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Ancillary Relief, Child Maintenance, child support, Children, Civil Partners, Dispute Resolution, Divorce, Family, Family Home, Finances, Judicial separation, Marriage, Pre nuptial agreement, Property, Separation    No Comments

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Divorce is never envisaged when you enter into your marriage, if it was we probably wouldn’t do it!

Sadly multiple divorces have become more and more common, it is a sad fact that many people have experienced a failed first marriage and whilst the breakdown and subsequent experiences would have been difficult, when entering into the second, third or fourth marriage it is likely that its even more unexpected and difficult if it breaks down.

Cheryl Cole, Billie Piper, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, to name just a few of the celebrity divorcees.

There are so many things to think about when divorcing; how the matrimonial assets will be split and even when you’re not considering the multi million pound pots the celebrities have to consider there is still the family home be it rented or owned, the sole and joint assets as well as any businesses and pensions. When looking at finances there are a number of considerations and legal advice should be obtained, in order to give the best advice it will be necessary to enter into full and frank disclosure of all assets, income and liabilities. The starting point for division is 50/50, however, there are a number of factors to be looked and the 50/50 split can be departed from.

It would be wise to consider entering into a pre-nuptial agreement before embarking on the next marriage, whilst it may not be something that you want to think about when planning the big day, those who have been through a Divorce before will know that no matter how happy you are at the start a break up is always possible.

When separating there is also the children to think about, who they will live and when they will spend time with the other parent. It is important to protect them from the distress of the separation and to ensure that they don’t get caught up in any conflict.

Here at Fidler & Pepper we can advise you on all family matters, whether thats; on a pre nup, a separation agreement, divorce, ancillary relief (financial settlement) or children issues and we offer competitive rates with a variety of fixed fees, hourly rate and our Pay as you go Divorce.

If you want any advice or assistance in this area please do not hesitate to contact us on 01623 451111 or email us at family@fidler.co.uk

 

 

 

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Care proceedings, Domestic Violence & Abuse, Family, Harrassment, Separation, Stalking    No Comments

 

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In December 2015 the new coercive or controlling behaviour offence came into force, providing better protection for victims of sustained patterns of domestic abuse.

This type of behaviour is psychological and emotional abuse and now action can be taken.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a fine or both.

Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence.

If you are a victim of abuse or know someone that is, help is available.

If you require legal advice on civil orders that can be obtained for protection such as a non molestation order or an occupation order, or if you have social services involvement in respect of your children due to the impact of domestic abuse our dedicated Family Law Team can help.

We can be contacted on 01623 451111 or via email family@fidler.co.uk.

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Adoption, Care proceedings, Children, Family, Foster Care, Separation, Special Guardian    No Comments

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A Special Guardianship Order is an Order appointing someone to be a childs ‘special guardian’. It enables a legally secure placement for a child who cannot remain in their parents care.

This is an Order often sought by a family member who is willing and able to care for a child until they reach the age of the 18 and enables a child to remain within their birth family who otherwise may have to be placed for adoption.

This type of Order can be obtained through Private Law Proceedings or Public Law Proceedings.

Private Law Proceedings are where the individual seeking the Order makes the application to the Court on the prescribed form.

Public Law Proceedings are proceedings issued by the relevant Local Authority.

Anyone wishing to be a ‘special guardian’ must be assessed by the Local Authority and must provide notification of their wish to be assessed.

There are regulations governing the assessment that must be carried out and there has been a recent amendment requiring the Local Authority to now include the following within the report;

  • the capacity of the guardian to care for the child now and until they reach 18
  • an assessment of the relationship between the child and the prospective special guardian
  • the ability of the guardian to overcome the impact of any abuse or neglect in earlier life
  • the effect on the child into adulthood of being cared for under a Special Guardianship Order
  • the ability of the guardian to manage any risk to the child of any pre-existing relationship between the guardian and the birth parents.

 

If you wish to put yourself forward to be a special guardian or if you are parent involved in this type of application our dedicated Family team can help.

We are members of Resolution, the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and the Law Society’s Children Panel.

We can be contacted on 01623 451111 or you can email care@fidler.co.uk.

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Divorce, Family, Finances, Property    No Comments

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Recent press coverage has confirmed that there has been an error on the FORM E available through the Ministry of Justice Court Form Finder since April 2014 resulting in the possible miscalculation of matrimonial assets.

The Form E is used to provide full disclosure of matrimonial assets, income and liabilities when looking at what would be an appropriate settlement following the breakdown of the marriage.

If completed incorrectly it could result in an unfair settlement.

