Less than one month to go: deadline for historic single parent Parental Orders
In January 2019, after much anticipation, the UK surrogacy rules were amended to allow single applicants to apply for Parental Orders for children born via a surrogate. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 also allowed a... [read more...
What is family mediation?
Family mediation helps separating couples resolve disagreements in a calm environment outside of court. As well as being less costly, family mediation can also save your family the time and stress involved with court proceedings. Family mediation partner,... [read more...
Government ends unnecessary divorce ‘blame game’
The government has today (9th April) announced that it is introducing legislation in England and Wales whereby couples will no longer have to prove fault to get divorced. This new legislation will replace the current legal requirement for spouses to either... [read more...
Children’s Mental Health Week
As part of Children's Mental Health Week 2019, we focus on the wellbeing of children whose parents are going through a divorce or separation. It’s well known that children can suffer when their parents go through a separation or divorce, with symptoms... [read more...
Why staying on civil terms during divorce will benefit your children
There’s been so much of a surge in January divorce enquiries in recent years that the first Monday of the New Year is now known as ‘D-Day’, or ‘Divorce Day’, amongst family lawyers. Having made their way through the Christmas festivities, many... [read more...
Owens v Owens – Supreme Court rules against wife in ‘desperately unhappy marriage’
The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of a wife seeking to divorce her husband, in a judgment which highlights once again the need for no-fault divorce to be introduced. Tini Owens, 68, filed a petition in 2015 seeking a divorce from her husband Hugh... [read more...
Supreme Court restores original maintenance decision in Mills v Mills
The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Mills v Mills, a dispute over maintenance arrangements following divorce. In doing so it upheld the original verdict of the judge in the family court, who had rejected the wife’s... [read more...
Supreme Court rules in favour of extending civil partnerships
Family law partner Tom Powles examines what the court's decision on civil partnerships means for different sex and same sex couples. The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously in favour of a couple challenging the rules on civil partnerships. Rebecca... [read more...
Is lifetime maintenance becoming a thing of the past?
Court orders for maintenance are typically made to ensure that one of the divorcees’ financial needs are met. However, a recent court order for maintenance limited the payments to five years. Partner and divorce specialist Chris Miller explains how... [read more...
What happens to debts when you divorce?
Sorting out debts when you divorce is as important as separating other assets - some would even say more important, as unaffordable loan repayments, credit card bills and black marks on your credit profile can all affect your ability to move on with your... [read more...
Surrogacy + parental responsibility – the law
In the UK, if a couple want to start a family using a surrogate, they should be aware of the different legal ways to become parents. Their route to legal parenthood will be affected by their relationship status, among other factors. In 2008, the law... [read more...
Unmarried couples’ rights – a myth?
A survey undertaken by family law organisation, Resolution, has found that millions of cohabiting couples wrongly believe that they’re entitled to legal protection when they split up, as they’re under ‘common law marriage’. Common law marriage,... [read more...
Firm ranked by Chambers Guide in three areas of law
The latest edition of the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession has just been published – and there is plenty in it for our solicitors to be happy about! Our medical negligence team have once again come out top in Bristol for their specialism – they... [read more...
Getting divorced in the UK if you live abroad
With much uncertainty still surrounding Britain's departure from the EU, many people are wondering how divorce will work across international borders. Chris Miller, family law and divorce solicitor, discusses the process of applying for a divorce in the UK if... [read more...
Five questions adoption lawyers get asked
National Adoption Week runs from 15th to 21st October this year, with the aim of spreading awareness of adoption and encourage potential adopters to think seriously about the idea. As part of this, we asked adoption and family law solicitor Clare Cox to... [read more...
Firm receives top ranking in Legal 500
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve once again been recognised by independent legal research guide The Legal 500 for our medical negligence, personal injury and family law expertise. We have again been awarded a tier 1 ranking for our medical... [read more...
Leading judge slams mental health provision for teenagers
A top family law judge has described the ‘disgraceful and utterly shaming lack of proper provision in this country’ for teenagers with mental health needs.... [read more...
Equal pension rights for same-sex couples
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Britain since 2014, but inequality in marriage still hasn’t been completely eliminated. However, there was a big step forward on this front today as the Supreme Court ruled in favour of John Walker, a retired gay man... [read more...
Nowhere to turn – only a quarter of women seeking refuge find it
A new report published this week by Women’s Aid reveals that only a quarter of women supported by their caseworkers last year were able to find space in a domestic violence refuge. This follows last year’s news that as many as two thirds of all refuges... [read more...
Five mediation misconceptions
Despite family mediation being a viable option for resolving a range of family issues, confusion still exists about how the process works and what can be achieved from it. After all, if mediation offers so many benefits to separating couples, why doesn’t... [read more...
How can I prevent my child being abducted?
The prospect of the other parent taking your child abroad, without your consent, is a frightening one. But with a rise in international relationships comes an increase in international separations, with some parents in bitter conflict about how and where... [read more...
