Nicola Jones-King, as Head of the Division, is very pleased to announce that the team have been shortlisted for this national award, in recognition of what the team stands for and the high standards of legal service everyone continued to provide to clients throughout the pandemic lockdown and through the merger of the two businesses. She says “these have been challenging months in many ways, with the new pressures of remote working and juggling family and work within a changing world where most client work began virtual overnight, and with huge rises in care and domestic abuse clients needing help. That the team had been able to adapt so well to new ways of working, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of every member, and the true team spirit and cooperation between everyone that makes this team the best group of family lawyers, who are a joy to manage and being nationally recognised, is justly deserved”
As part of Taylor Rose TTKW Ltd, an ABS, we advise clients across a wide range of services. Taylor Rose McMillan Williams is a multi-branch law firm with 32 offices, covering Cumbria to Sussex, with headquarters in Peterborough and London.
The specialist Family team undertake publicly funded certificated work and private Family work: from Abduction, Adoption, Care, Child Arrangements, Divorce, Forced Marriages, FGM issues, Family Law Act applications, Financial Remedies through to Wardship. The team has a strong reputation in Care Proceedings, with nine Children Panel Solicitors; Nicola Jones-King, Amarjit Ryatt, Sheila Gulliver, Sarah, Newens, Barbara Macdonald, Charlotte Collier, Elen Davies, Lisa Ursell, Keeley Lengthorn; with two others working towards their applications. And works with a number of domestic abuse organisations, providing Pro-Bono Legal advice; Family Justice Centre (FJC), Bromley One Stop Shop, Chelmsford Law Clinic, Anglia Ruskin University, Next Chapter, FLOWS, The Link Café, Safer Places and Southend-on-Sea Domestic Abuse Projects (SOSDAP), who refer Clients directly as we will go the extra mile for each one.
It is a testament to the team that we are being sought out as the firm that can ensure protection for victims the quickest, having not allowed the constraints of working remotely to impact the quality of service provided to those who are in desperate need. This period has shown the enhanced skills and dedication of our team, whose commitment and innovation, has allowed our clients to be supported throughout.
Solicitor in Family and Child Law, Anesha Pavaday has shed some clarity on some common questions relating to Non-Molestation Orders.
You can apply for a Non-Molestation order to protect you from abuse against an 'associated person'. An associated person is any of the following:
The order lasts for a fixed term, which is typically 6 months or a year. However, it can last until a further order of the court is served or in some cases, indefinitely.
The order does not show on a DBS check unless it has been breached. A breach of a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence and the offender can face a fine and/or imprisonment or up to five years.
There is no court fee for a Non-Molestation Order, but there is a small fee involved for a Solicitor to prepare your application and represent you at Court. If you are on low income, you may be eligible for legal aid to cover the cost of your legal fees. If you are not eligible for legal aid, we do provide competitive and affordable prices. You can contact us here to receive a quote.
A Restraining Order and a Non-Molestation Order both offer protection from domestic abuse. The main difference is that a Non-Molestation Order is granted by the Family Court and a Restraining Order is granted by the Criminal Court.
You can remove a Non-Molestation Order by applying to the Court to discharge the order.
A Non-Molestation Order will not offer protection until your abuser is aware of the order. To ensure the abuser is aware of the order a process server is instructed to hand deliver a copy of the order to the abuser. This is so we can be sure he/she has received it and is aware of the terms of the order.
If you are looking for advice on applying for a Non-Molestation Order, or you have had one served against you, please contact Anesha Pavaday in our Eastbourne office on 020 3551 8090.
If you are suffering from domestic violence, there are places that can offer their support. In the case of an emergency, we would always recommend you call 999.
Refuge are a charity who run the UK Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24 hours a day. In addition there is a program called 'safe spaces' which enables women to have support resources available to them in public places. Male victims of abuse can also contact Mankind for support. They offer a confidential helpline as well as other support for victims.
Under the Law of England and Wales there is only 1 ground for Divorce and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. In order to prove this, petitioners can rely on 1 of the following 5 facts:
There are 4 main stages of the Divorce Process:
Being divorced means that you are free to legally re-marry. Matrimonial finances are dealt with separately to a Divorce. A Decree absolute will not automatically end the financial claims that you and your and your spouse may have against each other by virtue of your marriage. It it therefore a good idea to resolve the issue of matrimonial finances simultaneously with your Divorce.