We would like to reassure all of our clients that this is under investigation.

Here at Fidler & Pepper Solicitors we actually access the form through an alternative provider and not direct from the Ministry of Justice Court Form Finder and we have been assured that there is no error on the FORM E via that provider.

Those people who are affected may need to have their cases re opened and should seek legal advice.

If you have any queries regarding this please do not hesitate to contact our Family Law Team on 01623 451111 or via our email family@fidler.co.uk.

 

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Ancillary Relief, Children, Dispute Resolution, Divorce, Family, Family Home, Finances, Parental Responsibility, Separation    No Comments

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If you have experienced the unfortunate breakdown of your relationship, there will be all sorts of worries running through your mind with regard to the significant changes this will mean to your family life.

Issues to be resolved will include who the children will live with and how often they will see the other parent, how will decisions regarding your children be made and what will happen to the family home and any other family assets.

Some people are tempted to commence Court proceedings to resolve these things but there is a better way.

Court proceedings are costly and take time, and protracted litigation is not in the children’s best interests as it can often make relations between the parties even more difficult than they already are.

Therefore, consideration should be given to alternative dispute resolution.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution and people are urged to try it before making an application to Court, so much so that it is now a requirement to have attempted mediation before lodging an application (save for urgent applications). Where it has not been attempted the Court will usually direct the parties to take part in mediation before the Court gets involved any further.

Mediation is where you and your ex partner will sit with an independent person (in the same or in separate rooms) and the mediator will help you to identify the issues and help you to reach an agreement, matters could be resolved at your first meeting or it could take a number of sessions.

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no other way to resolve matters and the Family Court is there to help but in many cases there are alternatives and it is essential that they are tried first.

If you have experienced separation and you require advice and assistance please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Family Law Team on 01623 451111 or via email at family@fidler.co.uk.

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Children, Civil Partners, Dispute Resolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence & Abuse, Drugs & Alcohol, Facebook, Family, Finances, Harrassment, Legal Aid, Marriage, Same sex couples, Separation, Social Media, Stalking, Twitter, Uncategorized, Unmarried couples    No Comments

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Today is the start of the White Ribbon Campaign – 16 days of men working together to end violence against women.

Domestic violence and abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

If you are experiencing domestic violence you may have children that you are trying to protect.   Children can witness domestic violence in a variety of ways.  For example, they may be in the same room and may get caught in the middle of an incident, they may be in another room but be able to hear the abuse or see physical injuries following an incident of violence  or they may be forced to take part.

Children are completely dependent on the adults around them, and if they don’t feel safe in their own homes, this can have many negative physical and emotional effects.  All children witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused.

Children will react in different ways to being brought up in a home with a violent person.  They may feel that they are to blame, feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused.  You need to put children first.  Resolution have produced tips on how to deal with difficult situations such as domestic violence and addiction, talking to children about domestic abuse, when your children are turned against you and tips for parenting during a difficult separation.

If you require legal advice and assistance and wish to discuss your options to enable you to flee a violent and abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Family Team on 01623 451111 or at family@fidler.co.uk.

If you are unsure of what to say to your children, seek professional support and guidance from organisations such as Women’s Aid or MANKIND.

#16days #WhiteRibbonDay #putchildrenfirst

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Children, Dispute Resolution, Family, Separation    No Comments

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If you have experienced an unfortunate breakdown of your relationship and you have children together, it is important to put them first and to consider the impact of the separation on them.

It is important, wherever possible, to minimise the impact on the children and for them to see that even though their parents have separated they are both still there for them emotionally and that they make decisions together about their upbringing and welfare.

It can be very difficult to come to terms with the end of a relationship but it is important as a parent to remember that it is likely to be even more difficult for your children.

At Fidler & Pepper we appreciate the emotional difficulty that is experienced and pride ourselves on providing appropriate advice whilst being understanding of the extremely difficult and emotional situations that our clients are in.

As Resolution members we abide by the Code of Conduct and whilst we understand the anguish that you may be feeling we will advise you to resolve matters in a non confrontational way, will conduct your case constructively and will encourage you to put the best interests of your children first. The children are in the middle of any separation and they have a right to love both parents and to have a relationship with them (providing there are no risk elements).

You may worry that the separation will affect the children’s well-being but the likelihood is, that so long as the parents deal with matters appropriately and protect the children from the dispute, reassure them that they will still have a relationship with each parent, the chances are they will cope with matters much better than you anticipate and if there are difficulties there is help and support available.

