Surviving Christmas: our top tips for separated parents

surviving christmas

Surviving Christmas: tips for separated parents

Christmas, for many, is all about children. The excitement of the tree being decorated, the school carol concert, the anticipation of receiving gifts – it can be a very emotional period, particularly so for those dealing with the added pressure of a past separation from a former partner, and all that brings in respect of complications for family life.

Here, managing partner Amanda McAlister offers her top tips to separated parents for surviving Christmas.

Trying to agree contact arrangements and when or where the children will spend time with each of their parents can be difficult at the best of times, but there is something about the emotions around Christmas that can cause real problems.

Issues of managing and maintaining contact with children following separation can of course become a difficult issue for parents living apart; while any difficulties in the relationship may well be those of the parents, it is the children who can reluctantly find themselves in the midst of adult arguments, confused that those to whom they look for guidance are not getting along and often incorrectly blaming themselves for either parents’ upset or even anger.

Focus on the children’s needs

It is easy and perhaps natural for a parent going through such a difficult time to concentrate on themselves at these times, but it is very important, if trying to sort arrangements out amicably, not to lose focus of a child’s needs or emotional wellbeing when they may already be feeling overwhelmed and trying to understand why their parents might not be friends, as  well as feeling distress and confusion about their new family circumstances.

If charged with deciding, the court will determine matters in accordance with what is in a child’s best interests. As such, even if it’s not what you want to hear personally, try and listen to your children, they may well help you in taking a step back from your own bubble and decide what’s best for them.

Plan ahead, and keep lines of communication open

Good forward planning and open lines of communication with the other parent are essential when working towards organise your children’s Christmas. Despite past difficulties, there are families who are able to work together to the extent that they can celebrate Christmas together, although sadly this is not the usual situation.

However, whether you and your former partner are on good terms or not, taking the time to plan your child’s Christmas gives each other time to come to a mutual decision about what’s best. From selecting Christmas presents together or arranging how and where the children are going to spend time with each of their parents over the festive period, the welfare of your children is what’s important.

Modern families

And it’s not just parents to consider; modern families come in all wonderful shapes and sizes. One-size-fits-all arrangements will not work in all circumstances no matter how hard one tries – you are likely to have to factor in each side’s extended family, there may be other siblings, and more – it takes time and effort to make the arrangements as special as they can be.

Two Christmasses?

I have seen arrangements agreed where the children have spent the first half of Christmas Day with one parent, opening their presents and having an early lunch, before being able to spend the afternoon and evening with the other parent.  Some families even have two “Christmas Days”, each one celebrated with either parent and alternated each year, particularly if families are separated by a considerable distance and therefore decide to take turns to have the children with themselves over Christmas or New Year.

It isn’t easy but it needn’t be difficult either. A little bit of seasonal good will can go a long way and we would encourage you to try and give a little to reach an agreement that will suit everyone involved, particularly your children.

If you’re affected by any of the issues raised here, please get in touch immediately. We’re here to help you.

Seeing your children at Christmas when you’re separated

seeing your children at Christmas when you're separated

Seeing your children at Christmas when you're separated

This Christmas, the children of separated parents will probably spend the festive period travelling between homes, with each parent doing their utmost to make the day as happy as possible. Undoubtedly, many of those children will enjoy ‘double’ celebrations and receive extra presents.

What happens if you can’t agree contact at Christmas, and what are your options?

Many family lawyers start getting requests for advice on the issue shortly after the October half term ends. The end of year break is the next major school holiday and parents who don’t live with their children are keen to sort out arrangements.

Heather Lucy, family law solicitor, offers her advice around this issue.

First of all, it’s important you communicate with your ex-partner: talking through the arrangements really is the best starting point. The vast majority of separated couples are able to sort out Christmas arrangements between them. It really is much better to agree to a plan together than to find yourselves with one that might be imposed by a court.

Can you compromise?

Inevitably, to make matters work for all concerned, there will need to be some give and take from both sides if the children are going to have the best of both parents. Whatever you agree for this year, can you agree to alternate the arrangements the following Christmas? Perhaps you can you split the day’s celebrations? Sometimes the court will reach a decision whereby the children spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with the parent they live with, and spend the rest of the day and overnight with the other parent. Is that something that could work for you and your children?