We understand the importance of dealing with these matters sensitively, and we have a specialist matrimonial team on hand to help you at your own pace.
Please contact Lauren Rigby at our Wallington office on 020 3551 8053. Click here to read more about the services we offer.
Nicola Jones-King, Head of the Division is very pleased to announce that the team has been shortlisted for a Law Society Excellence award within the Family and Children Division, in recognition of what the team has done to promote access to justice, particularly during the pandemic which has impacted victims of domestic violence and children at risk during the lockdown. Nicola says “the last few months have seen major changes for everyone, and family justice is no expectation, the sad fact is that the lockdown has had substantial impacted on those most vulnerable, with marked increases in those seeking protection from domestic violence, forced marriage, the return of children after contact and social services proceedings. At such times the need to be able to access experience and sensitive legal advice is even more important. Everyone in the team has worked hard to be accessible and to adapt to the shifting need and the new challenges of remote advice, different formats for hearings and flexible hours, to meet those increased needs. Being shortlisted for such an important award that recognises those who go the extra mile to ensure the most vulnerable in society are not denied justice, is one of the most important things any solicitor can do. It goes to the core of what makes the profession such an essential element of the welfare state, by ensuring the sort of safeguards that are all too often taken for granted, are there when people need them, is a real achievement. Having been a campaigner on legal aid issues for much of my own career, I am particularly proud that my team are shortlisted for their efforts in this area”
MW part of the Taylor Rose group, advises clients across a wide range of services. Taylor Rose McMillan Williams is a multi-branch law firm with 31 offices, covering Cumbria to Sussex, with headquarters in London. A specialist Family Law team undertake publicly funded certificated work and private family work across all types of family law from Abduction, Adoption, Care, Child Arrangements, Divorce, Forced Marriages, FGM issues, Family Law Act applications, Financial Remedies through to Wardship.
We are a strong, dedicated team of lawyers with a commitment to Legal Aid, and an emphasis on growing young lawyers. We have recruited 1-2 Newly Qualified Solicitors each year, for the last 5 years, from within our training programme, and brought in NQ’s qualifying in other firms, to build a robust team and nurture new Legal Aid Family Solicitors. They have developed close links with agencies in the geographical areas they cover; each has a responsibility for a location and works to be embedded in that community, which we strongly believe is the key to clients feeling confident that their needs are understood. We encourage quality staff by having Solicitors with specialist memberships and active committee engagement, to offer the best levels of service, by being Children Panel, Family Panel and Resolution accredited. We are members of the Association of Lawyers for Children and we’re involved in committee work at all levels of Resolution including ‘YRes’. Members of the team work with Local Family Justice Boards, the Family Drug & Alcohol Court, and other Family Justice organisations. We have an enviable reputation in Care Proceedings, with nine Children Panel Solicitors; Nicola Jones-King, Amarjit Ryatt, Sheila Gulliver, Sarah, Newens, Barbara Macdonald, Charlotte Collier, Elen Davies, Lisa Ursell, Keeley Lengthorn; with two others working towards their applications.
We work with a number of domestic abuse organisations, providing Pro-Bono Legal advice; Family Justice Centre (FJC), Bromley One Stop Shop, Chelmsford Law Clinic, Anglia Ruskin University, Next Chapter, The Link Café, Safer Places and Southend-on-Sea Domestic Abuse Projects (SOSDAP), who refer Clients directly as we will go the extra mile for each one. We are members of FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) offering online domestic abuse advice and representation.
The team has shown an overwhelming commitment to helping the increasing number of victims of domestic violence, during this current national health crisis; very quickly adapting to new working methods and managing to prepare and lodge applications for Non-Molestation, Occupation Orders & Forced Marriage Protection Orders within 1-2 days, to achieve protection for the most vulnerable. We quickly adopted Zoom, Teams & Skype, and were able to offer remote advice immediately, with court applications and representations continuing. It is a testament to the team that we are being sought out as the firm that can ensure protection for victims quickly, having not allowed the constraints of working remotely to impact quality of service provided to those who are in desperate need. This period has shown the enhanced skills and dedication of our team, whose commitment and innovation, has allowed our clients to be supported throughout.
David Hall congratulates Nicola Jones-King, Head of Family & Child at McMillan Williams, who has been shortlisted for The Law Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Law Society’s Excellence Awards is a nationwide annual programme that celebrate the work of solicitors and showcase the best of the profession across England and Wales. The lifetime achievement award recognises effective contribution towards the work of the profession.
