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What are the Benefits of Mediation?

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What are the Benefits of Mediation?

Mediation is a well-established method and will benefit both parties if they are able to resolve the issues themselves with the aid of a professional mediator. Not only will court costs be avoided but there is more likelihood that the parties involved will part on more amicable terms.Parents are considered to be the people best placed to make decisions about their children’s future but unfortunately, in many cases, couples are unable to put personal differences aside in order to come to an agreement with regards to the arrangements for their children.  This can result in decisions being left to the courts which can only make a judgement based on the information presented.

In court couples are placed in adversarial positions which can be extremely stressful and intimidating.  This often leads to rash decisions which are very damaging and make future relationships, once the court proceedings are over, very difficult. Mediation allows couples to negotiate an agreement which takes into account their personal circumstances and accommodates their family’s specific needs.

How can I Obtain Parental Responsibility?

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How can I Obtain Parental Responsibility?

If you are the child’s natural father you can obtain parental responsibility by making a PR agreement with the mother, marrying the child’s mother or re-registering the child’s birth to include your name on the birth certificate, but this can only be done with the mother’s permission.

If the child’s mother doesn’t agree it is possible to apply for a court order to obtain parental responsibility.
Making a Parental Responsibility Agreement

If the child’s mother is in agreement making a parental responsibility agreement is straightforward.  It is simply the case of completing a form for each child you wish to claim parental responsibility for and sending it to your local Family Proceedings Court with the necessary documentation such as the child’s birth certificates. If everything is in order the agreement will be recorded and returned to you.

If you are not the natural father but play an active role in a child’s life as a step-dad it is still possible to apply for parental responsibility but if the child’s natural father has parental responsibility you would need to obtain their consent before applying.

Will Mediation Work for Everyone?

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Will Mediation Work for Everyone?

Whilst mediation works in many cases and can be an extremely positive experience, it will not work in all cases. If one party is unwilling to participate, is withholding information or if there is an unbalance of power it is unlikely to work.  In this case the mediator will complete a form to say that court proceedings can be initiated.

Mediation itself is costly so if there is no possibility of an agreement it is simply adding to the expense of the divorce proceedings.  However when successful it provides a far less traumatic way of resolving differences.

Parental Responsibility

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What is Parental Responsibility?

When a child is born the mother automatically receive parental responsibility.  This defines the responsibility and authority which are associated with being a parent and allow the mother to make decisions on behalf of her child.  It is essentially a duty of care to protect the child and act in the child’s best interests.
As a father you will only automatically receive parental responsibility if you are either married to the child’s mother when the child is born or are named as the father on the birth certificate.  Parental responsibility can only be taken away by a court order.

Do I Need Parental Responsibility?

If you are living with your partner parental responsibility is not usually required as the chances are that you will be involved in making decisions about your child’s upbringing.  However, if you are no longer together or in the tragic case where the child’s mother dies, having parental responsibility can be extremely significant as it confirms in legal terms your responsibility towards the child.

Having parental responsibility applies until the child is 18 and allows you to consent to medical treatment for your child, make decisions about your child’s education and apply for your child’s passport.
It also allows you to make decisions about where your child lives, their religious upbringing, to look after property on their behalf and to give consent if they are under the age of 18 and wish to marry.

Who can apply for Parental Responsibility?

A civil partner, natural father or step-parent can all apply for parental responsibility.  If a child has more than one person with parental responsibility they do not necessarily have to seek agreement from anyone else and can make decisions on issues such as medical treatment and education independently.

The Impact of New Legislation on Residence and Contact Orders

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The Children and Families Act 2014

Recent reforms in family law mean have resulted in the abolishment of residence and contact orders.  Introduced on 22 April 214, The Children and Families Act 2014 applies to both public and private children’s proceedings and is designed to improve he family justice system so that the experience of going to court was more effective and less traumatic
The intention behind the new legislation is to provide better protection for children with special education needs and disabilities and to protect vulnerable children when their parents are separating. It also focuses on enabling parents to create a balance between work and family life.

