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Where can I find out more about the divorce process and my rights in divorce?

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Where can I find out more about the divorce process and my rights in divorce?.

Ensuring you are properly informed about the divorce process and what to expect is a vitally important step – and there some good free resources you can access before engaging a solicitor.

The importance of ensuring you are properly informed about all aspects of a divorce before choosing the right road for you cannot be overstated. When it comes to family separation, so many people have opinions on it – and lots of people have first-hand experience of it. However, each case is different. What happened to your sister or the chatty man down the pub is likely to have little bearing on your situation or be a useful signpost for the route that you should take.

An experienced family lawyer is best placed to hear the details of your case and advise you of what to do next. However, it is worthwhile trying to learn as much as possible about the issues that will affect you.

Woolley & Co have produced a series of free divorce and family law guides looking at some of the crucial areas and aimed at arming those going through family breakdown with some of the basic facts about the process, their rights, the law and the likely outcomes, in plain English.

Free divorce and family law guides

Choosing a divorce and family lawyer – engaging someone recommended by a friend may be OK in some circumstances, but there are plenty of other things to consider and you need to find one that is the right fit for you. There are some simple steps you can take to make sure you have the right family lawyer in your corner.

Divorce: who gets custody – yes, we know that the concept of custody hasn’t existed for years, but most people still use that term and search for advice on it online. This guide will talk you through the current law and the possible outcomes for sorting out arrangements relating to your children, where they live and how often they have contact with the absent parent.

How to get a divorce – do you know the five possible grounds for divorce in the UK? This document will take you through what they are and give a step-by-step guide to the divorce process in England and Wales.

Parenthood and the law – you may think you know this but there are some interesting quirks to how the law views parents and who has parental responsibility.

Securing a financial settlement on divorce – the house, the bank accounts, pensions and possessions are all covered, plus how to make sure that an ex cannot have a claim on future income

Telling your spouse you want a divorce – this is a tricky topic for most. How you deal with this stage can colour the rest of the divorce. Handle it well now and it can save time, money and heartache for all concerned.

These guides certainly aren’t meant to be a substitute for legal advice but they should be a first step for someone thinking of instigating a divorce or if their partner has left. At least it will help answer some of the most common questions on divorce.

Andrew Woolley
Woolley & Co family solicitors

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Excellent guides provided by Woolley & Co! All too often without the right sort of advice parents can perhaps set off in the wrong direction, to the detriment of children.

If only mediation services were up to speed with the concept of continued ‘shared responsibilities of parenting’? I have clients who, having put this to a mediator - disillusioned by their supine approach to mediation - then receive a reply stating that ‘mediation is not for everyone’. Well, one might ask, who is mediation for then?

Mediation provides an ideal early opportunity to brief parents on their continued shared responsibilities for the child - and to set aside the common perception that a parent with whom the child resides holds ‘all the power’. That thinking needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets further out of hand. The guidance included here eloquently outlines what is required of parents in relation their child.

In so doing, child-centred resolution is achievable by mutual agreement with appropriate professional support - but, if not, arrangements should then be established at the first Court Hearing by Order in line with the norms of post separation parenting arrangements. (I.e. The sort of arrangements that ‘good enough’ parents will agree to form a benchmark where contact is to be enforced).

[Note: The caveat of ‘good reason’ to be applied, in order to separate cases requiring more in depth Judicial scrutiny from those that do not.]

The reality is that the present system needs a damn good shake-up! Far too many ‘good enough’ parents face the stark reality of seeing their children again for, say, half an hour a week/ fortnight in a Contact Centre, simply because an intransigent parent is being contrary and resisting arrangements. Courts must begin to take a much tougher stance in these cases - and even go as far as instigating a transfer of residence to the more responsible parent, where necessary; and applying sanctions.

Of course, as we all know, and as far too many children have needlessly experienced, we are a long way off this point - but perhaps slowly inching closer, given Sir James Munby’s proposals and vision.

Whilst the foregoing is what is generally intended by the Courts - in reality, as there is no time-based framework in place,  the door remains open for needless protracted litigation. Alarmingly, it also seems that many mediation services have yet to catch up with the concept of shared parenting responsibilities.

Latterly, mediation services minded to adopt a somewhat supine approach may want to consider including the following, or similar, in their introduction; preferably, at the outset of, or before, the Governments recently announced FREE mediation session.  Perhaps it should be stipulated as a condition of such?

Ending child conflict at this early stage would not only alleviate the burden on the Court List, and prevent resolvable conflict becoming entrenched; but, would ensure a continuance of children benefiting and enjoying a loving relationship with both parents. Social benefits will flow from rescuing children’s futures.

Quoting from Woolley & Co’s guide, ‘Divorce: Who gets “custody” ‘:

 
“It is commonplace these days for there to be a presumption of shared parenting. While this is not 100% enshrined in law, it is often the starting point if the courts are asked to sort out issues about living and the contact arrangements for a child. Provided both parties are responsible and involved parents, it is presumed that the children will benefit from the input of both parents in their upbringing so both should be involved practically and legally. This does not necessarily dictate where they live or how often they are cared for by each parent”

By Kenneth Lane on Thursday August 28, 2014

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