Nicola, who heads up a thriving department of 28 talented lawyers at McMillan Williams, which is part of the Taylor Rose TTKW group, provides family, separation, financial remedy, children , care both private and Legal Aid services across 26 offices nationwide.
David commented "Nicola is an incredibly hard working and dedicated lawyer who over the many years I have known her has always been committed to making a difference to the lives of a huge number of children and families she represents. She manages not only a large personal caseload but one of the largest legally aided family teams in the country, and this never fails to impress me.”
Nicola, who is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children and now Honorary Life-Time Vice President, commented “Being shortlisted is a real honour and recognises the many years of work at the coal face of high street practice and in particular work on legal aid policy issues nationally where I have campaigned to ensure desperate families have access to specialist representation in the family courts, and that young lawyers get the training and support they need to become the next generation of quality legal aid practitioners, I wish the best of luck to all shortlisted, we are a formidable group that shows what the profession can achieve”
Nicola was involved in negotiations with the Legal Services Commission along with other family law organisations over fixed fees and Legal Aid funding. She is also on the Pan London Family Drug & Alcohol Court Steering Committee and involved in supporting the setting up of the FDAC service across South London. She sits on Resolution’s National Legal Aid Committee, contributing to recent challenges & issues for Legal Aid applications, gateway evidence and financial pressures for providers during COVID-19; recent work has included working on the updating of Prior Authority Guidance in Family and the updated VHCC schemes in Family. She has also contributed to recent MOJ work on intermediary use and about to contribute to HMCTS digital work on a case management system for Care cases. She has trained a number of young lawyers many of whom remain in family law in both private firms and local authority’s.
Her team work with a number of domestic abuse organisations, providing Pro-Bono legal advice; Family Justice Centre (FJC), Bromley One Stop Shop, Chelmsford Law Clinic, Anglia Ruskin University, Next Chapter, The Link Café, Safer Places and Southend-on-Sea Domestic Abuse Projects (SOSDAP), who refer Clients directly as the team will go the extra mile for each one. They are members of FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) offering online domestic abuse advice and representation. And where at the forefront of pushing HRA claims within care proceedings, with Barbara MacDonald being involved in a leading case, and Nicola Jones-King working on the issue with the LAA and training on the issues at ALC conference. The ability to refer to other specialists within the firm (Crime, Civil, Actions Against Public Bodies), means the team offers the client a full service. Links with referrers allows Nicola and her team to provide clients with a holistic advice and support, be that around housing, refuge accommodation, benefits advice or updates from the local police. This enables them to make urgent Court applications, so vulnerable clients are immediately protected.
Nicola has been a solicitor since 1993 and has specialised in family law throughout, as she says she started work when the Children Act came into force and hasn’t looked back since! Although over the last 20 years this has been primarily in public law care proceedings and adoption, where she represents children, parents, adoption agencies and families in courts across the South East.
For more information on the Awards and to see the winners announcement on the 13th October click here.
Forced marriage is illegal and can cause both physical and emotional trauma to victims. Shaheen Marriott, Family and Child Law Solicitor, answers some frequently asked questions on the issue that is Forced Marriage below.
It can be hard to spot, as arrangements are often made in secret. This is to ensure that the victim does not know they are being set up to be married. Common indicators of risk can be:
A forced marriage is sometimes referred to as an 'arranged marriage'. However, a forced marriage is where an individual is given no choice about the marriage.
An arranged marriage can be done with the individual's knowledge and consent to the arrangement, and can involve the individual's families and social groups when selecting a potential partner.
A forced marriage is a marriage which takes place against your will. It can be a marriage that you agreed to, but only due to having no choice in the matter or made to do under pressure from family, social or religious groups.
Countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa are typically linked to the concept of forced marriages, however, it is important to be alert to the issue as it can (and does) take place in Western Countries as well.
It is an order made to protect a person who has been, is at risk of, or is being forced into a marriage against their will. The order will impose restrictions against family members to prevent them from being able to carry out the marriage. It can also put in place other measures, such as the surrender of passports.
It is usual practice to serve the Court Order on the Passport Office to that any attempt by the family to remove the victim from the Country can be prevented. Orders can be made as part of other family court proceedings or as an application, and often are considered without the respondents being told in advance. This is to ensure that the order is there to protect the person at risk first. Breaches of these orders can lead to arrest and prosecution.
