When dealing with family matters, it can be difficult to see the point of view of others. We all believe we’re right when it comes to matters of the heart, and the high level of emotions involved can make it difficult to keep our feelings out of it. When children, finances, or marriages are concerned, there is a way to resolve issues legally: through family court.
While no one likes the idea of going to court to resolve conflict — especially with family — it can sometimes be the best way to manage a stressful situation. Putting an important decision in the hands of the law makes things final, leaving no questions unanswered for anyone involved. If you’re not familiar with family court, we’ve put together a few of the most commonly asked questions to help you understand a bit more about it:
What is Family Court?
Family court is a broad term used for issues regarding families in the court system. This could mean issues like divorce, child arrangements, adoptions, and some aspects of domestic abuse cases, to name a few. It’s quite different from criminal court and requires a magistrate that is specially trained to be seated there. There are 43 local centers for family courts, each having its own designated judge. There are two forms of family court: public and private. Public cases are brought to court through other authorities, while private cases are brought by individuals or families.
When do I Need to Go to Family Court?
If you’re having struggles with co-parenting, getting a divorce and need legal assistance, are trying to adopt a child, or would like to establish financial support from the other parent of your child/children, you’ll likely need to go through family court. These issues are traditionally quite emotional and require clear-thinking professionals to handle them effectively, which makes family court the best place for them to be resolved. Having a court order also helps to clear up any confusion between parties that may disagree on family issues, such as child arrangements or the details of a divorce.
What are the Costs for Family Court?
There are different fees for each type of order in family court. Child arrangements, for example, cost £215 upon application of the order you’re requesting. Other types of orders have their own associated fees, all of which the petitioning party is responsible for. However, there are some cases in which the other party can be held financially responsible, as well as programs to help pay for court costs if the petitioner is collecting benefits or has a low income. Finding out the associated fees before applying for a court order can save you stress, giving you time to find the assistance you need if necessary.
Do I Need a Solicitor?
While it’s not technically necessary to have a solicitor join you in family court, it is advised in many cases. This is simply because the issues seen in family court tend to be the most emotional; going through court issues concerning loved ones or ex-spouses can be very stressful for all involved parties, making it difficult to see things clearly. A family court solicitor can help keep things organized, and their legal expertise can be extremely handy in the confusion of the court setting. Having someone experienced with legal matters can do wonders for stress reduction when dealing with family court issues.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is used when cases cannot be resolved in an amicable manner between parties. In the case of a child arrangement, for example, it’s common for parents to disagree on how much time the child will spend with each parent; both sides typically want more time with the child and for the other parent to have less. The Family Mediation Council is very helpful in these situations, serving as a “referee” of sorts between the disagreeing parents. Both parties visit the mediator (separately in some cases) and a decision is recommended to the court based on the best interests of the child. This formula is used for other matters as well, such as divorce.
If you’re in need of the family court’s help to resolve an issue you’re having, it’s wise to get some advice before you start. A legal consultant or solicitor can help you understand which steps you’ll need to take, as well as what to expect from your experience within the family law system. Even if you don’t need a solicitor this step will be helpful to guide you towards the right decision, although having a legal representative in court can be a big help.
Zain Legal & Co has your needs covered with family law support. For any questions you have or any family court issues you need help with, we’re here to support you through them all. Family court can be an emotionally and financially draining experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Our affordable rates and expert guidance will help offset some of the stress for you, making the best of a tough situation.
Book a free 15-minute consultation today and let us help you through it.