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What if my ex does not bring my child back from a holiday abroad?

Gemma Kelsey
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As Covid-19 travel restrictions have started to ease, many people and families have once again started to consider the possibility of international holidays rather than staycations. Aside from the current Covid-19 worries and practicalities still...

COVID-19 Vaccine for children aged 12 - 15 - What if you do not agree with your partner/ex-partner or child?

Jemma Bryans
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The topic of vaccinating young children has been in wide discussion for parents, the Government, and chief medical officers. Recently the Government has accepted the recommendation from the UK’s medical officers that children between the ages of 12 to...

Can I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?

Poppy Harber
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If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, you can apply for a ‘Non-Molestation Order’. This is an injunction in the form of a Court Order that protects you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who has abused you. ...

Am I Eligible For Legal Aid?

Monique Wagner
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Legal Aid is a government funded scheme that helps individuals who are on low income access legal advice/representation. Once granted, a legal aid certificate will cover legal costs including Solicitor fees, counsel’s fees and disbursements such as...

The New Domestic Abuse Act 2021

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If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.  You can also call the 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. After years of promises, especially by former Prime Minister Theresa...

What the case of H-N And Others (Children) means for Domestic Abuse in Finding of Fact Hearings

Jemma Bryans
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The long-awaited Judgment of H-N And Others (Children) was handed down on 30 th March 2021. There were four cases (joined on appeal) before the Court of Appeal. The appeals were particularly looking at the process in which the Courts consider domestic...

Narcissistic Ex-Partners

Liz Headley
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For many who have managed to escape from an abusive relationship there is initially a huge sense of relief, finally life can become more ‘normal’ again and they can begin to rebuild their self -confidence and self-worth. Whilst this is true, the...

What is a Divorce Doula?

Priti Vadgama
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Everyone seems to have heard of a doula who offers support before, during and after childbirth. “What is this new concept of a divorce doula?”, is what I asked myself when I first heard this term. Apparently a divorce doula is a...

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 - Family Breakdowns

Liz Headley
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Monday 10th May 2021 marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, looking after our mental health should always be a priority, but this year, having experienced a pandemic which, for most of us, has invited significant changes and increased stresses, it...

Living with Abuse

Liz Headley
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British broadcaster, journalist and weather presenter, Ruth Dodsworth has recently featured in the media after her ex husband was jailed for 3 years for coercive and controlling behaviour. I watched an interview with her earlier on daytime tv where she...

Supreme Court Rules A Child Applying For Asylum Cannot Be Refouled

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We recently discussed the Court of Appeal decision in Re G (A Child) (Child Abduction )   in which   Kim Lehal , a partner in our family law department, represented the charity reunite .   The Court of Appeal ruled that a child who...

Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of G v G [2021] UKSC 9

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On 19 March 2021 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of G v G [2021] UKSC 9.  Reunite intervened in the appeal and was represented by Kim Lehal of Brethertons solicitors instructing Richard Harrison QC and Jennifer Perrins of...

Family Solicitor Joanne Soar Acts For Subjected To Life-Changing Injuries Baby

Joanne  Soar
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There are times when members of our team are involved in cases which remain with them for life.  For Joanne Soar , who specialises in public law for children, that case is X County Council v AB & CD [2015] EWFC 98.  Described by the...

Human Rights Damages No Longer Clawed Back By LAA In Care Proceedings

Matthew Montanaro
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In yet another example of how #we don’t just know the law…we make it, family law partner, Matthew Montanaro led the way for the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) to issue new guidance that ensured those who brought successful human rights claims...

Relationship Breakdown During the Pandemic

Liz Headley
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This week on the BBC 1 programme Morning Live the recent increase in people contacting law firms about separation and divorce was discussed. A lawyer was interviewed online and asked what she felt individuals should be looking for in a lawyer when they were...

Children's Mental Health Week

Liz Headley
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Monday 1st February was the first day of Children’s Mental Health Week and it would seem that in these extraordinary times we should all be more vigilant about children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.  Recent figures suggest that...

How to deal with January blues

Liz Headley
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Well, this week kicked off with what is known as ‘Blue Monday’. January is notorious for being a difficult month with people recovering from the excesses of Christmas, trying to keep to their new year resolutions, attempting to stabilise their...

