• Doncaster

    01302 327 136
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Retford

    01777 703 100
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Worksop

    01909 500 511
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Clowne

    01246 810 050
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Rotherham

    01709 375 561
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Sheffield - Waterthorpe

    0114 251 1702
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Sheffield - Chapeltown

    0114 246 7609
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

'Family' Category Archives

October 30th, 2019

Family Mediation Solicitors

Close-up of married couple's hands in an affectionate pose

Our team of experienced and supportive family mediators is here to help you resolve sensitive issues between family members, without the need for going to court.

As a person looking for a cost-effective tool to help resolve matters regarding divorce, childcare and finances, the involvement of a mediator could be the answer.

The family mediation team here at Foys Solicitors are committed to helping you find favourable solutions for all parties involved. Our passion for helping family members communicate and resolve disputes has led us to update our compassionate family mediation solicitors page with accurate and reliable information.

On this page, you’ll find out how we can help you with issues to do with:

  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Childcare
  • Money and finances
  • Property

Contact Foys Solicitors team of family mediators today

If you would like a free initial consultation on our services, call us on 01302 327136, email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk or complete our Contact Form.

For more information on how mediation can help your family, take a look at How mediation can help your family during a divorce.

September 4th, 2019

Family law solicitors

Family law solicitors in LondonAt Foys, our family law solicitors understand the importance of legal family matters and are committed to ensuring the best solutions for you and your family.

Family law can be complex as it covers a wide range of legal issues that address different matters. Therefore, it is important to understand the details involved in order to ensure the outcome you desire. We understand the stress and confusion such issues may cause, therefore, our experienced family team take a sensitive approach to help you understand the legalities.

We will support you through the difficult times and on your journey to securing a better future for you and your loved ones.

Our family team can advise and assist you with the following:

  • Divorce
  • Collaborative law
  • Civil partnerships
  • Separation agreements
  • Premarital agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Financial matters
  • Domestic abuse and injunctions
  • Children’s legal matters
  • Change of name

For more information regarding how we can help you, check out our recently updated ‘Family Law Solicitors‘ page. Here, we dive deeper into the areas of family law that we cover.

Contact Foys Solicitors for sound advice on family law today

To book an initial free consultation or to find out more about our family law services, call Foys’ family law solicitors on 01302 327136 to book your FREE initial consultation. Alternatively, you can send us a message via our Contact Form.

November 15th, 2018

Access to Justice – How much do parents really have?

The legal system has become noticeably more impenetrable in recent years. Research by Resolution shows that where before 25-45 people on average were turned away, in 2018 this has increased to 100-200. So what’s changed, and more importantly can anything be done about it?


Following the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), most private family law cases – including matters regarding the arrangements for spending time with children – do not qualify for the services of a Legal Aid lawyer. Many parents are finding themselves under the microscope of the Family Courts alone, arguing disputes regarding their children without legal aid.

Cases where arrangements for children and/or financial issues arise from separation are increasingly unrepresented. Many family lawyers have found themselves unable to assist people in such circumstances due to the changes to the Legal Aid system in 2014. Legal aid is available to those arguing against the State, but not to disputes between parents, leaving them to fight their own battles on their own budget. As a result, a lack of funds means representation is not an option for many.

This has had a significant impact on the scale of these types of cases, often elongating them and making them much harder to resolve. As Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has said, “Separation and decisions over child access are some of the most difficult moments people will ever go through. When people are priced out of getting legal help, this can make it even harder for all involved, especially the children, and can escalate into divisive family court battles with long-term consequences”.

Is mediation the answer?

The government’s Legal Aid goal was to encourage a greater focus on mediation as a way of resolving conflicts, but it does not seem to have succeeded. While mediation is compulsory in the majority of cases, many attend court afterwards without understanding the benefits or resolutions that mediation can bring. Jayne Kirtley, our Legal Executive Advocate at Foys Solicitors, puts it best: “Early help can sometimes avoid the need for court proceedings and the emotional conflict that this can bring. Being able to agree on matters amicably works far better than forcing it.

Despite the benefits, mediation is still an option that is largely overlooked. Instead of parties resolving their differences beforehand, Judges now find themselves commonly faced with two unrepresented parties; one party or both being represented is now the exception rather than the norm. Government figures currently suggest that 46% of private family law cases had a lawyer on each side in April to June 2012, but in the same period in 2018, only 19% did. The option is there, but many simply don’t know how to take advantage of it. This is where Foys Solicitors can come in.

We can help

At Foys, our experienced Children and Separation solicitors are equipped to offer practical advice in these situations. We’re experts at helping you through the process of mediation, and a consultation with us includes the first 30 minutes free. If you need help or know someone that may benefit from our assistance, fill out our Online Form or get in touch with your local office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

If you found this article interesting, why not take a look at:

October 4th, 2018

Civil Partnership for all

Happy couple
It’s been a very long fight for Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan. In 2014 they applied for a Civil Partnership but were refused, on the grounds of The Civil Partnership Act 2004 stating that “Two people are not eligible to register as civil partners of each other if … they are not of the same sex.”

