Blog – Severn Valley Business Group
 

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is a widely used form of negotiation between two parties who would benefit from assistance when discussing the terms of their separation, finances and arrangements relating to their children.

The family mediator is an independent, trained professional encompassing the skills required to help the parties when one or both parties may be finding things difficult, or emotionally charged. It offers a flexible and dynamic approach to resolving any issues resulting from a separation.

Family mediation, however, is not limited to the separating couple it is also a highly successful form of negotiation for grandparents and step-parents for example.

Fundamentally, the mediator remains completely neutral during the process, they can offer no advice but solutions and explanations when it comes to each party’s view point, allowing each of them a voice.

Mediation can also be effective when each party is supported by solicitors who they can consult for advice in between sessions.

The advantages of mediation can be colossal in comparison to court proceedings, this is why mediation should be seriously considered as an option to resolving any disputes:-

  • There is less animosity, the process can be less stressful
  • The process can be less upsetting for families and less impacting on any children involved.
  • The process is quicker, less expensive, less protracted and friendlier for the parties if they are willing to engage.

Our trained Family Mediator Louise Martin, can assist parties in the mediation process, please contact Sharon our Mediation Co-Ordinator for more information or to arrange an appointment. Please do get in touch to discuss how mediation can help you.

By Kim Mapperson, Solicitor

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Get To Know The Onions & Davies Team – David Williams

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Name: David Williams

Occupation: Solicitor

Department: Property

David is a solicitor and has been in practice over 20 years. He is head of our Property Department and a Director with Onions & Davies, joining the firm in 2018.

My proudest accomplishment is –

The birth of my sons has always been one of my proudest moments despite the fact it was my wife Jane who did all the hard work. The feeling of pride did start to wear thin once they learnt to answer back.

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to qualify as a pilot. I went for a microlight flight over Lake Annecy in France a few years ago and the feeling of complete freedom was overwhelming.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

I should recite exotic foreign locations but frankly, London is probably the most fascinating place to visit with its amazing architecture and deep and sometimes dark history. Could do with fewer people in it though. I don’t like crowds.

What would be some of the most annoying things about having yourself as a roommate?

My silence and my insistence on re-watching “Where Eagles Dare”.

What are three interesting facts about you?

I used to be a keen archer having previously shot for my county and participated in tournaments as far north as Skye and as south as Malta.

Whilst at university I won the Professor John Finan Memorial Award for most outstanding result in American Legal System. Immeasurably useful for practice in Shropshire.

My wife and I are currently renovating an old farmhouse in the Auvergne region of France. When most people are on holiday, they are seen wearing swimsuit and flip flops whilst carrying a cool drink. I will be seen wearing dusty work clothes, safety shoes and carrying a disc grinder.

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How can separating parents make arrangements for their children?

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When an application is made to the court a Child Arrangements Order can determine who a child will ‘live with’ – this used to be known as Residence, and with whom they will ‘spend time’ – previously known as Contact. These types of Orders can cover the day to day care of the child, but also special times such as birthdays, holidays and Christmas.

When making an application to court, parents should first try and agree the arrangements, and this can be achieved at family mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, an application can be made to Court for a Child Arrangements Order.

An application is made to the court on a form C100, this form sets out the details of the parties involved and the children.  In this form you are asked to state what orders you are seeking. It is important to consider accessing legal advice before making this application. There is a separate form to complete if you allege harm or domestic violence.

Once the court has processed the application, the matter is listed for a hearing known as a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment. (FHDRA). The court will send a copy of the application to the other party and they should complete an acknowledgement form and return it to the court to confirm that they have seen the papers. Your matter is then before a Court and subject to a court timetable.

The court have powers to make a variety of orders in the child’s best interest and will be concerned to uphold the welfare of the child with regard to certain statutory factors. Court proceedings can be protracted and expensive, and legal advice is recommended.

At Onions & Davies solicitors we can advise and assist you in these matters, as Resolution members we aim to deal with matters in the most amicable way possible, and advocate that parents should be the ones who make the decisions for their children. We endeavour to provide pragmatic advice to help guide parents through what can be a very difficult and emotional time, so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their family.

If you wish to access family mediation, our Family mediator Louise Martin is Resolution trained and experienced in mediating children issues.

To obtain advice by appointment please do not hesitate to contact the family team on 01630 652405.

