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Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) A MIAM is a first meeting with a Family Mediator.

The purpose is for the client to find out about the Mediation process and for the Mediator to decide if Mediation is appropriate.

The Mediator will obtain details of the issues that need resolving, discuss how many mediation sessions are likely to be needed and also explain the costs.

Ringrose Family Mediation Service are able to offer Legal Aid to those who qualify financially.

Only a specially accredited Mediator can carry out a MIAM.

Where a client wishes to pursue Court proceedings, e.g. in relation to finances or children issues, it is, in most cases, a legal requirement to attend a MIAM.

If Mediation is not suitable the Mediator will sign a form to that effect which is attached to the Court application form.

There are exemptions that mean that attendance at a MIAM is not necessary.

If one party has Legal Aid for Mediation the other party is entitled to a MIAM free of charge, even if he/she would not qualify for Legal Aid.

The relationship between Family Mediation and Legal Advice. People chose to attend Mediation so that a Family Mediator can help in making decisions, for example about divorce, financial settlements and any issues relating to children such as where they will live and how much time will be spend with each parent.

Mediation provides time and space for the parties to consider what is important for the families.

Whilst at Ringrose Family Mediation Service our Mediators are also specialist Family Law Solicitors with many years’ experience, Mediators cannot give legal advice but can provide legal information upon which decisions can be based.

Some people find it helpful to have legal advice during the Mediation process.  This must be from independent Solicitors.

A Family Solicitor can help in areas such as:

  • Any legal queries connected with the Mediation discussions.
  • Advice on any proposals reached.
  • Turning a Written Agreement into a legally binding document such as a Consent Order.

Where parties are working through issues in Mediation there is much less need for a Solicitors time which means that legal fees can be kept to a minimum.

Legal Aid is available for Family Mediation for those who qualify financially, and Solicitors with a Legal Aid Contract can offer limited Legal Aid to advise on the Mediation discussions.

Involving Children in Family Mediation All Mediators are trained to help parents think about how they can support their children, particularly when parents separate.

At Ringrose Family Mediation Service I have an additional qualification to see children separately as part of the Mediation process, as does my co-Mediator, Paul Cooper.

As a matter of general Family Law, The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child requires that a child who is capable of forming his or her own views has the right to express those views.  It goes on to specify that “the views of the child shall be given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”.

The Family Mediation Council’s Code of Practice requires that all children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard directly during the Mediation if they wish.

If you are involved in Family Mediation and wish the voices of children to be heard, we will explain the process to you and consider whether this is appropriate.

Both parents have to consent to the children taking part.

As Paul and I are both qualified to work with children the model we follow is for one Mediator to mediate between the parents and the other with the children.  That way a balance can be struck to the benefit of all concerned. Family Mediation and Domestic Abuse Whilst Family Mediation is invaluable in helping parties to make decisions concerning the family, sometimes it may not be suitable.

At a MIAM the Mediator will consider whether Mediation is right and if it is safe.   The Mediator will not force either party to attend Mediation.

The Mediator has to ensure that parties are not scared and that they can discuss issues constructively without being intimidated or harmed.

Mediation would not go ahead if domestic abuse is ongoing.  Where this is the case the Mediator can “signpost” a party to advice agencies, for example domestic abuse refuges.

In cases where a party has evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse, attendance at a MIAM will not be necessary and, subject to qualifying financially, a party may be able to get Legal Aid to take the case to Court.

If you are interested in Family Mediation please contact Helen Armstrong on 01205 311511. We have offices at Boston, Sleaford, Lincoln, Newark, Grantham and Spalding.

The post Thinking of Mediation? appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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Mr. Warner aged 91 began living with deceased who was 8 ½ years his junior in about 1995.  They lived together in her house until she died some 20 years later.

At trial the Judge found that during this time they lived as if Husband and Wife in all its aspects.

The deceased developed a form of dementia in 2012, went into a home for a short while and returned to the house with 24 hour care.  When she died, the deceased’s daughter was sole beneficiary of her estate.

Mr. Warner admitted that there was never any understanding that he would have any interest in the estate nor did he claim any.  Nor was there any understand that he would be able to stay in the house or be able to purchase it in the event of her death.  This was something they just never discussed.  He also accepted he was significantly better off than his former partner and that he had the means to buy the house or alternate accommodation if necessary.  During their time together, Mr. Warner and the deceased shared the expense of the house and he paid for the oil which tended to be the largest out going.

