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Can a Parent Stop a Child From Seeing the Other Parent?

After a separation or divorce many parents want to stop their child from seeing the other parent. Sometimes those feelings are fleeting as a reaction to a parent turning up late for contact or because of an argument. In other families, one parent may believe that it in their child’s best interests to not have contact with the other parent. In this blog children law expert, Louise Halford, looks at whether a parent can stop a child from seeing the other parent after parental separation or divorce.Family and children law solicitors  For legal help and advice on stopping a child from seeing the other parent and contact orders call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.​Stopping contact between child and parent If you are thinking about stopping contact between your child and their other parent then it is best to take legal advice before stopping contact. If there is an existing child arrangement order in place you may be in breach of the court order if you stop contact without first applying to court to vary the child arrangement order to stop the contact. If there is no child arrangement order in force it is still best to get expert legal advice on your options. That is because if you stop contact your ex-partner may apply to court for a child arrangement order and, depending on the current level of contact and the reasons why you want to stop contact, they may even end up with more contact with your child. Should you stop contact between a child and the other parent? There are some scenarios when it is best for the child to stop contact. For example, if you fear child abduction and your child being taken out of the UK without your agreement or you are worried that the other parent is not able to care for the children during contact and doesn’t have the insight into their mental health issues or the extended family support to make contact safe for your child. However, there are other scenarios where it isn’t necessarily in your child’s best interests to stop contact even though the cessation of contact would make life a lot easier for you as you would not have to be in contact with your ex-partner over the contact arrangements.  There are many situations where one parent often wants to stop a child having contact with the other parent, such as: The other parent has not paid child support or spousal maintenance. The other parent has met a new partner and you feel angry or hurt about it. The other parent gives you a lot of hassle and grief over the contact arrangements and you feel they are trying to control you through the communication that they have with you over childcare. You are worried that your ex-partner will be violent towards you at either collection or drop off time. The other parent is always late collecting the child or returning the child. The child does not do any homework whilst with the other parent and always returns tired after a contact weekend meaning that the child finds it hard to settle back into their routine and concentrate on their school work. The other parent won't follow the same parenting routine as you so you are seen as the disciplinarian and no fun. The child comes back from contact saying things about you that they have heard from the other parent. The child says they don’t want to see the other parent because contact is boring and they want to see their friends. The child doesn’t like the other parent’s new partner or their children. All of the above are very valid concerns that need legal advice and discussion with an expert children law solicitor but should not necessarily result in all contact stopping between your child and the other parent. What happens if I stop contact between my child and the other parent? If you stop contact between your child and the other parent then the other parent could:   Apply to court to enforce an existing child arrangement order. Apply to court for a child arrangement order. Still turn up to see the child, for example, collecting the child from school. Not have contact and walk away – the child may not want this and therefore the child may be angry and hurt with you. In addition, the child may think of their other parent in an idealised fashion and as they are no longer having contact with the other parent the child forgets that the other parent was late in collecting them or did nothing with them during the contact visit other than watch television. It can help to discuss the likely outcome of an application for a child arrangement order by the other parent or an application by you for a children order, such as a prohibited steps order. That’s because it is best to understand the approach the family court will take to stopping contact and how they will weigh up what the judge thinks is in your child’s best interests. A children law solicitor can also discuss alternate options, such as: Family mediation to help you explain to your ex-partner your concerns about contact. Protective orders, such as domestic violence injunction orders if your ex-partner is harassing you, or you fear child abduction. Round table meeting with children law solicitors to discuss your concerns and reach a resolution. For example, agreeing a parenting plan with consistent parenting routines for the child or agreeing to supervised contact whilst your ex-partner is experiencing a period of mental ill-health. Family therapy that can involve an older child so they can explain how they feel about contact. Therefore, whilst it is tempting to stop contact between your child and their other parent it is normally best to take some time to reflect and to consider the consequences of the decision.Family and children law solicitors  For expert legal advice on stopping a child from seeing the other parent and applying for or opposing a child arrangement order application call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Jul 08, 2021   ·   6 minute read
When Does Child Maintenance Stop?

When Does Child Maintenance Stop?

