Urgent Covid-19 – Child arrangements update 24.03.20

As each and every one of us are aware, the Prime Minister had to go one step further last night to try to slow the spread of the Covid-19, and asked us all to stay at home. Overnight there have been many anxious parents asking what happens now in relation to child arrangements. As we explained yesterday where possible child arrangements should continue as normal, and indeed the Government’s advice

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How should I talk to my child about Covid-19?

Top tips to help parents. Much of this is based on an article published last week by UNICEF Australia, but I have also given it my ‘take’ and also sought some input from Lorinda Gamlin, one of our associated counsellors.  This current crisis is totally unprecedented and is scary enough for us adults.  But how must our children be feeling?  Whilst they are in school, teachers will no doubt be doing

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Coronavirus update

As a firm we are continually monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, and considering what contingency measures we may need to put in place should the situation escalate. We obviously hope that such measures will not prove necessary. However, we are determined to do all we can to try to ensure a continuous service to all of our clients with their welfare, and that of our solicitors and staff, at the forefront

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How will the Corona virus affect our child arrangements?

Updated information can be found in our update How will the Corona virus affect our child arrangements? Update Available here. We are now all in unchartered territory with the Corona virus, and it is a very worrying time for all families and so we have set out below some guidance for separated parents who are co-parenting either by agreement or by court order. The current government advice as of 12

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What is it like giving evidence in court?

Top tips for giving evidence in court. Giving evidence can be a daunting experience – how can we help you? Sometimes clients get frustrated with their lawyers as they expect the lawyer to tell them the questions they will be asked in court, and also what and how they should answer. However, coaching and practising questions and answers is not allowed by lawyers’ professional rules and under the rules of the

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Re W – a successful appeal against a placement and care order (and a costs order against the LA)

Article originally published on transparencyproject.org.uk The background  The appellant is the great-aunt of J, a child who was the focus of care proceedings that began in 2017. J’s mother accepted early on that she could not care for him and the proceedings focused on assessment of his great-aunt instead. Throughout the care proceedings the great-aunt was unrepresented (and for most of it, not a party). She is a formidable woman. 

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The first meeting with your solicitor – what to expect and how to prepare

Coming to meet your Solicitor for the first time might feel like a nerve wracking prospect – “what will they be like?”, “will they be easy to talk to?”, “what questions will they ask me?”.  The first meeting is a chance for information to be shared, expectations to be set and advice to be given.  It is natural to feel anxious, particularly as the reason you are coming to see

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Family Mediation Week – Busting some myths!

Family Mediation Week has come around again. But what is family mediation? Put simply, it’s a way of resolving disputes which have arisen upon separation, or of deciding how to organise your lives separately. I believe that it can be an extremely powerful way of resolving these issues, be they big – housing, money, children – or small – family pets, possessions etc. Mediation can be very empowering.  Instead of

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Merry Christmas to all our clients, colleagues, neighbours and agencies!

We’ve had a busy few months at BH&O but we’ve also not forgotten to support the charities and agencies we work with, or who we know support clients and those in need, both locally, regionally and nationally. We have again supported Abingdon Community Events in their 2nd Christmas toy and present drive.  We became aware of the wonderful Tracey and Jason Desmond last year, when we were first opening, and

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Co-Parenting at Christmas

Christmas is a very busy period and can be very stressful for all of us, but is particularly stressful for those families who are separated and the children have to share their times between two homes. So how do you make Christmas work when you are separated or divorced? The first priority is to plan and agree in advance how the time over Christmas is going to be shared. This

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Kinship care week

5th to 11th October is Kinship Care week.  At BH&O, we know what a great job many grandparents, aunts and uncles and relatives are doing in looking after children who might otherwise be in the care system or placed for adoption.  Almost every week we get a call from a relative seeking advice on caring for a child of the family, or someone wanting to challenge a negative kinship assessment

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BH&O supporting
Happy Even After: a play about domestic abuse

Last night BH&O sponsored the launch of a new play written by local play-write Gaye Poole, Happy Even After.  Human Story Theatre Company have been working with a number of partner organisations including Thames Valley’s Reducing the Risk, A2 Dominion, and other organisations working with both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. The play is continuing at Oxford’s Old Fire Station Arts Centre until Saturday 5th October, and then is

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Appeal, revoke or discharge? How to get your child back after care proceedings conclude.

