Family law specifically relates to all issues around children and family law. It covers areas such as personal relationships, relationship breakdown and children in relation to separation or divorce.
When a relationship or marriage breaks down there can be a whole host of stresses and complications that arise. These can not only be emotional and financial, but also in trying to agree arrangements for your children.
Jo Hodgson is a family solicitor with over 20 years experience in this area of law. Now working as a Consultant at Gurney Harden Solicitors, Jo understands that each case is extremely personal with its own set of circumstances. She will work with you to help simplify the process and ultimately, achieve the best possible outcome for your needs.
Some specific areas that Jo can assist you with include:
Whether you are the Petitioner looking to commence divorce/Judicial Separation proceedings, or you are the Respondent that has been served with court papers, Jo can represent you throughout the process.
The best outcome is to reach a financial settlement by mutual consent, if at all possible. This means that there is no need to go court. Jo will work with you to help guide you through the the process and once agreed, prepare the legal document to reflect your agreement.
If you find that you are unable to reach an agreement and you have exhausted all your options (including Family Mediation and Family Arbitration) Jo can offer you professional advice about issuing an application at court for Financial Remedy.
These include Child Arrangements Orders (whom the children shall live with/spend time with) Specific Issue Order, Prohibited Steps Order or Orders to locate your child’s whereabouts.
When you separate from your partner or spouse, one of the most difficult elements of the separation can be agreeing on what should happen to your children, where your children will live and how regularly they will see the non-resident parent. This is particularly common when the relationship or marriage has broken down acrimoniously.
All matters relating to children need to be dealt with sensitively, adopting a pragmatic, non-confrontational approach. This is where Jo can provide invaluable support, helping you to reach an agreement with your former partner/spouse that is best for your children. If you have not been able to reach consensus about your children, Jo offers advice on all the options available to you, including Mediation, Family Law Arbitration and making an application to Court, where appropriate.
Jo can also offer helpful advice to other family members such as grandparents about securing contact with a child. It is common for these extended family members to struggle to maintain these relationships when parents separate and no provision is made, or even considered, as to how the relationships can be maintained beyond separation. Whether you are a parent, step-parent, grandparent or other family member and you wish to have and maintain contact with a child, Jo can advise you about the steps you need to take.
If you are unsure of the whereabouts of the child concerned, Jo can advise you about obtaining an Order so that an organisation or third party is ordered to disclose that child’s address to the Court.
In some cases urgent orders are required to protect your children from imminent harm or from being removed from your care, or from being removed the UK. There could also be the need for an urgent order to protect yourself from harassment or violence. If this is the case, Jo endeavours to accommodate same day appointments if at all possible, in order for you to achieve the urgent protection you need from the Courts.
This is where one parent chooses to relocate with the children, either to another part of the country or to another jurisdiction, outside of the UK. In Jo's experience, this is often disputed by the remaining parent who may have concerns about being able to maintain a proper relationship with their children after they've moved away. Whether you are the relocating parent or the one left behind, Jo can provide sound practical advice on how to deal with this.
If you have an existing Order that states how often your child should spend time with you, or see the other parent or person, but the Order is not being complied with, there are options available to you. Jo can support you with the steps you need to take to enforce it, or indeed represent you if you if you are the person that has not been complying with a Court Order.
There can be some serious potential consequences of breaching an Order. If you are unable to comply with an Order for any reason, you should seek urgent legal advice.
This is in relation to obtaining legal rights and responsibilities towards a child. Jo can help you to obtain PR if you do not have it and, where appropriate, make an application to the Court.
Jo can advise about the process to resolve cases where paternity is in dispute, and if appropriate, apply to Court.
These are specifically a way in which to secure a child’s long term residence with non-parent family members, and they are becoming increasingly more common. They offer certain rights over and beyond the normal parental rights.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or harassment, Jo is on hand to offer support. This can be through sending a warning letter, or if appropriate, applying for an urgent application to the Court to obtain immediate protection for your safety - all of which can be done without notice to the opponent. Should you need an Occupation Order or transfer of tenancies where you require the Court’s intervention to regulate occupation of the family home, Jo can also offer her expertise in this area.
The cost of legal expenses can make the whole process seem daunting and cause you great concern, which only adds to your stress. You may find you do not have access to funds to commence family litigation initially.
Jo offers a no-obligation initial consultation (one hour or as long as client needs) for £75 (no VAT)
To discuss fees and hourly rates, please contact Jo by email or on 07595219515 for further details.