Same sex couples who marry will now enjoy the same pension benefits on death as heterosexual married couples following a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court this month which resulted in immediate changes to the law.
Harrogate Family Law has appointed North Yorkshire family lawyer Carol Jessop as partner.
Carol sits on the national Standards Committee for the family law body Resolution and is accredited by the organisation as a specialist in cohabitation and complex financial divorce cases. She joins from Langleys in York.
Andrew Meehan said: “Carol has significant experience in complex areas of family law including financial and child arrangements for separating couples.
“She is also extremely knowledgeable in the issues and challenges faced in cases involving business assets and pensions, areas that the Harrogate Family Law team is recognised for regionally.”
Carol said: “Harrogate Family Law has a strong reputation in North Yorkshire and I am looking forward to being part of a high calibre team.”
A top law graduate who recently completed a prestigious Baroness Cohen Scholarship at BPP Law School in Leeds has begun a new role as a trainee solicitor at Harrogate Family Law.
Laura Mounsey has been working as a paralegal at the North Yorkshire law firm since graduating from Durham University. She recently received a distinction in her core topics at BPP and an award for her pro bono work.
Andrew Meehan, founder and managing director of Harrogate Family Law, said: “Laura is a gifted and talented lawyer who has enhanced our team during her time as a paralegal.
“We are delighted to be able to offer her a position as a trainee solicitor with the firm and look forward to supporting her as she develops her career.”
Laura said: “I have been fortunate enough to work on some interesting and complex cases alongside a highly experienced team during my time at Harrogate Family Law.
“I am pleased to be part of a well regarded and growing law firm that is committed to nurturing my career.”
Couples with children are naturally very concerned about where their children will live and how much time they are going to spend with them after divorce or separation. Shared parenting arrangements, where children live part-time with both parents, are becoming more common although this isn’t always practical.
People still talk about custody and access, although the courts now refer to decisions about where your children will live as “child arrangements”. At Harrogate Family Law, we help parents sort out how to make choices that are in the best interests of the child. This can include making sure your children continue to see members of the extended family, such as aunts and grandparents.
Can we agree things between ourselves?
Couples often manage to agree things between themselves, or with help from us. In fact, the court expects parents to come up with a plan. If they can’t agree, we can help with negotiations or mediation could be helpful. We try and avoid asking the court to make a judgement if at all possible because the outcome can be hard to predict.
Are the children’s wishes taken into consideration?
Family courts now assume that both parents will be involved in their children’s upbringing but this isn’t a presumption that the children will spend equal time with both parents.
Having said that, when it comes to living arrangements, practical considerations will have a bearing. If one parent works longer hours, for instance, it may be that they are only available to care for the children at weekends or in the school holidays.
If parents are sorting out the arrangements between themselves we will urge them to think about what is best for their children.
If the court becomes involved in child arrangements, a court advisor will often talk to the children to see what their wishes and feelings are. This doesn’t mean a child will be asked to choose between parents. Family judges are well aware of the emotions involved in child arrangements cases and will want to build a full picture before making a decision that they believe is in the best interests of the child.
What if our circumstances change?
Life moves on and the arrangements made immediately after divorce may need to be renegotiated. One parent might want to move to a new area, their financial circumstances or health may alter or there could be decisions to make about the children’s education or care. Co-parenting is an ongoing process and as parents you will have to discuss all sorts of issues such as discipline, allowing a child to travel abroad with friends, making decisions about medical treatment or funding extra curricular activities. As experts in this area, we specialise in providing legal advice to parents when issues such as these arise. We are experienced negotiators and can support parents in discussions with their ex spouse, helping them reach a decision that puts the child’s needs first.
Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.
This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing email@example.com. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.