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Q&A with Christina Blacklaws, Director of family law at Co operative legal services - ANSWERS BACK(71 Posts)
We're running a Q&A this week with Christina Blacklaws, Director of Family Law at The Co-operative Legal Services. She's going to be taking your questions and offering advice on all legal issues that affect the family, such as breaking up, getting together, children, financial issues and domestic abuse.
Christina has over 20 years experience in all aspects of family law. Prior to The Co-operative Legal Services, she founded and managed the largest specialist family law practice in London. She qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and is a higher rights advocate and solicitor specialising in complex child care cases. She is a Law Society Council member, Chair of the Society's Legal Affairs and Policy Board and Chief Assessor of the Children Panel.
Post your questions to Christina before the end of Tuesday 25 September and we'll link to the archived Q&A from this thread on 4 October.
This Q&A is sponsored by The Co-operative Legal Services
Hi, My baby's dad and I are not together and we never was. We were 2 friends who want a baby. He always said that I will be looking after the baby and he will help us and come and visit as much as he can. Two days after I came home from hospital with my baby, I got the first letter from his solicitor demanding that I give my baby to him!! When my baby was 4 weeks old I had to go to court first time, in London at the Family Division of the High court. I live one hours away!! I am breastfeeding her on demand still. Since then I had another court hearing and on Monday another one. I cant afford a solicitor so I have been representing myself. It got too much now, I cant follow the legal rules, I am stressed, upset I cant sleep and I cant eat properly. All I want is to be left alone and to be able to fully enjoy my baby. I was given no opportunity to recover from child birth, I am all on my own, I have other 2 kids to look after too. He is bulling me, and I am so scared that his solicitor will do something to take my baby away from me. Everyone is telling me that this will not happen, but I am so scared because he has money to pay for solicitors and I have not.
I am trying to postpone the Monday hearing, I have a letter from GP to say that I am too stressed to attend court, but not sure if I can. This is the nightmare of my life.
He is saying that we agree that the will be the main carer of our baby, which is not true, but we have nothing on writing to confirm it one way or the other.
I had a solicitor who was looking at my paper work, saying that will take us on on a pro bono basis, then left us on the last minute. Now I try to postpone the Monday hearing, send paper work to the court but not heard from them since. I am afraid that the paper work will get l lost on the system and the judge will hold me on contempt. I am so desperate and do not what to do.....
So far the court are saying nothing, no evidence been presented, jut our statements. He want her name change, dose not want her christened on my religion..... so all this to be discussed in court.
They want the matter transferred to the high court too.
How on earth can I deal with all of this and with a new baby too??! No one is thinking about me, as a human being, as a mother and a full time carer for my baby.
My baby is the best baby in the world, she is doing so well, happy and I love her to bits.
I never stopped her dad to come and see her when he want too. He comes 6 times a week, for 3 hours at the time, takes her away and brings her back to me. She is 4 months old and fully breastfed.
Her dad runs 3 bossiness in South London, in Clapham area, so he has got the time and money to take me to court. He dose not give us any maintenance money, just buy her nappies when I ask him to.
You really need to start your own thread over this. Use the button near the top left of the page.
Hi, my husband and I have talked about what we would like to happen to our two children should anything happen to the two of us. For reasons I won't go into I would prefer custody to go to a close friend of ours rather than any of the grandparents. My mum supports my decision but my husband is not convinced and would rather his father take custody.
Am I right in thinking that should anything happen to us both without leaving a will my mother would automatically take custody? If so could she then make the decision, assuming no one contests it, to pass custody to my friend?
Can I make a will expressing my preferences even if my husband oesnt put his name to it?
I know this may all sound a bit complicated but I am only thinking about what would be best for our children.
Just found this. Many thanks to Christina for answering my question [flowers]
MNHQ - Please pass on my thanks to Christina for taking the time to answer my query. Much appreciated.
Well I haven't been able to read it all yet but what I have managed to scan through is great! Many thanks to Christina, and to Mumsnet. I hope you'll give this Q&A the publicity it deserves.
I will certainly be linking to it frequently!
Hello, thanks for your patience.
Here's the link to the answers from Christina Blacklaws.
Apologies for the delay in getting the answers up. We'll be posting a link later today.
There's no link to the Q&A from here yet?
does one need to get residency after there has been violence and separation?
how recently does an incicent need to have happened to be considered for unreasonable behaviour?
does not seperating finances due to fear of being assaulted for trying to end tha marriage count against a victim in court cases/divorce preceedings?
