Family matters, including divorce and children, prenuptual agreements, civil partnerships, collaborative law, women’s issues, gay issues, rights of elderly people and child abuse
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Blogs page which includes quite a number of useful blogs on divorce and family law
Collaborative Law, which covers sites and organisations related to family law committed to resolving issues without going to court
The non-lawyers guide to legal terms used in divorce and family law from Solicitors Pinnington Law.
Organisations and portals
The Child Maintenance Options service provides information and support to help parents make a child maintenance arrangement that meets their needs. The service is also available to guardians, relatives, friends and child maintenance professionals and can be used anonymously in England, Wales and Scotland. The service provides information on the three options for making an arrangement:
*making a private arrangement
*applying to the Child Support Agency
*going through the courts
Child Maintenance Options is an impartial service and is available through a freephone national telephone helpline, 0800 988 0988 as well as their website (there are lots of fact sheets, leaflets and FAQ’s) and a face-to-face service for those in most need of more personalised help and support. The service is provided by the Child Maintenance Service, the public body that’s responsible for child maintenance in Great Britain.
Reunite (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre) is the leading UK charity specialising in international parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders. They operate the only telephone advice line in the UK offering practical, impartial advice, information and support to parents, family members, and guardians who have had their child abducted, as well as parents and guardians who may have abducted their child.
Find help to get your child back from abroad or arrange contact is the Central Authority in England and Wales for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Abduction Convention), Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (Revised Brussels II) and the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (the European Convention).
Citizens Advice provides extensive and detailed information on many topics related to families.
CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services) looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. It works with children and their families, and then advises the courts on what it considers to be in the children’s best interests. CAFCASS only works in the family courts. Examples of matters that may be taken to family courts are:
* when parents who are separating or divorcing can’t agree on arrangements for their children
* an adoption application
* when children are subject to an application for care or supervision proceedings by Social Services.
The site provides answers to these types of questions for three groups of people – children, teenages, and adults. There is also a basic explanation of the law about children.
Netlaw is a social media forum and information resource offering support to those experiencing relationship and family problems, with the aim of bridging the gap between those requiring assistance and the professionals able to offer expert advice. This allows people to engage directly who otherwise would not have consulted a professional. A key figure in the new forum is Paul Summerbell, Head of Family Law at Warrens Family Law and Founder and CEO of Accord Mediation Services. Viewers are offered the opportunity to open an account (free of charge at present) and to view articles, blogs and posts as an information resource. They can also participate in public forums or notice boards that permit problems to be posted and answers provided.
family-lawfirm is the web site of Stratford-upon-Avon firm Woolley & Co. The site provides many pages of free information on divorce and related topics which you access via a search mechanism. There are case studies, questions and answers, leaflets and articles. There is a special section on divorce for British Expats. There is a section called divorcemyths.co.uk which is designed to try and dispel damaging misunderstandings about divorce and separation. There is a long list of myth categories with examples of statements about each – and an explanation about whether the myth is true or false. It is useful – and amusing as well.
National Association for Child Support Action (NACSA) is the leading organisation within the UK providing help in all areas of the Child Support Act and the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC). They provide affordable help to parents and their families who suffer difficulties with the UK Child Support Act, by offering case specific support to resolve those issues that never seem to be addressed by the CSA. There is a lot of good information on the site and they can also provide a month’s access to their helplines (for personal assistance) for a modest price.
Wikivorce is an interesting site on divorce which provides an interactive (and wiki-type) experience for those involved in, or considering, a divorce. As well as factual information, e.g. Divorce Guide and Divorce Calculator, there are blogs (several of the existing well known blogs are included), chat rooms and forums. In other words, it is a community based web site where other members of the community do most of the work! It seems to be very popular and already has 10,000 people registered, which for a relatively new, UK based site is pretty good going. There is also a bookstore and a “find a solicitor” section.
Pinnington Law of Salford, Manchester, have created a glossary of legal terms in divorce and separation, to help participants understand the legal processes they will need to follow. The glossary includes technical terms involved in court proceedings and legal documents as well as different child arrangement orders and agreements for which the participant can apply. There is general information on divorce and other areas of law on the main Pinnington site here.
