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FAQs

Please see below to see if we can answer your questions.

General

The simple answer is yes you can. There are however pitfalls to be aware of and particularly where financial issues are concerned it is important to take independent and expert advice.

The process of divorce is largely a paper exercise where the Court is concerned. However, if you do represent yourself through the process and do not deal with the financial aspects of your separation then whilst you may have changed your legal status, you and your ex partner will still retain financial related claims against the other unless or until these claims are dismissed through filing a consent order with the Court, if financial issues can be agreed, or through making an application to Court to determine financial issues.

Family Law is not straight forward in terms of financial rights and remedies. The decisions you make are ones which will impact upon the rest of your life. It is therefore very important that you obtain specialise advice from the outset. Our job is to with you to achieve the best possible outcome for you going forwards.

There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales which is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

There are 5 facts which underpin this ground and you need to rely on one of them. The 5 facts are as follows:-

  • The other party has committed adultery and you cannot tolerate living with them
  • The other party has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them
  • Two years separation and consent
  • Desertion 
  • 5 years separation

Unfortunately and as yet there is no such thing as a no fault divorce in England and Wales unless you have lived separately and apart for a period of at least two years. We can advise you on the best postible options for you and how best to proceed.  

Yes. Through whichever means you resolve financial issues both of you have to provide full and frank financial disclosure as to your respective financial circumstances. Resolving financial issues is a two stage process.

The first stage is to exchange financial information and the second stage is to make informed decisions with you each being aware of the other’s financial position. Even if the two of you were able to sort matters out in person then in order for an agreement to be legally binding it has to be approved by a Court. A Family Judge will not approve a consent order (the legal agreement) without seeing a summary of your respective financial circumstances.

Furthermore, if it came to light that either of you did not provide proper disclosure then a consent order could be set aside at a later date. It is therefore important that from the outset you are open and honest as to your financial position.

Our role is to give you proper and robust advice as to your financial position and work with you to achieve the best possible financial settlement which will be endorsed by the Family Court. 

If you are married or you are named on your child’s birth certificate (and you child was born on or after 1.12.2003) then you automatically both have parental responsibility. What this means in practice is that you each have the right to consent to medical treatment and be involved in decisions such as where your child will go to school.

The starting point in law and the key principle under the Child Arrangements Programme which governs private law application is that a child has the right to spend a significant amount of time with each parent providing it is safe and consistent for them to do so.

We work with you to help you whether we act as mediators or by providing legal advice so that we can work out together practical arrangements for the care of your children which work for your children and for your family.

Where there are safeguarding issues then we can help you take robust and swift action to keep you and your children safe from harm.

There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife in England and Wales. Family law only assists if you are married. If you own property together however or have children together then there are legal remedies which can assist.

For property based issues then you may be able to bring a claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 or under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. The applications which you can make to Court if you are unable to resolve matters via mediation or other forms of negotiation can be costly and it is therefore imperative that you seek advice.

We can discuss remedies available to you specific to the facts of your situation. If you have children together then issues such as where your children will live and how often they will spend time with the other party apply irrespective of your marital situation. 

Family Mediation

No. Mediation is a voluntary process however you do have to attend the MIAMS appointment which is the pre-court assessment (unless exceptional circumstances apply) before issuing any application to Court for matters concerning your children or financial issues consequent upon separation.

An important part of the MIAMs appointment is to look at what are the important issues in your case and by meeting you and the other party separately we can assess the scope for negotiation.

In circumstances where we are worried about safety issues relating to your children or to either of you then it may be that we take the view that mediation would not be suitable and we would issue the Court form to enable you to pursue a formal legal route. 

Mediation is far more cost effective than getting involved in protracted litigation which can take months, if not years to resolve and cost many thousands of pounds. 

Through mediation YOU retain control over decisions affecting your financial future and the future arrangements for the care of your children. 

Mediation as a process is a forward thinking process. It is not about who has done what to whom or when but rather how we can move forward.

If you have children together then part of the process is recognising and helping you to work through the fact that whilst you no longer have a relationship as a couple, you do need really to have a working relationship as parents so that you can continue to make important decisions and attend important events for your children as parents. 

Yes. some mediators who have undertaken specialist further training can speak to children as party of the mediation processes so that their voices can be heard, whilst recognising that as parents you retain control over the decision making process. Sally is a highly experienced and skilled Child Inclusive Mediator and can talk you through the process at the MIAMS appointment stage. 

Mediation is a method of assisting you to work through issues and reach agreements which then can be made legal either by instructing your solicitors to prepare the necessary legal documentation or by the two of you filing agreed documentation with the Court. 

The process is really a half way house between negotiating direct with the other party and dealing with matters via solicitors. Mediation is a qualitative choice and is far more cost effective than all negotiations taking place between solicitors. 

In children mediations we can help you work through issues such as communication difficulties when said difficulties are typically only made worse via Court proceedings.