Family Law Advice & Advocacy You Can Trust
There is usually nothing more important to people than their family. This is why there is often nothing more important than resolving the myriad sensitive legal issues that surround families.
Every member of Scott-Moncrieff’s expert team of specialist family lawyers is committed to resolving family disputes non-confrontationally, quickly and sensitively. This translates into always choosing problem-solving routes such as mediation first and only going to court as the very last resort.
This approach can lessen the strain on the family and can help them see a way through the issues.
Family law issues – from divorce to adoption – can present as many psychological, emotional, practical and financial challenges as legal problems. Our solicitors are committed to working in partnership with professionals from other disciplines to ensure your family benefits from a holistic approach.
Our lawyers have extensive experience across the whole spectrum of family law issues, including:
- civil partnerships
- financial, property and pension issues arising from divorce
- private law disputes about children
- domestic violence
- child protection and care proceedings
Several of our lawyers belong to the Law Society Family Law Panel and all are members of the family lawyers’ group Resolution. We provide family law services throughout England, serving clients in London, Greater London, Essex, Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Fylde Coast, Preston, South Wales Leicester, Nottingham and Lancashire.
What are the legal steps involved in getting divorced?
Going through a relationship break-up – whether you’re married, in a civil partnership or have made a long-term commitment – is inevitably painful and distressing. At a time when you’re trying to cope with the end of a relationship, you’re also expected to tackle the legal and practical consequences – difficult issues such as agreeing where any children will live, sorting out the finances, dividing up possessions and potentially selling the family home.
Ideally, all these issues will be resolved in the course of mediation. But if an amicable agreement can’t be reached, we’ll help you take the necessary legal steps to ensure that your ex-partner or -spouse has to stick to what’s been agreed.
If necessary, our solicitors can draw up Child Arrangement Orders if residence and/or contact prove problematic. We have the expertise to advise on any contentious problems, such as when one parent wants to change a child’s name, move him/her to a different school or even remove them from the English jurisdiction permanently.
Our private law expertise has included managing complex legal problems involving parental alienation, intractable disputes and other cases where the court has had to appoint a guardian to represent the interests of the children.
We’re Thinking of Adopting. What is the Legal Process?
Married couples and those in civil partnerships are able to adopt if Social Services deem them to be suitable. It’s an exciting process, but it can also be a lengthy one. The good news is that Scott-Moncrieff’s expert team can support you from the outset, explaining the ins-and-outs and providing expert legal advice as the process evolves.
Our highly-respected team includes a lawyer who acts as legal advisor to a voluntary adoption agency, as well as elected members of the BAAF Legal Advisory Committee and of the Law Society Children Law Panel. We also have experience of dealing with adoptions from overseas.
When you decide you want to adopt you’ll first need to register. Then there’s the checking stage and, if you’re approved, training and a period when the child with whom you’ve been matched makes regular visits so you can get to know each other.
In most cases you’ll be able to apply to the courts for an Adoption Order after 10 weeks, although some families choose to wait longer so that everyone can adjust. Once your Adoption Order has been granted, the child is considered to be legally adopted. This means that you assume full parental responsibility and that the child can take your name.
I Need Legal Advice About a Child Protection Issue
We specialise in child care proceedings and will offer expert support and advice if your children and family are involved with Social Services. We have experience of representing parents, as well as other relatives and the child itself. We are caring, discrete and knowledgeable.
Our solicitors' track record in child protection includes emergency protection orders when a situation reaches crisis point. We’ve also taken out care and supervision orders, discharge of care orders and managed the legal issues around contact with a child in care, wardship and consent to medical treatment.
Our lawyers have many years’ experience of the many complexities of this area of the law – something that will give you confidence and reassurance when you’re dealing with distressing and disturbing problems.
I Feel at Risk at Home. What Legal Steps Can I Take?
Our family law team includes lawyers who’ve regularly represented victims of domestic violence and who work closely with domestic abuse charities including Women’s Aid, Refuge and the Gaia Centre in London. This means we have at our fingertips all the legal steps needed to protect a woman who’s at risk, as well as any children who might be involved.
It’s not unusual for domestic abuse situations to reach crisis point before the woman seeks help and our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to intervene and take prompt action. We’ll act decisively and sensitively, taking account of your particular circumstances so that you’re able to concentrate on looking after yourself.
Of course, no two cases are the same. We’ll advise on the best way forward for you, acting with empathy and understanding at all times so that you feel confident you have a legal expert who’s really on your side and who’s taking account of all the complexities of your particular situation.
How can I fund my case? Your Legal Aid Solicitors
In all care cases, Legal Aid is free if you are a child, a parent or a person with parental responsibility, regardless of income or capital. In other cases being able to claim Legal Aid will depend on your income, so will probably involve a means test.
If you have to fund your case privately, we’ll advise on the best way forward. Our solicitors understand that affordability is an important issue, so we’ll keep you fully up-to-date on costs at every stage, so there are no nasty surprises at the end.