Family Law

What do we do?

We advise and represent clients who are going through the process of separation, divorce or custody issues.  We cover the whole of the Black Country area as well as Birmingham, Hereford and Worcester.

We have many years of experience in dealing with a wide range of family law matters. We know that for most people this is a highly emotional and stressful time of their lives so we aim to offer a sympathetic ear and to clearly explain our advice. We will aim to find the most constructive approach towards a resolution but will always put our your needs first.

How we do it?

We provide our clients with updates on their matters on a regular basis.  We are readily available in person, by phone or by e-mail to deal with any questions and queries as and when they arise.  We are a friendly and knowledgeable team where the client comes first.

Our legal experts are here to provide all the help and advice you need, call us today on 0121 511 2233.

Divorce

We offer advice and assistance in respect of divorces, separation and resolving finances. If you do not wish to divorce, but want to formalise your separation, we can apply for Judicial Separation.

There is one ground for divorce, and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This must be evidenced by one of the following:

  • Your spouse has behaved unreasonably
  • Your spouse has committed adultery
  • You have been separated from your spouse for two years, and they agree to the divorce
  • You have been separated from your spouse for five years
  • Your spouse has deserted you

Unfortunately, there is no such thing a ‘quickie divorce’.  However, we can help you go through the process as swiftly as possible.

We can also represent you if you are the Respondent to divorce proceedings.

We know that divorce can be a difficult time, particularly if children are involved, and we will work to deal with your case with compassion. If you wish to commence divorce proceedings, have been served with paperwork for proceedings, or simply are thinking about it and want to know where you stand, please contact us in confidence for advice.

For more information or to talk through your situation with a solicitor call us today on 0121 511 2233.

Children Act Matters

We have a wealth of experience dealing with Children Act matters, whether that is acting for a party seeking contact, a child arrangement order specifying who the child / children should live with, or even to take the child on holiday.

We not only represent parents, but also represent grandparents, aunt’s, uncle’s, siblings, or anybody else who has a connection to the child and seeks a court order.

We will help to resolve your matter by way of negotiation and mediation, to avoid issuing court proceedings. It is not always possible to reach an agreement however, and when this is the case, we will make an application to the court. In urgent situations, we can make what is known as an ex parte application, where in most cases the court will deal with the application the same day that we issue it.

The type of work that we usually deal with is:

  • Who the child / children shall live with
  • How much time the child / children will spend with the non-resident parent
  • How much time a child should spend with a party who is not a parent i.e. grandparents
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Taking the child / children out of the country
  • Any other factors that concerns the child / children’s lives such as schooling, medical procedures etc.
  • Preventing the other parent from a cause of action i.e. taking the child on holiday

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and therefore please do not hesitate contact us to discuss your family law problem.

Please note that if you do seek an urgent Child Arrangement Order, we shall endeavour to get your application before a Judge the same day.

Call us today to speak to a solicitor about your personal circumstances on 0121 511 2233.

Domestic Violence and Non-Molestation Orders

We recognise that some family problems need to be dealt with on an urgent basis, and we will therefore offer immediate advice if you need protective measures. You do not need to live in fear if you are being harassed, or are the victim of domestic violence, as the courts offer immediate protection where the police cannot assist.

If you require urgent protection, in most cases we will apply for a Court Order the same day that you contact us.

The forms of protection that the court offer are known as Non Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders.

A Non Molestation Order prohibits the other party from being violent towards you, threatening violence or contacting you by any means. An order can also include provision to protect your children from such threats or harassment.

An Occupation Order excludes the other party from entering the property where they have a legal right to be in that property.

We will advise you as to the most suitable order for you.

Non Molestation Orders are not just to protect people who are victims of physical abuse, they are there to assist victims of emotional abuse and harassment. If you feel that you are the victim of domestic abuse, please contact us, and we will provide you with friendly advice in confidence.

We know that there are also situations where parties are falsely accused of molestation, and therefore you may find yourself in a position where an order is being sought against you. The consequences of this could result in findings being made against you, and therefore we will fight to clear your name.

Legal aid is available for applications for a Non Molestation Order, however this will be dependent upon your income, which we will assess for you. If you do not qualify for legal aid, we can discuss fees with you.  Call us today on 0121 511 2233 if you need to speak with someone about your situation.

Domestic Violence during Covid-19

For victims of domestic abuse, the consequences of Covid-19 and the government policy of directing mass self-isolation, is likely to result in a greater sense of fear and anxiety, especially if you face being isolated at home with an abuser.

Domestic abuse includes not only physical abuse but also emotional, psychological, sexual and financial abuse. Perpetrators of domestic abuse often spend substantial time ensuring they isolate their victims from friends and family before abusing them, in the hope that there will be less people for the victim to turn to, to confide in and to report the abuse to. It is therefore worrying that as mass self-isolation is now underway across the UK, it may make it easier for perpetrators to continue to abuse victims in the knowledge that there is little escape or option to leave the home and seek help.

There has been an increase in the number of domestic abuse incidents reported since the Coronavirus outbreak and this is only likely to increase as the isolation period continues.  It is important to know that if you are the victim of abuse during this time, there is still help and advice available to secure your protection and ensure your safety.

Refuges, domestic abuse helplines and many solicitors who offer family law advice/domestic abuse advice, are still operational even during this shut down period. Silks Solicitors have a thriving family law department covering domestic abuse advice and matters relating to children. Our offices are still open to the public via telephone and we can arrange to hold telephone/Skype/Facetime meetings with you if you need help. Please feel free to call us on 0121 511 2233. Alternatively, you can email our Solicitor Ms Sana Ahmed at: sana.ahmed@silks-solicitors.co.uk if you feel you need guidance and advice but are unable to speak freely whilst at home.