Family Mediation Week - helping separated families know which way to turn

Simon Craddock
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Family Mediation Week – helping separated families know which way to turn More than any other time of the year, January is a month when families decide to separate. For most, this will be their first experience of separation, and they will start...

Hague Convention Return Orders and Asylum Applications

Kim Lehal
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Re G (A Child) (Child Abduction) Kim Lehal, a partner in our family law department, recently represented the charity Reunite in the ground-breaking case of Re G (A Child) (Child Abduction) .  Founded in 1987, the Reunite International Child...

Call "ANI" - Assistance for those Experiencing Domestic Abuse

Liz Headley
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Sadly, domestic abuse continues to affect many individual’s lives in a manner of different ways. In these troubled times as we search for a way to reduce and contain the sometimes awful consequences of Coronavirus, we have yet to find a cure for...

Self-care in the new year and beyond

Liz Headley
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I was listening to a GP who was being interviewed on a television programme talking about burn out and what he was saying appeared to make a lot of sense and for me was food for thought. Lockdown and the consequences of it has proved challenging for most of...

Coronavirus & Domestic Abuse

Liz Headley
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I know it’s a very different start to the year and I am sure we will all remember it as such. This time last year no-one could have predicted that 2021 would begin in this way, but let’s all try and remember that positives can sometimes come out...

A Different Christmas

Liz Headley
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Most families will be wondering how Christmas will be for them this year as we head towards, what is usually for most of us, a time of festivity with family and friends. Of course, the changes that COVID-19 has already brought to Yuletide 2020 are much in...

Life Under a Microscope..Making Difficult Decisions

Liz Headley
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The pandemic has invited us all to put our lives under the microscope and think about our choices. Things that we would normally take for granted have no longer been available to us and many of us have had to make some major adjustments to our lifestyle,...

Family Justice Professionals Mark 'Good Divorce Week 2020' with Free Advice Sessions

Dominic Wisdom
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Family law professionals in Bicester, Banbury and Rugby are showing their support for Good Divorce Week 2020 (30 th November -4 th December) by offering free advice sessions to families later this month. Good Divorce Week is an annual campaign that aims...

Summer Holidays

Liz Headley
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To most of us, the word ‘holiday’ conjures up thoughts of time off, leave, or a break, suggesting a bit of respite from the humdrum of everyday life and some of those parental duties that dominate the daily grind. This year however, for some,...

Making Relationship Decisions During Lockdown

Liz Headley
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Whilst there are benefits to spending more couple and family time together, this prolonged period of isolating ourselves from family, friends and the outside world has potentially put a strain on the happiest of relationships. I have recently read about or...

Children Living With Adult Conflict

Liz Headley
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As mooted in a previous blog, lots of children and young people have returned to school with mixed feelings; glad to see some of their friends but a little resistant to a more structured day with some pressure on them to demonstrate learning. For some...

Divorce and Separation following COVID 19

Josh Russell
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Divorce is difficult for anyone in any circumstances but the strain COVID-19 has placed on married and unmarried couples is significant and with so much uncertainty surrounding employment, house prices and pension values at present, a common question we are...

I Am Getting Divorced - Why Do I Need To Make A Will?

Sally Clark
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The short answer is that everyone should have an up to date Will to ensure that their wishes are put into effect after their death. However, it is particularly important to check whether you need to make, or amend a Will when you are going through any...

Supermarkets who are supporting domestic abuse victims

Liz Headley
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Spending a bit more time at home has allowed me the indulgence of watching the odd bit of daytime television, some of it being quite interesting and helpful. I have just watched part of a programme that has informed me that supermarkets have turned their...

Rising anxiety in children and how to help

Liz Headley
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In the last few weeks I have received an influx of referrals requesting I offer work to children and young people who are experiencing raised anxiety levels. This probably isn’t surprising as the Covid-19 crisis has potentially invited all of us to...

What do I do if my child is taken by my ex-partner in lockdown?

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We are in a very different time at the moment. A time of uncertainty, a time of worry and a time where everything we do is for protection. We are staying at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones and most of all our children. So if this is disrupted,...

