Court family law help resolving family law issues and covers disputes relating to divorce and separation including financial settlements, arrangements for children, adoption, surrogacy, domestic violence, and international family law. Wills and inheritance disputes also fall under court family law. Although each family is unique the dispute scenarios tend to be familiar seen from a court family Law’s prospective. The family courts consist of The County Courts and Magistrate Courts. You may be asked to attend a hearing which will be at your local Family or Magistrates court. Anyone entering divorce proceedings must by law attend mediation which is referred to as MIAM (Mediation Information Meeting) by the Family Courts London.
If the parties are not able to come to an agreement it is common that they ask for the family courts to make the decision for them. The process starts with one or both of the parties make a specific court application setting out the issues and the order sought of the court. The first court hearing after an application is called a First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA). The purpose of this hearing is to identify the issues and positions of the parties and the court family law will assess if the is able to reach an early-stage agreement. For hearings where children are involved a social worker or a Cafcass key worker is most often present. You will be expected to write a position statement which needs to be filed with the court for the judge to read. As the courts are experiencing huge backlogs due to Covid-19 it is not rare to discover that the magistrates or judge have not read your documents in detail. It will be up to you or your barrister to make a clear narrative in an opening statement directed to the judge. Key issues will be identified at this first hearing and direction to whether expert reports are needed. Section 7 or 37 along with a part 25’s are a few examples of these.
If the parties manage to agree at the first hearing the judge will issue an Order which is legally binding on both parties. Otherwise, the case will be listed for a Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA) in which the issues will be narrowed further. Any expert reports requested in the first hearing will be assessed briefly at this point, but it is more to check that all reports and sufficient and adequate in line with what was set out in the initial order. If the parties still can not agree the matter will be listed for a Final Hearing.
The Judge will consider all the available evidence in the final hearing, including evidence provided by the parties and any reports will be examined in detail including information provided by the the Local Authority. Any findings from a previous Fact Finding hearing will also be examined by the judge. Based on all the evidence and information gathered in the course of the proceedings, the Magistrate or the Judge will make an order. If children are involved their welfare will be paramount and ultimately decisions will be made in the best interest of the children in the form of a Child Arrangement Order (CAO) see example here.
For anyone going through court family law proceedings one should not enter the process alone. Seek the support and guidance from a trusted Mckenzie friend or a qualified family law solicitor UK who is equipped to handle a varied case load. You need sound impartial advice based on years of legal experience which can only be gained by attending a court family law. Having a good understanding of the law combined with expectations of the judges sitting in the court family law is crucial for the outcome of your case. Hearings are normally brief, and one will need to be very concise as well as precise in the way that your case is presented to the family law judge.
Surround yourself with a strong support team. Create your own collaborative legal powerhouse. Speak with mediators and other professionals in the legal field before you enter the UK family law courts. Divorce and separation can be a very difficult and emotional time hence you need the support of someone experienced who can approach your case in a pragmatic and professional manner.
Court costs family law can hugely vary. Each family is different and therefore each legal bill is normally a reflection on the duration of any proceedings going through the family courts London.
Many McKenzie friends and family law London solicitors offer 15-30 minutes initial discussion for free. Make it your time to assess their level of customer service and practical guidance and decide if this is someone you see yourself working with during your divorce process.