CAFCASS (Children and Families Court Advisory Support Service) has recently reported seeing a large number of new cases involving applications about contact and where children should live. In a single year, from October 2016 to October 2017, CAFCASS has seen a 16 percent increase.
One of the main reasons behind this is that people are applying to court themselves to save money and, through no fault of their own, are experiencing problems along the way. Many clients come to see me after they have started court proceedings, and the most common problems they have encountered are:
- Not understanding what happens in court
- Feeling pressurised into agreeing something
- Not completing the right forms in the first place
- Not ‘following up’ what is directed at court such as not preparing a statement or not obtaining medical evidence.
These issues can cause delay and even result in people having to ‘reapply’ for court orders.
While some people are wary of legal costs, they may not realise that legal aid is still available to certain people. Although it is true that there are now limitations about who can qualify for legal aid, for victims of domestic violence or when there are child protection concerns, legal aid can often be accessed. At The Family Law Company, we will assess you to see if you qualify for legal aid. Even if you don’t qualify, we can offer flexible payment arrangements.
Whatever happens, your initial appointment will always be free.
With the benefit of professional legal advice, people can be better guided about what applications to make and how to deal with issues thrown up during the court process.
Sometimes, going to court may not actually be necessary. It is often better to try to resolve the arrangements outside of court by using mediation or negotiating with the other parent. At The Family Law Company, we are good listeners and we will try to find solutions using alternative methods to court.
You may wish to view our video, Establishing Regular Contact with your Children. This gives you advice about the way forward, if you find yourself in a situation where you are facing problems seeing your children or getting them to stay with you.
If you require further information or advice in respect of this or any other family matter, please contact Imran Khodabocus on 01392 294851.