Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

The New Family Court

May 1st, 2014
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The new Children and Families Act 2014 has been given royal ascent and the majority of the provisions of this Act came into force on 22nd April.  At the same time the provisions include a new Family Court. The Government is stating that it wants the welfare of Children to be at the centre of the Family Justice System and to keep families away from the negative effects that going to Court can have.  Accordingly one key provision is to ensure that separating couples always


A Family Disputing a Will – Could Mediation Have Helped?

February 14th, 2014
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A judgement has recently been given by the Supreme Court in a case which involved a family disputing the Wills of their parents.  The case of Marley and Rawlings had been to the High Court and, just recently, the Supreme Court – so it obviously cost the family a considerable amount of money in legal fees. Lord Neuberger gave judgement in the Supreme Court and said that the Wills of Maureen and Alfred Rawlings should not be invalidated simply because they had each incorrectly signed the


Difficult Conversations

January 28th, 2014
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I recently read Difficult Conversations written by Bruce Patton and Shelia Heen. These writers are experts on the topic and both belong to the Harvard Negotiation Project; if anyone is qualified to help me deal with difficult family members it is them. In this book they address common mistakes we are all liable to make during tricky conversations. This can be in any situation from a petty disagreement to a marriage breakdown. One of the most difficult conversations to have is the ‘what happened conversation’


How realistic is shared care of the children?

January 17th, 2014
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Even in families with a stay-at-home mother or father, generally speaking most parents share the care of their children in some way or other.  When parents separate they expect to be able to continue shared care of the children but, obviously, whatever arrangements need to be made can be difficult to envisage before the parties actually separate.  What does shared care look like?  Is it one week with one parent, one week with the other?  This might be “fair” in terms of equalising the time


Mediation or litigation?

January 8th, 2014
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It is the New Year, and according to media reports, a time when many people face the reality of separation and most will at least start out in the hope that whatever needs to be done can be dealt with as painlessly and economically as possible.  It should therefore be the case, when choosing between mediation or litigation, that mediation is the preferred option.  It might come as some surprise then that the figures speak very differently. Most couples who separate or divorce do not


Protecting children during separation

December 11th, 2013
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  Generally, when parents separate, one of the most difficult aspects for them both is how to tell the children and how to make their separation as painless as possible for their children. There is obviously no good time for telling bad news and no ideal way of doing it.  It is going to vary tremendously according to the ages of the children and circumstances of the separation but equally, obviously, if the parents can be seen to be working together to ensure the best


Is getting divorced expensive?

December 9th, 2013
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Most people would answer a straight “yes” with the implication that the process is often out of their control:  costs escalate, emotions get in the way of rational decisions and discussions, and the lawyers end up the only beneficiaries. However, the cost of the divorce process is actually very much in your hands – you can decide how much or how little you use your lawyer.  The more you do and the less your lawyer does will reduce your legal costs.  Law is a service you


Values in family matters

November 25th, 2013
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Values in family matters can mean those such as honour, dignity, trust etc and values as in terms of how much the property and other assets are worth. Very often valuations are difficult to agree because of the breakdown in trust and communication that it is an inevitable part of divorce.  It may also be caused by the fact that if there is not quite enough money to enable both parties to rehouse themselves or start again in a satisfactory way, then the value of


Lack of trust

November 22nd, 2013
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  I recently heard Evan Davies on the Radio talking about trust in the business context and how recent research suggests that businesses actually run better from the bottom up rather than the top down.  What that means in practise is that responsibility has to be delegated, employees need to be given the trust, the resources, the authority to implement policies and procedures, the more you trust people the more they respond positively. One example used was customer service.  It is key to any business,


Research reveals high satisfaction with collaborative law

November 20th, 2013
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An interdisciplinary research project looking at how people accessed help in family disputes has just published preliminary findings from a national survey into the three major forms of out of court family dispute resolution which are Mediation, negotiation between Solicitors and Collaborative Law. The three year study commenced in July 2011 and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Panel. Generally Mediation was recognised as the most common way of dealing with matters outside of Court but there was also higher than expected recognition

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