Resources to help you

If possible it would be beneficial to sit down with your children together and explain to them in general terms about the separation and to reassure them, guidance on how to deal with this can be obtained through us or accessed online through the Resolution website where you can access the Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce leaflet.

Fidler & Pepper are here to support you

Where possible we will encourage to use alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation in the hope that you will be able to reach agreements on matters such as where your children will live and when they will spend time with the other parent as well as financial matters arising as a result of the separation.

If you require any advice or assistance on these matters please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Family Law Team on 01623 451111 or email us at family@fidler.co.uk

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Divorce, Domestic Violence & Abuse, Facebook, Family, Harrassment, Legal Aid, Marriage, Same sex couples, Social Media, Stalking, Twitter, Uncategorized, Unmarried couples    No Comments

 

 

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Last month the well-known music star Rihanna spoke to Vanity Fair magazine about being a victim of domestic violence, after being assaulted by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, in 2009.

Most of us will remember the picture of Rihanna with black eyes, swollen face and bruised.

That incident proved that nobody, not even a rich, beautiful, talented superstar, is immune to domestic violence.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and abuse or know someone close who is and wish to receive information and assistance, Women’s Aid have produced The Survivor’s Handbook.  It covers understanding domestic violence and how to make you and your child[ren] safe, guides you through the legal protection framework and explains the role of the legal profession and police.

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 defines domestic violence and abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

Here at Fidler & Pepper we have a dedicated Family Team who deal with all aspects of Family Law.  If you wish to discuss issues in a confidential environment then please do not hesitate to contact our office on 01623 45111 or by email at family@fidler.co.uk

We offer a 30 minute free consultation.

 

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Divorce, Family, Marriage, Separation    No Comments

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With signs that the Divorce Court fees are set to rise it is important to know that payment options are available.

Coming to the decision to separate and to actually initiate Divorce proceedings is an incredibly difficult decision to make and adding to that the worry about costs only increases that difficulty.

It is reported in The Times, today, that there is a concern that the rise in Divorce fees could trap couples in unhappy marriages.

The Court fee is currently set at £410 and may rise further. It is important to note that this is the court fee only and not the cost of legal fees for advice and assistance throughout the process.

However, it is possible to apply for fee remission and some people may be eligible for either full exemption from the fee or a reduction depending upon their assessment.

It is also important to be aware the Legal Aid is available for Divorce proceedings where there is evidence of domestic abuse.

Here at Fidler & Pepper we know that at such a difficult time people do not need the added worry of costs and therefore we have tried to reduce that worry as far as possible by offering a variety of payment options including our Pay As You Go Divorce. In addition to this we offer a 30 minute free consultation where these options can be fully explored.

If you require any Family Law advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 01623 451111 or email us at family@fidler.co.uk.

 

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Adoption, Care proceedings, Children, Family, Parental Responsibility, Special Guardian    No Comments

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Recent research by the Department for Education reveals that there is a perception that there has been increase in the number of Special Guardianship Orders being made since the Family Justice Reforms but also as a result of recent case law.

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is a Court Order  appointing an individual to be a child’s ‘Special Guardian’.

This is an Order that can be made in both private and public law proceedings, where a child, for whatever reason, cannot remain in the care of their parents and a family placement is available but that placement requires enhanced security.

Where children are subject to proceedings and they are faced with the reality that their parents may not be able to provide long term care for them, it is essential that social workers are proactive in exploring the wider family to consider all options available for the children and the possibility of them remaining within their birth family.

An SGO is an Order that grants an enhanced level of Parental Responsibility (PR), it does not mean that those with PR will lose  it,  they will retain it but it will be shared with the Special Guardians, and the Special Guardians can exercise it to the exclusion of the Parents.

Sometimes consideration and applications for SGO arise as a result of Care Proceedings issued by the Local Authority, however, an application can be made in Private Law Proceedings.

It is important to bear in mind that when being assessed as a special guardian consideration will be given to the ability to protect, particularly as family dynamics can be complex due to the loyalty felt towards the children and the parents. When this is an issue a special guardianship placement could face difficulty.

The research into Local Authority practice and Special Guardianship Orders concludes, that more information and guidance should be made available, that children should be placed and the placement tested prior to an SGO being granted, that support plans should be adequately resourced  in the same way as adoption and fostering support, that there is tension between the necessity to do a good quality report and the timescales applicable to care proceedings.

If you are caring for a child on behalf of a family member, you should take steps to secure their placement. If you are a parent unable to care you should ensure that you consider all options for your child.

For advice and assistance regarding children issues please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Family Law Team by telephoning 01623 451111 or emailing us at care@fidler.co.uk.

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