What is mediation?
Mediation is best defined as a process whereby you and your former partner sit down with a mediator who is an independent person, often a solicitor/expert in family law. You and your partner should try and reach your own agreement, whether it be with regard to children issues, financial issues or otherwise, with the assistance of the independent mediator rather than have an agreement imposed upon you by the court. The mediator is there to be impartial and does not give advice to either party but just explores the options and provides legal information.
Do I need a solicitor to get a divorce?
Currently, to get a divorce in England and Wales you have to have been married to your partner for at least one year and you have to satisfy the court that your relationship has permanently broken down. You have to have a marriage that is legally recognised in the UK; this can include same sex marriages and marriages that have taken place abroad in accordance with that particular country’s own legal requirements.
You do not need to have a solicitor to obtain a divorce, it is largely a paperwork exercise taking place at the local divorce unit to you. However, solicitors can take a lot of the stress, anxiety and uncertainty out of the situation.
To get a divorce you need to send paperwork to the local divorce unit. Alongside the divorce, you and your partner should try and resolve any arrangements for looking after your children and work out how to divide your money and property. Normally there is no need for either party to attend court in person when dealing with the divorce itself.
My partner has had an affair, what can I do?
Marriages/relationships can be saved even where there is infidelity. Marriage guidance counselling services such as Relate may be able to assist. However, you may want to have legal advice about whether or not you should divorce/separate. Adultery (having an affair) is a ground for divorce, however if you carry on living together for a period of more than six months after you have discovered about the affair, then you would lose the ability to divorce on that particular ground.
If you decided that the marriage/relationship has broken down as a result of the affair, then you should get legal advice as to all the implications of your relationship breaking down i.e. financial consequences and children issues. Please note that having an affair would not normally prevent a party from having ongoing contact with their children, but there may of course be issues about whether any new partner should meet with the children and the timing of the same.
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I have suffered domestic violence, what should I do?
Domestic violence can manifest itself in many ways. Many people just think of physical violence but domestic violence is much more than that, it can include controlling behaviour, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual or financial abuse.
We can help to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. We can seek injunctive orders, the main types of orders are non-molestation orders which prevent someone from using, or threatening, physical violence, it also prohibits intimidation, pestering etc. If this order is breached, it constitutes a criminal offence. Occupation orders can also be obtained, this order relates to who lives in the family home. We work closely with the police, refuges and Local Authorities to help victims of domestic abuse become safe and obtain the protection they need.
What is negligence?
Negligence is a breach of duty of care which a person or business may owe to you. Negligence can give rise to a claim for damages provided losses have been caused by the negligence. It is often also possible to sue a professional for breach of contract.
Who is a professional?
A professional in the broadest sense is a person who holds themselves as having specialist, expert knowledge in a particular field
I have bought a new house but think the survey was wrong, who can I sue?
‘Buyer beware’ is the maxim which applies when buying a property, but if you have engaged a surveyor to inspect a property and report upon it for you then, depending upon on the nature of the defect(s) and the type of survey which you obtained, you may be entitled to redress against the surveyor. It is much less common for there to be redress against the seller, unless they have deliberately concealed or otherwise misled you about the condition of the property.
Can I sue my architect for negligence?
Architects, like other professionals, are accountable to their client when they have been negligent in carrying out their services or have acted in breach of their contract with you. Claims against architects often involve an assessment of others who are part of a building project, e.g. structural engineer and building contractors. Therefore, using specialist lawyers can be important. Architects ought to have professional indemnity insurance in place to ensure that a successful claim will result in payment.
Can I use my house insurance to claim against my builder?
General household insurance does not usually cover claims for poor builders’ workmanship. If you have legal expense insurance as part of your household or other insurance policies, then you may be entitled to claim the costs of legal advice and representation to pursue a claim.
Can I use my legal expenses insurance to pay my legal fees?
You may be able to do so. You will need to contact your insurer and inform them of your intention to make a claim. They will usually ask you to complete a claim form before they decide if you have cover for the claim. Often insurers insist that they appoint one of their panel lawyers to act for you. Some claimants understandably prefer to appoint their own legal representative. However, you are entitled to choose your own lawyer in certain circumstances. We can provide guidance to you.