Family Court: How to be a victor not a victim

Do not choose to be a victim in a Family Court case for your children or finances 

Being involved in a case to Family Court may not be a pleasant experience. But by following these simple guidelines you can make it easier for yourself and your family.

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Choosing to go to the Family Court

You are not powerless. It is far too easy to see yourself at the mercy of your ex, the court and the rest of the chorus of people you will come into contact with when you wish to change a situation you are not happy with. Listen to the horror stories and you may be tempted to surrender before the first metaphorical shot is fired. Who would choose to get involved in all that?

Factors against you in the Family Court

Because when you become involved in the Family Court you will meet a huge cast who will say you are doomed. They could include:

  1. The ex’s solicitor. He or she (paid handsomely by the ex) will tell you things that will make throwing in the towel seem like a sensible option. Why do you think he or she does that? It’s almost like they’re – I don’t know – working for your ex.
  2. Friends, family and people you have never met on social media. A huge club who combine ignorance of the facts, ignorance of the law and personal agendas. It’ll include the bloke who `told the judge like it is’ – the one who is as angry as hell and isn’t going to take it any more…and has no contact….but there was nothing the judge could say apart from `Thanks. Off you go’. The bitter divorcee who fought a 15 year battle with the ex over the house or the kids. The gender war advocate who wants to strike a blow against the other sex.
  3. Some of the court staff. Be it the CAFCASS officer who tells you that contact only really works if the parent who has the child agrees to it. Or his/her counterpart in Social Services saying the same thing (who may tell you that you absolutely positively have no choice but to sign that Section 20 if you are mired in a public law case). Amongst others.
  4. Organisations pushing an agenda about bias and incompetence in the system. I’m not going to make a judgement about that one. But again – listen to that sort of thing and you’ll end up feeling like a long walk off a short pier sounds mighty attractive.

It’s enough to make you want to go and join the French Foreign Legion, isn’t it?

More power in the Family Court than you think

That applies even if no-one in the courtroom apparently likes you. Even if the judge has seemingly decided he/she doesn’t like the look of your face the moment you walk in. Even if you have been threatened with a £20,000 costs order, no contact with the kids ever, losing the house you inherited or worked so long for and a day in the stocks on the village green while you wear the latest in fermented tomato on your face.

Family Court – the positives

Despite all the relentless negativity so far (you’re still reading right?) there are simple things you can do – that don’t require a legal background to help you prepare and keep you in the right frame of mind even if it all seems hopeless.

I would point out that there are no exceptions here (although everyone I come into contact with is a `special case’ with the strongest case/worst ex/whatever). These points are by and large common sense…and again – we get it. That’s part of the reason we do the job we do – to help you focus when things are hard – many McKenzie Friends (a type of paralegal who can help you represent yourself in all aspects of your child custory, finance or divorce case) ended up doing the job after personal experience of this all.

So what are these pieces of enlightenment? Here goes…

5 Top Tips to help you in the Family Court

  • Don’t give up

But consider this. You have a 100% chance of getting nowhere if you walk away. There aren’t many guarantees in court but this is one of them. You may say you have no chance if you don’t give up…but I’ll also guarantee you it’s less than 100%. Only you decide if you give up – no one else at all. Own it!

  • Sell the solution

The court will take the easy option. Make sure you are the easy option in their eyes. If you tell the court you’re walking away from it all, that’ll be seen as an easy option and they won’t try that hard to stop you. They’ll close the case and for all intents and purposes it’ll be considered a success – because you’ve come to an arrangement with your ex without the need for a court order. If it means ordering no contact because you got yourself a non- molestation order, a caution because you `kicked off’ at the wrong time in the wrong place…that’s marked as a success. Remember, even indirect contact is considered a success!

Make sure what you’re proposing is clear, simple, fair and actually doable – both in terms of practicality and in line with the law.

  • Focus

At the start ask yourself this: `What do I want out of this case?’ If it is anything other than building a relationship with your kids or an equitable settlement that doesn’t leave your ex living under a railway bridge as punishment for being so awful you’re probably not going to have much fun or luck. Because the court will be irritated if it thinks you’re using it as a weapon against your ex. Don’t get distracted either – keep your eye on the ball. Don’t concentrate on the ex’s 493 ridiculous, fictitious and/or painful allegations.

