Tag Archive: family law

  1. Domestic Abuse Against Men Rises Sharply – Our Advice

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    Domestic abuse victims’ charity ManKind has revealed that less than 1% of refuge beds in the UK are available to men – and reported cases of domestic abuse towards men from their spouse has risen sharply over the past seven years.

    Double the Number of Cases

    According to a report by the BBC, Police in England and Wales recorded 149,248 incidents of domestic abuse towards men in 2017 – more than double the number reported in 2012. A headline news story has thrown this shocking statistic into sharp focus, after a midwife was accused of murdering her husband after subjecting him to years of abuse.

    In the BBC’s report, Senior psychology lecturer at Cumbria University Elizabeth Bates said that there are many reasons why men are less likely to ask for help if they are being abused. These can include feelings of confusion or even shame, and a sense that support services are not aimed at men but rather target women first and foremost.

    Losing Custody

    Another strong reason why many men say they cannot or would not seek support or help in order to leave an abusive spouse is due to custodial arrangements for their children.

    There is an incorrect but widely-held belief that by leaving his spouse, a man has given up his right to take care of his children. This is absolutely not so. Legally, as a father, a man has just as much of a right to see his children as their mother. Should the mother be deemed unfit to care for her children – as many abusive spouses are – as the childrens’ closest parent a father will usually even be given custody of his children (depending on life situation, suitability and other factors.)

    In other words, feeling committed to stay in an abusive relationship simply to see your children is not wise and could leave you in danger that you could avoid. Leaving an abusive relationship does not mean choosing between your children and your personal quality of life and happiness.

    Reasons men feel they have to stay with an abusive partner:

    • Fear of violence
    • Fear of losing access to their children
    • Confusion
    • Shame
    • Denial
    • Lack of support network and/or services

    Spousal abuse is punishable by law and can lead to custodial sentences, and our family lawyers can help to support you throughout the legal process from start to finish.

    How DRN Can Help

    At DRN, our family solicitors are friendly, approachable and have many years’ experience in dealing sensitively with cases such as domestic violence, emotional abuse and difficult separations. We can help you pursue a custody case, and even put you in touch with local services to help take you out of the situation and support you on your road to a new life.

    We are here to help and support you, with the top legal guidance you need to find your way. If you would like to talk to one of our empathetic solicitors in complete confidence, please call 01282 433 241 or email us using the contact form. We deal with all enquiries personally and in total confidentiality.

  2. DRN Family Law Team Awarded Legal Aid ‘Excellence’ Review Rating

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    DRN’s leading Family Law team have achieved an Excellence review rating following an independent external review of their work by the Legal Aid Agency.

    Legal Aid Agency Audit

    “Excellence” is the number one rating that can be achieved by a legal team during a Legal Aid Agency audit. The full list of ratings is as follows:

    • excellence (1)
    • competence plus (2)
    • threshold competence (3)
    • below competence (4)
    • failure in performance (5)

    The Process

    To gain this exemplary rating, 25 files from DRN were requested by the Legal Aid Agency. These files were chosen at random, and were then independently reviewed by an external assessor. Their comprehensive report concluded with positive findings in all areas, including:

    • Advice tailored to clients
    • Linked advice and client referrals
    • Proactive steps taken on behalf of clients
    • Client’s needs being met
    • Keeping clients up to date with developments

    All of the above findings were met with a glowing report, as well as a host of additional positive findings.

    Family Law Team

    Nicola Barrow, head of the Family department at DRN said:

    “I am incredibly proud of the continuous hard work from the Family Team at DRN, who dedicate themselves to ensuring client’s receive the best advice and representation possible every single day.”

    DRN’s leading family law team are available to support you with legal advice and representation in all matters concerning family matters, including custody, adoption, name changing, divorce and separation.

    If you would like to talk to a member of our friendly team, call our Burnley office today on 01282 433 241 and we will be happy to help you.

  3. How To Make Arrangements For Your Children (Formerly Child Custody Arrangements)

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    Staying together isn’t possible for every family. Even though it’s a difficult situation, sometimes separating is necessary in order for everyone to live happily, sometimes parents have never lived together.

    At DRN, our clients are often separated parents and want to do the right thing by their children, and our family solicitors are trained to give advice on child arrangements that is practical and straightforward. Our guidance comes from years of experience in family law, and our family solicitors work sensitively with separated families and their children to make sure the best possible agreement is reached.

    To agree, whether in person or through a mediator, on the arrangements for your child can seem an impossible task, but we are here to help.

    The Courts and family solicitors now refer to what used to be known as “child custody” as “child arrangements”. These arrangements are a broad description of how your child spends their time with you and the rest of their family.

    What are Child Arrangements?

    The details for where the children live, and if not living with both parents, also setting out the time they spend with the other parent (which is often referred to as contact.)

    Children can enjoy spending time with a parent in person, by telephone, social media, letter or any other method which is reasonable and allows the child and parent to stay in ‘contact’.

    Each child and family will have different needs depending on their own circumstances, including but not limited to the children’s ages, needs, wishes and feelings.

    Contact can take place in different forms and will vary with each family. Contact can be for short periods of time for example during the day, or cover long periods of time over a number of days and possibly weeks. It can take place in a variety of venues. A lot of children do stay overnight with the parent with whom they do not ‘live’ on a regular basis.

    Agreeing child arrangements

    A lot of separated parents are able to reach a mutual agreement about the arrangements for their child and are able to vary the arrangements as the child’s needs change. Other parents cannot for various reasons and do need specialist advice and assistance.

    If you would like help in reaching suitable arrangements for your child, then our family solicitors can help. Our solicitors can advise you on the most appropriate method to try to achieve an outcome.

    This may be by way of one of our solicitors negotiating on your behalf, setting out your position and the reasons why, if an agreement is reached by drafting an agreement setting out the arrangements which are to be put in place.

    Legal aid is available, but only in limited circumstances.

    Mediation

    You may be advised to attempt mediation with a view to resolving any disagreements. Family mediators are trained professionals, who help you discuss any issues, let you both have your say and try to help reach an agreement. Mediation can work, even where the parties initially have very differing views.

    Mediation is not appropriate in situations where there has been any form of domestic abuse.

    The mediator will assess whether the case is suitable for mediation.

    Legal aid is available to assist with the costs of mediation where one or both parties are on a low income.

    Applying to the court

    If solicitor negotiation and mediation are not successful or are unsuitable then an application to court may be necessary. Court applications should only be made when all other options are unsuitable or have failed. Court proceedings can take time and be costly, and you may end up in a situation where the court has made a decision that you do not want.

    The court whether a bench of magistrates or judge will encourage you to reach an agreement, if you cannot agree then the court will determine what if any evidence is required and how the case will proceed. The court will then make a decision about what the arrangements for your child should be to live with and spend time with you and the other parent. In deciding the arrangements, the court will decide what they believe the best interests of your child to be.

    If you would like any advice or assistance on arrangements for your child then please contact one of our family solicitors at DRN on 01282 433241 or enquiries@drnlaw.co.uk 

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