Now, after a four-year legal battle that has involved four different equalities ministers across 3 courts, including the Supreme Court, the judges have finally made their decision. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was ruled as incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights: everyone is entitled to apply for civil partnership, regardless of the gender dynamics of the couple.

Civil partnership is an increasingly common choice, with many having experienced a previously bad marriage or simply wishing to avoid the cultural and religious baggage that comes with tying the knot. However the lack of legal recognition had left it in a legally murky area, with none of the rights or financial protection afforded by marriage. Thanks to this ruling, civil partnership will finally be a fair alternative to marriage for everyone, as opposed to an option only afforded to a select group.

If you’re currently in a civil partnership, chances are that you are unsure of your legal future following this ruling. At Foys we’re experts in family law, and we can assist you with making an application to get the legal recognition you deserve.

To find out how we can help, use our Online Form to get in touch, or contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

October 3rd, 2018

Legal Aid services for family matters with Foys Solicitors

Great news for Foys Solicitors

Family legal aid
Foys Solicitors have successfully tendered for new Legal Aid contracts for six offices and are now able to offer Legal Aid for family matters at Chapeltown, Waterthorpe, Rotherham, Doncaster, Retford and Worksop. Legal Aid is not available in every case and is subject to meeting certain criteria and means testing. Our advisors will be happy to let you know about your eligibility at an early stage.

For more information, contact us by using our online form. Alternatively, you can contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

September 6th, 2018

Bereavement rights for cohabiting couples

 lawyer at a desk looking at legal documents

Belfast woman wins landmark case

Siobhan McLoughlin, from Belfast, had lived together with her partner John Adams for 23 years when he passed away in 2014. Together they had four children, aged 19, 17, 13 and 11 at the time of their father’s death. As Adams had supported her during the time they lived together, McLoughlin decided to apply for bereavement payment and widowed parent’s allowance (WPA) to help with living costs for her and the children. Unfortunately, her claim was refused by the Northern Ireland Department of Communities as both bereavement payment and WPA are only available to partners who are married or in a civil partnership.

What followed was a lengthy process which saw the High Court and the Court of Appeal side with the government. However, when the case came to the Supreme Court, it was ruled that the government had breached McLoughlin’s rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Lady Hale, the current President of the Supreme Court of the UK, delivered the majority of a four-to-one decision and noted that the children in this case were disadvantaged due to how the UK handles bereavement benefits. She emphasised that the primary consideration should be the interests of the children.

Will this case change the law?

Although this case relates to Northern Ireland, the decision is likely to affect the rest of the UK in the future. In the meantime, the Department for Work and Pensions has stated that the ruling doesn’t change the current eligibility rules for receiving bereavement benefits, meaning the benefits are paid only to people who are married or in a civil partnership.

The upshot of this is, the ruling will not immediately change the situation for other bereaved partners in the UK who have been refused benefits. The justices of the Supreme Court reached their decision only after carefully considering McLoughlin’s specific circumstances, such as the fact that Adams had contributed enough National Insurance during his life for his partner to be eligible for the benefit had they been married.

The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that around 2,000 families a year face issues similar to what McLoughlin has been dealing with. It’s now up to Parliament to decide if the system should be changed to reflect modern family structures. In 2017 there were over 1.2 million cohabiting couple families with dependent children in the UK, and this type of family dynamic is becoming more common every year. Unless the law is changed, many grieving partners and their children will have to go through the stressful process of taking their case to court if they want bereavement benefits. For some people, this may just prove too difficult.

Margaret Heathcote, Chair of Resolution – an association of over 6,500 Family Law professionals – commented after the ruling:

“Resolution has long called for reform of the law to fairly address cohabitants’ needs on the death of a partner, and with 80% of the public agreeing that cohabiting couples need greater legal protection, the government must act now to put in place at a minimum basic rights for these couples.”

Foys Solicitors – your local Family Law experts

At Foys Solicitors, we understand that every relationship is different, and that marriage does not suit everyone. However, if you are concerned about how your current relationship situation might affect your family in the future, call us today. Our solicitors specialising in all aspects of Family Law can advise you on any legal concerns surrounding cohabitation, marriage and civil partnerships.

For advice on Family Law, bereavement benefits and more, contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

August 29th, 2018

Cohabitation: What are your rights?

a family of a man, woman and two children hugging and smiling

The number of cohabiting couples in the UK has been steadily rising in the last two decades, and the number of cohabiting couples with children has more than doubled since 1996. However, there have been almost no changes in how the law treats couples who are living together but are not in a marriage or civil partnership. In the event that the partnership breaks down, agreeing on issues relating to your children, finances and property can lead to serious difficulties for a cohabiting couple as legally they are not obliged to support each other financially.

What about common law marriage?