Put yourselves in your children’s shoes

If there is a long distance between the two homes, do the children really want to spend several hours in the car? If you think the children are old enough to have a view, what would they want?

Mediation

If you cannot agree the arrangements, consider going to mediation where an independent person may be able to help you reach a sensible compromise

Get professional advice

If mediation is not achievable, consider seeking the advice of a family lawyer. It might be that, with their help, an agreement can be reached.

Ultimately, if there is no other option, you can apply to the court for a child arrangements order. December is a very busy month for the courts so any application must not be left too late. At the court hearing, the judge or magistrates will try to broker an agreement that meets the needs of the children. Their welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration.

If you are experiencing difficulties agreeing arrangements for your children this Christmas, please contact us as soon as possible. Our experienced family law solicitors will help you in trying to achieve the best possible outcome.

McAlister Family Law chosen as one of The Times Best Law Firms

McAlister Family Law chosen as one of The Times Best Law Firms 2022

Only 200 of the 10,000 firms in England and Wales made it into The Times Best Law Firms 2022. We are honoured to have been chosen.

Statista, an international market research firm working with The Times, asked solicitors and barristers in England and Wales to recommend the best law firms in any of 26 categories covering business, public and private-client fields.

To make sure the survey was fair, respondents were not allowed to choose their own law firm, and technology and other scrutiny was put in place to prevent anyone from voting more than once.

Those with the most votes from more than 4,500 respondents made it into The Times Best Law Firms 2022.

Amanda McAlister, Managing Partner, said: “When McAlister Family Law launched four years ago, with our unique business model, many in the legal sector said it could not work. Today, our multi award-winning practice is revealed as one of only 200 law firms in the country to make the grade as one of The Times’ Best Law Firms. This amazing accolade is down to the sheer talent, hard work and dedication of everyone in our team, and the fantastic support of Beyond Law Group. My personal thanks go to everyone involved – I genuinely could not be more proud of our truly excellent people.”

Matt Fleetwood, Beyond Law Group founder, added: “This national recognition is an absolute credit to Amanda and her team, and affirms that visions really do become reality.”

When divorcing spouses are in business together – who keeps the business?

divorcing couples in business together

When divorcing spouses are in business together – who keeps the business?

It is not uncommon for couples to be in business together. Sometimes they are equal partners in the business, both often bringing different skills, for example one an expert in sales and the other an expert in management. Sometimes one spouse is the main driving force behind the business, with the other taking a lesser role. Whatever the dynamic of the couple within the business, if they divorce, they are both usually worried about what will happen to the business and their role within it.

Partner Fiona Wood, who is one of the UK’s foremost experts at dealing with divorce cases where there are substantial and complex business assets, explains the options.

Under English divorce law a judge can order one spouse to transfer their shareholding in a company to the other spouse. A judge also has the power to order that a business is sold, as long as there are no third-party shareholders in the company, although this does not happen very often.

However, most divorces are not decided by a judge. Most divorcing couples reach a financial agreement, with the assistance of legal advice, and this includes those divorces where the couple are in business together.

Staying in business together

Some divorcing couples decide to stay in business together. This is often the case where the couple both have equally important roles in the business and taking either of them out of the business would damage it. It also happens when the couple already had a plan to build the business up with a view to selling it. This obviously works well where the couple are still on good terms.

Shareholders Agreement

A detailed Shareholders Agreement should be put in place by the couple when they divorce, if they did not already have one, to make sure that any disagreements that they have regarding the business going forward are dealt with fairly.

What if the couple both have important roles in the company, but one or both does not want to remain in business with the other? In this scenario one spouse often purchase’s the other spouse’s shares in the business. To do this the company and their shareholdings will have to be valued by an accountant within the divorce proceedings. The net value of the company, along with the non-business assets, will then need to be divided fairly between the couple.

Tax consequences

The tax consequences of the share transfer will also need to be considered and factored into the divorce settlement, as CGT is usually payable by the spouse transferring their shares not long after they have been transferred.

If both spouses want to retain the business to the exclusion of the other, a judge will have to decide upon this. Alternatively, the judge could order that the business is sold, so that neither retain it. In my experience it is very unusual for both spouses to want to retain a business and even if they do, it is usually the case that the business is not viable without one spouse, but is without the other, which decides the issue.