The Act recognises the importance of both parents being involved in the lives of their children, although not necessarily equally shared in terms of time, and defines involvement as either direct or indirect. It requires anyone who wishes to make an application for court proceedings to resolve children’s matters must attend a family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) first in order to try to resolve their issues outside court, unless there is an applicable exemption.

What are Child Arrangement Orders?

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What are Child Arrangement Orders?

Residence and Contact Orders have been replaced by Child Arrangement Orders.  These define where a child will live, with whom they will spend time and have contact.

Under the Children’s Act 1989 the court has the power to decide what is best for the child’s welfare taking into consideration factors such as their:

1.            The child’s emotional, educational and physical needs

2.            The wishes of the child taking into consideration their age and capacity to make an informed decision.

3.            The impact a change of circumstances may have on the child.

4.            The age, background and sex of the child or any other characteristics which the court considers to be relevant

5.            Any harm which the child has suffered

6.            The capabilities of each person to provide care for the child.

This has been in place for some time and has not changed but the court is now able to make a court order known as an Activity Direction as part of the Child Arrangement Order.  This means that the court can order an individual to take part in specific activities in order to enable them to establish, maintain or improve their relationship with the child. This can include activities such as counselling, guidance sessions or specific programmes designed to improve the persons behaviour and enable them to be a better parent.

The court also has the power to refer the case back to mediation at any stage of the proceedings, if it considers this to be the most appropriate route.

If you are a parent, regardless of whether or not you have Parental Responsibility, a step-parent or have lived with the child for at least three years you would be automatically eligible to apply for a Child Order Arrangement.  Grandparents would generally need to apply for permission for a Child Arrangement Order

Mediation Compulsory for All Divorces

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Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings

Since 7 April 2011, changes in family law mean that couples are now obliged to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM) before they are allowed to commence court proceedings to resolve disputes regarding their children or financial matters.The rationale for this is that mediation will enable couples to resolve matters amicably by means of negotiation rather than having to go to court which can be extremely traumatic as well as emotionally and financially draining.

If a couple are unable to agree the arrangements for their children or finances, it is now compulsory that they attend an initial assessment with a professional family mediator.  It is the responsibility of the spouse initiating the case to engage the mediator and a meeting will then be arranged with the couple either individually or together.

The mediator is an impartial, third party who negotiates between the couple in order to establish what will work best for the family as a whole as well as each individual member. The mediator will obtain the relevant details of finances and encourage both sides to make a fair and practical agreement which will be acceptable to both parties.

The focus on achieving a resolution in a non-aggressive manner can be particularly important if children are involved as establishing a non-antagonistic relationship between their parents can have a huge impact on their lives.

Why ‘will writing’ services are valued.

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Making a will and keeping it up to date is the only way one can ensure that even after their death, their requests and desires are safeguarded. Dying without a will could leave one’s partner or friend without any rights or protection especially if they do not have any legal relationship established with the partner.

The entire property is passed on to a distant relative if one doesn’t have a close family, and in absence of a will. It might be someone whom they don’t know or haven’t even met once in their lifetime.A will should also include the alimony of the person’s minor children and mention the name of the guardian who will be responsible for the well being of the children until they turn eighteen years of age.

Dedicated and professional will writing services is aimed at providing people with the much needed peace of mind knowing that their property will be transferred to the people they love. With a legal will in hand, it is understood that everything is mentioned in a documented legal form so that it doesn’t create any discrepancies later on. Legal solicitors can help people review their will, additionally if there is any correction or any other clause which has to be mentioned in the will, and then the solicitors will advise one to include it.

A will has to be reviewed every five years keeping in touch with the latest legal regulations of the state. Only a professional writing service will know the latest happenings and regulatory developments that are required in will writing, and accordingly help one to make the required amendments in their will.