Indemnity question in a divorce. My husband's solicitor has added a condition to our financials that he requires an indemnity from me against any loss my ex may suffer if I lose our home by repossession. I am adamant that I will sign no such thing as I have struggled and paid the mortgage (interest only) since he stopped paying me any money 12 months ago. Why should his "investment" be indemnified when he has walked away leaving me in a position where I am paying the mortgage and would be the only one to lose out if I failed to keep up with the payments (through his lack of payment)? This is just one of the instances of me being left responsibility for our joint finances, to my cost. Please advise? Thank you.
what level of address detail do you need to give when holidaying out of jurisdiction with children for a short holiday at a private residential address with no previous history of risk of flight etc....to ensure a PSO is not brought against you...is it enough to give city name and emergency telephone number and flight times or do you have to give actual street and house name ? DV involved in past
My DDs bioDad reduced his monthly payment unilaterally. I was trying to communicate with him via lawyers as he has no contact but He has 'disappeared' from all sources and I can't trace his businesses either. Best way to a) trace him and b) find out what he has done with his companies as I think he is 'hiding' resources as he now has 2 more kids. I also can't find out if DDs grandad is alive still as no longer on electoral roll. Thanks
I have a question please.
Background (much condensed).
I divorced my EA husband in 2002, my DD was just 2 at the time. contact was sporadic, as was maintanance, and he continued to use DD as a way to control/punish me. In 2006 she witnessed a DV incident with his then partner and was too frightened to see him again. He threatened me with legal action, but I saw a solicitor as he was bluffing. Contact was stopped until he was prepared to address the issues, and as a result he didnt see her for over 3 years, during which time he went abroad and had another child with the gf. We had one attempt at mediation where he verbally abused me and I was left sick and shaken. During this period DD had involvedment with CAMHs due to anxiety, fear and behaviour issues associated with what happened and his apparant rejection.
In mid 2009 he turned up at the school and expected to just resume contact as and when. I returned to my solicitor to take up where things had left off, and again he refused to engage. I took out a prohibitive steps order, which was granted in 2010, which prevented him going to her school or removing her from my care without written consent. At the hearing he pressed for contact, and we agreed to supervised contact for 2 hours fortnightly with my mother.
Again, contact has been less than this. Sometimes due to holidays by my mother, but more often because he calls off with excuses, many which seem unlikely. Often he doesnt manage the 2 hours, but makes excuses. During contact he has often run me down to DD if they are close and my mother is far - such as swimming, etc. DD is scared of him and often agrees to stuff because she is frightened to say no. She has witnessed him several times exploding in rages to restaurant/shop staff or to my mother if she says something he doesnt like. he is erratic and volatile and it is very likely that he is involved in drugs (using and selling) and previously he has been involved in prostitution.
2 contact visits ago my mother foolishly left him alone with her for 10 mins. He told DD not to tell anyone, it was their secret, but he was going to a solicitor to get more contact, and pressed her for our address, and also got her to say she wanted to see him more. She told my mum straight away on their way home.
She doesnt want to see him on her own, but she is scared to say this to him. she says she does want to see him more - but only more as in him not making excuses and missing contact, not as in more often. She will be 12 next month. I think she feels that if something better comes up he does it, and that she should be more important to him.
I went to get help from the solicitor but (as my daughter gets DLA, which is not counted, but gives me a higher rate of child tax credits) my income was just too high to get legal aid. I am left fearing that i will have to represent myself against the man who emotionally and verbally abused me for years, and I dont really know what I should do. Some have said that I just need to wait as I dont need a solicitor, as there is no discussion to have, and that he will need to apply to the court and they will find my address and send details to me. I have been told that I need to check he mentions the previous order. I feel absolutely sick at the prospect of this, and also very angry that I am denied legal aid due to the fact that I get help for a child that needs care. If she were not ill, I would qualify.
Can you advise me what I should be doing, and if there is anywhere that i might apply for legal assistance.
My H's grandfather passed away soon after we separated. I haven't filed for divorce yet. Would I, or better still, DS, be entitled to a share of any inheritance?
My husband and I are separated. What permission/documentation might I need to move abroad with my children?
My husband is agreeing to 30% deferred equity in our house until our youngest daughter finishes her A levels. His solicitors have added my cohabiting with someone for more than six months as a trigger to his repayment. Do I have to agree? He is not currently paying me any child maintenance and has paid me nothing at all for 12 months. I have been left to pay all bills, mortgage and all costs relating to our children.
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