In most businesses owned by divorcing couples, one of the spouses plays a far more important role in the company and often owns more shares in the company than their spouse. In this scenario, the spouse with the more important role will retain the company as part of their divorce settlement, with their spouse transferring their shares to them. Again, the company will have to be valued within the divorce process to ascertain its value, the net value of the shares being transferred and the tax consequences of the share transfer.

The income that the spouse retaining the company will receive from the company going forward, compared to the earning capacity of the spouse leaving the company, is also an issue that will need to be considered. Sometimes the earning capacity of the spouse leaving the company will be considerably less than the salary and dividends that they received from the company. Again, this will have to be factored into the divorce settlement.

If you are a business owner and are experiencing problems in your marriage, it is important that you take advice from a solicitor who is experienced in dealing with businesses within divorce. Please get in touch today. We are here to help.

The future of remote court hearings

the future of remote court hearings

The future of remote court hearings

“If thou never wast at court, thou never sawest good manners”  Shakespeare: As You Like It: Act III Scene II

The President of the family division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, recently gave a speech outlining his opinions concerning the future of remote hearings, and what a post-Covid return to the courts might look like.

McFarlane advocates for Judges being able to adopt a case-by-case approach, “unfettered by any prescriptive diktat from on high”.

Family Law paralegal Nina Rawlings examines what this means in practice and how will it affect those who have spent the past 18 months addressing the court from behind a screen in, for example, their own living room.

First, we must consider the impact that going remote had on the court system and on those of us working in care proceedings. If we diplomatically disregard the initial chaos for many firms, caused – understandably – by the sudden and on the whole unexpected complete closure of the physical courts, what emerged over the coming months were a significant number of positives.

At McAlister Family Law we swiftly adopted an online bundling system, but given that our offices were already entirely paperless, we were, unlike others, entirely prepared. Not only does going paperless have environmental benefits that Greta Thunberg would applaud, but when dealing with confidential disclosure it makes far more sense in our GDPR cautious society for bundles to be sent securely online rather than handing a physical pile of sensitive information over to a stranger.

Furthermore, we will see shortly the introduction of the HMCTS Family Public Law online system in our area; a new digital operating model which seeks to transform the way justice is administered by simplifying, centralising and enhancing the entire process of issuing and monitoring cases. Albeit a project that has been underway since pre-Covid, one cannot help but acknowledge the assistance of increased IT usage resultant of the pandemic in preparing firms for migration onto, and navigation of, the new system.

Attendance at hearings

This is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, remote hearings enable barristers and solicitor advocates to cram more into their already busy days. By removing travel time from the equation, in theory it becomes possible to attend more hearings per day and to exist beyond the constructs of your defined geographical area of practice. However, the result of this is the removal of what McFarlane refers to as the “human perspective”. While the remote hearings system may make the process of hearing matters more efficient, it makes the issue of pre-hearing discussions more complex both among the advocates and with the client. Previously, you could simply pop from court waiting room to court waiting room delivering and requesting information as suits, now you need several teams links, some telephone dial-in details, sometimes an interpreter on standby and the client waiting in the wings. Time and space do not exist in the remote hearing sphere and issues which could easily be resolved in person become the subject of a domino-like procession of instruction and communication. Furthermore, in the childcare domain – as I imagine applies across the board – a question of ethics arises: can parties really receive a fair trial over video call? Can we justify removal of children based on evidence given over a telephone?

What is the solution?

McFarlane posits that “remote platforms are good for undertaking transactional communications”, a statement with which I wholly agree. Remote hearings offer a unique opportunity to deal efficiently, and effectively, with case management hearings, re-timetabling, pre-trial reviews and more.

Moving forward this would reduce cost, avoid delays and free up judicial time. However, there must be a careful evaluation by Judges of the case matter of each case in question. It seems to be common opinion amongst those in the profession that any contested hearing, finding of fact, final hearing or urgent hearing must be prioritised in terms of physical attendance as we transition back into the court rooms.