Same sex marriage v civil partnerships – what’s the difference?
In 2004, Parliament passed the Civil Partnership Act which allowed couples of the same sex to enter into civil partnerships. This entitled same sex couples to the same property rights, social security and pension benefits of those who are legally... [read more...
I’m separated – can I take my child on holiday?
For most parents, taking their child on holiday doesn’t present a problem. But for separated parents, the issue of international travel can be difficult to navigate – especially if there are underlying concerns about abduction. So if you’re... [read more...
Should heterosexual couples be able to form civil partnerships?
The Court of Appeal ruled this week that the government’s stance on civil partnerships could continue, even though it might breach heterosexual couples’ human rights. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan launched an appeal after the High Court decided... [read more...
Four ideas that could change the face of divorce law
The modern family unit is changing – and the law is struggling to keep up. One area where this has become increasingly apparent is divorce law, most of which was written not in the previous decade, but in the previous century. Of course, there are good... [read more...
Using mediation to resolve grandparent visitation rights
When parents break-up, one unfortunate consequence of their separation is that grandparents can find themselves excluded from their grandchildren’s lives.... [read more...
How to get the best out of family mediation
You've decided to use family mediation to resolve your relationship dispute, but how do you get the best out of the process? We’ve provided some useful pointers you might want to consider to ensure that you benefit fully from family mediation.... [read more...
What kind of family lawyer do you need?
If you need legal representation because you’re going through family difficulties, such as future child arrangements or separating finances, it can be difficult to know what your first steps should be. Depending on your situation you might need to instruct... [read more...
Firm receives top tier Legal 500 ranking
We’re delighted to announce that our medical negligence, personal injury and family law teams have been recognised by Legal 500, an independent guide to the UK’s legal services providers. Described as “one of the best in the South West”, our... [read more...
Men don’t need to suffer domestic abuse in silence
It’s a common assumption that domestic abuse is a women’s issue – but it’s a wrong one. Men can experience domestic abuse in exactly the same way women can, and it can take many forms: physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional to name... [read more...
Four reasons to get a prenup
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, doesn’t fall under most people’s definitions of ‘romantic’. After all, the whole point of marriage is supposed to be about a lifelong commitment, isn’t it? Maybe so, but with one third of UK marriages ending in... [read more...
Are ‘silver divorces’ leading to an increase in Will disputes?
When an application for divorce is made, many people see it as an opportunity to make a fresh start – and the over 60s are no exception.... [read more...
Domestic abuse charity to close children’s services
Bristol-based domestic abuse service Survive is due to close four of its six children’s services, after funding from two private donors worth £250,000 fell through.... [read more...
How no fault divorce could reduce stress for families
Although divorce has been made less stressful over the years through initiatives such as mediation, it remains a difficult and often draining process for separating couples and their families. Resolution, an organisation which represents the family law... [read more...
How to claim legal aid for domestic abuse
If you’re trying to leave an abusive relationship, the last thing you want to worry about is how you're going to pay for legal protection from domestic abuse. Legal aid has been cut for most family law cases, such as divorce and child arrangements,... [read more...
Do you have a legal right to see your grandchildren?
As a grandparent, you play an increasingly important role in modern family life and probably spend more time with your grandchildren than ever before. But if the family breaks up, what happens to you? If you’ve been denied contact or you’re worried... [read more...
Decoding divorce: Barcan+Kirby signs up to national research
If you follow the news about the changing nature of relationships and families, you won’t be amazed to learn that 42% of marriages end in divorce.... [read more...
Collaboration is key to a stress-free separation
Separation and divorce is undoubtedly one of the most stressful situations we can face. That's why we encourage couples to take a collaborative approach to managing their affairs. So how is it different? Collaborative practice has been designed to offer... [read more...
Separating? Make sure you consider your options
If you're going through a divorce or separation, you have several options for addressing the practical and legal aspects of ending your relationship. Divorce rarely means going to court. But when it comes to fixed fees, mediation and collaborative law,... [read more...
Are we failing parents whose children are taken into care?
Our team of specialist lawyers are involved in this complicated and heartbreaking case. Social services can remove child after child from the same mother, without her being offered the help she needs to become a good-enough parent.... [read more...
I’m a celebrity… get me a quickie divorce
If you read any newspaper or gossip magazine these days there will inevitably be stories regarding celebrity couples who have been married 5 minutes and are getting a quickie divorce. But in reality is there such a thing? Our family law experts here at... [read more...
Adoptive families given access to £20m support fund
Adopting a child is a wonderful thing to do. It creates a new family unit, enabling a child to have a new start in life particularly as adoptive children have already faced the loss of their birth family. It’s therefore great news that the government has... [read more...