When money is going out of your bank account each month in child maintenance it isn’t surprising that many parents question when the child maintenance will stop. Equally, if you are a parent looking after a strapping twenty-year-old who hasn’t got a job and can't get one, then you will have a different point of view about when child maintenance should stop. In this blog children law solicitor, Louise Halford, answers your questions on when child maintenance stops.Manchester and Cheshire family solicitors Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from divorce proceedings,  child custody and contact , financial settlements and child maintenance. For help with all your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.When does child maintenance stop? Child maintenance is the financial arrangement between you and the other parent of your child over the money payable to financially support your child after your separation or divorce. Parents make assumptions about when child maintenance stops. Common assumptions include: Child maintenance stops if the parent getting the child maintenance has remarried or is in a new relationship Child maintenance stops if the person getting the child maintenance is earning more than the parent who provides the child support Child maintenance stops if the parent receiving child maintenance refuses child contact and won't let the other parent have a relationship with the child Child maintenance stops if there is someone else helping with financial support for the child, for example a grandparent. All of these assumptions are wrong. It is important to understand that child maintenance isn’t affected by the status of parental relationships or whether one parent is breaching a child arrangement order and refusing contact. You may however be able to stop spousal maintenance or start court proceedings to reduce or stop spousal maintenance or to enforce a child arrangement order. How long is child maintenance payable for? If child maintenance has been calculated by the Child Maintenance Service you will need to pay child maintenance until: Your child is sixteen or Your child is under twenty if they are in approved education or training or The Child Maintenance Service assessment is cancelled. For example, because the child comes to live with you or the care of the child is shared equally or the child is adopted. If you are in any doubt about whether you can stop child maintenance when there is a Child Maintenance Service assessment in place it is best to take specialist legal advice as you don’t want to find out that you are still liable to pay child support and arrears have mounted up. If you are paying child maintenance on a voluntary basis to the other parent then you can stop child maintenance at any time. However, stopping child maintenance early is likely to result in an application for a Child Maintenance Service assessment and you could be assessed as liable to pay more in child support than you were paying on a voluntary basis. Stopping child maintenance payable under a court order The court can only make child support orders in limited circumstances. For example: Where both parents agree to the making of a child maintenance order or To cover the additional costs of caring for a disabled child or To cover private school fees – referred to as a school fees order or To provide child support for a step-child who was treated as a child of the family during the marriage or civil partnership or To provide for additional child maintenance after the Child Maintenance Service has made a maximum award under the Child Maintenance Service assessment process. This is referred to as top up child maintenance. If you are paying child maintenance or receiving child support under a court order it is best to take legal advice before stopping the payments or threatening court action. That is because the type of child maintenance order and the wording in the order may determine when child maintenance will stop or the court options open to you. For example, a child maintenance order may say that the child support order will continue until the children finish their A levels, but if over a year has elapsed from the date the child maintenance order was made you won't be able to apply to court to enforce the order. For example, if an order is made for payment towards the costs of a disabled child the order may not be age limited if the child will continue to need specific disability related provision into adulthood.  Varying child maintenance   Although you may not be able to stop child maintenance you may be able to vary the amount you pay either by: Asking the Child Maintenance Service to vary the assessment Asking the court to vary the child maintenance order Agreeing to a change in the amount of child support that is paid on a voluntary basis. Circumstances justifying a variation could include: You losing your job or taking a pay cut Your caring overnight for the children on a more frequent basis The children going to boarding school The children no longer living in the UK and you having increased travel costs to see them. It is best to take expert legal advice on child maintenance variation to see if you have the grounds to reduce child support rather than unilaterally assuming that you have the power to reduce the amount of child support payable. Remember that child maintenance can be varied upwards as well as downwards.Manchester and Cheshire family solicitors For fast friendly family law and child support advice call Evolve Family Law. Our specialist family law solicitors can help you with divorce proceedings,  child custody and contact , financial settlements and child maintenance. Call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Jun 10, 2021   ·   6 minute read
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How Much Child Maintenance Should I Pay?

The question “ How much child maintenance should I pay?” isn’t always a straightforward one or an easy question for a Cheshire family law solicitor to answer. That’s because most family circumstances need exploring before a definitive answer can be given so you understand how child support fits into your overall divorce financial settlement. In this article, children law solicitor, Louise Halford, answers your frequently asked questions on how much child maintenance you should pay.Manchester and Cheshire family solicitors Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from divorce proceedings,  child custody and contact , financial settlements and child maintenance. