When I am leaving the office after a busy day as a Manchester family lawyer I sometimes ponder where the day went as it doesn’t seem five minutes since I was opening the office up as part of my morning routine. That’s when my thoughts turned to answering a popular internet search question ‘what do family lawyers do?’
What is family law?
To understand what a family lawyer does you need to know what family law entails. Most people assume that being a Manchester family lawyer is all about drafting divorce proceedings but that certainly isn’t the case as that is only one very small aspect of working life in family law.
Family law is something that you will probably come across in your life. That’s not a negative as many aspects of family law are a positive experience for families, such as:
- Buying your first house and asking a family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement
- Getting engaged to marry and signing a prenuptial agreement so both you and your fiancé have peace of mind
- Having your first child through adoption or surrogacy and asking the family lawyer to secure an adoption order or parental order for your family.
Even something that can be a very negative and a traumatic life experience can end up with a positive outcome with the help of a family solicitor. For example:
- Separating from a partner and with the help of a family solicitor either agreeing a parenting plan for your child or securing a child arrangements order so that you and your child can enjoy an ongoing relationship with one another
- Getting the help you need to leave an abusive relationship with a controlling or violent partner through obtaining a non-molestation or occupation injunction order thus enabling you to make a fresh start and put a bad relationship behind you
- Going through the heartache of your child being taken abroad by the child’s other parent and through use of child abduction and children law proceedings securing the return of your child to the UK
- Separating from a husband or wife and not knowing where you stand financially and how you will achieve financial independence. Through financial disclosure gaining a better understanding of the family finances and securing a financial court order so that you can move into a new family home
- Meeting a new partner after a separation or divorce and asking your family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement or a prenuptial agreement so that you can enter your new relationship confident that you have the right paperwork in place to protect you and your family.
These are just some of the things that family lawyers do. Family lawyers do tend to get a bad press on the basis that it is thought that they encourage warring parents and divorcing couples to go to court but that isn’t the case. There are many alternatives to making an application to court, such as:
- Solicitor negotiations with any financial agreement being converted into a separation agreement or an agreed financial consent order (without the need for anyone to go to court)
- Family mediation support so that if you are able to reach an agreement in family mediation your Memorandum of Understanding is converted into an agreed financial consent order with no need to physically go to a court hearing to secure the court order
- Family arbitration – this can be quicker and more flexible than traditional court proceedings.
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However, there will also be some family situations where urgent court applications are necessary. For example:
- If you are in an abusive relationship and you need the protection of an injunction order
- You are worried that your child is at risk of child abduction or will be taken abroad to live without your agreement
- You are concerned that your husband or wife is not giving financial disclosure of the family assets or is selling or transferring assets and that if you do nothing you won’t receive a fair financial settlement. In that scenario a financial court application needs to be made to protect yours and your children’s best interests.
One thing that is certainly true is that no one day is ever the same in the life of a family lawyer; Monday could involve negotiating and drafting an international prenuptial agreement whilst Tuesday might be spent in court securing an injunction, financial or children law order. As for Wednesday, who knows?
Our Manchester and Cheshire Family Lawyers
To speak to Robin Charrot at Evolve Family Law about any aspect of family law, from separation and divorce proceedings, reaching a financial settlement or resolving child custody and contact call Evolve Family Law or complete our online enquiry form. Our offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone are also offered.