There are plenty of sources of support when you’re going through challenging times. Ann McCabe Solicitors often works closely with trusted third parties when assisting clients, and therefore has a plethora of contacts that can provide guidance. If you are questioning where else you can get help, here are some useful resources.
Mediation is often the most amicable and cost-effective way of resolving a family dispute. Local mediation services include:-
- Family Mediation Centre Staffordshire
- Staffordshire Family Mediation Service
- Staffordshire Mediation
Coaches and Counsellors
Family breakdown can often cause great stress for all those involved. Additionally, it can be difficult to talk openly with friends and family, particularly those who know both parties. Therefore, many find counselling helpful. Resources include:
- Amy Dixon is a divorce and relationship coach who provides one-to-one support. She helps you cope with emotional stress, managing conflict, making difficult decisions and the court process.
- British Associate of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a nationwide therapist directory; you can easily narrow the search using location and filters such as “relationships”, “children” or “couples”.
- Similarly, the Counselling Directory is a directory of professional counsellors and psychotherapists.
- Your GP can refer you to NHS counselling or therapy services, such as the Staffordshire Wellbeing Service.
- There are several local charities and many private counsellors who can also help. Local services include:-
Help for managing arrangements for children
Lots of information and resources can be found on the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services website (CAFCASS), whether you are involved in court proceedings or not. Download and complete your own parenting agreement here.
You could also enlist the assistance of a parenting coordinator. They work with both parents to put into practice a parenting agreement or court order. This defines arrangements for the care of your children by helping to improve communication.
Alternatively, there are apps to help you co-parent. They include:
Find your local contact centre on the National Association of Child Contact Centre register.
Free advice and assistance:
- Use Sorting Out Separation to find useful information about the law, and whether you can get legal aid and/or support for your children.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau provides advice on areas not generally covered by solicitors such as debt management, housing and benefit entitlement.
- The Money Advice Service is an independent service set up by the government to help people manage their money.
- CLOCK (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele) provides assistance from students at Keele University to support people who are unrepresented in court proceedings.
- Resolution provides lots of tips and information about how to cope after separation. Moreover, if you are facing a “remote” hearing by telephone or video/online, Resolution offers guidance.
- More information about representing yourself in court can be found on the gov.uk website.
- Support Through Court is a national charity that offers support through court free of charge. You can phone 03000 810 006.
- Advice now guides are a great source of information on a full range of legal problems.
- The Transparency Project is a registered charity which explains and discusses family law and family courts in England & Wales. It signposts to useful resources to help non-lawyers understand the system and the law better. It was endorsed as a source of information for parents by Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice McFarlane during his keynote speech at a Family Justice Council event on 9th March 2017.
The Gov.uk website has a wealth of information and guidance about many aspects of the law:
- You can download court forms from the court website.
- To get a figure for Child Maintenance use the Child Maintenance Calculator.
- Use the Benefits Calculator to check potential entitlement to benefits and tax credits.
If you have been invited to attend a Public Law Outline meeting by Local Authority Children Services, or Children Services have issued court proceedings in relation to your children, you are automatically entitled to free legal aid regardless of your financial circumstances.
You can check whether you qualify for legal aid on the Government website. If so, you will be entitled to public funding for mediation and associated legal advice. You are entitled to legal aid in relation to protection from domestic abuse.
If you are able to provide written evidence that you are the victim of domestic abuse or that your children are at risk of significant harm, you will be able to apply for legal aid for any aspect of family law. You can download template letters requesting evidence from the Gov.uk website.
The Civil Legal Advice helpline provides free Advice over the telephone about many aspects of the law.
Whilst solicitors see a case through from beginning to end, barristers specialise in representation at court. I usually conduct all hearings myself but you can choose instead to instruct a barrister. If you simply want representation at court, without any help with correspondence or negotiation, you can instruct a barrister directly without first instructing a solicitor under the Direct Access scheme.
Chambers I work closely with include:
- Regent Chambers in Hanley
- St Philips Chambers in Birmingham
- St Ives Chambers in Birmingham
- St Marys Chambers in Nottingham