One of the most common enquiries we get is from birth parents who want to challenge a decision to remove their child permanently. They phrase it in many different ways but in essence they want to know how to stop their child being adopted or placed in long-term foster care. So what do we need to know to begin with? Most people calling up have had care proceedings that have

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BH&O – a young firm, in touch with our heritage!

When Emily, Irena and I started planning this firm, we wanted to create a modern thinking innovative specialist family law firm.  We think we have succeeded.  But little did we know when we started our planning, that we would end up opening our firm in a Grade 2 listed building! Neither could we have known that we would find ourselves being the third firm of solicitors using 1-3 Ock Street.

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The Family Law Awards 2019

Yesterday was the first anniversary of opening this firm and I could not be prouder to announce that we have been named as a finalist in the Family Law Awards 2019 in the category of Family Law Firm of the Year – South. Ruth, Irena and I are extremely proud of everything we have achieved in our first year and we feel honoured to have been recognised as a worthy

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A public inquiry into the family justice system?

First published in Family Law “Call for inquiry into abusive parents’ access to children” was the story on the BBC website on Thursday (15 May). It plugged a feature on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. For early birds the story was also at the top of the news on the Today show on Radio 4 but nowhere else. What was this all about and what do we know? Initially very

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Why bother with a pre-nup?

Prenuptial agreements do not bind the courts in England & Wales. This is because the courts have a wide discretion in deciding what the financial outcome of a couple’s divorce might be. So what is the point of a pre-nup? The case of Radmacher V Granatino in the Supreme Court stated that it was likely that a prenuptial agreement would be upheld if it were fair. It held that the

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Why are we excited about in-house therapeutic services?

I remember many years ago hearing about a firm who were offering clients therapy alongside their divorce. It was a long time before Ruth, Irena and I decided to open Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne but it stayed with me. I remember admiring the logic of offering a client going through a traumatic experience some therapy, but also wondering whether we could expand upon it. I think it is clear to

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Legal Aid for Family Law Matters

Getting Help to Pay for Legal Costs Irena Osborne Legal aid is the use of public funds to help to pay for legal advice, family mediation and court representation. The Legal Aid Agency is in charge of providing legal aid in England and Wales.   When a client asks “will I get legal aid for my family case” they generally expect a “yes” or a “no” answer. The determination for

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How to deal with a spouse who is not responding to a divorce petition

…on a gloomy April (or any other) day. I am writing this article on a rainy April day the mood of which is captured  by Mathilde Blind   In her poem April Rain: “The April rain, the April rain, Comes slanting down in fitful showers,” Mathilde Blind (1841 – 1896 / Germany) On this dreary day I am thoughtful of the few cases I have been working on lately where

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How do you own your Home?

If you purchase your property with your partner there are two ways you can own the property. It is important that you know and understand the differences, as the type of ownership affects what you can do with the property if your relationship with the joint owner breaks down or if one owner dies. Joint Tenants If you own as Joint Tenants you share equal ownership of the property and

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Great Legal Bake Off

Boardman Hawkins & Osborne are delighted to be taking part in this year’s Great Legal Bake Off, organised by the Access to Justice Foundation. We are able to nominate our fundraising to go to local advice charities, so anything we raise today is going to two legal advice charities on our doorstep: Abingdon Citizens Advice and http://www.flagdv.org.uk/Flag DV.   Abingdon Citizens Advice is open 5 days a week, and also operates

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Transparency in the family courts and a trip to the Court of Appeal

