Free DNA Tests in Family Courts

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Where parentage is disputed DNA testing can be used and is very effective. The dispute is often about who is the father of the child. However, the cost of paying for the tests is expensive and has often stopped parties using this service which frequently results in longer court cases. Examples of where these disputes… Read more »

Involving Children in Court Proceedings

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Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, has announced that children aged 10 and older will have an opportunity for their views and feelings to be heard by a judge in proceedings that concern them. No detail of how this will work in practise has been announced except that this initiative is to be implemented as soon as… Read more »

New Child Maintenence System

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On 30 June 2014, a new system aimed at ending the Child Support Agency over the next 3 years, comes into force. Applicants for child maintenance will have to pay a £20 fee to the Child Maintenance Service and there will be financial penalties of up to £300 for payers who try to avoid payments…. Read more »

Pre Nuptial Agreements

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At present pre nuptial agreements can be taken into account by courts but are not legally binding. Should married couples be able to agree, in advance of problems, how their property and other assets should be divided when they divorce ? If so, should there be any limitations ? For example, how should the future… Read more »

Going to the Family Court Without a Lawyer

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Following the government abolishing legal aid for most family court applications about children, finances and property, there have been many more people going to court unrepresented. They are called Litigants in Person (LIPs). As they have no legal training they often do not know the court procedures and what facts are relevant in law. This… Read more »

Children and Families Act 2014

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After a long passage through parliament, today, 13 March 2014, the Children and Families Bill received the Royal Assent, hence becoming law. Amongst it’s many provisions, it provides that parties wanting to go to court over disagreements concerning arrangements for their children and finances, MUST first obtain information about family mediation. This will usually involve… Read more »

What About the Children?

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A recent YouGov poll disclosed that 58% of separated parents they surveyed do not believe in the idea of a ‘good separation’. 52% said that their separation had had a negative impact on their children. In family mediation, where the separating couple have children, the needs of the children are at the centre of the… Read more »

Role of Lawyers in Family Mediation

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Mediation clients often say that they have come to mediation to avoid having to use lawyers, who they fear will make relations with the other party worse and will involve high fees. A sensible use of lawyers in the mediation process can in fact help the mediation to succeed. This usually involves consulting lawyers on particular… Read more »

Applying for a Contact Order

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Sometimes mediation is either unsuitable or one party is unwilling to consider even attending a mediation information and assessment of suitability meeting with a trained mediator. In these circumstances the willing parent usually wants guidance on what to do next. That parent will often want to take the matter to court for a decision on… Read more »

Information About Family Mediation

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If you like to get your information from videos, the Ministry of Justice has launched a family mediation video on how mediation can help separating or divorcing couples sort out their finances and arrangements for their children ( family mediation video ). Lots more information in video and other forms, with lots of useful links… Read more »