You can obtain a Forced Marriage Protection Order under the Family Law Act 1996 and the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. These acts were brought in to give the Court the power to make orders to protect people at risk of forced marriage. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 made forced marriage a criminal offence in England, Scotland and Wales.
If you have any further queries on the above, or are looking to obtain legal support and guidance, please contact Shaheen Marriott based in our Sevenoaks office on 020 3551 8443. Alternatively, you can contact us here.
There are many organisations that are able to provide support and assistance to victims of forced marriage. If it is an emergency, it is always advised to call 999 in the first instance.
We understand that relationships can break down, and whilst many couples may separate, they may not know that they can do so legally. Partner and Collaborative Lawyer, Georgina Earle-Hutton shares some insight into Legal Separation below.
The correct term for a legal separation is judicial separation. A judicial separation is a legal process whereby a married couple or parties in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership can legally separate without divorcing or dissolving their civil partnership.
Unlike divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, there are no time limits. Therefore, parties can apply for a judicial separation at any time after their marriage or registration of their civil partnership and can continue to be judicially separated until either party applies for a divorce.
There are a number of reasons why parties to a marriage or a civil partnership may not want to get divorced. These may be because of:
The main disadvantage of a judicial separation as opposed to a divorce is that the parties are still married. This means that in the event of either party finding a new partner, they will be unable to remarry until decree absolute has been pronounced, or in the case of a civil partnership, the civil partnership has been dissolved.
Although the Court can make financial provision orders for parties to a judicial separation in respect of their assets unlike in divorce proceedings or civil partnership proceedings, the Court is unable to make any orders in respect of either parties pensions. Therefore a parties pension which may be a valuable and considerable matrimonial asset would remain the sole property of each party. That asset could be drawn down, cashed in or dissipated, thereby defeating a claim of a party at a later date in divorce proceedings.
Our family specialists offer a 1 hour fixed fee consultation in which our specialists will be able to provide you with further legal advice. They can advise you in relation to considering whether a judicial separation is the appropriate option for you, or whether a divorce would be more appropriate to your situation.
Please contact us on 020 3551 8500 so that we can make a mutually convenient appointment for you or contact us here to see how we can assist you.
Georgina Earle-Hutton, Partner and Collaborative Lawyer within our Family and Child division explains the history of Civil Partnerships. She also answers some frequently asked questions on what they are and how you can enter into one.
Yes, but that was not always the case. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 permitted same-sex couples to legalise their relationship by registering a Civil Partnership. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (MSSCA) granted upon same-sex couples the right to marry. The introduction of this Act created a discriminatory anomaly in that same-sex couples had greater rights than heterosexual couples.
Two attempts were made to introduce a Private Members Bill to rectify this anomaly in 2016, both of which were unsuccessful. However, the case of Stienfeld and Keidan evoked the wheel of change by seeking Judicial Review proceedings of the Government's failure to extend Civil Partnerships to different sex couples.
They argued that the introduction of the MSSCA rendered the provisions of the Civil Partnership Act which confined Civil Partnership to same-sex couples incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) when read in conjunction with Article 14. When appealed to the Supreme Court (the highest Court in England and Wales) the five judges presiding over the case found in their favour.
The Government responded by introducing the new Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples Regulation 2019) which amended the then Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowing heterosexual couples to form a Civil Partnership.
|Bound to provisions set out in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 + Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019.||Bound to provisions set out in the Marriage act 1949 + Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.|
|Registered by signing a document whereby no words are exchanged.||Exchanging vows formalises ceremony.|
|A civil event whereby there is no religious ceremony needed.||Religious or Civil ceremony can be followed.|
|No giving away of a Bride.||Bride is traditionally given away by Father.|
|Both parents names are on the Civil Partnership Certificate.||Parties Father's names only on the Marriage certificate.|
|Parties referred to as Civil Partners.||Parties referred to as Husband and Wife.|
A Civil Partnership is a recognised relationship between either same-sex or heterosexual couples that is legally registered. It gives the couples the legal rights and responsibilities of that of a married couple should the relationship break down.