I believe that for certain hearings, each should be determined on a case-by-case basis, not least because there will always be cases where it is not appropriate to conduct the hearing remotely.  That belief therefore indicates a need for a court set-up which allows for both in-person and remote witness evidence. Given how we have adapted our court hearings during the pandemic, doing so does not seem an impossible task. Let’s see what happens.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, please do get in touch. We’re here to help you.

UPDATE: Back to school – or not?

back to school or not UPDATE

Back to school - or not?

Recently we blogged about Laurence Fox and his claim that he would take his sons out of school should vaccines be rolled out for 12-year-olds on the basis that he feared they would have the Covid jab without his permission.

Now there has been a case in America where a father in New York has been banned, by a family court judge, from seeing his daughter unless he gets the Covid vaccination.

Family Law Associate Melissa Jones looks at the issues.

This is an interesting scenario. In this particular case, contact was not deemed to be in the best interest of the child on the basis that  the father was opposed to the Covid vaccination. The judge was quite strict in his ruling, notably amid a worrying time in the middle of a global pandemic, and made the following comments:

“The dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with a child while the Covid-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety cannot be understated.

“Unfortunately, and to my mind, incomprehensibly, a sizable minority, seizing upon misinformation, conspiracy theories, and muddled notions of ‘individual liberty’, have refused all entreaties to be vaccinated.”

What happens with contact in the UK if a parent refuses the vaccine?

It’s a possible worry for a lot of parents, but not one that has seemingly featured in the family courts in England and Wales. If this was a matter raised by a parent, within the English Courts, those Courts are likely to be guided by Cafcass, the advisory service to the Courts, to prepare an assessment to consider the risk factors and to decide whether contact is actually in a child’s best interest.

Extreme circumstances

In extreme circumstances, particularly if a child is medically vulnerable, Cafcass and the court may exercise caution: but it would be a rarity.  No doubt the Court would also consider NHS guidance and other expert evidence they consider necessary.  Plus, there are now many modern alternatives to face-to-face contact, such as video contact and voice notes, that could mean the parent and child relationship could be maintained.  It is a child’s right to have a relationship with both parents and the Court will want to maintain that relationship wherever possible.

The court application

If the other parent is strongly opposed to their child being vaccinated (not just the Covid vaccine) and they cannot agree on this, then they could apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order and/or Specific Issue Order, which are orders that can prevent certain actions being taken by a parent, and/or making decisions on matters that parents cannot agree upon in the exercising of their rights and duties relating to parental responsibility.  Medical issues fall into these categories.

The court will consider the parents’ opinions and the best interests of the children.

Before making an application to the court, it is expected that parents should try and resolve matters as best they can. Parents might wish to engage in negotiation through solicitors, mediation or arbitration before either one makes an application to the court.

The child’s welfare

The child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. If you are faced with a request from the other parent to agree to vaccinate your child, it is best to take a pragmatic approach and decide as to whether you are simply opposed to the idea in general or whether you could perhaps identify some advantages to the move.

With the court considering what is in the child’s best interest, is therefore important for you to do your own research and have the necessary information to inform your decision/position.

If you are unsure about what to do in relation to arrangements for your children, we would advise you to seek specialist independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. Please do get in touch today. We’re here to help you.

When Adam met the judge

when adam met the judge

When Adam met the Judge

Adam: “Hi Judge. If you send me and my brothers home, will you give us a bodyguard?”

Judge: “Adam, if I thought you needed a bodyguard, I wouldn’t send you home.”

Partner Nick Hodson has specialised in the law relating to children for more than 20 years. Since 2001 he has been a member of the Law Society Children’s Panel, allowing him to represent children in both public and private law Children Act proceedings.

Here, he relates his experience of being the solicitor for Adam* and his brothers who wanted to meet the Judge who was going to hear their case.

Please be aware that reading some of the details in this story may be distressing.

 

*His name has been changed to protect his identity

This exchange was at a meeting at the Family Court when I took 11-year-old Adam and his brothers to meet the Judge who was going to hear their case.

I was the solicitor for the children. They had been removed from their parents care after the older children had made allegations that they had been physically abused by their parents. The children had said that they had been whipped with computer wires.

The child’s wishes and feelings

In making any decision about a child’s future, their wishes and feelings are a major consideration for the court. They are part of the welfare checklist that the court will review before concluding the case.