Grandparent's Gloom - being a Grandparent during COVID-19

Liz Headley
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As a grandparent myself, I enjoy reading contributions to Gransnet daily. Today I was drawn to a piece written by one grandmother regarding her low mood and how she was struggling to manage isolation under Covid-19 restrictions. I am sure you will be...

Safe Space for Those Experiencing Domestic Abuse

Liz Headley
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For those who are living with an abusive partner, lockdown has provided greater opportunity for their abuser to exert even more control. As I said in a previous blog, we can’t blame lockdown as being the cause of any sort of abuse but it has provided...

Domestic Abuse Helpline

Liz Headley
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I have just been watching BBC News on BBC 1 where part of the programme was dedicated to Domestic Abuse and how calls to the National Helpline run by Refuge have increased in this period of lockdown. I think it’s a good thing for society in general to...

Isolation Stories: Family Breakdowns during COVID-19

Liz Headley
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I enjoyed all four of the Isolation Stories in the series shown recently on ITV1, a couple particularly resonating with the work that I do. I have already offered my thoughts on one of the stories and would just like to consider the final episode. It told...

Can I still see my children during lockdown?

Jemma Bryans
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COVID-19 has had a big impact on the country and we are here to provide guidance to support families and children as the situation around COVID-19 develops. The government published guidelines on staying at home and keeping a social distance away from other...

How are Brethertons providing legal services in lockdown?

Sally Clark
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The straightforward answer to that question is in the same way we have always done, being focused on our client’s needs, providing accurate and high quality legal advice and dealing promptly and efficiently with your legal requirements. The way we are...

Priti says #you are not alone

Priti Vadgama
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The Home Secretary, Priti Patel on the 11 th of April 2020 said the number of domestic violence calls have increased by 25% since the introduction of the lockdown. The calls received by Refuge , Women’s Aid and other organisations state that the...

Relationships Under Pressure

Liz Headley
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I don’t think any of us are in any doubt that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all of us, it has certainly made me reflect on the things that I have taken for granted, from the freedom to go out whenever and wherever I want, to seeing those who I love...

How to Manage Rising Anxiety

Liz Headley
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I have just been listening to the news and it mentioned that Mental Health Helplines have had an unprecedented increase in calls from people talking about their raised anxiety levels. I guess this is nothing to be surprised about, for most of us this is an...

Bereavement during COVID-19

Liz Headley
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I have just read the Gov.uk latest advice for safe funerals and whilst I can completely concur with the safety aspects, my heart goes out to all those who can’t say goodbye to their loved one in the way that they would wish. Anyone who has been...

How Brethertons can help your family with bereavement

Emma Stewart
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Help with bereavement during the COVID-19 restrictions We understand how difficult it is at this time if you have lost a loved one and are trying to arrange the funeral. If you are Self-isolating or Shielding and need assistance with anything like...

Contact with Both Parents

Liz Headley
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Hopefully many separated parents will feel reassured by the information offered in the blog  from Melanie Tubbs , lawyer at Brethertons LLP. It very clearly outlined guidelines on how separated parents can manage contact with their children during...

Coronavirus and Contact

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In these uncertain times, a lot of parents are concerned about what to do if their children want to see a parent they don’t live with or if there is a Court order in place that says they must send their children for contact. First of all, don’t...

Pensions and Decree Absolute

Sheila Osborne
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One of the questions we are frequently asked is:  When should I apply for my Decree Absolute if I have a Pension Sharing Order? When a divorcing couple reach a financial agreement, that agreement should be made into a court order called a Consent...

"Why have I got to see Mum/Dad...I am not going!"

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A separation can be difficult, especially when there are children involved. Children cannot always understand how the situation has changed or why their parents do not get along. However, in some cases the children are prevented from seeing the parent they...

How important is a valid marriage? Part I

Katie Phillips
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The legality of Sharia ‘nikaah’ marriage ceremonies have this week been tested by the Court in the case of Mrs Akhter and Mr Khan. Mrs Akhter and Mr Khan had a religious nikaah ceremony to celebrate their ‘marriage’. But the ceremony...