Divorce: How to make it easier for your children
Divorce can create anxiety, worry, upset and frustration. It’s difficult enough as an adult to deal with such things but what must it be like for a child? Our team of specialist family lawyers have supported and guided countless families through the... [read more...
The introduction of ‘Presumption of Parental Involvement’
It has been announced that s11 of Children and Families Act 2014 will be introduced on 22nd October 2014. This introduces the presumption that ‘unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned... [read more...
Couples to consider family mediation before court
Couples now have to consider family mediation before they are able to legally separate, under new laws announced in April 2014. The reforms have come as a result of the government attempting to dissuade separating couples from applying straight to the... [read more...
The importance of wider family in child contact disputes
We’re delighted to be supporting World Child Contact day, an annual event which highlights the difficulties faced by the many families who are affected by child residence and contact issues. As experienced family law solicitors, we regularly support... [read more...
Case study: Dad denied contact with his child
This Thursday marks World Child Contact Day, an annual event which highlights the difficulties faced by the many families who are affected by child residence and contact issues. When parents separate, it can be difficult to reach an amicable... [read more...
Beware the myth of common law spouse
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as common law marriage. In fact, the legal status of common law spouse – or the belief that couples who live together have the same rights as married couples – is a myth. As a cohabitee, you don’t... [read more...
I do… but only with a prenup?
It’s a common misconception that prenups are only for the wealthy. Indeed, there are many reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement, even if you don’t have substantial pre-marriage assets to protect. After all, with over one in three modern marriages... [read more...
Parents in denial about impact of separation on children
Parents in the process of divorce are often in denial about how their separation has impacted their children, according to a recent survey. The report by parenting website Mumsnet polled 1,000 parents and 100 children separately to assess how... [read more...
T’is the season to… divorce?
The tabloid media will have you believe the Christmas period is the catalyst for a high percentage of relationship breakdowns and that January is actually boom time for family lawyers. In fact, January often sees twice as many couples begin divorce... [read more...
Legal aid still available for family mediation services
Government attempts to promote family mediation as an alternative means of resolving separation and custody battles are failing, according to reports. Ministry of Justice figures show that since the April 2013 cuts to legal aid, the number of couples... [read more...
Divorcee danger: the perils of online & DIY divorce
A quickie divorce for £99? It’s an appealing headline and one that might make you think twice about instructing a solicitor. After all, how tricky can it be to manage your own divorce? With prices such as these, it’s easy to see why so many are... [read more...
Firm launches independent family mediation service
We’re pleased to announce the launch of Barcan Woodward Family Mediation – an independent practice that will enable us to provide family mediation services from each of our four Bristol offices.... [read more...
The family mediation process: how does it work?
When it comes to family mediation, the important thing to remember is that you’re in control. By sitting down and negotiating, you’re taking charge of your own future. You’re making joint decisions about your separation, rather than having judgement... [read more...
Firm appoints Tom Powles as Partner
We're pleased to announce that Tom Powles of the family law team has been promoted to Partner.... [read more...
Why mediate? The benefits of family mediation
The use of mediation to resolve family disputes is already on the rise; however many anticipate that recent changes to the legal aid system will only increase its appeal as an alternative form of dispute resolution. As a result of legal aid changes,... [read more...
Changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence
The Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill became law in May 2012 and reforms were introduced in April 2013. The act makes some changes that have implications for victims of domestic violence and their ability to access legal... [read more...
How will legal aid changes affect your family?
With effect from April 1st, the scope of services covered by legal aid was reduced significantly and legal aid funding has been withdrawn for the most frequently-seen family disputes. However legal aid for mediation is still available and can be used... [read more...
A legal definition for ‘needs’ upon divorce
The Law Commission launched a supplemental consultation paper last week with the aim of seeking to provide a legal definition of the term “needs”. Family lawyers have been used to running these arguments in courts for years but without specific... [read more...
Divorce from abroad for British expats
When a relationship breaks down, the natural reaction is for people to turn to their extended support network of friends and family. But for many expats, this isn’t always immediately possible. For people living abroad, there may be added... [read more...
New decision on civil partnership breakdown
The 2005 introduction of civil partnerships was a social and legal landmark. By allowing same sex couples to legally recognise their partnership, the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 provided similar legal rights and protections afforded to married... [read more...
Controversial legal aid bill set to become law
The government’s bill to cut legal aid in England is set to become law, and now awaits Royal Assent. As a result of the reforms, all divorce, finance, and private law children cases, subject to exceptions, will be removed from the scope of legal aid... [read more...
Care applications hit 10,000 in one year
The number of care applications in the UK rose by more than 10% in the last financial year, taking the total number of children in care to over 10,000 for the first time. It was revealed last week that new applications to take children into care have... [read more...
Police pensions & divorce
With the divorce courts looking to create equality between separating spouses, we have to consider pensions - often a major asset to be divided. When a court orders that an individual's pension must be shared, the former spouse is allocated a... [read more...