Following the death, the deceased’s daughter issued a claim for possession and return of property almost as soon as the probate was granted on her late Mother’s estate. She wanted Mr. Warner out. In response Mr. Warner issued a claim as an unmarried partner for reasonable financial provision for maintenance out of the deceased’s estate.  Mr. Warner’s main concern was that he would be very unhappy if he was in effect evicted from the house where he had spent the happiest 20 years of his life.  The claims were heard over 2 days by a Recorder who found that Mr. Warner was being maintained by the deceased in that she was providing a roof over his head.  Her estate did not make reasonable financial provision for his continued maintenance.  They gave Mr Warner an option to purchase the property from the estate of the deceased for full value which was phrased as a transfer of property Order.  Daughter was also ordered to pay Mr. Warner’s costs.

The case is a helpful authority which accepts that the provision of housing at no extra cost to individuals other than sharing the outgoings can be classed as maintenance under the 1975 Inheritance Act so permitting an application for financial provision by an unmarried partner.

If you are co-habiting with someone and the property is yours you may care to reflect upon your position and take advice from any one of our experienced practitioners based in our offices at Boston, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Grantham and Newark.

The post Inheritance Claims – Reasonable Financial Provision. appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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A Child Arrangements Order is a legal order where the court decides either where a child will live or who a child can spend time with and for how long. The person named in a Child Arrangements Order shares parental responsibility for the child with the parents, and can make most important decisions on behalf of the child without needing the permission of the parents. It lasts until the child turns 18 unless the court states otherwise.

When applying for a Child Arrangements Order through the Court you must attend Mediation to assess whether mediation may be a suitable way of resolving your case before you can apply for a Child Arrangements Order. In some instances Mediation is not necessary for example if the child is at risk of harm or there is an urgency for the matter to be before the Court.

When the court is deciding whether to grant a Child Arrangements Order, the child’s welfare is its primary consideration. It has to follow the welfare checklist, which covers lots of points including the child’s wishes and feelings, their needs and the likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances.

The court will usually ask either CAFCASS or children’s services to prepare a welfare report. You can apply through a solicitor, or apply yourself. In some instances you may qualify for legal aid.

Applying for a Child Arrangements Order is a big decision, and you should never feel under any pressure to apply unless it’s the right thing for you and the child. It’s important to get independent advice before applying so you can be sure you’re making the right choice. Living with relatives can be a great option for children who can’t live with their parents, as it gives them a stable home and links to their birth family, but every case is different and there are many factors to consider.

If you require any further advice with regards to a Child Arrangements Order please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family Team today. We have offices in Boston, Sleaford, Lincoln, Newark, Grantham, Spalding.

The post Child Arrangements Order appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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Ringrose Law is delighted to announce it has received LEXCEL accreditation from the Law Society for the thirteenth year running, the longest achieving LEXCEL firm in the County.

Ringrose Law was the first firm in Lincolnshire to accomplish this prestigious accreditation.  The Lexcel award confirms that Ringrose Law offer ‘Excellence in legal practice management and client care’.

Lexcel is developed specifically for the legal profession.  It is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and in-house legal departments which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards.

The annual accreditation involves a yearly rigorous inspection and assessment from an independent LEXCEL assessor appointed by an independent assessment body, which includes reviewing internal plans, policies, and procedures to check they are up to date and in effective operation, plus interviewing staff and understanding the overall company performance.

Paul Cooper, Senior Partner at Ringrose Law comments;

“We are very proud to have achieved Lexcel for the thirteenth consecutive year. Our clients and staff, who are the main beneficiaries, can be assured that the way we manage the practice has their interests at heart and runs efficiently.  There is a lot of choice in the legal services market, but being Lexcel accredited demonstrates our commitment to client care and best practice.”

Debbie Fowler, Lexcel Consultant comments;

“It has been a pleasure working with Ringrose Law and assisting with the significant achievement of Lexcel accreditation. It is not easy to obtain and retain this accreditation and members of the firm work hard to do so and are proud of the accreditation.

The Lexcel standard requires that there is supervision of all legal work undertaken by a suitably qualified person, and internal audits are undertaken to assess legal advice given and management of work. This is to ensure that clients receive the best service possible.

The firm has effective policies and procedures in place and staff training is provided to safeguard client data and I find this particularly reassuring.

It can be very difficult for clients when buying legal services for a personal matter or on behalf of a business to choose between the wide range of providers, and therefore it is extremely important to the firm that it holds Lexcel accreditation because it is the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark promoting an industry recognised quality management approach for client service and running an efficient legal practice.”

