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Government’s Online Divorce Service Launched

21st May, 2018

An online divorce service, which was tested during a pilot scheme, has now been rolled out across all of England and Wales from 1st May 2018. The online service offers prompts and guidance to assist people in completing their application for divorce, and uses clear, non-technical language. The whole process can be completed online, including payment and uploading supporting evidence.

Some straightforward divorces will lend themselves to using the new online divorce service, but if you are unsure about on what basis you would be entitled to a divorce or if there is a chance that your spouse will not agree to the divorce, then it is best to seek legal advice before trying to deal with the application yourself. If you want to avoid the stress of dealing with the divorce yourself, then we can deal with the whole process for you. Alternately, if want to use the online service, then we would be happy to review your application form before you submit it.

The government website states that before you apply for an online divorce you need to work out arrangements for the children, payment of child maintenance and also agree how to divide your money and property.  These can be complex matters and it is important that they are considered before starting your divorce application. Hendersons is a specialist family law firm and we can provide clear legal advice about your divorce options, as well as assisting with children and financial arrangements.  It is important to be aware that any financial agreement reached has to be formalised in a consent order of the court for future claims to be avoided.  Even if you don’t have any assets at the moment, it is essential to ensure that neither party can make a claim against the other in the future if this position should change.  The only way to achieve finality is to enter into a ‘walk-away’ agreement, approved by the court, otherwise potential claims remain “live” even after Decree Absolute of divorce is obtained.

At Hendersons we offer a free initial appointment so that you can obtain legal advice, consider your options and then decide whether to use the online divorce service.

Resolution promotes better ways to divorce

26th November, 2014

A powerful new video has been launched by Resolution to highlight the 'better ways' to deal with divorce and relationship breakdown.

The video can be viewed on youtube or on the Resolution website: www.resolution.org.uk. That website is also a great source of information to anyone affected by relationship breakdown.

All of the solicitors at Hendersons are Resolution members, subscribing to the code of practice, and both Lynn Henderson and Paul Linsell are Resolution trained mediators.

Resolving Children Issues

15th April, 2014

When a couple with children separate and/or divorce they must consider the arrangements for the children.

Research has shown that children normally cope with divorce better if the parents are able to co-operate and if the children maintain a good ongoing relationship with both parents. Above all, children need reassurance that both parents love and care for them and will always be there for them.

We do everything possible to help clients reach agreement and we encourage parents to use Mediation or Collaborative Law in appropriate cases.

The arrangements made will of course depend on the circumstances of the particular family and the needs of the children. There are no fixed rules. However, it is important that the parents are sufficiently flexible to be able to accommodate the changing needs of the children as they get older.

Sometimes it is not possible to reach agreement and it is necessary to seek the assistance of the Court. The Children Act provides that in all such cases the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration. In determining what is in the best interests of the child the Court takes into account the following factors, known as the “welfare checklist”:

In the more difficult cases an independent Child and Family Reporter (from CAFCASS) will act as the “eyes and ears” of the Court and will prepare a report, after interviewing the parties, the children and other relevant people.

The Court does not discriminate between mothers and fathers on the basis of gender. However, an important consideration will be who has been the primary carer. This is often the mother, although increasing numbers of fathers are assuming this role. The Court will be reluctant to disrupt this primary care, particularly in the case of young children. In recent years it has become increasingly common for parents to have shared care arrangements.

We will do everything possible to assist you to resolve children issues in a calm, constructive and child-focused way.

Parental Responsibility

15th April, 2011

The concept of “parental responsibility” is extremely important in the Children Act 1989, the statute which governs the relationship between parents and children. It is important to remember that parents have “responsibilities” rather than “rights” and parents’ responsibilities have to be exercised in the best interests of the child.

So, what is meant by “parental responsibility”?

It is a wide concept which covers all the normal incidents of bringing up a child and the decisions that have to be taken on behalf of the child as part of that process. It covers, for example, decisions relating to religion, education, medical treatment, applying for a passport, taking the child abroad for holidays or to live, and so on.

Who has parental responsibility?

It is important to note the people who are not on this list, for example, some unmarried fathers, step-parents and grandparents. Practical difficulties can arise when a person without parental responsibility provides childcare on a regular basis. Specific legal advice is needed in this situation.

An unmarried father without parental responsibility can acquire it in one of two ways:

At any one time there may be a number of people with parental responsibility for a child. Parental responsibility is retained until the child reaches the age of 18. However, as the child gets older, and particularly during the teenage years, the decision making power of the parents has to yield to the child’s ability to make his or her own decisions. The extent to which this is the case depends on the nature of the issue involved and the age of the child.

When those with parental responsibility are unable to agree, there is considerable guidance in the case law as to how parental responsibility should be exercised. The test, as always in children matters, is to ascertain what is in the best interests of the child. If disagreement arises it is important to seek specific legal advice.