Changes to Family Law in 2012
Family law has been subject to many reforms in 2012 with the government proposing numerous changes to the family justice system.
As part of legal aid reforms, many areas of family law will be excluded from legal aid provision in a bid to reduce the legal aid bill by £350 million. Separating couples must now consider mediation or alternative dispute resolution as an option before approaching the courts. As such the budget allocated to mediation services has been increased to £25 million.
Proposals are also in place to centre the family justice system on the needs of any children who may be involved. It is planned to replace Residence and Contact Orders with Child Arrangement Orders which will move the focus to the needs of the child.
Consultation has taken place to speed up the adoption process and stop ethnicity being a barrier to adoption. The government also plans to implement a 26 week time limit for the completion of care and supervision proceedings.
Plans have been outlined to reform child maintenance to ensure children do not lose out on money to which they are entitled.
A bill has also been proposed to improve the rights of children to have access to both parents. Courts will have to start with the presumption that children should have access to both parents unless it is detrimental to their welfare.
Other changes include a review of the financial provision on divorce, proposals for shared parental leave and a widened definition on domestic abuse to include psychological abuse. Forced marriages are also to be made a criminal offence.
Family Law Department at Hart Reade
We have a dedicated and experienced family law team with many years combined experience and knowledge.
We have a varied team of professionals for you to choose from as it is important you feel at ease with the person dealing with your private affairs.
Our family law team comprises of Nicholas Dennis, Alexandra Funnell, Guy Brown and Carolyn Richards.
This year our family team has also been joined by two exceptional trainees. Laura Mitchell has joined the firm as a trainee solicitor and is assisting Alexandra Funnell. Danielle Archer has joined us as a trainee legal executive and is working under the guidance of Guy Brown.
Along with Greg Saunders and Rachel Wood, who are members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, and our team of dedicated support staff, we can provide you with an exceptional, supportive service, at what can be a difficult and emotional time.
Why use a Solicitor?
Family law is a vast and complex area and it is important that you receive the right advice from suitably qualified professionals. Our solicitors undergo continuing professional development as well as being subject to regular internal auditing so you can be assured that our knowledge is always up to date.
The issue of costs is understandably a significant concern for anyone pursing matters such as divorce, separation, children or the ending a civil partnership. ‘Do it yourself’ services might seem like an attractive option; however, even with ‘off the shelf packages’, costs can soon rise if you need that extra bit of help completing forms and you require some advice on what to do next.
Using a qualified and experienced professional can add value to your case – increasing the chance of getting the outcome you seek and negotiating a better settlement for you.
Our family law department is here to help you on your terms. We can have as little or as much involvement as you wish. We can act on a consultancy basis – advising you in the background – or we can handle your whole case from start to finish. The choice really is yours.
We also offer a number of different payment options to clients because we understand discharging your legal fees can be stressful during a separation. We also understand that a number of assets might not become available until the end of your case, from which you may wish to pay your fees.
Please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation, initial appointment. We will offer you some preliminary legal advice and discuss the issue of costs with you carefully. We always tailor our services and the payment of fees to your individual circumstances.