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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Collaborative Law (4)

Wednesday
Sep102014

Food for thought

The encouragement by the judiciary to utilise alternative dispute resolution and collaborative law in matrimonial matters has seen an increase in separating couples attempting to resolve matters themselves by way of informal discussions without legal representation.

There are, however, potential traps for the unwary. The husband in the recently reported case of BE v DE would not have anticipated that a meeting with his wife at a restaurant would be used against him in later proceedings.

The case turned on whether the restaurant meeting was carried out on a “without prejudice” basis. The wife thought that the meeting was to try and get the relationship back on track, but the husband came to discuss a financial agreement he had prepared. Crucially, if the meeting was determined to be on a without prejudice basis the wife would not be able to refer to the document within court proceedings. The court decided that the meeting was not without prejudice and as such the wife was entitled to refer to the document produced by the husband at the restaurant, which was harmful to his case.

This decision is a reminder of how important it is for separating couples to tread carefully and seek advice at an early stage. If documents or discussions between a couple are not on a without prejudice basis they could be referred to in later proceedings.  Advice at an early stage will identify the various options for resolving disputes.  If an informal meeting is to take place, which may be an excellent way to resolve issues, consider whether you should seek advice and devise a strategy so as to avoid storing up problems for a later date.

For more information please contact Melanie Pilmer, a solicitor in the Greene & Greene Family and Matrimonial Team on 01284 717418 ~ melaniepilmer@greene-greene.com ~ @greenegreenelaw.

Wednesday
May072014

Child Arrangement Orders - All Change?

As from the 22nd April 2014 Residence and Contact Orders in family cases have been consigned to the history books and replaced by the new Child Arrangements Order. So what has changed?

The Child Arrangements Order will regulate with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact and when that will take place. The Court will be making the same decisions as before, but the reason for the change is to remove the labels of “residence” and “contact”. There is encouragement for parents to resolve matters amicably and the new legislation confirms parents must attempt mediation before issuing Court proceedings.

There is a new presumption of parental involvement. It will be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement either direct or indirect of the parent in the life of a child will benefit the child’s welfare. The welfare of the child remains paramount in making any decision.

This presumption does not mean any particular division of a child’s time is required. Will this lead to more shared parenting decisions? Perhaps not – the Court has for a long time started from a viewpoint that it is normally in a child’s best interests to have both parents involved in their life.

What if you already have a Residence or Contact Order? From 22nd April this will be treated as a Child Arrangements Order. A Residence Order will be treated as an Order that provides with whom and when a child is to live with a person and a Contact Order will be treated as with whom and when a child is to spend or otherwise have contact with a person. The legality of these older Orders will not be affected, they will remain valid and enforceable.

For more information please contact Melanie Pilmer, a solicitor in the Greene & Greene Family and Matrimonial Team on 01284 717418 ~ melaniepilmer@greene-greene.com ~ @greenegreenelaw.

Thursday
Jan092014

THE DEATH OF THE CSA

As from 29th July 2013, the Child Support Agency stopped accepting new cases. The much maligned CSA is now in the process of winding down. Notices will be sent out from April 2014 to those with assessments under the old regime (CS1 and CS2) confirming that their cases will be closed. Those cases will be migrated over to the new “CS3” system, which will be administered by the Child Maintenance Service.

CS3 is different in a number of respects:

  1. The simple calculation of 15%, 20% or 25% of net income will be abolished. CS3 involves much more complicated calculations based on gross income (however, pension contributions can be deducted).
  2. The new “basic rate” calculation first looks at gross income up to £800.00 per week and then calculates it on varying rates dependent on how many children there are. If the paying party has gross income of between £800-£3,000.00 per week, a deduction is then made from that “additional” income at the basic rate. The resulting figure is then reduced for any other children living in the paying parent’s household (including children of the new partner/step children) and for shared care. No more simple calculations!
  3. When a paying parent earns in excess of £156,000.00 gross per annum, the parent with care can apply to the Court for a “top up” in addition to the Child Maintenance assessed by the Child Maintenance Service.
  4. The new system will use information lodged with HMRC.
  5. The most widely reported change has been that the Child Maintenance Service proposes to charge both parents for using its facilities. Although the final details of the charging structure have not yet been approved, it is believed that all applicants will pay a £20.00 fee. The service will then impose a 20% collection charge which will be levied against the paying parent in addition to the Child Maintenance payments. The service will also deduct 4% of the maintenance received by the “resident” parent. This will be payable on all ongoing payments.
  6. The Government has been promoting its Child Maintenance “options” programme which encourages parents to make their own agreements regarding Child Support. Given the imposition of collection charges upon both parents, there is a significant financial advantage, to agree Child Maintenance.

Juliet has been a part of the Greene & Greene firm since joining in 1988. Dealing primarily with family matters and child related disputes, Juliet’s recent work includes dealing with divorce, cohabitation disputes and child cases following separation of parents.

Also find Juliet on:      Google +        LinkedIn         Twitter

The Family Team at Greene & Greene can advise on the likely amount that the Child Maintenance Service would order under the new scheme and have significant experience in negotiating Maintenance Agreements. For further information, please contact Kate Chandler - 01284 717513 | Stuart Hughes - 01284 717493 |

Tuesday
Jan032012

Be constructive, not destructive

The new year can be far from happy for couples experiencing difficulties in their marriage and for some the additional stress that the festive season brings can be the last straw. Kate Chandler, head of family law and family mediator explores the options for those who say 'enough is enough'.

Click to read more ...