International divorce - scenario on marital property in Australia

Dawn Millar
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Q:  I am a British citizen, and have lived in England for the past 12 years, but I am Australian by birth.  My spouse and I both live in England, but we have properties in Australia as well as in the UK. Can I make an application in the...

International Divorce

Dawn Millar
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It is vital to obtain early advice when contemplating a divorce or separation, particularly when there is an international element to the decision. Whether divorcing parties marry or live outside of England and Wales, or they have property or investments...

What if my ex and I cannot agree which school our child should go to?

Amanda Jacober
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Once parties separate there is sometimes a disagreement as to which school their child should attend, particularly if the separation results in a child’s address changing or if parents have separated some time before a child starts school.  A...

Can I change my child's surname?

Bethany Martindale
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When parents separate, an issue that can arise is that of changing the child’s surname, usually because the mother may wish to revert to her maiden name or perhaps if she meets a new partner and the new family unit wish to all share the same name. It...

What took so long? Domestic Abuse Bill given prominence again in Parliament

Kim Lehal
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In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3 million women and 695,000 men). This is an alarming government statistic. Something needs to change and fast....

Costs Orders in Financial Proceedings: Getting your Ex to pay!

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It is now fairly well accepted that the rule in family proceedings is that “each party pays their own costs”. At least, it has been so since 2006 when it was incorporated into the Family Procedure Rules following judicial criticism in 2003. ...

Brethertons is Shortlisted as Family Law Firm of the Year for the South 2019

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We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for ‘Family Law Firm of the Year: South’ at this year’s Family Law Awards. The Family Law Awards , which will take place on Wednesday 27th November in London, is a highly...

Men in Controlling Coercive Relationships

Liz Headley
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After commending the programme I Am Nicola, aired by Channel 4, I was thinking how useful it would be if we were able to watch a programme where a male suffered abuse at the hands of a female perpetrator. Unfortunately, in my experience it is not uncommon to...

What if my ex doesn't return our child from holiday?

Gemma Kelsey
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As we are coming to the end of the school summer holidays, the issue of a child being returned from a pre-agreed holiday may be an anxious time for some separated parents. More often than not, when parents separate, the issue of holiday contact and a summer...

Emotional Abuse and Control - 'I am Nicola'

Liz Headley
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Did you watch the Channel 4 programme “ I Am Nicola ” aired on 23 rd July 2019 starring Vicky McClure and Perry Fitzpatrick? It was extremely powerful viewing offering great insights into the insidious nature of emotional abuse. Nicola and...

Stress of Summer School Holidays

Liz Headley
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It would be nice to think that the idea of having your children home for six long and sun filled weeks would bring a certain amount of pleasure to parents and I am sure that it can. However, the other side of that is the worry about childcare, if parents...

Pre-nuptial Agreements and Family Farms

Priti Vadgama
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At the start of any relationship or even if you are thinking of getting married you may not be thinking about getting a pre-nuptial agreement. However more and more people are finding out how their relationships can be strengthened by them discussing...

Divorce and the Family Farm

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If you are in the farming community and in the midst of a separation, the thought of divorce and somehow untangling assets is probably one keeping you awake at night. However, whilst cases which centre around a family farm can be complicated, we at...

"No fault" Divorce

Dawn Millar
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Will “no fault” divorce bring about a whole new concept – divorce in haste, repent at leisure? The proposed new legislation for no fault divorce means that one spouse/civil partner can give the other formal notice that they want a...

When is the right time to divorce?

Priti Vadgama
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Divorce can be a difficult, stressful and traumatic time and it is therefore arguable that it is never a good time to divorce. However the recent case of Jenkins v John Collins Partners Solicitors Ltd published on 4 th April 2019 illustrates that timing in...

Civil Partnership Vs. Marriage

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As of March 26th 2019 we find ourselves on the cusp of new legal territory in the world of Family Law, although what substantive difference it will make on a practical level is dubious. On 26th March 2019 the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths...

Local Solicitor Appointed To The Bench

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Law firm Brethertons LLP is delighted to announce that one of their Partners, Matthew Montanaro, has been appointed to sit as a Deputy District Judge. Matthew Montanaro a Partner in the Child Care Team was appointed to the Midlands Circuit on the 13...