How are the children’s views relayed to the court?

Usually, the social worker and the CAFCASS officer will set out the children’s wishes and feelings in their reports. Sometimes, the children will write a letter to the Judge.

It has become increasingly common for older children to ask to meet the Judge. Over the past 18 months, such meetings have had to take place remotely. The Family Justice Council has produced guidance for judges who meet children during family proceedings. The guidelines are designed to encourage judges to enable children to feel more involved and connected to proceedings.

Key points from the guidance

* Such a meeting must be well planned and that everyone has to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the meeting.

* If a Judge decides to meet a child, it is a matter for the discretion of the Judge, having considered representations from the parties – (i) the purpose and proposed content of the meeting; (ii) at what stage during the proceedings, or after they have concluded, the meeting should take place; (iii) where the meeting will take place; (iv) who will bring the child to the meeting; (v) who will prepare the child for the meeting (this should usually be the Cafcass officer); (vi) who shall attend during the meeting – although a Judge should never see a child alone; (vii) by whom a minute of the meeting shall be taken, how that minute is to be approved by the Judge, and how it is to be communicated to the other parties.

* It cannot be stressed too often that the child’s meeting with the Judge is not for the purpose of gathering evidence.

* The purpose is to enable the child to gain some understanding of what is going on, and to be reassured that the Judge has understood him/her.

In the case of Adam and his brothers, at the final hearing the court decided that the parents had been responsible for the physical abuse on all their children.  The children remained in foster care.

The children’s voices had been heard loud and clear.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, please do get in touch. We’re here to help you.

McAlister Family Law ranked in Chambers and Partners

McAlister Family Law ranked in Chambers

McAlister Family Law ranked in Chambers

We are delighted to share the news that McAlister Family Law has been ranked in the renowned legal directory Chambers and Partners with several members of our award-winning team also being ranked for their individual expertise, and the practice itself described as comprising “really excellent lawyers – and they are great with clients.” 

Here we share our entry in Chambers:

What the team is known for

A boutique family firm with a growing presence in the Manchester market. Provides varied advice on both matrimonial finance and children matters, including public care proceedings. Regularly handles complex divorce settlements involving extremely high net worth individuals and multi-jurisdictional issues. Advises on matters surrounding complex business and inheritance structures.

Amanda McAlister

Managing partner Amanda McAlister retains her ranking as an “Eminent Practitioner” – an outstanding accolade.

She has deep experience in matrimonial finance cases, often taking on matters involving international clients as well as those that include complex pensions and trusts issues.

“She has bags of experience and super connections which she backs up with her knowledge of the law.”

Fiona Wood

Fiona Wood frequently assists clients with financial remedy proceedings and is particularly adept at advising on cases involving complex business assets.

“Fiona has excellent communication skills and is always excellent on points in cases; she is remarkable.” “Fiona Wood is a formidable, detailed and pragmatic lawyer.”

Nick Hodson

Nick Hodson has a respected family law practice. He is particularly noted for his expertise in public law children matters as well as private law proceedings.

“Nick Hodson is compassionate about what he does and always has the children at the centre of all cases. He is an excellent advocate and negotiator.” “He is well regarded in the public law children arena.”

Paul Webb

Paul Webb advises on a range of children matters including public law issues spanning multiple jurisdictions.

“Paul Webb is excellent. He is reliable, hard-working and very knowledgeable in family public law matters.” “He’s an extremely strong, well-rounded solicitor. He thinks of all the angles and all his cases are well prepared.”

 

Amanda said: “I am incredibly proud of this unbelievably talented and dedicated team of family lawyers. They are the very best.”

Do grandparents have legal rights?

grandparents rights

Do grandparents have legal rights?

When parents separate, disputes in relation to children of the family can not only include estrangement from a parent but extend to wider family members, particularly grandparents who can often be stuck in between parent’s arguments.

What can those grandparents do in such a challenging situation?  Partner Caroline Bilous explains.

Legally speaking, there are no grandparents’ rights, as usually grandparents do not have Parental Responsibility (all mothers and most fathers have Parental Responsibility, which refers to the legal rights and responsibilities a parent in respect of a child, the most important of which are to provide a home and protect and look after a child) in the same way as a parent might have, although they might acquire it if a parent is unable to care.

