The strings of a family law solicitor's bow
The bulk of issues concerned with family law arise from divorce and the breakdown of relationships. Family law solicitors provide a valuable set of services to people going through this difficult time, ensuring that everything is sorted out as efficiently as possible, allowing the couple to get on with their lives as much as possible.
If the divorce is going through on amicable terms a family law solicitor will be able to assist the couple in making the necessary agreements, if not both sides will probably need a solicitor to represent them and carry out negotiations that have proved impossible for the couple to make between themselves. The most important family law issues a divorcing couple will need to consider are:
Dividing their property: Agreements need to be reached for anything that was jointly owned by the couple, including their home, bank accounts and everything else that needs to be divided up fairly.
Child custody and maintenance: If the couple have children it needs to be decided who they will live with and what the arrangements for the other parent to see them and continue to pay for their upbringing will be.
These can be complicated issues to deal with, even if the couple are splitting up on reasonably good terms with each other it’s a good idea to consult a family law solicitor at some point to ensure that any agreements reached are comprehensive and binding with no risk of future problems. Couples who are unable to reach these decisions by themselves may choose to participate in processes designed to facilitate discussions, such as collaborative family law or mediation. A solicitor will be able to advise on what the best method to use in any situation is.
For issues concerning childcare it’s also possible to involve the Child Support Agency (CSA). They are a government department responsible for ensuring that non-resident parents continue to meet their financial obligation to their children. Their treatment of parents can sometimes seem harsh, so it’s a good idea to appoint a solicitor if they become involved in your situation. The CSA has the power to calculate how much a parent owes in child maintenance (generally 15% of their income for 1 child, 20% for 2 and 25% for three or more) and enforce a payment schedule if necessary.
Family law solicitors can assist in any legal issue which arises from peoples family ties, by far the most common issue is divorce and relationship breakdown, however, people considering adoption and a range of other issues could also benefit from the legal advice and services provided by a family law solicitor.
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