Some will writers also visit and assist people within the comfort of their homes so that all the dealings and decisions of the will are kept away from prying eyes. Will writers also specialize in long term care counselling and Inheritance tax matters. Inheritance Tax is a tax that is more prominent nowadays than before as it can significantly affect one’s earnings. By making a will and having it in duly legalized form can reduce the Inheritance Tax drastically.

Will writing agencies might also provide one with a unique storage facility such as a safe for their documents so that there is no risk off the will be tampered with or the threat of it getting stolen. Most of the will writing services offer a person help in making a will, probate services and planning for funeral pre payments.

The roles of Pre-Paid Probate ?

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A copy of the legally certified will is called a probate. The probate is a proof of the last and final standing will of the person. It is usually granted with a court seal and has copy of the will along with it. An overseer chosen by the will may not be able to control its provisions without a probate.
A probate is also of particular importance when there are number of nominees amongst whom the property and assets are distributed.

There are higher chances of dispute in such a scenario. A probate helps people strict demarcate the line of control resting within each nominee so that the disputes that may arise are diminished.
Nowadays there are many prepaid probates that are been made at a fee. Duplicate probates are the dormant failure that can hit the whole will writing sector.
There have been occasions wherein the testators miss-sold a probate package by deceptive claim about the existing estate management charges. Some have also been found to quote almost four percent higher than the original service fees just to gain profits.
Many have misunderstood and see this as payment towards the administration or at least believe that the guarantee is entrusted upon, whereas the fact is that it is not valid probate. Most will writing firms have also not set aside sufficient funds for future augment, a potential concern for failure.

Even though there will be many perks associated with a Pre-Paid Probate scheme one should resist be pressurized to buying these. Those who are best placed to get a good price for probate work should be one’s solicitor. The solicitor should ensure that he gets the lowest available probate price for one’s claims.
Even though a prepaid probate plan brings many advantages for the users, one should also understand that there lies an element of risk to this.
While providers will be sell this product on the basis of its simplicity and cost effectiveness. An analysis of the facts that would motivate this service, seriously qualify these claims. One has to select a professional will writing company that is acclaimed in pre paid probate to strike the right deal.

It is better to rely on the services of a trustworthy traditional probate service provider, than try to simplify with a lucrative looking pre probate plan while ignoring the various intricacies involved in it. Unless, one is not fully confident, they should not sign on the dotted lines.

Writing a Will

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Making a will is an important part of one’s life as it lets the person decide what happens with his money, land and belongings after his death. Making a will also ensures one doesn’t end up paying more inheritance tax than that is required to be paid. A will can be written by self but with the help of professional solicitors, one can get legal advice to make sure that the will is represented in the most appropriate manner.

Solicitors will enable your will get legal witnesses and ensure that it is duly signed so as to make it legally valid. In case one decides to update their will at the last moment then they just need to make an official alteration as per the instructions of solicitor and make a new will.

For people having complicated properties, will writing lawyers can help them so that their estate is handled properly. Solicitors understand all the requirements of a state and enable a person make his will accordingly such as some states may require that the will be notarized or have witnesses, while others do not have it mandatory.

Since the legal frameworks change frequently, it is important that one takes the guidance of a professional attorney, before making a will. Solicitors also identify the person making the will by his full name, DOB, address and social security number so that his name is not confused with the similar name of some other person.
Hiring a certified will support lawyer can save your family all the confusion and quarrels that might occur later. A lawyer’s assistance is essential if the circumstances of a person are unusual, multifaceted or involve a significant amount of assets.

Most wills follow a standard format that includes the person stating that he is of good mental health and he is expressing his will without any force from external third party sources. Then the will should also include all the family details including who gets what share of the property.
One can also appoint a personal representative or an executor who can carry out instructions and administers the estate even after the person’s death. In case of a personal executor one doesn’t have to file or record or file the will with any government agency. One can just keep the will in a secure and accessible place which is mutually known to you and the personal executor.