Although the Courts, like many other businesses at the moment, have had to limit their work load and have had to cancel many cases listed for Hearings, the Court is still processing applications for non-molestation injunctions for the protection of domestic abuse victims. So, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, contact us today and we can help you secure protection through a Court Order. Many refuges are still open with places available for victims of domestic abuse so you may also be able to secure temporary safe accommodation away from home.

Always remember that if you are in immediate danger, contact 999 immediately. If you are unable to speak to the operator when they ask which emergency service you require, your call will be forwarded to an operating system. If you can press 55 at this stage, the system will detect this and your call will be transferred to the relevant police force as an emergency.

Do not continue to suffer from domestic abuse, contact us via phone or email to obtain legal advice and guidance today.

Phone: 0121 511 2233       Email: sana.ahmed@silks-solicitors.co.uk

Direct Mobile:07394 561 668

Contact During Lockdown

It is understandable that separated parents who have a Child Arrangements Order in place from the Family Courts, are currently concerned about how to implement the terms of the Court Order safely.

On March 23rd 2020, the UK government announced nationwide policies for everybody to remain in isolation within their own homes as much as possible, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. A few exceptions were granted for the need of daily exercise, to shop for essentials items, attend medical appointments or to attend work for those who cannot work from home. Save for those exceptions, the general public have been advised to remain indoors and not to even visit family members or friends.

The government guidelines have made it clear that parents who do not live in the same household and who have children under the age of 18, are able to travel for the sake of facilitating time being spent between the child(ren) and the non resident parent. This is an exception to the mandatory rule to stay at home, but it does not mean a child must be moved between parental homes.

It is important to remember that the Courts are not responsible for parenting or ensuring the daily safety of a child. This is the ultimate duty of the parents and those who hold parental responsibility. The parents of a child who hold parental responsibility are always ultimately duty bound to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. This means that despite any Court Orders that may be in place, it is the parent’s responsibility to act reasonably and to assess what is in their child’s best interests.

The country is facing a wide scale unprecedented health crisis. The only concern the Family Courts have at this time is to ensure that children are safe within their homes and that vulnerable children are being taken care of. For the majority of cases, it now falls to the parents themselves to act sensibly and appropriately in discussing arrangements between themselves to find the best way forward for their child.

If a child is generally well and healthy and their parents live relatively near to one another, it may be suitable to continue to facilitate contact arrangements as per usual. No doubt extra precautions should be taken to avoid reliance on public transport and to limit travel and exposure externally as much as possible. However, if a child suffers from any underlying medical conditions or if either parent is deemed vulnerable and therefore at particular risk of contracting Covid-19, parents may need to be realistic and make alternative arrangements to ensure the safety of the child and the health and safety of the parents themselves, as well as any others that may share their household. It may be the case that usual direct contact should be substituted for indirect contact for the current time by way of zoom/skype/facetime/phone calls etc. This may not be ideal but in the interests of general public health and safety, including the safety of a child, this may be the most sensible way forward on a temporary basis.

The best way for parents to deal with these difficult times is to communicate with one another and focus on what is best for the child, and not to take advantage of the circumstances. Stopping contact between a child and their parent or refusing to return a child to their resident parent, without real and justified cause, could result in significant emotional harm being cause to the child. Before making any decisions, it is advisable to talk between yourselves as the parents and try to reach an agreement about how to move forward with arrangements taking the exposure of risk of infection into consideration. If in doubt, seek legal advice before making any decisions.

During this time of crisis, it is suitable and possible to mutually agree to vary the terms of any Court Order from the Family Courts in relation to contact taking place. The Court is unlikely to penalize a parent for acting reasonably and agreeing alternative arrangements for a child during this pandemic. However, if a parent is seen to be manipulating the circumstances to take advantage of the current state of affairs, to refuse to return a child or to refuse to engage in contact of any form, whether directly or indirectly, this is a matter which can be raised before the Court to be addressed and such unconscionable behavior from a parent would not be taken lightly by the Courts. It is important to remember that at a time like this, the Family Court is keen to  see parents working together in an amicable manner, even if this means the letter of the law through a previous Court Order is not able to be maintained for the current time; as long as the spirit of the Court Order is still being actioned.

It is unlikely that there will be many cases where all forms of contact should be stopped completely, even during the current lockdown period that the nation is facing, alternative arrangements for substituted contact can always take place and should be taking place as much as possible.

If you feel that you have safety concerns for your child, the other parent is not acting reasonably or contact has ceased entirely, you are still able to seek legal advice and have matters addressed by the Court.

We remain open, and although most members of staff are working from home, we are able to assist you remotely, with your preferred method of communication, whether that be by telephone call, video calls or email, we continue to work from home just as we would in the office, due to our advanced IT systems. Please contact us on 0121 511 2233 should you require any legal advice, and ask to speak to one of our Family Panel and Children Panel Accredited Solicitors.

Wherever life takes you, Silks are here to help.

Melissa Cruickshanks

Melissa Cruickshanks

Director

Click here to find out more about Melissa.
Todd Killeen

Todd Killeen

Solicitor

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Sana Ahmed

Sana Ahmed

Solicitor

Click here to find out more about Sana.

Jessica Davies

Jessica Davies

Paralegal

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If you want to find out more please get in touch