By Kim Mapperson, Solicitor

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Fireworks Season Approaches

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Firework Display & Safety
Firework displays should be enjoyable and spectacular occasions – but they obviously need some responsible planning. The good news is that there is straightforward guidance to help you.
If you are organising a major public event, you will clearly need a robust and detailed approach to planning as well as professional involvement. If you are holding a local firework display, such as those organised by many sports clubs, schools or parish councils, you still need to plan responsibly, but the same level of detail is not necessary or expected. Below are some tips and guidance to help you.

Before the event:
• Think about who will operate the display. There is no reason why you should not light a display yourselves provided it only contains fireworks in categories 1, 2 and 3. but remember, category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators. In untrained hands they can be lethal.
• Consider whether the site is suitable and large enough for your display, including a bonfire if you are having one. Is there space for the fireworks to land well away from spectators? Remember to check in daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. What is the direction of the prevailing wind? What would happen if it changed?
• Think about what you would do if things go wrong. Make sure there is someone who will be responsible for calling the emergency services
• Make sure you obtain the fireworks from a reputable supplier.
• If the display is to be provided by a professional firework display operator make sure that you are clear on who does what especially in the event of an emergency
• Ensure you have a suitable place to store the fireworks. Your firework supplier or local authority should be able to advise
• If you plan on selling alcohol the bar should be well away from the display site
On the day of the event:
• Recheck the site, weather conditions and wind direction
• Don’t let anyone into the zone where the fireworks will fall – or let anyone other than the display operator or firing team into the firing zone or the safety zone around it
• Discourage spectators from bringing drink onto the site
• Don’t let spectators bring their own fireworks onto the site
• If you will also have a bonfire at the display then you should:
o Check the structure is sound and does not have small children or animals inside it before lighting it
o Not use petrol or paraffin to light the fire
o Have only one person responsible for lighting the fire. That person, and any helpers, should wear suitable clothing e.g. a substantial outer garment made of wool or other low-flammable material.
o Make sure that the person lighting the fire and any helpers know what to do in the event of a burn injury or clothing catching fire
• Never attempt to relight fireworks. Keep well clear of fireworks that have failed to go off

The morning after:
• Carefully check and clear the site. Dispose of fireworks safely. They should never be burnt in a confined space (eg a boiler)
Additional points to consider if you are organising a major public display
For major displays, particularly those involving category 4 ‘professional’ fireworks or very large number of spectators, a more robust approach is obviously needed.
• Plan and mark out the areas for spectators, firing fireworks (and a safety zone around it) as well as an area where the fireworks will fall
• Think about how people will get into and out of the site. Keep pedestrian and vehicle routes apart if possible. Mark exit routes clearly and ensure they are well lit. Ensure emergency vehicles can get access to the site
• Appoint enough stewards/marshals. Make sure they understand what they are to do on the night and what they should do in the event of an emergency
• Contact the emergency services and local authority. If your site is near an airport you may need to contact them
• Signpost the first aid facilities

Insurance
Although it is not required by health and safety law, if you are holding a public firework display, it’s a good idea to have public liability insurance. Bear in mind that not all companies are used to dealing with this type of event, and as with any other type of insurance, it’s worth shopping around: look for a company that’s used to insuring firework and other public events – you are likely to get much better deal and avoid unsuitable terms and conditions. If you have difficulty with the standard insurance terms, TALK to your insurer and find a way forward; they can be very helpful.

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Onions & Davies are offering 10% off conveyancing services for members of the armed forces…

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Onions & Davies are offering 10% off conveyancing services for members of the armed forces buying under the Forces Help To Buy Scheme before the end of the year

The Forces Help to Buy Scheme is coming to an end in December 2018.

FHTB is the government’s home loan scheme, which was designed to assist military personnel to get on the property ladder.

It is a loan of up to £25,000 (a maximum of 50% of the member’s salary), which is usually taken out in addition to a mortgage, to facilitate the purchase of UK residential property only.

Further details of the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/forces-help-to-buy

Onions & Davies Solicitors are signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, @APPGCovenant, and, as part of our pledge, we offer a discount of 10% off our private client, family and mediation services to members of the armed forces, their families and veterans.

Currently, our pledge does not extend to our property services, which makes our current offer very special. It applies to members of the armed forces only (as clients will have to be serving military personnel to qualify for the FHTB scheme), until the end of December 2018 only.

Call our offices on 01630 652405 to speak with our property department and quote code AFC1 for the discount.

 

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