Lawyers like the Court of Appeal. The Judges are experienced, engaged, always ask insightful questions and keep the advocates on their toes. The building (The Royal Courts of Justice) is beautiful, imposing, full of history and visiting it feels like doing ‘proper law’.  So when I was contacted a few weeks ago by Louise Tickle, a freelance journalist, to ask me to assist the mother in Louise’s appeal against a

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101 Questions Answered About Separating with Children

Ruth Hawkins has contributed to this New Book 101 Questions Answered About Separating with Children With legal aid drastically cut back BH&O LLP are delighted to be supporting a national, not-for-profit social enterprise working to provide accessible support to families through the difficulties of separation and divorce. Ruth Hawkins isdelighted to have contributed to 101 Questions Answered About Separating with Children, a new book to help separating parents keep their children’s best interests first.

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Children’s Mental Health Week

This week marks “Children’s Mental Health Week”, providing  us with an opportunity to highlight the importance of children’s mental health.    Never before has the spotlight been so bright on children’s mental health, in an age where so many children and young adults are suffering from mental health issues, ranging from anxiety, behavioural issues, depression and Autism to less well known conditions such as attachment disorders. The Mental Health of Children and

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Family Mediation Week

This week (21st January) is Family Mediation Week. It is designed to highlight and raise awareness of the benefits of using family mediation to resolve family disputes and issues rather than the more traditional, often more conflicting, approaches involving court proceedings or using lawyers to resolve things. One of the key aims of family mediation is to reduce conflict and improve communication between the parties. That is particularly important when

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January 2019 updates: Family Law and Brexit

As we enter a New Year it is a time for reflection and to look forward to the coming year, and Family Law is no exception. 2018 saw some high-profile family cases in the English Courts some of which have had a direct impact upon the way divorce may evolve, and of course we are entering a year when we will be leaving the European Union, which will ultimately have

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Paying it forward…. or giving back to clients and our community.

We’ve now been open for three months. It’s been a very busy period, which Emily has already written about. But we have not forgotten that when we planned BH&O, we wanted to do things a little differently, and not lose sight of who we all are, and what we all believe in. It’s been a key part of our plan and vision for this firm all along, that we would

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What to do if you are accused of causing injuries to your child

An article has recently appeared in the Daily Mail and on other websites about a case in which marks were seen on a small child’s face and that child ended up subject to social services’ involvement for roughly two months of her life. Her parents have chosen to publicise the case in an effort to raise awareness of milk allergies causing marks that can look like bruising. The article appears

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Two months in…

On 3 September 2018 Ruth, Irena and I opened this new firm – Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP. The opening date of a new law firm represents the end of a very long road of preparation in fact, and not just the beginning of something exciting. For us the first formal aspect of opening the firm was the bid for a new legal aid contract. As individuals we have always

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A crying shame…?

By Ruth Hawkins A report published this week by the Children’s Commissioner for England, suggests there are 15,800 babies under the age of one year considered by local authorities to be vulnerable or highly vulnerable and at risk of harm, but still living at home with their parents. This comes at a time when many local authorities are struggling with financial pressures that are putting increasing strain on children’s services

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Civil Partnerships for all!

By Ruth Hawkins As has been reported in the media, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that the government plan to change the law to allow members of the oppositesex to enter into civil partnerships. Civil partnerships were created in 2004, and predated the law allowing for same sex marriages, which came in in 2014. Civil partnerships were brought in to allow couples of the same sex some of

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New guidelines for difficult family disputes: tackling parental alienation.

When parents separate, arrangements for their children, can be hard to agree. It can be particularly hard where a child starts refusing to see their other parent. This autumn, new guidance is being introduced to help with these cases. This will consider the possibility a child has been deliberately turned against one parent, by the other.

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A new family law firm for Oxfordshire

On 3 September 2018 Emily Boardman, Ruth Hawkins and Irena Osborne are opening a new family law firm in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP (BH&O LLP) is a niche family practice offering legal advice, representation and mediators who are practicing solicitors. We have a strong commitment to supporting individuals in some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives: divorce and separation; disputes over children; involvement with social

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