The post Ringrose Law achieves LEXCEL Accreditation for the thirteenth year running!! appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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Generally the wrong father’s name can only be removed from the child’s birth certificate by an application if:
  1. DNA tests prove  he is not the biological father of the child or
  2. A court order states that the man named on the birth certificate is not the child’s natural father.
Pursuant to S55A Family Law Act 1986 which came into effect in 2001 allows an application to be made to the Court for a Declaration of Parentage 0rder.  Those who can apply are:
  1. The mother
  2. the natural father
  3. the man named on the birth certificate
  4. any person with legal responsibility for the child

A DNA test from an approved subscriber must be provided together with the full birth certificate of the child. DNA tests obtained for “peace of mind” are not suitable for legal purposes.

Part III of the Family Reform Act 1969 empowers the Court to direct the use of scientific tests to determine the parentage during the course of civil proceedings and this was originally carried out by means of blood tests being carried out but the Family Reform Act 1987 updated the law to take account of the availability of DNA tests.

S55A Family Law Act 1986 (7) provides that an officer of the court shall notify the Registrar General at the General Registrar 0ffice of the order made with a copy of the court order, DNA test results and the child’s birth certificate being supplied and then the Registrar General will remove the name from the child’s birth certificate.

How can we help?

If you have any queries regarding removing the wrong father from a Child’s Birth Certificate, then please contact our specialised family teams at our offices. We have teams in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford and Spalding in which we will take time to listen to your enquiry in a friendly and empathetic nature. At Ringrose Law our motto is ‘where individuals count’. This is our core belief and we aim to make our clients feel valued from being first greeted by reception to speaking to one of our many fully qualified, experienced Solicitors. We know at Ringrose Law that satisfaction is linked to service,  so we will always provide the best service we can to you as we know that is exactly what you expect when you either make a phone call to us or walk through the door of one of our many branches.

The post Removal of Wrong Father from Child’s Birth Certificate appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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A parliamentary report claims that electrical manufacturer Whirlpool has provided an “inadequate” response to defective tumble driers produced and sold over a period of more than 10 years.

More than 100 Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan tumble dryer models (all brands owned by Whirlpool) made between April 2004 and October 2015 could pose a fire risk, with at least 750 fires from these models having been reported since 2004.

Trading standards has therefore issued two enforcement notices on Whirlpool, forcing the company to warn customers to unplug and not use faulty machines.

Whirlpool are now saying that if you have an affected machine you must unplug it immediately and do not use it until it’s been fixed

It has been reiterated that most products from these brands are extremely safe and have undergone rigorous testing. Unfortunately though, some defective and faulty machines have ended up in the homes of customers.

The defective machines have caused fires which in some cases led to injury and tragically, death. The damage caused to property has also been extensive.

Malfunctioning electrical products are known to have the capacity to cause  property damage and injury.

Whirlpool have commented that “After two years of extensive measures to raise awareness to this campaign – including directly contacting four million owners of these appliances – the number of consumers coming forward has fallen sharply”.

If you are unfortunate enough to be injured by such a product then a claim may well arise either against the manufacturer or retailer of the product. There is often overlap between different types of action so that a claim might arise as a consequence of breach of contract, negligence or even liability under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

If you would like some more information, contact the Personal Injury Department of Ringrose Law on 01522 561020.

The post Consumers in a Spin appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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The BBC has reported that hospital corridors have become “the new emergency wards” as a result of the number of patients finding themselves on trolleys in corridors due to hospital beds being unavailable. Figures show that January was one of the most difficult months on record for the NHS, with approximately 1000 seriously ill patients waiting over 12 hours.

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the Nuffield Trust think-tank, said the health service was “creaking at the seams”.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons commented that “Surgeons and other frontline NHS staff are working tirelessly to provide the best care possible to patients” Despite this, the figures clearly show that the NHS targets are not being met.

The four-hour A&E target was missed for the 30th month in a row, and many of the most seriously ill patients found themselves on trolleys in side-rooms and corridors awaiting admission to a Ward.

It is reported that 81,000 people waited more than four hours for a bed – one in five of the 390,000 people who needed to be admitted.

Some health bosses have mentioned the rising numbers of A&E attendees over the month – NHS England statistics show that more than 2 million people attended A&E in January 2018 which is an increase of more than 5%

High levels of the flu virus (which is at its highest since 2011) have also impacted the demand on NHS A&E departments. In light of the increasing demand,  Ian Dalton, chief executive at the regulator NHS Improvement has commented on the dedication of staff during this difficult period.

