Family Law – Severn Valley Business Group

Tag: Family Law

Christmas and the kids

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As a separated parent, it can be difficult to agree Christmas arrangements with the other parent. The perception of what is fair and even between you may be very different, and there may be wider family events to throw into the mix, as well as handovers, Christmas presents and school events to negotiate.

We know that Christmas is not an easy time for everyone, and this can be made worse when you still feel ‘at war’ with the other parent.

We can offer help with this in Family Mediation whereby our Resolution trained Mediator, Louise Martin, can manage your discussions about Christmas, or any similar family issues, in a safe, secure mediation setting at our offices.

To book an appointment, or for more details about resolving disputes outside of court proceedings using family mediation, contact Louise at


Family Mediation – How can it help you?

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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


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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January 8th: The Most Popular Day to Start Divorce Proceedings?

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It is a sad fact of every divorce lawyer’s job to expect a flurry of enquiries and appointments each year after the festive period. This is not a time for lawyers to ‘cash in’ on other’s misfortune. A good family lawyer will know that the breakdown of a relationship at any time of year can be an extremely upsetting time for families.

The festive period can often be the point where relationship issues reach their peak because of the expectation, promise and stress that Christmas time can bring. Families spend intense periods of time together. Often what should be a celebration can end in adversity.

Our Family department is prepared to help. The skill sets of our family solicitors are a valuable resource to clients at this time. We know that clients who come to us may feel uncertain, upset and confused. We offer sensible and practical legal advice and the options available.

It may be that relationship advice or family mediation is what is needed and we have the tools to signpost you to appropriate third parties who can help. One of the UK’s most recognisable relationship charities, Relate, has reported a significant increase in enquires in January and have recently tweeted about the issue.

Divorce is never a decision we encourage our clients to take lightly. A relationship breakdown can raise many more issues than whether to divorce, including finances and children issues. Clients might want to know whether one of them should move out of the family home. How the mortgage and other bills will be met. These may be more of a priority for them to consider initially. Clients might be worried about the impact of any separation on their children. With whom will the children live? When will the children spend time with the non-resident parent? Often these issues give rise to other concerns such as access to the home, the ability of the parties to communicate to make decisions together for their children and perhaps their home and finances.

Sometimes, what a client needs at that initial appointment is a friendly, knowledgeable ear to listen and advise with complete confidence, to their situation. Thereafter, perhaps time to come to terms with the way forward. Our appointments are no-obligation and we work at the pace our family law clients need.

Louise Martin is Head of Family at Onions & Davies Ltd. She has over 12 years’ experience of family law, including separation and divorce issues, finances and children’s issues. Louise also acts as a Family Mediator and brings a conciliatory approach to her legal cases, combined with a robust handling of the case. She provides clear and helpful guidance, whether this just be at a no-obligation initial appointment, or a contested finances, children matter or domestic violence matter. Call 01630 652405 for an appointment with Louise.


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