Family Lore Focus is written by John Bolch, a solicitor with more than twenty-five years’ experience specialising in family law. John is a long-time member of Resolution, and a former member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. John gave up practising in 2009 and is now working freelance as a writer of family law. The content of the site includes news, cases, legislation updates, articles and information about family law. Along with new content, the long-term aim of the site is to make sense of some of the best family law information available on the internet, by providing logical, context-sensitive links to that information.
Prenuptial Agreement UK is a specialised site from solicitors Silverman Sherliker that tells the viewer everything they need to know about having a prenuptial agreement, including what benefits an agreement can bring, legal pitfalls to avoid, UK case law involving prenuptial agreements, the current UK legal position on prenuptial agreements and the likely cost of getting a suitable agreement drawn up. There is a facility on the site to ask for free initial advice.
The Official Solicitor & Public Trustee provides legal representation for persons unable to act for themselves for some reason, e.g. children and people with some incapacity.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre is an independent national charity concerned with law and policy affecting children and young people. There is a free and confidential legal advice and information service, covering all aspects of the law affecting children and young people, and a unit providing legal advice and representation to children and/or parents with concerns relating to schools or Local Education Authorities (LEAs). The centre also campaigns for children’s rights in accordance with the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and also monitors the impact of armed conflict on civilian children. The Centre is based at Essex University.
Natalie Gamble Associates – provide an impressive site on fertility law and parenting law in all its manifestations. Overall, the site includes legislation (including the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (HFEA)), case law, useful links and 30,000 words of detailed written guidance on the law broken down for different situations. It has been designed as a free resource on this complex area of law, providing reliable information accessible to everyone. As well as having unrivalled information on this topic, the site uses attractive colours and photographs. The site includes a blog of current news and comment.
Resolution (previously Solicitors Family Law Association) is an association of 6,500 solicitors who agree to follow a Law Society recommended Code of Practice which essentially aims to deal with matters in a way designed to preserve peoples dignity and encourage them to reach agreement. The site provides a searchable directory of members and also an extensive set of fact sheets on family law topics.
Divorce Aid is a site run by an independent group of professionals who volunteer their time to help people with divorce problems. Advice is provided, by email, without any payment or promise of further work. There is also a great deal of free information, attractively and helpfully presented, on the site itself (and some attractive graphic designs to go with the sections). They promote mediation and counselling and also promote collaborative law, as a new, more dignified, approach to divorce.
abuselaw.co.uk is a site provided originally by Abney Garsden McDonald Solicitors but now part of Simpson Millar LLP. The site aims to provide easy access to information for child and adult survivors of physical, sexual and psychological abuse on all aspects of this complex area of law. The site also aims to offer guidance on and understanding of the legal system of England and Wales for professionals working for survivors of abuse. By providing information on the legal rights available to the survivor of abuse in seeking compensation, an explanation of the civil and criminal court procedures and a guide to the Legal Aid system and Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, the site aims to offer a greater understanding of the workings of the Legal system.
UK College of Family Mediators is the professional standards-setting watchdog and public information providing body for family mediation in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is information on how family mediation works and information on finding a mediator.
Family Mediators Association offers trained mediators to help all couples facing separation or divorce to reach decisions about dealing with children, property and finance. Family mediation is a voluntary process by which couples in dispute, particularly those going through separation or divorce, are helped to deal with arrangements for their future.
Alternative Family Law – Southwark, London, a great deal of free information about family law including alternatives to litigation (including mediation and collaborative law), divorce, financial issues (including complext financial cases), international family law, family law issues affecting gay men and lesbians (including civil partnership and parenting) and issues about children and cohabitation. The site provides information in German as well as English.
Solicitors for the Elderly is a national association of solicitors, barristers and legal executives who are concerned with improving the availability and delivery of legal services to older people. The site contains a list of member solicitors, arranged by town or area, and also a very good set of links to other bodies concerned with elderly people and the law, benefits, health, illness, social services, carers and so on.
Families Need Fathers is a registered UK charity which provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex. FNF is chiefly concerned with the problems of maintaining a child’s relationship with both parents during and after family breakdown. Thre is a Rough Guide To The Law on the site, covering legislation and advice on many topics related to families and divorce.