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.What is child maintenance? Child maintenance and child support are one and the same thing to divorce solicitors. So, whilst you may hear reference to child support it is the same as child maintenance, namely the financial  support paid by one parent to the other parent or primary carer of the child for the child’s upbringing and support. What child maintenance does not cover is: Payment of school fees – if a child is being privately educated and payment of school fees is in dispute you can apply to the family court for a school fees order that the other parent pay all or a proportion of the private school fees and any specified extras Payment of spousal maintenance – if the other parent requires financial support in addition to the child maintenance provided for the child’s upbringing then the parent can apply to the family court for spousal maintenance provided that they are eligible to do so. For example, you cannot apply for spousal maintenance from a former spouse if you have remarried. Child maintenance is in essence the financial arrangement between you and the other parent of your child over the money payable to financially support the child after parental separation or divorce. The amount of child maintenance payable is not dependant on the status of the parent’s relationship. In other words, whether child support is payable and the amount of child support isn’t affected by whether you are in a married or cohabiting relationship. However, under current law an unmarried partner can't claim spousal maintenance whereas a husband or wife or civil partner can do so from their separated or divorced spouse or civil partner. Is child maintenance payable if you don’t see the child? If you are a separated parent and you don’t see your child , either as a result of your decision, a child arrangement order by the family court or you don’t see your child frequently because of distances and difficulties with travel, you will still need to pay child maintenance. Your legal obligation to pay child maintenance only stops if the child is adopted. How is child maintenance calculated? Child maintenance can be calculated and paid under: A private arrangement- this is between you and the other parent Under a court order – in limited circumstances the family court has the power to make a child maintenance order Through a Child Maintenance Service assessment – the Child Maintenance Service is a government body tasked with calculating and securing payment of child maintenance. How long is child maintenance payable for? You will need to pay child maintenance until: Your child is sixteen or Your child is under twenty if they are in approved education or training or Until you agree otherwise if payments are made on a voluntary basis under a family arrangement. Arranging child maintenance with the other parent You don’t have to involve a solicitor or the Child Maintenance Service to sort out how much child maintenance you should pay if you prefer to sort it out direct with the other parent. However, divorce solicitors recommend that you take some specialist legal advice so you understand how child maintenance fits in with the overall financial settlement, such as whether spousal maintenance is payable and for how long or who gets to stay at the family home. It is also important to reality test the proposed amount of any agreed child maintenance to make sure that you will still have enough  to live on, especially when you have rehoused yourself and taken on a new mortgage or are incurring extra costs because of travelling to see the children. The best point about agreeing child maintenance with the other parent is that you can agree any figure that you want to with the child’s mother or father. You don’t have to use the strict mathematical formula adopted by the Child Maintenance Service but instead can look at what the child needs and what you can afford to pay. Arrangements can be flexible and could involve you paying less than what the Child Maintenance Service would assess you as being liable to pay because you have agreed to share the costs of private nursery fees or after school or holiday clubs or you agree to pay an older child a set monthly amount in clothing and pocket money allowance. Alternatively, you can agree that payments should be higher than the Child Maintenance Service would assess you as being liable to pay because you are able to afford a higher figure and you want your child to be able to enjoy a similar standard of living to that experienced whilst you were living together as a family. If you agree child maintenance payments direct it is best to remember that you can't bank on the child maintenance payments staying the same. If payments are made on a voluntary basis they could change, for example, they could go down if the parent paying child support realises that that the agreed figure is unaffordable because they have had to take on a big monthly mortgage commitment to buy a new property. If direct arrangements break down you can try to reach a new agreement using family solicitors or family mediation or an application could be made to the Child Maintenance Service. Using the Child Maintenance Service If you decide to use the Child Maintenance Service the government agency can calculate the amount of child maintenance you should pay or receive. The Child Maintenance Service uses a strict mathematical formula to assess the amount of child support. This formula does not consider the child’s outgoings (such as nursery fees) or the receiving parent or paying parent’s outgoings but instead focusses on the paying parent’s income. Once the Child Maintenance Service has calculated the amount of child support payable the payments can be made direct between parents or collected through the Child Maintenance Service. If you use the Child Maintenance Service to collect and transfer the child support then the Child Maintenance Service will charge a fee. That’s why it is preferrable to arrange payment direct if it is possible to do so. Who can't use the Child Maintenance Service to calculate child support? You can't make an application to the Child Maintenance Service for child support if: You have care of your child and you live outside the UK or The parent who is liable to pay child support lives outside the UK and doesn’t work for a British company or You are seeking child support for a step child. If you are married or you were previously married and the child was treated as a child of the family you may be able to apply to court for a child support court order You need child maintenance to cover school fees or the additional costs arising out of a child’s disability. You may be able to apply to court for an order to pay these costs You agreed a financial court order that includes a child support order for the child and the order is either less than twelve months in age or the financial court order was made prior to the 3 March 2003. How much child maintenance should I pay? The amount of child maintenance that you should pay is calculated by looking at: Your weekly gross income – this could be your salary or self-employed earnings The number of children you need to pay child maintenance for Whether there are children living with you in your new household – these could be step children or children you have had with a new partner The amount of overnight contact time you enjoy with the children you are paying child maintenance for – overnight contact time is averaged over a year rather than looked at on a weekly or monthly basis. You can calculate the amount of child maintenance you should pay or you should receive using the government online child support calculator but it is best to look at child maintenance within the context of your financial settlement so you understand how child support fits in with spousal maintenance and the split of capital or who gets to stay in the family home. It is also important to understand that child maintenance can go up or down or could end if the child moves to live with their other parent or there is a shared care arrangement.Manchester and Cheshire family solicitors For fast friendly family law advice call Evolve Family Law. Our specialist family law solicitors can help you with divorce proceedings,  child custody and contact , financial settlements and child maintenance. Call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call. ​Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Jun 03, 2021   ·   9 minute read
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How Often Can a Father See His Child?