You may have heard a phrase like ‘common law marriage’ used before, and many people assume this applies to a cohabiting couple, granting them similar rights to a married couple after living together for a significant period of time. In reality, there is no such thing as common law marriage, and terms like ‘common law spouse’ have no legal definition. Your rights as a cohabiting partner are not the same as that of a married partner, and you will not have much legal protection if your relationship ends. For example, you will not have a claim to property unless your name is on the deeds, and you may not get a say in your child’s upbringing.

The only solution for couples who live together to get legal protection in case of a relationship breakdown is to marry or enter into a partnership – or write up a cohabitation agreement, also known as a living together agreement. Such an agreement can help resolve a lot of the issues which may otherwise arise during relationship problems or a split.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is, for the most part, a record of what you own and how everything will be shared or divided. All couples who live together but aren’t married can benefit from such an agreement, even if they have only been together for a short time. When couples split up, it can become difficult to remember who purchased what, who has contributed more towards the rent or mortgage, and there may be disagreements about who will continue living at the property. It can also be hard to prove which personal or sentimental items belong to which partner. In the case of a cohabitation agreement, these matters would already be clearly defined.

Signing a cohabitation agreement can be as romantic as a married couple signing a marriage certificate during a wedding ceremony. In a similar way, committing yourselves as a cohabiting couple on paper is a significant moment. It’s practical too, as it protects your rights as it would benefit a married couple, enabling you to reduce conflict and stress should some unfortunate events happen in the future.

What to include in your agreement

Your cohabitation agreement should clearly define who owns what in the home and how the property is split. Contents, personal belongings, bank accounts, debts and major or joint purchases should all be included. You should be clear about who will continue living at the property if the relationship ends; this is particularly important if you have children. You will also need to include details about any additional financial support that will be provided for your children beyond basic legal requirements.

The cohabitation agreement does not have to just be about what happens in the event of a breakdown – it can also define how your finances work as a couple, such as who pays for particular household expenses and how you want to split joint bank accounts. This can help avoid general arguments and make sure both of you know exactly what your responsibilities are on a day-to-day basis.

Call us today

At Foys Solicitors, we understand that every relationship is different, and that marriage is not the best current option for many couples. We have solicitors experienced in all aspects of Family Law and can help you construct a cohabitation agreement that suits everyone, securing your family’s future.

If you are looking to write a cohabitation agreement – contact us using our Quick Online Form, or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

August 15th, 2018

What to do when legal matters involve children

Resolving complex legal matters can take a long time, and when it involves your family it can also take a toll on relationships. For children, this time will be confusing and upsetting, and therefore there are special considerations when it comes to legal procedures that involve children and young families. The safety and welfare of a child are always of greatest importance regardless of circumstance, which is why you need a solicitor who is qualified to handle cases of Children Law.

What are the different legal matters that concern children?

In some cases, legal matters involving children are about the child themselves, such as adoption, social services concerns, legal guardianship, and name changes. Whereas older children should be made a part of the conversation – especially if it will affect them – younger children will struggle to understand the proceedings. Despite this, they should be made aware of any changes to their daily lifestyle. If they will be moving to a new house or going to a new school, they should be informed and given assistance in order to cope with the changes.

In other cases, children may be indirectly involved in legal disputes, such as divorce. Separation and divorce proceedings can be lengthy and complicated, often leading to people getting caught up in particular legal and financial matters and forgetting the well-being of the children involved. Young children may not understand the circumstances, while older children might struggle with adjusting to a new school or making new friends. By getting professional advice early these issues can be dealt with effectively, and tools like mediation can help with resolving conflicts. A specialist family lawyer will be familiar with how divorce can affect a whole family, and subsequently arrange the appropriate help.

Children Law Accreditation and Resolution Accreditation

When looking for a solicitor to represent a child (or handle a case involving one), it’s important to choose an accredited professional experienced in such cases. The Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation covers all children law work and is only given to solicitors who have proven a high level of competency and experience in their field. Another organisation that offers accreditation is Resolution, a community of family law professionals that focuses on mediation.

When choosing an accredited professional to represent you, you can be certain that they will have up-to-date specialist knowledge and previous experience handling similar situations.

Foys – the Family Solicitors

If you are looking for a family lawyer or a lawyer to represent a child, Foys Solicitors has the expertise you need. On our team, you will find:

  • Advanced members of the Law Society Family Panel
  • Resolution members and accredited specialists
  • Adult and children representatives on the Law Society Children Panel
  • A collaborative family lawyer

Our Children and Family Law experts can advise you and your family on what your options are and work on finding the best solution. Most importantly, we always put the welfare of children first.

Foys Solicitors can offer a range of competitive fixed fees (starting from just £200, including VAT) to provide you and your family with peace of mind. We also offer legal aid wherever possible, which is subject to eligibility criteria set out by the Legal Aid Agency.

Your initial consultation with us is free of charge – so call Foys Solicitors today to find out more about our family and children law services:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609