Purchasing property with a partner

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In my 7 years in practice I have come to realise something; at the risk of sounding woefully unromantic, a property purchase is a business transaction. Full stop. Like purchasing shares in a business, buying a classic car or even investing in legal...

Brethertons appoints new Family Solicitor

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We are pleased to welcome a new Solicitor, Priti Vadgama , to our Family team .  Priti’s experience is varied across all aspects of Family Law including, divorce, cohabitation issues, financial issues arising from divorce and separation...

Valentine's Day

Liz Headley
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Well it’s that time of year again and for those more optimistic than me it can be a time of anticipation and excitement. What could be better than waiting for a huge romantic gesture from either your partner or your potential new partner? I do wonder...

Our Innovative Approach

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Our Innovative Approach: Why we are offering our fixed fee divorce for a third of the price. It is a common misconception that divorce is a simple and easy process, especially with the large, confusing and repetitive information that can be found on the...

Changes in Domestic Abuse Laws

Liz Headley
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It was good to see and hear in the media last week that there are going to be potential changes in Domestic Abuse Laws in the future. It feels at last that some of the ‘mysteries’ around domestic abuse are being addressed. Not so long ago when...

Emotional Abuse - Crystal's story

Liz Headley
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The idea of domestic abuse usually conjures images of physical suffering however, a great number of individuals suffer from emotional abuse which is just as damaging but often suffered for longer due to the lack of visible evidence. Crystal is a fictional...

Domestic Abuse - Hidden Effects on Children

Liz Headley
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Sometimes it can be hard for parents to accept that even though they believe they have done their very best to protect their children from the conflict between them, children can be really good at picking up on tension and there will be an emotional and/or...

Domestic Abuse - what protection can the Courts offer?

Gemma Kelsey
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Recent blogs by my colleagues Kim Lehal and Liz Headley have discussed in detail what domestic abuse is and what behaviour constitutes abuse, both physical and emotional but what help and protection is available? Non-Molestation Orders Known informally...

Domestic Abuse: What is coercive control?

Kim Lehal
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Domestic abuse is more than violence. It is not just physical. A pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away a person’s freedom or take away their self-esteem can be more damaging than a single act of violence. Until recently this type of controlling...

Abusive Relationships: Part II

Liz Headley
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Emotional Abuse It’s a sad fact that some people remain in very unhealthy relationships and become completely diminished by them. Emotional abuse is often insidious and can be extremely difficult to recognise if it has always been part of a long term...

Abusive Relationships: Part I

Liz Headley
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What is an Abusive Relationship? If someone mentions the word abuse a whole range of mental images appear in people’s minds usually depicting physical maltreatment of some description, where victims are bruised, battered and left considerably visually...

Warwickshire Legal Aid Franchise Awarded

Simon Craddock
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We are pleased to announce that as of the 3rd September 2018, we have a Family Law Legal Aid franchise to cover the Warwickshire area with work being carried out from our Rugby office. This is an expansion from the Banbury office which has had the...

The Children Act on the Big Screen

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A few years ago, I was very excited to read The Children Act by Ian McEwan – one of my favourite authors and a brilliant read. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered it had been grasped by screenwriters and transformed into a film. The story...

Nuptial Agreements: Where are we now?

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You will be held to the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as long as it is fair. From the days of my studies though, and the early part of my career, I always had it drummed into my head that Nuptial Agreements were in no way enforceable, and...

National Surrogacy Week

Kim Lehal
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It’s National Surrogacy Week , raising awareness about modern families and about surrogacy. As this is a complex evolving area of law, it is therefore important that legal advice is sought as early as possible. Here is our legal guide to becoming a...

Am I a Cohabitee or a Common Law Spouse?

Katie Phillips
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The concept of a ‘Common Law’ spouse is not a new one, but over the years the term has gone out of fashion so, I had believed the misconception was finally disappearing. I was therefore surprised to see the BBC using the term in their article ...