One of the most emotive topics after a separation or divorce is whether the children should live with their mother or father. Other key questions are whether the care of the children should be shared equally, and if the children are going to live with their mother, how often can the father see his child or children. In this blog, children law solicitor Louise Halford examines the law on child contact after a separation or divorce and answers your question ‘how often can a father see his child?’ ​Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation, divorce and children law matters. For help with contact and childcare arrangements after your separation or for representation in a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law has offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Do children always stay with their mothers after a separation or divorce? It used to be the case that after a separation or divorce most children lived with their mother and the father had contact. In many families that remains the position. However, instead of it always being assumed that a child will live with their mother nowadays all options are on the table, including the child living with his or her father and the child having contact with the mother or a shared care arrangement. It isn’t so much that the law has changed but societal attitudes and working practices have changed. For a long time, the court has focussed on what children law order is in the best interests of the child when determining child custody and contact applications. When, in the past, a father traditionally went out to work and the mother was a housewife or worked part-time, it was often thought best that a child should continue to live with the primary care giver or the parent who was available to meet their day-to-day needs. With both parents now often working full-time or with a father being able to work from home, the best interests of the child may be best served by the child living with their father or a shared care arrangement. Is a father entitled to shared care if he wants to co-parent his child after a separation or divorce?  Although much is written in the media about shared parenting being the norm or ideal, neither a mother or father is ‘entitled’ to share the care of their child after a separation or divorce. That’s because if parents can't agree on the childcare arrangements for their child and the court is asked to make a child arrangement order, the court will assess what order is in the child’s best interests.  Shared care (whether that is an exactly equal split of time or a sixty-forty split of time or other percentage) may be the best option for the child but not necessarily. For example, shared care may not be likely to work if: Parents don’t live, or are not intending to live, relatively close to one another to ensure that the child is able to get to school from both homes. The child prefers to have one home base, rather than moving between homes. One parent’s work commitments mean that if parenting was shared the reality is that the child would be looked after during that parent’s parenting time by professional carers or through use of school clubs. The parents don’t get on at all and won't cooperate over parenting, making frequent handovers for the child disruptive and distressing. Shared care can be the ideal but it isn’t practical for every family and therefore it is not in the best interests of every child whose parents separate or divorce. When looking at childcare arrangements it is best not to think of ‘entitlement’ but what arrangements are likely to meet your child’s needs. Most children experts say that spending an equal amount of time with a child isn’t the key to successful parenting but ensuring that the time you do spend with your children is ‘quality ’ time. For time to be quality time it doesn’t have to be expensive outings, but being able to set aside time to read with younger children, help with homework, or transport to football practice or ballet club or just talking and taking an interest in what your children are doing at school or when they are with their other parent. How often can a father see his child? Fathers often want to know the worst-case and best-case scenarios of how often they will be able to see their child after a separation or divorce. So much depends on your personal circumstances.  For example, contact will be restricted if a mother successfully applies for a relocation order to enable her to move overseas with the child or contact will be more limited if a father has to move to a new area in the UK because of his work commitments. Many parents agree to split the week so children get to spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent. For other families, the better option is for a child to live with one parent during the week and have midweek and alternate weekend contact. Contact with the child every weekend would mean that the residential parent of a school age child would not get to spend any quality time with the child. There is therefore no set rule about how often a father can see his child. That can be frustrating for some fathers who want certainty after a separation or divorce but not having set rules means that parents can work out what child contact arrangements or co-parenting works best for their family or the court can be asked to make a child arrangement order after assessing what is best for your child rather than following a fixed formula.    Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors If you need help with your separation or divorce or representation in a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Apr 29, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Can My Ex Take My Child?

Can My Ex Take My Child?

If parents are honest about their fears surrounding coming out of a bad relationship one of their biggest worries is whether their ex can take their child. Sometimes it is just a fear as your ex has no interest in seeing the child or providing child support. In other family scenarios your ex-husband, wife or partner may want to take the child as they know that is the one thing that will really devastate you or they may genuinely want to look after the child as much as you do but the two of you can't agree on the child care arrangements. In this blog our specialist children solicitor looks at whether your ex can take your child and your options.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and children law matters. For help with concerns about childcare arrangements after separation or for representation in child arrangements order proceedings call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Will the police help if my ex takes my child? If your child is taken your first thought may be to call the police and, in any situation, where you fear that your child is at risk of harm then that is the best thing to do. Risk of harm is always a balancing act so whilst you may think that your child is being harmed by staying with their other parent the police may not think so unless there is some evidence that the child is at risk.   The police won’t remove a child from a parent’s care to police a family court order over child care arrangements if there is no apparent risk of immediate harm as generally the police will say that other than in an emergency situation family and children law matters should be sorted out by the family court. That should not stop you from calling them though in situations where you do have genuine welfare concerns, such as a parent with anger management issues where there were domestic violence issues in the relationship or a parent who appears under the influence of drink or drugs and incapable of safely caring for the child.   