Heterosexual couples can enter a Civil Partnership at any stage providing they are over the age of 16. If you are under the age of 18 then Parental/Guardian consent is required.
i. You will need to give notice of your intention to form a Civil Partnership at least 29 days before your ceremony, you need to pay the fee which is currently £35 per person. The fee is £47 per person if either party is:
a) from outside the EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland and
b) you need to obtain a Visa to live in the UK; and
c) you do not have a Civil Partnership or family Visa.
ii. Notice must be given to your local Registry Office.
iii. You must have lived in the Registration district for the past 7 days. You and your partner will need to give notice separately if you live in different Registration districts. Notice does not need to be given on the same day.
Additional requirements will apply if either your partner or yourself are from outside the EU, European Economic Area or from Switzerland. You will need to give notice together at a designated Register Office even if you live in a different area. You may need to wait up to 70 days before forming a Civil Partnership.
Please contact Georgina Earle-Hutton at our Bexleyheath Office on 020 3551 8500 or click here to read more about the services we offer.
After success cross examination and submissions by the parents advocates the local authority withdraw its application for a placement order and its plan for adoption and A will continue to remain in long term foster care under a final care order, with regular direct contact with her family which will be established at a minimum level in an order.
In a very robust Judgment Her Honour Judge Lazarus found that the LA had:
“failed to carry out that adequate comprehensive evaluation of the issues relevant to A’s welfare, as required by statute and further expanded upon in the above case law”………. The process of cross-examination increasingly revealed glaring gaps and distorted arguments. It was telling that, despite the local authority claiming that it grasped that this was a complex and unusual case and that all the relevant issues had been considered, in fact very few of the relevant complexities were set out or analysed in any document and not even in this social worker’s re-amended document. It was further telling that, when the possibility of a contact order that would help to support A’s family relationships and her exposure to her culture and heritage was raised with the social worker, her first reaction was not to consider it in terms of A’s needs and characteristics but to protest that this would narrow the pool of prospective adopters”.
Her Honour Judge Lazarus was highly critical of the Local Authorities “numerous and egregious errors” which resulted in an initial flawed placement application. She went on to say that:
“the problems appear to be systemic and wide-ranging. The identified problems touch each element of this local authority that has become involved in this case: social work, supervision, management, decision-making, legal advice, internal training, standards and checking systems, and ranging from social worker to lawyer to Director”
Child A will now remain in long term foster care with plans and proposals in place which adequately meet A’s welfare interests.
At MW, Our Mission is “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone”, especially those who are facing action by Local Authority Child Services.
Where social services are involved the process can seem frightening and frustrating for the family involved, particularly where a child is being removed from home. It is very important to contact a solicitor as soon as possible. We will advise you of the rights/responsibilities that you, your children and family have. We will ensure that your views are heard.
The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Mrs Owen’s appeal in the case of Owens v Owens and brings to the fore the issue of whether Parliament urgently needs to introduce changes to the current law with the introduction of ‘No fault’ divorce.
Today’s decision means that Mrs Owen who is said to have been contemplating a divorce since 2012 will have to wait until 2020 to divorce her husband on the basis of 5 years separation having only left the family home in 2015.
Mrs Owen had petitioned on the basis of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. Mr Owens denied the behaviour and pointed to Mrs Owen own behaviour as perhaps the cause if any as to the breakdown of the marriage.
The appeal judges expressed having ‘uneasy feelings’ in giving their judgment but they were bound by the current legal framework. The examples given by Mrs Owen of her husband’s behaviour were considered to be ‘flimsy and exaggerated’. Mrs Owen sought to argue that she should not have to prove that Mr Owen’s behaviour was unreasonable. Mr Owen’s legal team disagreed and the Supreme Court agreed that as the law stood at present it was the case that the wife would need to prove the behaviour alleged if disputed.
Based on the experience of many of our clients MW Solicitors supports the call for a change in the law. The problem with the current law is that to get divorced couples are legally required to assign blame for the relationship breakdown, unless they have lived apart for 2 years. This makes an amicable separation more difficult, and can have a negative impact on any children, as it increases tensions at what is already a difficult time. As we all know sometimes in life things just don’t work out, but the current law does not allow for that, and currently one party has to blame the other with sufficient detail to met the legal test, this forces many couples into coming up with something to be able to divorce, which is a legal fudge. It is the view of all the leading lawyers’ organisations that the current divorce law is not fit for today’s modern society.
At MW Solicitors, our mission is to "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those couples going through the breakup of a marriage or civil partnership.
Our team of dedicated Family Lawyers have years of experience dealing in all aspects of Family Law and can help you to resolve your dispute with your former partner in a pragmatic and cost effective way. If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Family Solicitors call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.