The rising pressure on the NHS is of concern to all who rely on the service, and clearly to those who provide the service. Patient safety and well-being must remain a priority and appropriate safeguards should be implemented to reduce the level of “trolley waits” even during busy periods.

If you or a family member would like some information about medical negligence, contact the specialist team at Ringrose Law on 01522 561 020.

The post Trolley Waits in corridors at all time high appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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I have for many years been representing people in divorce where the other party fall somewhere on the Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) spectrum.  Most of these cases will involve children and unfortunately the children often become involved in the battleground between the parents.  There has been a lot of publicity recently about the impact of Parental Alienation syndrome (PAS) which is a disorder in which a child, on an ongoing basis, belittles or insults one parent without justification, due to a combination of factors including indoctrination by the other parent.

PAS and NPD are realities, they are disorders that occur on a spectrum. The Family Courts have historically been slow to engage or recognise these disorders as they formed part of the he said/she said.

In October 2017 a Direction was made by the President of the Family Division advising how Judges should deal with domestic violence and harm in children cases.  The rules apply to any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse which includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse.  These behaviours can often describe those of the narcissist.  The new Directions lead the Court through a  process which can include the possibility of a psychiatric or physiological assessment of the parents and/or the child and in some circumstances a ruling that the parent seeks advice or other intervention as a pre-condition of continuing with the case.  The family justice system has actively expressed circumstances where the behaviour of the parents could result in the termination of their relationship with their children or the transfer of primary residence from one parent to another.  To some extent these powers have always existed but now both sides of the debate have real direction, law and publicity to support them.

For further support or advice on parental alienation, please contact myself Pam Gaches or another member of the family team. We have offices in Boston, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding and Newark. Or call me at Grantham on 01476 590200.

The post Parental Alienation appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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The President of the Family Division has provided further details of new Specialist Courts being highlighted to deal with the financial aspects of divorce proceedings.

The Courts have been initially piloted in London, the West Midlands and South East Wales.  Further pilots will follow after Easter starting with the rest of the Midlands Circuit, the North East and parts of the South East.

The basic concept of the Specialist Courts builds on the Family Court and Court of Protection models.  Each circuit will typically have two regional hubs, headed by a lead Judge expert in financial remedy work.

Hearings will be conducted at the region hubs and some financial remedies hearing centres within the hub area.  Announcements are expected shortly for the appointment of the FCR Hub Judges.

Specialist Courts have been widely welcomes by family practitioners.  Unhappily, at present some complex financial remedy cases can be decided by Judges who have little experience of family law and who are not specialist in the field.  In addition, more and more parties are representing themselves in Court proceedings in a very complex area.  These cases can be emotionally draining as well has having a massive financial impact upon the parties.

Here at Ringrose Law we have a select number of Solicitors who we appoint to deal with specialist financial cases.  Consult any one of us at our 6 offices across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire at Boston, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Grantham and Newark.

The post Specialist Courts for Financial Remedies appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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Here at Ringrose Law we see many clients who have received a Settlement Agreement. On occasions, some clients have received these documents without any proper explanation on what to do with it. So, what is a Settlement Agreement?

It is a legally binding contract between you and your employer. The Agreement will waive your right to bring a claim against your employer and in return, generally speaking, they should pay you compensation. There are a number of requirements before a Settlement Agreement can become binding and one of these is that you need to receive independent legal advice before agreeing to waive your rights. As your employer cannot rely on the agreement unless you have taken such advice, they will often contribute to the cost of seeing a Solicitor.

What rights are you waiving?

The Settlement Agreement will include any possible claims which the employer considers you may have against them. The Agreements are used to ensure an employee does not bring a claim before the Employment Tribunal for matters such as unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, unlawful deductions of wages etc…

Is your compensation enough?

Before you sign the Settlement Agreement your Solicitor must identify any potential claims which you are waiving your right to bring and by doing so they will be able to advise you on the compensation associated to those claims. In some circumstances, the advice given can be used to negotiate with your employer for more compensation.

Do I have to sign a Settlement Agreement to get my redundancy pay and notice pay?

No. If you are made redundant then you are entitled to a redundancy and notice pay.

Should I sign the Settlement Agreement?

It’s your decision. However, you should make sure you have received the best legal advice possible and fully understand the consequences before signing it.

If you have received a Settlement Agreement and need assistance with it, please contact us today on 01522 561076. We will happily meet with you in any of our six offices; Lincoln, Newark, Grantham, Sleaford, Boston or Spalding.

The post Received a Settlement Agreement and not quite sure what to do next? appeared first on Ringrose Law.

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