LEGAL EAGLE: Family split leads to negotiation
My partner and I split up around seven months ago and we have two children. When we split up my partner decided that she would take the children to live with her and I reluctantly agreed because I thought it would be better for them to be with their Mam. Our relationship could be quite volatile and once during an argument my partner pushed me and I hit my head on a cupboard. I tried to arrange regular contact with the children every weekend as I work during the week. Sometimes my partner lets me see the children but she can be very fickle and only arranges contact when she feels like it. She texts me at the last minute cancelling contact, and I haven't had contact with the children now for a month because she has continually cancelled on me. I am desperate to see the children. What can I do about this and can I get legal aid?
When a family separates, it can be very difficult to work things out, and make sure that decisions are made in the best interests of the children. If things cannot be sorted out amicably, then it is important to speak to a solicitor who specialises in family law and has experience in assisting people with these sorts of issues.
Unfortunately legal aid will only be available to assist you if you can provide very specific evidence that you have suffered domestic abuse from your ex-partner, or that your children are at risk of abuse. You will also need to be financially eligible. This will be explored with you when you call a solicitor.
If this evidence cannot be obtained, then the first option to consider is mediation. The mediator is not a judge, but someone who listens to both sides and helps the two of you to focus on the children and find a solution. If one of you is financially eligible for legal aid this may be free. It is best to try mediation first, as often this can be successful and it could save you money.
If mediation is not successful, and you are not eligible for legal aid, then many solicitors have a range of fixed fee packages to assist. This starts with negotiation with your ex-partner to see if this can be resolved. If this cannot be resolved through negotiation, court proceedings can then be considered, and you should discuss the funding options for this with your solicitor.
Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors has many specialist Family Law Solicitors that can advise on issues such as contact and domestic abuse. To speak to a Solicitor please ring 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for more information.