However, the Family Court recognises that it is in a child’s best interests to maintain good relationships with close family members, particularly grandparents, even if the parent of the child cannot, and as such, a court order called a Child Arrangements Order may be obtained to protect such relationships.

Do grandparents’ rights include the right to see a grandchild?

Grandparents do not have an automatic right to see a grandchild and above all, whatever the relationship between estranged parents, it is important to step back and try to avoid becoming involved in any disagreement, which is hard to do when it is your own child involved. Maintaining good relationships with the other parent goes a long way in avoiding difficulties further down the line.

Can a grandparent apply to the Family Court to see a grandchild?

Yes, but grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply to court to see a grandchild in the same way as a parent may apply to see and spend time with their own child. However, the Family Court would rarely refuse permission (or leave) for a grandparent to make an application, providing there is no good welfare reason why it should not, providing they can show a close and enduring relationship exists. Also, as a family member, permission is not required if a child has lived with a grandparent for a period of one year prior to the application being made.

How can I apply to see my grandchild if I’m being prevented from doing so?

It is important that early advice from an experienced child and family lawyer. Time can be of the essence and leaving matters too long can engrain difficult circumstances. Unless there are urgent circumstances, getting an initial court hearing will take a minimum of four weeks or more in any event, and as a first step, you will be required to attend upon a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to see if it possible to resolve matters with the assistance of a Mediator.

What orders can the Family Court make?

The court could make a Child Arrangement Order for a grandchild to spend time with a grandparent, in the same way as it could for a parent. Each family is different though and no two cases are the same. Just because you may have heard that one grandparent has obtained a certain order, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, please do get in touch. We’re here to help you.

Back to school – or not?

Laurence Fox back to school or not covid children

Back to school - or not?

Laurence Fox, who shares two sons, Winston, 12, and Eugene, nine, with ex-wife Billie Piper, has once again hit the headlines, this time in relation to the “anti-vaxx” row. He has claimed he will take his sons out of school should vaccinations be rolled out for 12-year-olds, saying he fears they will have the Covid jab without his permission.

The question is, can a parent remove a child from school in the first place?

Family Law Associate Melissa Jones looks at the options available.

There is no plan – as of yet – for children in schools to be vaccinated before they return to school in September. But were such a plan in place, would a parent be able to stop their children from going to school? Given that there is a central government policy stating that children must attend school, any parent stopping their child from doing so would be appear to be in contravention of this policy, and likely subject to fines.

Mr Fox appears to be suggesting is that he wants to de-register the children and home school them. To do so, he would need the other parent’s permission as they share parental responsibility (given that they were married to one another) and need to make important decisions like education in consultation with one another.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is as per section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 (CA 1989) which confers all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child and his property.

What happens if you cannot agree on home schooling?

If parents cannot agree arrangements for their child or children in respect of their education, they can apply to court for a Specific Issue Order, and the court can address the issue of whether or not a child should remain at their current school or move to the other preferred school (in this case home schooling).

The court application

In the above scenario, if the other parent is strongly opposed to the change of school or home schooling, then they could apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order, which is an order that limits when certain rights and duties which can be exercised, such as making decisions about their education.

The court will consider the parents’ opinions and the best interests of the children. The children’s educational development, efficient home schooling techniques and underlying health issues in the family are some of the matters that will be considered by the court when deciding the issue.

Before making an application to the court,  it is expected that parents should try and resolve matters as best they can. Parents might wish to engage in negotiation through solicitors, mediation or arbitration before either one makes an application to the court.

The child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. If you are faced with a request from the other parent to consider moving your child’s school, it is best to take a pragmatic approach and decide as to whether you are simply opposed to the idea in general or whether you could perhaps identify some advantages to the move. With the court considering what is in the child’s best interest, is therefore important for you to do your own research and have the necessary information to inform your decision/position.

Given that children returning to school is imminent – some may have already started the new term – a parent may struggle to get an urgent court hearing, although it may be that the court fixes a date as soon as it can. In the interim, without an order or decision you will need to keep open communication with the other parent.

If you are unsure about what to do in relation to arrangements for your children, we would advise you to seek specialist independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. Please do get in touch today. We’re here to help you.

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