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Vines Legal Limited

Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

Progressive • Dedicated • Persistent

Call today for your free initial, no obligation, consultation on 01246 555 610 for immediate, friendly and professional advice.

Compulsory Referral to Mediation – is this a good thing?

Under the Children and Families Act 2014 a referral to mediation in family disputes is compulsory in all bar the most exceptional of cases. The principle behind mediation is of course sound- a more amicable and cheaper way of resolving disputes which should be promoted in every case. However, should it be compulsory in every case as the new law states before an application can be filed at Court?

Consider this scenario:

Father persistently denied by Mother the opportunity to see his children. Mother cancels the landline and removes the eldest child’s mobile phone to stop any form of communication with Father. No reason or explanation is given by Mother other than she wants nothing to do with Father either for herself or for the children. It is clear Father needs to apply for a defined Court Order setting out the time the children should spend with him. As required by the new law a referral to mediation is made. Father attends a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). Time ticks by as Mother takes nearly 2 weeks to reply to the mediator as to whether she wishes to engage in the process, all the while the children are still not able to see or speak to their Father. Mother then elects not to participate. Should a referral to mediation have been compulsory in this case or was it used by Mother as a means of delaying the process further and making things more difficult for Father?

It is cases like this that raise the question of whether a compulsory referral to mediation is right in all cases. Time will tell whether any changes are made to this.

At Vines Legal we offer a free initial consultation covering all aspects of Matrimonial and Family Law. Please call us on 01246 555 610 for a no obligation chat.

By Claire Clark on 20 Nov 2014

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The Festive Period – Excitement or Dread?

As the festive season approaches and we are reminded daily in the shops, on television and on the radio that Christmas is just around the corner- what is your reaction to it?

The traditional presentation of Christmas is that of family being together and a time of great happiness. Well…. what if you’re not together as a family? This could be due to marital separation or relationship breakdown. What if you’re not sure whether you’re going to see your children on Christmas Day to open their presents or enjoy a family meal? Some people struggle to watch the adverts on television during the run up to Christmas that advertise childrens’ toys because the pain of them being separated from their children is too great and their visiting arrangements with the children over Christmas are unresolved.

Due to this and many other reasons the Christmas period can be tough and a period of intolerable pressure for many and not least for the children of families affected.

At Vines Legal we offer a free initial consultation covering all aspects of Matrimonial and Family Law. Call us on 01246 555 610 to arrange a no obligation chat.

By Claire Clark on 18 Nov 2014

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More changes to come on the Family Law front?

As the Children and Families Act 2014 continues to bed in it may be that there are more changes to family law practice and procedure on the horizon. A top family Judge has urged further radical reform of the Family Courts. One area of family practice under review is divorce law which has already seen some quite big changes under the Children and Families Act 2014. It has been suggested that “fault” based grounds (adultery and unreasonable behaviour) might be removed in favour of “irretrievable breakdown” as the sole ground. This would be with a view to trying to take the acrimony out of the process and make it simpler for people. There has also been some discussion as to whether the divorce process should be removed from the Courts and given to Registrars in a Registry Office.

Whilst any attempt to remove some of the distress and acrimony of the divorce process should be encouraged it is questionable to what extent, in reality, people will benefit from this. One school of thought has raised concern that the divorce process could be made too easy and just another thing to cross off the shopping list. A passing of the divorce process to a Registrar would also raise questions and concerns as to what recourse people would have to sorting out their financial issues since currently, in many cases, finances are sorted out under the umbrella of the divorce proceedings where a Judge is able to decide when the parties are unable to agree.

Please contact us on 01246 555 610 if you wish to discuss a family problem. We offer a free initial 30 minute consultation.

By Claire Clark on 17 Nov 2014

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THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT 2014: HOT OFF THE PRESS…

The new Single Family Court and the Children and Families Act 2014 has now come into force. One hot topic which everyone is talking about is the introduction of compulsory mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs).

Under the new rules, you don’t have to ‘mediate’ but you do have to attend a MIAM to decide whether or not this is the best and most appropriate route for you to take if you are having a dispute with regard to children. After attending this meeting, if mediation is not for you, you may proceed down the Court route.

The MIAM therefore is compulsory, mediation is not.

If your dispute does end up in the Court arena you will be required to evidence the fact that you have attended a MIAM. Despite MIAMs being compulsory for the majority of people there are a few exceptions to this rule.

The following are some of the exceptions:-

  1. If there has been, or is a risk of, domestic violence.
  2. The whereabouts of one party is unknown.
  3. The application is made without notice to the other party.
  4. There is a significant risk to the life, liberty or physical safety of one party.
  5. Having spoken to three mediators in a 15 mile radius, none is able to provide a MIAM within 15 days

If you do not fall under any of the exemptions then you will need to attend a MIAM. At this meeting the Mediator will then assist with determining whether or not Mediation is appropriate.

If you are currently involved in a dispute with your ex in regard to the children then please contact Vines Legal today on 01246 555 610 to speak with one of our qualified and experienced professionals.

By Claire Clark on 23 Apr 2014

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RATIONAL THOUGHT?

Divorce is very emotional and it is often hard to separate that emotion from rational thought. At all times it is always best to try and avoid making any, potentially life changing, financial decisions in the heat of the moment. How the matrimonial assets are divided or what percentage is agreed upon can have a direct impact on your financial stability which, in turn, could affect the rest of your life. So take a minute to let rational thought rule your head rather than letting emotions lead the way.