There are some family scenarios where it is best to get a family court order so that you can show the order to the police. For example, if you fear that your ex-partner will take your child overseas without your agreement you can make an application to the family court for a prohibited steps order to prevent the child being taken abroad. If you are concerned that you or your child is at risk of domestic violence then you can apply to the court for an injunction order. If you are worried about the safety of contact you can ask the court to make a child arrangements order. A child arrangements order can stop direct contact or say that contact should only take place if supervised or can set limits and conditions to the contact.  Take legal advice if you are worried that your ex may take your child As every family situation is different it is best to take legal advice on your circumstances and best options for your family. For example, you may be worried about your ex-husband or ex-wife planning to move within the UK for work reasons and taking your child with them, thus preventing regular contact visits. Alternatively, you may fear that your ex-partner wants to return overseas to their country of origin or where relatives are already based, taking the children with them so at best you can only get to see the children once a year.   Children law solicitors say that if you are worried about your ex taking your child it is best to take specialist legal advice as quickly as possible because: A children solicitor will be able to tell you where you stand legally and often knowing what your rights are can help manage your worries It may be necessary to apply for an urgent court order, such as an injunction order or action to prevent child abduction to an overseas country with the making of a prohibited steps order A solicitor’s letter to your ex-partner or an application for a child arrangements order may be needed to formalise the child care arrangements and ensure that your ex-partner is aware of the consequences of breaching your agreement or the child arrangements order.   What happens if a parent breaches a court order and takes a child? If a parent breaches a family court order, such as a child arrangements order, prohibited steps order or specific issue order, enforcement action can be taken. It can be tempting to apply straight to court to enforce an order but it is best to take children law legal advice before doing so. For example, if a parent has returned a child home late on one occasion starting enforcement action for a breach of a child arrangements order may not be appropriate. However, if the late return on a Sunday night is affecting schooling and is a regular occurrence despite requests and letters, it may be appropriate to take action.   Children solicitors say that if an order is breached you may need to take speedy action. For example, if a parent keeps a child after a contact visit was due to end you don’t want to leave things so that the other parent can then argue that the status quo of the child living with you has changed and that the child is now happy and settled with them. In cases where child abduction overseas is feared then it is vital that speedy action is taken to avoid the child being taken abroad. That is because if the child is taken to a country that isn’t a signatory to the Hague Convention it may be hard to get an order for the child’s immediate return to the UK.   Whatever the nature of the breach of court order, the court can enforce the order and impose penalties on the parent who breached the court order. The penalties will depend on the court’s view about the circumstances of the breach of court order as well as the severity and frequency of the breach. The court can: Impose a community service order and order a parent in breach of a child arrangement order to carry out up to 200 hours of community service Fine the parent in breach of the court order In rare cases a prison sentence can be imposed on the parent in breach of the court order Order a parent to pay the other parent compensation if the breach of the court order led to loss, such as unpaid time off work.   As every breach of a court order has a different impact on a family it is best to take legal advice before applying to enforce an order as it may, for example, be preferable, to apply back to court to vary the existing child arrangements order or other type of children order.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and children law matters. If you are worried about your ex taking your child or need representation in child arrangements order proceedings call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our children law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Apr 09, 2021   ·   7 minute read
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How to Divorce a Narcissist

As Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors we are asked ‘how can I divorce a narcissist?’ and the equally valid question ‘can I divorce a narcissist?’. When you are married to a narcissist it can feel as if there isn’t a way out of the relationship. There is always a way out and, in this blog, we look at your best options if you want to divorce a narcissist.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors Getting divorced is never easy, especially when you are married to a narcissist. For specialist divorce, children law and financial settlement advice speak to the divorce experts at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or contact us online. We are available for all your family law needs and for representation in court proceedings and offer appointments by phone and video call.  Can I Divorce a Narcissist? When you are married to a narcissist and subject to constant belittlement it can be hard to contemplate feeling empowered enough to start divorce proceedings, especially if you are told by your husband, wife or civil partner that you can't leave and you can't get divorced.   Often the question isn’t about whether you have the grounds to start divorce proceedings against a narcissist but whether their threats that you will ‘walk away with nothing’ or ‘you won't see the children again’ are realistic. As divorce solicitors we find that many people who are married to spouses with narcissistic personality disorders wait a long time before taking legal advice because  their partners have told them that divorce proceedings will result in them losing custody of their children or not having enough money to look after themselves and the children. That is very rarely true but it is hard to believe that your divorce solicitor is right when the person you are married to is so adamant in their beliefs.   The first steps in divorcing a narcissist are: Recognising the problem – that is harder than you may think if you have been subject to demeaning comments for years and lost a lot of your confidence Get help – that can be from your GP, a counsellor, friend or family member – it is important to have emotional and practical help if you are getting divorced and especially if you are divorcing a narcissist Take legal advice – a specialist divorce solicitor can help reassure you about your legal rights and give you an idea of the likely financial settlement and child care arrangements so that you have the confidence to decide whether you want to start divorce proceedings Focus on what is important to you – if you have been living with a narcissist it is hard to gather the confidence and determination to start divorce proceedings. That’s why it is important to focus on why you are doing it. For example, your motivation may be not wanting your children to be affected by your partner’s narcissistic personality disorder or you not wanting to be in the same position in ten or more years’ time. Remember, that it is what is important to you that’s the crucial point. That means you should not substitute the views of friends or family for the control imposed on you by your narcissistic partner as you need to look at what’s best for you.     