A toolkit for family breakdown in the lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds.  For couples who are struggling in their relationship, or trying to manage co-parenting, anxiety levels are likely to be heightened if it seems there is nowhere to turn, while personal movements are restricted and even the family courts are working remotely.  "For myself, and my colleagues across the country, being a family lawyer means being there for all the challenges, not just the day in court, and at this…

Private Fostering – A short guide

In 2000, the country was shocked to the core by the murder of 8-year-old Victoria Climbié. She was privately fostered with her great aunt, who had arranged a fostering agreement with the child’s parents. After this tragic case, legislation was swiftly introduced to stop another tragedy by ensuring that vulnerable children were placed in safe, secure homes, regardless of the relationship of the carer to the child. It also means that local authorities now have to be a part of any private fostering arrangement, regardless of whether or not it’s…

Back to school – what’s the law on uniform policies?

This can be a very expensive time of the year for parents, as their children have now all returned to school. Not only are there all the usual essentials to buy, but also those big-ticket purchases, like a new school uniform. The majority of schools in the UK have some form of dress code or uniform, and most are pretty strict about enforcing compliance from pupils, whether it’s a school tie or a top-to-toe uniform with strict rules on everything from the type of shoes worn to caps, personal jewellery,…

When can you let your kids fend for themselves?

If you’re a parent, you’ll be familiar with how long it takes to get your children ready to leave the house. Whether it’s setting up the pram for the baby, filling your bag with all the supplies you need or finding lost shoes, it can be a real pain to do anything quickly, especially if you have an appointment to get to, or shopping to buy. If only you could safely leave your child on their own and get those daily tasks done quickly. But where does the law stand…

The question of surrogacy in the UK

It’s an area of family law that isn’t often discussed in public. Indeed, many people incorrectly think that it’s still illegal in this country. But surrogacy is an accepted practice in England and throughout the UK, as long as it isn’t done for profit. However, in June the Law Commission of England and Wales, along with the Scottish Law Commission announced that surrogacy laws were falling behind the times, were unfit for purpose, and need a complete overhaul. The intention with any review of the surrogacy laws is to ensure…

MIAM – What you need to know about family mediation

Family breakups are, without doubt, one of the most stressful and upsetting processes anyone can go through. This is particularly true if there are children involved, and/or the separation is not amicable. Divorce can be a long, drawn-out process that can also hit your finances hard, especially if every communication is done through a solicitor. ‘Quickie’ divorces are not as easy to arrange as you may think and if you’re heading for the family law courts, you have to go through a period of mediation beforehand. MIAM was introduced in…

Change in divorce law looks set to stop the blame game

The news that no-fault divorce is likely to become law has been welcomed, but while the legislation waits for its place in the parliamentary calendar, families must continue to deal with one party being ‘blamed’ for the breakup or wait for the change in the law. And with the parliamentary calendar full of another divorce - the UK’s departure from the EU – no date has been given for debating the proposed changes. Official statistics show that almost half of divorce petitions between 2016 and 2018 cited behaviour as the…

Interview with Vikram Kumar of our Family department

Interview with Vikram Kumar, Solicitor in our Family Law department Q: How long have you worked at Bowling & Co? A: Since October 2013. Q: What aspects of law first attracted you to the profession? A: The ability to help others by finding practical solutions to dealing with their matters with the benefit of knowledge and experience of the legal issues related to them. Q: Who (or what) inspired you? A: Watching my parents as I grew up working very hard to provide for my brother and me. Q: How…

What rights do absent parents have if they come back into a child’s life after several years’ away?

The concept of a traditional family unit has changed, and, in some situations, this can give rise to problems. Figures from 2016 suggest that not only does it have a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of the family unit, but it has a financial impact too. According to the Relationships Foundation’s report ‘The Cost of Family Failure Index’, the economic impact of family breakdown in 2016 was higher than the UK defence budget, at an astonishing £48billion. That breaks down to an individual cost for each and every taxpayer…

Who chooses whether your kids gets vaccinated?

For decades, vaccinations have been regarded as the most important form of defence against childhood illnesses like measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). And for decades, parents happily vaccinated their kids to protect them (and others) without question. Then, around 10 years ago, serious doubts began to be raised as to the safety of vaccines by the now-discredited Andrew Wakefield, who called into question the safety and validity of combination vaccines like MMR. Despite the research eventually being proven to be full of errors and, in fact, flat-out wrong, some parents…

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