation
Mediation is a process guided by a trained, impartial, third-party that allows the two parties to have a constructive discussion and hopefully negotiate an outcome that all parties are happy with.

The Family Court
If an agreement still cannot be reached, then it may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for one or more orders to be made. A child arrangement order will decide who the child will live with, who they will spend time with, and when. In some cases, it may also be relevant for the court to issue a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

Lund Bennett are family law specialists based in Altrincham and Manchester. For legal help and guidance regarding disputes about child living arrangements, mediation services, or help applying for a court order, get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

Child cases starting in the family courts continue to rise

Following an influx in new childcare cases in the family courts, the President of the Family Law Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane has launched a public consultation into our current system.  At the launch he described those working in the court system as needingto “run up a down escalator” to deal with the amount of cases progressing through the courts.

Last year there was a staggering 53,164 private children cases involving 123,334 children. There is no sign that this rise will abate in the coming years.

Another factor putting pressure on the family court stems from the cuts to family legal aid. Under the current system only those who can demonstrate that they are both victims of domestic violence and on a low income qualify for family legal aid. Because of this, more-and-more litigants are representing themselves at court without the assistance of legal advice.

We would always recommend that clients seek independent legal advice when undergoing family proceedings and before attending court.

One aim of the McFarlane review is to identify cases that could be resolved through mediation rather than through the court system. A quarter of cases coming before the courts do not involve domestic violence or concerns about the safety of a child so may be suitable for negotiations between solicitors.

We have a breadth of experience in all aspects of children matters and are able to advise our clients in a sympathetic and pragmatic manner.

If you require legal advice or support, give our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett Law LLP a call on 0161 924 0079.