  • Keep it clean

If your ex has dirt on you, it’s a fair bet it’ll be discussed in court to justify their actions. Because they’re not going to say `Yeah – I’m only being unreasonable because I wish to punish him/her. Don’t give your ex ammunition or justification for his or her actions – which could be backed up with screen prints of your abusive messages, police reports of your arrest or witness statement of the nice old lady next door who saw and heard you shouting threats through the letter box while demanding to see the kids. If they want to find something to criticise you for…they will. Don’t hand it to them on a plate.

  • Be nice – Even if it kills you

There’s a line somewhere like `If you can interpret something in two ways and one of them upsets you I meant the other way’. Don’t rise to stuff. Choose to assume that the other person has the best of motives. If you know that is the case ask yourself `Is my response liable to escalate things or dial them down?’ What you do and say now could well affect your life for years to come.

The Family Court and you

It’s more than practical stuff too. A positive mindset will help immensely. It’s hard enough as it is without you shooting yourself in the foot from the outset.

Keep calm and carry on.

About the author Steven Wade

Steven wade standingSteven Wade is a Family Law Specialist, assisting people in child custody, financial matters and divorce for over a decade in courts around in England and Wales – from magistrates all the way to the Royal Courts of Justice.

He works with his partner, Michaela, for Family Law Assistance and lives in Mid Wales.

 

Born in Essex, he worked in various sectors including finance, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and the oil industry after gaining a degree in geology. He became interested in family law following his divorce and court case involving his son.

Relocating from the South East of England to Wales he volunteered with a parenting charity and quickly gained a reputation helping parents in family law matters both in and out of court before deciding to do this on a full-time basis. More recently he has added coaching skills and qualifications to his CV to further assist his clients in mindset issues to accompany his legal background.

 
Website: www.familylawassistance.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/familylawassistance
Tel: 0117 290 0274
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenjohnwade/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fla_steven

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How will the Coronavirus affect my travel to and from China?

Coronavirus and gaining refunds

An outbreak of a new coronavirus is affecting travel to and from China. Here is some advice on how this may impact on your trip and on your travel insurance.

The coronavirus

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao) because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection for which there is no specific cure or vaccine and may have originated in a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals are traded illegally.

If you are currently in China

The FCO has advised against all travel to Hubei Province and advises British people there to leave if they are able to do so. However, British Airways has already suspended flights to and from mainland China. Other airlines are still flying but it is expected that they will follow suit. Those in China should look to make plans swiftly.

Britons flying back to the UK are being put in quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms.

If you are due to fly to China

Because the FCO has warned against travel, you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance if you still fly and so you should check with your insurer. Whether you are covered by your insurer would depend on the cover you have and the reason for travel. If, for example, you are travelling for a holiday then it is unlikely that this would be considered essential and you should be covered.

An insurer will only cover you if you have booked the trip and obtained insurance before the virus was known about. So, if you bought the trip and left buying the insurance until later you won’t get cover because the virus is now known. It is ALWAYS advisable to take out travel insurance at the same time as booking your trip.

If you are able to make changes to your plans you may also be able to transfer your travel insurance to the new destination.

If you’re booked onto a scheduled BA flight between 26 January and 23 February, you should request a refund. The airline is also offering alternative flights which is a possible option for some travellers.

Although many airlines are offering refunds there is no actual legal obligation for them to do so.

Booking China flight and accommodation separately

If you are covered by travel insurance it may also refund your accommodation costs, if they has already been paid. It also may cover you for out of pocket expenses but this will always depend on the cover that you have.

If you don’t have travel insurance you may struggle to get a refund on the accommodation and the outcome will depend on the insurer’s terms and conditions.

Travelling to an area where there are reported cases of coronavirus

At the point of writing (29 January 2020) the FCO has not advised against travelling to any other places affected by the coronavirus. If you take the decision not to travel then travel insurance will not cover a refund of your ticket costs.

Look out timber frame on a beach "researching, booking and complaining aabout holidays and flights. Tips, ideas and your rights"

 

All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights/travel links to various posts about flights and holidays

 

 

 

 

Moneybox 29/01/20 discussing callers issues with travel around the area and booked holidays.

Coronavirus - your rights

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