Human Rights Act Claims - Guidance Given

Matthew Montanaro
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When things go wrong with children being looked after or under the watchful eye of the state, damages claims can sometimes be brought for breaches of their Human Rights. What can go wrong? Often it is simply that the local authority has delayed so long in...

The Christmas You Want

Liz Headley
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If this has been the year where a significant relationship has ended for you, you are probably approaching Christmas and New Year with some ambivalence. These mixed feelings are very normal and natural as you are probably facing circumstances that feel...

Sweeping reforms sought by The Times

Katie Phillips
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I was interested to see on the front page of The Times recently that they are calling for an end to “unjust” and “outdated” divorce laws, and have started a campaign to modernise family law. One of the calls by The Times has...

Divorce increases to highest level since 2009

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Figures released in the news last week show that the number of divorces last year in England and Wales have increased to their highest level since 2009. It is believed that the reason for higher divorce levels is due to ‘household debt’ and...

Shortlisted as Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year

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We are delighted to announce that Gemma Kelsey , an associate within the Family department at Brethertons, has been shortlisted for ‘Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year’ at the upcoming Family Law Awards . The family law awards, which...

Teacher's Bias

Liz Headley
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Well it’s that time of year again when a lot of young people will be embarking on the next stage of their journey through the education system. Depending on their exam results, either GCSEs or A Levels, they will now have a better idea of what the near...

Making the most of your time

Liz Headley
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Two very diverse events recently have prompted me to think about writing this blog, the first was something that my son showed me that had been shared on Facebook. It concerned a Professor lecturing a group of students in America, I’m not sure...

Permanently excluded from primary school

Liz Headley
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I watched a documentary last Wenesday evening about the rising number of primary school aged children who are being permanently excluded from mainstream education. This means that pupils as young as 5 years old are behaving in such an extreme way –...

Keeping Your Children Occupied

Liz Headley
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Are you a single parent with children? How are you feeling about the next six - seven weeks?  The long summer school holidays are stretching ahead of you and in all probability your kids will be really looking forward to the break and not having to go...

A Different Sort Of Holiday

Liz Headley
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You’ve sorted out the holiday wardrobe, you’ve bought a generous supply of sun creams, checked the passports and got your money supply sorted. The holiday reading is in the case sandwiched in between those exotic, glamorous garments that you...

Separated Family Holidays

Liz Headley
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As the long school summer holiday approaches I find myself having more and more frequent conversations with children and young people regarding their holidays with separated parents . Getting two holidays instead of one could be construed as one of the...

Can Anyone Measure Unhappiness?

Liz Headley
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How sad it was to read last week of a woman not being allowed to escape an unhappy relationship because the judge decreed her reasons for wanting to end the 39 year marriage didn’t fit with his idea of what would make someone feel miserable and unloved...

Above All Else Keep Talking

Liz Headley
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Before the New Year I read an article in Business Insider UK that describes the results of a survey undertaken by the University of Virginia over a period of 6 years. It looked at the frequency of divorce among a total of 3597 couple who were asked two...

An Alternative Christmas Tale

Liz Headley
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Leading up to the festive period, I have taken the time to reflect on many workshops which I have run looking at the issues of separation around Christmas and domestic abuse.  In doing so I have written a short story which if you are going through a...

Lonely This Christmas

Liz Headley
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It’s the time of year when you turn on the radio and within minutes you will probably be hearing one of the classic Christmas songs. It could be Mariah singing, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ or Slade with good old Noddy screaming out...

What is a 'No Fault' Divorce?

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There are only 5 grounds upon which you can prove to the court that your marriage has broken down. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years’ separation and 5 years’ separation.  Around 95% of my clients come to me...

Is there such a thing as a 'Good Divorce'?

Liz Headley
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This week 28 November to 2 December is ‘Good Divorce Week’, a national awareness campaign spearheaded by Resolution and I am fascinated by what is meant by a ‘good divorce’. Some may say that divorce can never be ‘good’...

Brethertons is judged Family Law Firm of the Year in the Midlands

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Last night at a glittering awards ceremony at the Bloomsbury Big Top, our Family Department were delighted to receive the award for Family Law Regional Firm of the Year in the Midlands. Hotly contested by other large legal services providers, Brethertons...