We can help you with:
- Divorce/separation procedure
- Cohabitee disputes
- Domestic violence
- Disputes over children
- Maintenance and the CSA
- Neighbour disputes
- Welfare benefits advice
We have Community Legal Service (formerly Legal Aid Board) and monthly payment schemes available, please contact us to find out more.
Is your family life like a tug of war?
We can help.
We can provide friendly expert advice.
Act quickly to obtain Court Orders for your protection.
We can represent you in Court for divorce (Marriage & Civil Partnerships), children and financial matters.
Call in for a free initial assessment.
Scroll down for a contact form or call 07000 269 25246 07000 ANY CLAIM
We’re on YOUR side.
Adrian Berkeley is an accredited Family Lawyer.
What is a Family Lawyer?
As you go through the process of separation or divorce, you may find you have to deal with a number of organisations or individuals such as the courts, welfare officers, the Child Support Agency, divorce information providers or mediators. These people offer valuable services. However, among all these, your lawyer is the only person who is trained to act for and advise you individually on your own interests and how to protect them.
Your accredited Family Lawyer will be committed to giving you independent advice on how to achieve the best outcome and can also be your guide to the other services available. Your Family Lawyer will be able to explain to you the steps and options open to you, advise you how to proceed, negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case through the courts.
How far your lawyer takes the matter is entirely up to you. If you instruct an accredited Family Lawyer it does not mean that the case will have to be taken to a court hearing. Your Family Lawyer is there to advise and help you but only to the extent that you want assistance. You can use your Family Lawyer merely for initial advice or just for certain aspects of you case or to handle the whole matter. Even then, most cases are settled by negotiation before any court hearing has to take place.
Remember, the outcome of your divorce or separation could have far reaching effects on your future financial security and the welfare and future of your children. It is sensible to obtain the best help you can.
A constructive approach
Experience shows that a sensitive and constructive approach to settling differences is usually beneficial to all concerned. An aggressive approach can often result in little more than a long exchange of complaints. Sometimes the opportunity to settle matters on a reasonable basis is lost.
As an experienced adviser, your accredited Family Lawyer is aware of this and will try to act for you in a non-confrontational manner. In particular, where there are children involved it is recognised that there will usually need to be a continuing relationship between the parents even after a divorce or separation has taken place. This working relationship between the parents is usually very important and beneficial for the childrens’ future.
This does not mean that your lawyer will not be acting in your interests. There may be occasions where it is essential to take a firm and strong line to ensure that your rights are protected.
Keeping you informed of progress and costs.
Divorce or separation are complex processes of which most people have little detailed knowledge. Family Lawyers are committed to keeping you informed of the progress of your case and, in particular, will keep you informed as to the costs involved in you case.
Your accredited Family Lawyer will do this by informing you at the beginning of the case of their method of charging and by providing you with a Client Care Letter which will include details of the firms charging rates. Your lawyer will advise you of the availability of Community Legal Service (formerly Legal Aid Board) and, if appropriate, how to obtain this. You will also be kept informed at regular intervals, or whenever asked by you, of the costs position. If any action needs to be taken your lawyer will explain the benefits of doing so and the costs that are likely to be incurred.
What is mediation?
Family mediation is a process in which an impartial mediator helps divorced or separated people to make decisions about their children, finances and property.
A trained mediator has a neutral role in helping couples to negotiate an agreement, and the decisions made are their own.
Mediation is a unique process and does not involve counseling or therapy. Nor is it arbitration where a third party makes the decisions. No legal or other advice is given. The underlying principle is that agreements reached by people themselves, as experts in what is right for them and their children, are more sustainable than court orders.
What Financial issues can be dealt with?
Everything from maintenance to transfer of property can be dealt with using mediation. However it is imperative that both sides have disclosed all their income and assets to each other and that neither party is “trying it on” as it cannot work. Any agreement made following a partial disclosure will fail.
It is also advisable to have already instructed a solicitor to advise as the mediation process continues to make sure that what is being agreed is legal and does not unfairly disadvantage.
How does it work?
The mediator helps both parties to work out and explore all the options, and to reach an agreement that is usually put in writing. This is not legally binding. People are able at any stage to take legal advice, They are encouraged to consult a solicitor about the final agreement, which can be formalised into a legally binding document or a consent order which is approved by the Court.
Is it confidential?
Mediation is entirely confidential except when some one is at risk of harm. Either party can use the financial information if there are court proceedings. However, discussions trying to reach agreement are “without prejudice” and are therefore legally privileged. This means the discussions cannot be used as evidence of agreement if the negotiations break down before a separation agreement or Consent order have been executed.
How long does it take?
Mediation sessions usually last between one and one and half-hours. The number and frequency depends on the complexity of the issues and the pace with which the parties feel comfortable. On average between three and six sessions are required.
What are the benefits?
Mediation helps people to:
- Exchange views and information
- Listen and be heard
- Reach their own decisions
- Reduce conflict
Children whose parents reach an agreement through mediation are:
- More secure
- More reassured
Mediation is generally cheaper, quicker and less stressful than court proceedings.
How can Berkeley Solicitors help?
We can advise you throughout the mediation process, to ensure it is fair and that you understand the implications of any offers made – for instance, whether or not you would do better through the Courts. contact Adrian, a Member of the Law Society’s Family Panel, for further assistance.
Tel: 07000 ANYCLAIM or 07000 269 252.
We’re on YOUR side.
Family Law in the News
- 18th December 2008, Daily Mail – Post-nups are binding but pre-ups are not, say judges
- 6th July 2013, Daily Mail The terrible toll of making divorce easier, Children More Likeley to be violent, take drugs and have underage sex
Additional Information on Family Problems
- 10 important questions to ask your divorce lawyer (Marriage & Civil Partnership)
- Family Proceedings – Questions and Answers and Common Terms
- A Short Guide to Divorce (Marriage and Civil Partnership) Procedure
- Financial Arrangements
- Living together – Cohabitation
- Helping your Kids
- Making the most of your legal advice about divorce (Marriage & Civil Partnership)
- How much are my Legal Fees going to cost me?
- The Common Law Marriage MYTH!!
- How Much Should You Spend On Your Child’s Welfare?
- Fixed Fee Divorce (Marriage & Civil Partnership) & Family Services at Berkeley Solicitors
- Fixed Fee Family Financial Services at Berkeley Solicitors
- Fixed Fee Family Child Services at Berkeley Solicitors
- Fixed Fee Injunction Services at Berkeley Solicitors
- The Quickie Divorce MYTH!!
- What is the law if my partner forces me to do something?
- Is revenge porn already illegal in England?
This is a link to a divorce & seperation calculator provided by the FSA’s Money Made Clear website. It will help you to draw up a budget, work out what you have and what you owe and look at how you might split what you have.
If you would like us to contact you to discuss any family problems, please fill in the form below (fields marked with * are required):