How to divorce a narcissist   If you are married to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder it can be a worry about whether to mention the full extent of your partner’s behaviour to your divorce solicitor. If you don’t live with a narcissist then someone’s reluctance to open up about their partner’s narcissistic personality traits can be surprising. However, a reluctance to be fully open with your divorce solicitor can be down to: Embarrassment Fear that you won't be believed Worry that you will be thought to be the one with the ‘problem’ Concern that your partner will react badly if they think that you have said things about them Thinking that it is pointless to say anything about your partner’s behaviour as it won't make any difference.   All of those are very valid reasons why you may be concerned about talking about narcissistic personality disorder traits, such as: Your partner’s belief that they are brilliant and exceptional and, of course, always in the right Your partner’s belief that you are in the wrong and worthless in comparison to them so your views and feelings don’t count Extreme reactions if you or anyone else questions your partner’s sense of self-importance or entitlement.   A narcissist is a challenge for anyone who lives with them as well as for divorce solicitors and the family court. That’s why it is important that you instruct a divorce solicitor with experience of dealing with those with narcissistic personality disorders and that you tell your divorce solicitor about the extent of the issues you’ve faced so they can help you.   You may not think that it matters whether or not your divorce solicitor knows about your partner’s narcissistic personality disorder traits but it is important. Examples of why it’s important are: If you have children then your partner’s narcissistic personality may be affecting the children and even influencing how they treat you as they are so used to seeing you belittled by your partner. That may influence your solicitor’s advice on the best child care arrangements to suit you and your circumstances and to reduce ongoing emotional harm to your children If your partner is a narcissistic person then family mediation is unlikely to be a sensible option to try to resolve financial or child care matters as your partner won't listen to anyone’s views other than their own so you’d be better using either family arbitration or court proceedings to reach an enforceable decision If your partner exerts coercive and controlling behaviour then you may want to minimise future financial links with them. This could, for example, involve agreeing a clean break financial settlement rather than ongoing spousal maintenance so you get more capital rather than having to rely on your former partner paying regular spousal maintenance payments to you If your partner is abusive you may need the protection of an injunction order or a child arrangement order to best protect you and the children.     How can Evolve Family Law help me?   At Evolve Family Law our divorce solicitors will be very honest with you and tell you that they know, from experience, that starting divorce proceedings against someone with a narcissistic personality disorder is hard. You’ll therefore need all the help and expert support you can get. A narcissistic person needs to feel that they are in control and the winner. That may mean you have to start financial court proceedings to get financial disclosure from your partner  and get a fair financial court order or mean you need a child arrangement order to restrict their contact with the children or an injunction order to stop the coercion and domestic abuse.   Our specialist divorce solicitors are not only experienced in securing these types of orders but are also adept at finding a way through divorce proceedings involving a partner with narcissistic personality traits.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors For specialist divorce, children law and financial settlement advice speak to the divorce experts at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or contact us here. We are available for all your family law needs and for representation in court proceedings and offer appointments by phone and video call. Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
Louise Halford
Feb 10, 2021   ·   7 minute read
Can I Skip Mediation and Go Straight to Court?

Can I Skip Mediation and Go Straight to Court?

As specialist divorce and family law solicitors we are regularly asked by divorcing couples if they can skip mediation and go straight to court. It is understandable why some people think that mediation might slow the court process down, but in some situations, mediation can avoid the need for expensive or protracted family court litigation. In this blog we look at the circumstances where you can skip mediation and go straight to court.Manchester and Cheshire Family Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements and children law matters. For help with your family law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are based in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and are offering meetings by telephone appointment or video call.When Can You Skip Mediation to Resolve Family Law Issues? Family lawyers say there are some situations where you and your ex-husband or ex-wife or separated partner don’t have to go to mediation before you can start court proceedings. Examples include: Where the situation is a children law emergency – such as where you fear that the child will be taken overseas unless you secure a prohibited steps order to prevent child abduction Where the situation is a potential financial emergency – such as where an estranged husband or wife is selling or transferring assets and you need the protection of a court order to stop them from disposing of assets to defeat your financial claims Where there are domestic violence issues and you need the protection of an injunction order or it isn’t considered safe for you to engage in mediation.   There are other situations where family mediation can be skipped and you can start court proceedings without first attempting family mediation but family solicitors would question if that is necessarily a good idea.   What is family mediation? Many spouses or separating couples want to skip mediation as they see it as a hurdle to overcome before a court will make a decision. However, lots of people don’t appreciate just how long it can take to secure a court order or how complex the process is. A specialist family law solicitor should explain all options to you so that you can make informed choices.   Family mediation is a voluntary form of non-court-based dispute resolution. The family mediator is an impartial third party who helps you reach a resolution to family issues such as child care arrangements or your financial settlement. The mediator should ensure that you both listen to one another even though you may not agree with what the other has to say. The job of the mediator to help you find a solution that works and is acceptable to both of you. Normally family mediation takes place with a family mediator sitting in a room with both of you and the mediator uses their skills to help you reach your own agreement, rather than have an order imposed on you by a family court judge.   If that type of family mediation doesn’t appeal to you then either shuttle mediation or solicitor involved mediation can take place. In shuttle mediation you and your partner do not meet in the same room and instead the mediator shuttles between rooms to help you reach an agreement. In solicitor involved mediation each of you can have your solicitor involved in the mediation sessions as well as providing legal support outside the mediation sessions.   