Advice & Inspiration

Published on September 29th, 2013 | by Helen Victoria Bishop

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I’ve just become a single parent – do I need to take legal advice?

It is advisable to take initial advice, and to consider all of the options open to help resolve matters as amicably as possible. When looking for a solicitor I would advise that you use one that is a member of  Resolution which is a body made up of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. All members follow a code of practice which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. The ethos is to encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family – and in particular the best interests of children.

What are my other options?

Alongside traditional legal advice where both parties instruct a solicitor, there are other options available including mediation and collaborative law, whereby the idea of having ‘sides’ is removed and the common objective is to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome for the adults and the children.

Can anyone help me with my legal costs?

There have been huge changes in the last few months to the way Legal Aid operates. The outcome of this is that Legal Aid is no longer available for family disputes unless you have evidence that you have been subjected to domestic abuse. In order to see if you qualify you would need to take advice from a solicitor who has a Legal Aid contract.

What about any joint family finances? 

Where there are assets and liabilities to be divided it is also highly advisable to seek legal advice and to engage in full and frank disclosure so all assets can be looked at and negotiations can be entered into as to what a fair and reasonable settlement is.

How do I deal with my former partner?

Separation is a very difficult time for all the family. As far as possible, keeping the matter amicable and always ensuring that the children’s welfare is kept as the paramount consideration is preferable. If you can, come to a workable arrangement together, as this will have long lasting positive effects on the family as a whole.

 

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About the Author

Helen Victoria Bishop

is a member of Resolution, and a consultant solicitor for Turpin & Miller LLP based in Oxford and Reading. She qualified as a Solicitor in 1999 and has practiced in family law ever since. Helen is passionate about the welfare of children in divorce and separation situations and has worked in hundreds of Children Act cases. She is also the author of 'Jack', an illustrated book that helps children deal with divorce and separation. The book is aimed at children of 4 and 11 and is endorsed by Resolution. For more info visit www.jackandblackcat.com.



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