Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's The Deal with Holiday Contact for the non resident parent?

This can be an area of never ending dispute.Something that should be a pleasure turns into a battle. When parents separate some find it hard to accept that the other parent - who has different parenting values, skills and attitudes has a say in their child's upbringing. Couples who stay together argue over their differing parenting styles so this can become so much more acute when they are no longer a unit. The battle can be over winning - proving that they are right and they lose touch with the fact that a child is in the middle - suffering.

Here's what  happens:

1. Mum wants to know every detail of who is travelling, where they are staying etc but thinks nothing of moving her new boyfriend into her home without dad being told anything about him. 

2. Mum refuses to release the passport.

3. Mum refuses to allow the child to go skiing with dad.

4. Mum considers it is her right to veto what dad chooses to do.

5. Dad refuses to allow a change in the contact order (child care arrangements order Since April 2014) so that mum can take the children to Disneyland for 2 weeks

6. Dad refuses to allow the children to miss school and this is the only time mum can afford to go.

This is about the child's life. In every case if asked the child would respond:

"I want to go and I don't want to be in the middle and I don't want my parents to fight.  It's all my fault - if I had not been born they would not be fighting".

If the parent's cannot agree there is only one solution - an emergency Court Application. This can be effective and Judges are well used to dealing with such disputes. The Government likes people to Mediate - particularly in Children Act Applications.  Sometimes there is not time to Mediate. Sometimes the other party can deliberately delay matters with no intention of Mediating. Whatever the circumstances a Court Application can be made quickly if appropriate. Each case is decided on its own facts and the overriding principle is what is in the child's best interest. Where parent's views differ sometimes a judge is needed to decide.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Is £700,000.00 legal fees value for money?

Here is a post that was lying fallow in my draft box:

A Judge has expressed despair over a wealthy family that have legal fees in excess of £700,000.00 and their case is still focused on a preliminary issue as reported in The Telegraph

This is a long marriage of 43 years and involves the wife objecting to the husband gifting assets to their son which she deems unfair to her and her daughters. The husband lacks capacity and may need to be represented by the official solicitor.  He is worth £50 million, so perhaps the cost of £500000 each to gain millions is a price worth paying, or maybe they just need to fight.

Litigation involves a dilemma of mindset. The wife has a claim.  In simple terms her claim may be £80 out of a total of £100. She would accept £70. The husband believes she is due no more than £50 so he will risk £30 to avoid the guaranteed loss of £20. The wife will accept the guaranteed loss of £10 for the guaranteed gain of £20 in her offer. The closer the litigation gets the more likely the wife is to settle and the more likely the husband is to gamble.The dilemma of the defendant - although the risk of loss is a greater probability the thought of victory takes over.

What would you do if it was the last day of your life?

Settle or gamble?

Family litigation is a gamble.

Life is a game.

Make sure you are playing by the same rules.  When the knives are out they are out and turning back can become an impossibility.

You may win but at what cost?  And I am not talking about money...

What I do:

Outline the best and worst case.

Give you the odds.

Give my advice and opinion.

If you pay for advice the choice of whether you follow it or not is yours... after all it is only money.