Getting your Get is a free online booklet, providing information for Jewish men and women in England, Wales and Scotland about divorce according to Jewish law. The booklet, written by Sharon Faith BA (Law) (Hons) and Deanna Levine MA LLB also contains articles, forms and information for their lawyers. The booklet is in pdf form and can be downloaded from the site.
Sharing Pensions is a very informative site site focused on the division of pension rights resulting from UK divorce. The website is an independent financial advisers (IFA) view, providing information for family lawyers, their clients, individuals involved in marriage breakdown and divorce, pension scheme managers and those with an interest in retirement planning. The site includes an extensive glossary explaining terms found in marriage breakdown and retirement planning and also offers a valuation service from IFA pension experts.
Rights of Women is a womens voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights. Founded in 1975, they offer free confidential legal advice by phone. The site provides information on the organisation and also a series of information sheets (in pdf) on divorce, child contact orders, child residence orders, and parental responsibility. The site also features downloadable copies of research and policy papers and a set of links in this policy area.
SeparatedDads provides help, advice & support for separated fathers. It covers many types of problem – legal, financial and emotional including, for example, how to negotiate with problems about custody and contact, how to deal with child support payments, how to communicate with kids, ideas for things to do when you’re all together and even how to introduce a new partner to your children.
More firms of solicitors who provide useful information
Access Law – Southampton
Barcan Kirby – Bristol
Simon Bennett – Marlow, Buckinghamshire, provides a large amount of detailed information on the site.
Crisp & Co. – Guildford & Esher, Surrey, provide extensive question and answer pages on divorce, children, living together, money issues and international topics
Fisher Jones Greenwood – Colchester, provides information on the site and also free initial advice by email.
Thomas Flavell & Sons – Leicestershire, offers information on divorce and on mediation.
Grahame Stowe Bateson – Leeds, provides information on these topics and will provide free initial email advice.
David Hodson – Sydney and London, dual qualified family lawyer specialising in international family matters and with a considerable amount of information on his site on these topics.
International Divorce Law Office (a USA firm) offers information about divorce in many different countries on the site and the firm offers legal services to people and lawyers around the world.
Norrie Waite & Slater of Sheffield, Rotherham and Killamarsh, provide a great deal of information on family law and divorce, including grounds for divorce, arrangements for children, financial aspects of divorce, domestic abuse, the rights of unmarried fathers and other topics.
Penny Raby – Pershore, Worcestershire
Stafford Young Jones – London, provide a guide to divorce and a guide to finances on marriage breakdown.
Terry & Co. – Essex, provides information and free initial advice by email.
Tony Roe – Reading, provides information on divorce, family, civil partnerships and financial topics.
Ursula Bagnall, Divorce & Family Law Solicitor provides information on divorce, separation, mediation, cohabitation, childrens’ disputes, financial and property issues, pre-marital agreements, pension sharing and inheritance issues.
Family matters in Scotland
The Right Kind of Divorce – Scotland is a wide ranging portal for advice on this topic aimed at ordinary people with marital problems. There are links and descriptions of organisations which can help (both UK-wide and Scottish), information on separation, children, division of money and property, cohabitation, divorce, and the various routes to “sorting things out” available to the individuals concerned. The site is offered by Anne Dick of Family Law Matters, Shona Templeton of MTM Family Law and Alan Susskind of Harper Macleod solicitors, all based in Glasgow. The site is a mine of useful and impartial information.
Family Law Matters Scotland is a very useful resource covering divorce, separation, cohabitation, civil partnerships, children and the financial practicalities of all these topics.
My Scottish Law blog comes from Bruce de Wert, a Scottish solicitor at Georgesons Solicitors of Wick and Thurso in Caithness. The blog is updated frequently with postings on Scottish Divorce, Scottish Powers of Attorney, Scottish Wills and topics relating to Property Law and Estate Agency. Bruce also offers a number of spcialised sites for the purchase of wills, powers of attorney and divorce services in Scotland, all at very reasonable rates with a particular emphasis on family law.
Simplicity Law provides useful information on negotiation, mediation and collaboration for resolving divorce disputes. They provide fixed-fee legal advice in family law, divorce & child custody matters.
Durham Legal Services (Child Support Act)
Family Solicitors (search for a family law solicitor)