It is always hard to come to terms with the breakdown of a marriage, and there will be a whole range of emotions in play. It is common to see many people wishing for this ‘to just be over’, or ‘that it is their fault so they will let him/her have the house’. These are very common thoughts and are often the most dangerous. These decisions are not made with any rational aforethought – they are emotion led which, in the Family Court arena, is not the way to deal with a financial division.

At Vines Legal, we would suggest that you think about things properly before making any final decisions and it is important to discuss your options through with a trained and qualified professional in the first instance. Everyone needs time to adjust to the shock, change or stress of a separation and obtaining proper advice, as opposed to what you hear from friends, neighbours, locals in the pub etc.., is the first step to making a sensible, fair and reasonable decision.

If you are currently thinking of separating or you are in the process of issuing a Divorce Petition, Vines Legal can help to make the process just that bit easier for you. Please contact us today on 01246 555 610 to take advantage of our free 30 minute consultation with one our experienced legal professionals.

By Claire Clark on 17 Apr 2014

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Talking about your Divorce…

Most people really don’t want to discuss their relationship problems with those they see and interact with daily; but it really can help.

The old mantra of a problem shared is a problem halved springs to mind and in this circumstance making sure your colleagues and your employer are aware really does help in some way to make the whole divorce process that little bit easier.

Those who scan the internet regularly will undoubtedly be aware of the relationship breakdown of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who made their announcement on Gwyneth’s popular website, Goop. The decision to make the announcement in the public domain really isn’t as scary as most would think. The fact that people are aware of what is going on helps to give you the support needed from family and friends.

Most people hate the thought of sharing their private relationship news with other people, but it is more than likely that most of us have either been there ourselves or we know someone that has. Having a support network around you is really important and will help you through the entire process. It is therefore much better to get talking about what is happening than keeping it all bottled up – which seems to be the British way of doing things!

If you are currently going through a divorce or are thinking about a separation, Vines Legal are here to help. Please contact us today on 01246 555 610 to take advantage of our free 30 minute consultation with one our experienced legal professionals.

By Claire Clark on 4 Apr 2014

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Divorce and how it affects your children!

Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and often children are stuck in the middle.

It’s a hard time for adults going through divorce but also even harder sometimes for children who don’t understand why their parents are acting differently and that they have no control over what happens, it can often leave children feeling scared, sad, confused or angry.

Government research has shown that kids whose parents divorce when they are 7 or older find it harder to trust people and make friends.

Talking to your children and letting them know that you both love them can always reassure your child and help them to understand that this is not going to change the way you both are with them.  Working together for your child is so important and there are various resources online with information regarding how to deal with children through a divorce.

We have various information on our website and those that have decided that there is no other option than divorce can find out how we can help at www.vineslegal.co.uk or by contacting us on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 16 Jan 2014

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Home Renovations A Common Cause Of Divorce!

Recent polls show that many couples choose to get divorced after a home renovation.

Home improvement and design information website, Houzz.com, recently sent a survey out to couples asking about their experiences with home renovations.  More than 50% of those surveyed said that the renovation process caused a significant amount of stress in their marriages and 12% of those couples said that the stress of renovation caused them to consider or pursue divorce or separation.

Experts recommend that any couples that are thinking about renovations to their home should consider setting aside rooms for each of them to decorate individually.  This could take some of the stress out of the renovation process so that each person can have input into their home and decorate in the way they feel comfortable.

Of course, no matter what some couples do to prevent discord, their efforts are unsuccessful and splits occur. It is also important to remember that it is possible to live happily alone.

If there are any concerns or questions about divorce and you would like expert help, please give us a call on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 13 Jan 2014

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‘Bad Behaviour’ Causes More Marriage Breakdowns than Adultery

A recent major divorce study by Co-operative Legal Services shows that marriages are more likely to breakdown as a result of bad behaviour – not adultery.

The study analysed more than 5 million divorce cases between 1970 and the present day and as times are changing bad behaviour seems to been more common for the grounds of divorce.

Results showed that couples are half as likely to divorce on grounds of adultery than forty years ago – Whereas complaints of unreasonable behaviour have shot up from 28% in 1970 to almost half (47%) in today’s figures.

In the 1970s 29% of marriages ended because of infidelity, but in comparison, cheating spouses cause just 15% of divorces.

If you are considering separating from your partner and want to know your options or any advice on what you can do, call us on 01246 555610 or visit our website at www.vineslegal.co.uk

By Claire Clark on 8 Jan 2014

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Time to Move on?

Is your relationship causing more stress than happiness? Maybe the person that used to put a smile on your face now ties your stomach in knots, brings a tear in your eye, or just makes you sigh?  If it seems like your relationship is just go backwards maybe it’s time to ask that obvious question:

Is it best to move on?

The biggest mistake most couples make is staying to long in a relationship that is heading nowhere.

If you love and respect yourself and your partner, you owe it to both of you to be honest with each other, and make a courageous decision that frees you both for what you really long for: A love that actually works.

Are you feeling like your relationship hurts more than makes you happier?

You keep having the same old arguments about the same things?

By paying attention to the most obvious signs that it’s time to move on, you can honour both yourself and your partner and give both of you the biggest gift of all: The freedom to find a love that’s meant to last.

For advice on separation please contact us on 01246 555 610 or visit www.vineslegal.co.uk for all our free help and advice pages.  

By Claire Clark on 6 Jan 2014

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