Family relationship matters

Our experienced and extensive Family Department is able to advise on any legal problem which can arise within a family. The department as a whole is headed by Jerry Bull who is a member of the Law Society’s Specialist Children Panel. There are 9 solicitors in all in this department. Four of them are members of the Law Society’s Specialist Children Panel and there are three members of Resolution’s Accredited Specialist Family Panel (formerly Solicitors Family Law Association). We are members of the Grandparents Association and have much experience in helping grandparents over issues which may arise with their grandchildren.

We also support Family Mediation Ltd - the Divorce & Separation centre is committed to working with solicitors through the mediation process

Children

Problems which arise over children are almost always difficult and emotional. In having four very experienced solicitors who specialise in this area of law, we are able to offer a wide range of experience and knowledge.

We act for children (either directly or through their Court appointed children’s Guardian) and for parents and other relatives in a whole range of proceedings :

  • Disputes between parents as to where a child will live on the break-up of a relationship.
  • Disputes between parents and/or other significant adults (eg grandparents) as to what contact there should be between the child and any other particular person.
  • Care proceedings where Social Services believe that there are problems with the way the children are being brought up and are therefore asking the Court’s permission to remove them from their parents.
  • Applications to Discharge Care Orders.
  • Applications for contact to children in care.
  • Applications for Special Guardianship Orders.
  • Applications to Adopt Children. This is an area which is changing dramatically on 30 December 2005.
  • Fostering of Children.
  • Child Abduction.
  • Problems arising over children being moved out the country whether permanently or temporarily.
  • Child Support Agency

Divorce

Marriage breakdown is often a time of uncertainty and pain. It is important that husband and wife have proper advice to ensure that difficulties arising from the relationship break-down can be kept to a minimum. At the same time it is important to ensure that a fair financial arrangement can be reached. This all needs sensitivity and professionalism.

We have four solicitors who are recognised experts in this field through their membership of Resolution’s Accredited Specialist Family Law Panel and Higher Rights of Audience in Civil Courts. They are supported by other solicitors and legal executives. We can deal with all the problems that arise from a divorce including:

  • How to divorce and all the procedure relating to it
  • Annulment.
  • Financial settlements for the husband and wife and for the children
  • Who is to look after the children and the contact arrangements.

Domestic Violence/Abuse and Harrassment

It is an unfortunate fact that one party in a relationship can be violent to the other. We have a lot of experience in dealing with these matters urgently and sensitively. We are one of the few duty solicitors at the Croydon Family Justice Centre which is the first centre in Europe which brings together a whole range of expertise to assist people who are the victims of domestic violence.

We are able to see people at short notice and get to Court in an emergency. As our firm is franchised by the Legal Services Commission we are able to use our devolved powers to grant Legal Aid in an emergency if a person is eligible for Legal Aid.

We are able to assist on:

  • Taking out injunctions and enforcing them.
  • Defending injunctions and committals.
  • Sorting out problems over contact to children arising out an injunction being taken out.

Civil Partnership

Same sex couples are now able to register their relationships under the Civil Partnership Act. We are able to advise on the implications of entering into such arrangements and to deal with the breakdown of such relationships.

Unmarried Couples

More and more people these days are living together without getting married. It is an unfortunate fact that most do not realise the lack of legal rights that arise from simply living together. There is no such thing as a common law marriage. We are able to advise on the legal position of couples in such a situation, together with dealing with the breakdown of their relationship. In particular, we have a great deal of experience in sorting out the division of property which has been purchased together by couples who are not married and the financial responsibilities for any children of the relationship.

Pre-nuptial Agreements

It is important for anybody who is considering forming a long-term relationship to obtain some advice as to the legal implications. This would apply to anybody who is getting married, registering their relationship under the Civil Partnership Act and also living together. We can advise whether a pre-nuptial agreement may be appropriate, its terms and/or its enforceability.

Mediation

We are committed to trying to resolve disputes in a consensual manner without the rights of our clients being compromised.

Change of Name

People want to change their own names and the names of their children for a variety of reasons. We are able to advise on this issue and prepare the appropriate documents for names to be changed legally.

 

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders


Sound Off for Justice

The government faced intense lobbying over its legal aid reforms this week, as the Law Society put forward a raft of alternative measures to preserve the legal aid budget. The Society also launched a high-profile internet campaign, ‘Sound off for justice’, aimed at making members of the public aware of how legal aid cuts will affect them and asking members of the public to sign up to oppose legal aid cuts. The site warns that ‘over 30 million British people are about to be silenced by the government’ by losing their right to legal representation.