Why use family mediation to resolve your family law problems? Although you may want to skip mediation it is best to take some legal advice before starting court proceedings as not all family law solicitors recommend the use of court proceedings to resolve every type of family law issue, whether it is sorting out who gets to keep the family home, how pensions are shared or the child care arrangements for the children.   You may have a preconceived view about mediation because it didn’t work for your friends or a family member going through a divorce or because you are worried that the mediator will side with your ex-partner or that you will be bullied into reaching an agreement. Talking to a family solicitor about your concerns about mediation can help and in addition you can: Make sure that you get the right legal support during mediation so that you know your legal rights and the potential likely outcomes of any court proceedings Get your family solicitor to help choose a mediator with the particular skills you need to try to make mediation work for you If you are worried about being in the same room as your partner looking at the option of shuttle mediation.   What are the alternatives to family mediation? If you don’t want to use family mediation or family mediation doesn’t work for you then there are other alternatives to court proceedings, such as: Solicitor negotiations Round table meetings Collaborative law Family arbitration.   A specialist family law solicitor will talk you through the various options with the focus being to use a resolution method that gives you the best outcome for you and your family. In some situations, court proceedings are the only realistic option to reach a resolution. For example, where a former husband or wife is refusing to give financial disclosure so a reasonable financial settlement can't be reached in the absence of information that the court can order is disclosed as part of the court financial disclosure process. An experienced family law solicitor won’t have a fixed view about the best method for you to reach a financial or child care resolution but instead will listen to your concerns and questions and help you work out the best option for you. They may say that skipping family mediation isn’t in your best interests as it could be the cheapest and quickest way of your reaching a resolution and that with mediation support from a specialist family lawyer you won’t feel as if you were bullied into a resolution that hasn’t been reality tested or that doesn’t meet your needs as you felt you weren’t able to express them during mediation. Manchester and Cheshire Family Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation, divorce , financial settlements and children law matters. For help with your family law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and are offering meetings by telephone appointment or video call. ​Latest From Our Family Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Feb 08, 2021   ·   6 minute read
Young arab girl with hijab doing exercise with her bestfriend at international school. Asian muslim school girl sitting near her classmate during lesson. Multiethnic elementary students in classroom.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Child Arrangement Order?

Cheshire children law solicitors are often asked ‘how long does it take to get a child arrangements order?’ It is an understandable question as any parent is naturally anxious about starting children law court proceedings and wants to have a good idea about the likely timescales for getting a child arrangements order as well as the cost and prospects of success. In this blog children law solicitor Louise Halford looks at how long it takes to get a child arrangements order.Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors For advice about children law or making a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law solicitors, based in Holmes Chapel Cheshire and Whitefield North Manchester, on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment.What is a child arrangements order? Not everyone knows what a UK child arrangements order is. That’s because unlike the old child custody orders the name isn’t particularly clear but child custody and child access orders were relabelled as child residence and child contact orders and the latest renaming is the ‘child arrangements order’.   A child arrangements order can combine both custody and contact as the order can say where the child lives (there could be a primary carer or a shared carer arrangement) and with whom the child should have contact with. The contact could be regular overnight contact, mid-week contact, holiday contact or even indirect contact.     Does a court automatically make a child arrangements order if parent’s separate or divorce?       UK children law says that the court should not make a child arrangements order unless the order is necessary because there is a dispute between separated parents that they can't resolve by agreement or family mediation. If parents can't agree on the appropriate and best childcare arrangements for their child after a separation or divorce either parent, whether you are an unmarried or married parent, can apply to the family court for a child arrangements order.   How long does it take to get a child arrangements order? It is difficult to answer the question ‘how long does it take to get a child arrangements order?’ as much depends on the family circumstances. Experienced children law solicitors have been known to secure an urgent child arrangements order in a matter of hours. For example, if a parent is worried that the other parent is under the influence of drink or drugs and it is unsafe to return a young child to them but the parent won't accept that or get help or agree to the child staying with the other parent until they are capable of looking after the child again.   When the court is asked to make an urgent child arrangements order it will normally last for a short period of time until the court can assess what long term child arrangements order is in the child’s long term best interests.   In other child arrangements order applications it can take months to secure a child arrangements order. For example, if one parent says that a child won't see the other parent or that the parent has emotionally or physically abused the child the court may want to carry out detailed investigations and order reports before making a decision on contact and what child arrangements order is best for the child. That sort of extended timescale can be very frustrating for a parent, especially where false allegations have been made against them or they fear parental alienation is taking place. The court proceedings can take a long time to determine as the family judge may want to hold a series of interim court hearings (for example, a finding of fact hearing to determine if the parent’s allegations of abuse are true) or to order an independent assessment by a CAFCASS officer or a report by a child psychologist.   If you can't reach an agreement on the arrangements for your child then it is best to speak to an experienced children law solicitor on the likely timescale to get a child arrangements order as they will listen to why you need a child arrangements order and your concerns, discuss any complexities, and then be able to give you a realistic timescale for the court proceedings and the prospects of the court making interim child arrangements orders until the final hearing of the court application.            Manchester and Cheshire Children Law Solicitors   At North Manchester and Cheshire based Evolve Family Law we recognise that not being able to agree on child care arrangements and applying for a child arrangements order can be a stressful experience. For pragmatic specialist children law advice from friendly and approachable children law solicitors call Evolve Family Law to discuss how we can help you with your child arrangements order application or to discuss the potential legal costs of going to court for a child custody order. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment so you can speak to an experienced Cheshire children law solicitor. ​Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Feb 04, 2021   ·   5 minute read
