Family Law Matters

  • Family Law Matters is our collection of free articles on many areas of family law written by Jo Spain.

    Jo-spain-colour-100x100Jo Spain is a family law solicitor and Director.

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6 things to look for when you need a matrimonial solicitor

6-on-paperIf you feel that you need to take the first step towards a divorce then it almost goes without saying that you need to choose the right Matrimonial Solicitor to help you. Here are a few things to think about before you pick up that phone:

  1. Would you prefer to speak to a male or female Solicitor? This is purely a personal choice and you may have particular reasons for choosing one or the other.
  2. Is there someone who has been personally recommended to you and do they sound like someone you would be happy to deal with?
  3. Would you like to see someone who is based locally to your home or workplace or would you prefer to go somewhere away from both?
  4. Have you done some basic research on Solicitors firms by looking at websites or ringing them to get a feel for what they are like? Often this will sift out those firms that just don't feel right for you.
  5. Would you prefer to see a solicitor who is a member of Resolution and will commit to a less confrontational approach? If this appeals then it could ultimately help your divorce go more smoothly, save you money and help you keep more of your assets and sanity!
  6. Do they offer a reduced fee initial appointment and how long does the first appointment last?


Initial appointments with a matrimonial solicitor

Last month I discussed taking that first step to obtain legal advice in relation to your divorce or separation. If you are concerned about cost then it is sensible to look at approaching a Solicitor who offers a fixed fee appointment. This costs less than the Solicitor's hourly rate and is a good way to obtain advice without too much cost before you decide whether you need to formally instruct a Solicitor.

This also provides an opportunity for you to decide whether this Solicitor is the person you would feel comfortable with using in the future.


Matrimonial advice - taking the first step

Photo: First Step to a New World by leeanna13097 CC BY-ND 3.0One of the most difficult things you can do, when going through some marital problems, or simply feeling that things are not right at home, is to take the decision to go and get some legal advice.

Seeing a Solicitor is not something that anyone takes lightly, and you can only take that step when you feel it is the best thing for you to do. Sometimes there is just a feeling that things aren't right, or there may have been problems for some time. More dramatically, it may be that you have found out that your spouse is seeing someone else or they may have told you that they no longer love you.


Mediation - is it worth trying?

It is now compulsory to try Mediation in Family Law disputes before an application can be made to the Family Court. There are some exceptions to this but in general the Court will not issue an application and give you a Court date until there has been some attempt to Mediate.

Mediation starts with an initial appointment, known as a MIAM, which stands for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and allows the Mediator to assess whether the case can be mediated or not.


Getting the best deal in a divorce - the art of compromise

A sensible compromise can mean you don't waste money needlessly and you keep more. photo: 50 British Pounds Sterling CC BY-SA 2.0 deg.ioOccasionally, a client tells me that they want to take their spouse “for everything they've got” within their divorce. My role is to show a client their options, the procedure for moving forward and also, on the basis of the Law itself and my experience, advise them in relation to the likely outcome in financial terms.

It is understandable that, when a marriage has broken down, a party may feel aggrieved, betrayed, abandoned and many other emotions, leading them to feel that the other party should “pay” both emotionally and financially.


Child maintenance in a divorce – How is this dealt with? - Part 3 of 3

Working out child maintenance - we can help... photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 D. SpainWhen applying for Child maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) as a general rule (with some exceptions) the paying party has to live within the UK.


Child maintenance in a divorce – How is this dealt with? - Part 2 of 3

Working out child maintenance - we can help... photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 D. SpainA Court within a divorce can only involve itself in child maintenance if this has been agreed between the parties and placed within a Consent Order.


Child maintenance in a divorce – How is this dealt with? - Part 1 of 3

Working out child maintenance - we can help... photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 D. SpainUsually when a marriage breaks down and the parties have children then one person is likely to be the main carer and the other will have contact with the children. The party who is the main carer will usually be paid child maintenance by the other party to help them to house the children and pay for their food, clothes and all other expenses.