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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Child residence and contact cases—do clients understand the issues?

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We are good at explaining the law to our clients. This seems especially important when dealing with child contact, residence or "custody" cases. Things are so fraught. There can be a tendency to use the children as weapons in the battle.

We do explain the emotional issues, realities and also the suggested ways of behaving that might best benefit the children. Of course, many clients either take notice or don't really need to hear much about such things as they understand them. Judges must think all clients are awful as they only see those where there is no chance of agreement without some intervention!

I am very pleased to say that almost all of our clients don't end up having their cases resolved in a Court. This saves them significant Court costs and very significant damage to them and the children. But I am aware that this sort of detailed advice and help is harder for firms which don't specialise. How then can such lawyers and clients be helped?

Some Courts will require an Information Session provided by trained professionals. There are some major benefits I think. Foremost of course is that they can get both parties together! Something which is very hard indeed for us to do. It is often just one party who especially needs the help to see things in context and until that happens you "can't shake hands with a clenched fist".

But I am excited to hear that these sessions can be made available to any parents and can be before Court is approached. In that situation it would costs a few hundred pounds but that is so far below the likely Court costs it shouldn't figure as an issue.

Should these sessions be required before people are allowed to apply to Courts (except in an emergency)?

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