Offended woman and man are sitting on couch wearing protective masks. Increase in divorces after quarantine concept

Splitting Up in Lockdown

Is family arbitration the best option to reach a financial agreement? If you are going through a separation or divorce during the latest COVID-19 lockdown you will undoubtedly be worried about how you will reach a financial agreement with your ex-husband, ex-wife or former partner.  You may also be concerned about rising infection rates and your safety in physically attending a financial court hearing. Alternatively, you may be worried about delays in achieving a court date because of the impact of COVID-19 on the family court system. In this blog we look at whether family arbitration is the best option to reach a financial agreement if you are splitting up in lockdown.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements and children law matters. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and are offering meetings by telephone appointment or video call What is family arbitration? Many couples who are in the process of splitting up have not heard about family arbitration. That's because couples tend to reach a financial agreement through solicitor negotiations, financial court proceedings or family mediation or a combination of the three options.   In family arbitration you and your partner jointly appoint a family arbitrator. The job of the arbitrator is to make a financial settlement decision. That decision will be final and binding on both of you.   A family arbitrator is therefore like a private judge of the family court as both have the authority to decide on what is a fair financial settlement and make a binding decision.   What decisions can a family arbitrator make? A family arbitrator can be asked to decide a financial settlement or a property disputes or some children issues arising from either a married or an un-married family relationship.   What are the advantages of family arbitration during the COVID-19 lockdown? The advantages of family arbitration apply generally, whether the UK is in lockdown or not. However, the global pandemic emphasises some of the real benefits of family arbitration such as: You can arrange an arbitration hearing in a place that is convenient to both of you and even online if you prefer. You may feel more comfortable in attending the venue for an arbitration meeting instead of going to a family court for a financial settlement hearing When choosing a family arbitrator, you can check their availability and timescale to hold a family arbitration hearing. If you start financial settlement court proceedings, you don’t get that luxury as you just have to accept court and judge availability and that can be impacted by COVID-19 The use of family arbitration can be more discreet and confidential than traditional court proceedings One family arbitrator will make all decisions, so you won’t experience having as series of court hearings with different family judges You and your partner can adapt the family arbitration process to suit your circumstances so, for example, you could agree that you don’t need a directions hearing or that you want the family arbitrator to have a specific type of family bundle of papers and documents to help make their decision, whereas family court rules on paperwork in financial settlement proceedings are far more prescriptive.   Is family arbitration suitable for everyone splitting up in lockdown? In some situations, family arbitration isn’t suitable. For example, if you need an injunction order to stop your husband or wife from selling off or transferring assets to try and defeat and thwart your financial settlement claims.   Alternatively, family arbitration may not be suitable if you need third party disclosure, for example, from a trust fund or a relative, and they won’t provide disclosure or cooperate in the family arbitration process.   Will a financial settlement be different if family arbitration is used rather than financial court proceedings? Whether you use financial court proceedings or family arbitration to reach a financial settlement the family court judge or family arbitrator will exercise their discretion when determining what financial court order or arbitration award to make.   When a family law judge or family arbitrator exercises their discretion, they do so using the factors set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This means that the financial court order or family arbitration award should be within the same range or band of reasonable orders whether court proceedings or family arbitration is used by you to reach a financial resolution.   What is the arbitration process? If you decide that you want to use family arbitration to reach a financial settlement it is important that both you and your spouse or partner understand the arbitration process.   The arbitration process is as follows: An application form is completed. The form is referred to as an ARB-1 The family arbitrator’s fees are agreed. Whilst you will need to pay a family arbitrator the family arbitration process may nonetheless be cheaper than traditional court proceedings because you may be able to conclude the arbitration process more efficiently and without the need for as many hearings There is a family arbitration directions hearing. This type of hearing looks at preliminary matters. If a husband and wife agree that this type of hearing is not necessary, then this can be avoided. Alternatively, the preliminary issues could be dealt with by solicitors and the family arbitrator by email. Family arbitration gives more flexibility than a financial court order application over the financial settlement process There is an arbitration hearing. The hearing could take place online because of concerns about rising infection rates and COVID-19 or could be facilitated at a solicitor’s office or at a neutral venue, such as the offices of the family arbitrator. In some cases, a husband and wife may agree that the family arbitrator should make their decision solely based upon reading the paperwork supplied. After either reading the documentation or listening to the husband, wife or partner the family arbitrator will make a decision, called an award. This is a binding decision The court will be asked to make a financial court order in accordance with the terms of the family arbitration award. A formal order is normally needed in a financial family arbitration to implement the family arbitration award. There is a fast track court procedure available to quickly convert an award into a court order.   If you want more information about family arbitration and how it may help you and your partner reach a financial settlement during the COVID-19 imposed lockdown then it's best to speak to specialist divorce and financial settlement solicitors about arbitration and your options.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors The friendly team of specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law can help you with your separation and divorce proceedings, as well as your financial settlement. For advice on your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.   The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.Latest From Our Separation Blog:
Louise Halford
  ·   7 minute read