What Christmas means to family
23 December 2014 by Ties Bouwmeester
Throughout the year we post news and analysis of various topical events, whether they be important legal changes, interesting cases or simply an insight into the family law process. Quite often, at the centre of the story is a negative event or situation, a relationship breakdown, a disagreement about finances, an abusive relationship or an argument regarding the care of children. Ultimately, people only turn to family lawyers during a difficult time in their lives.
During the festive period, arguably, people put family first more than at any other time of the year. There are many people who find Christmas particularly difficult due to their family situation, but it is also important to think about the vast number of people able to lead a happy normal life moving forward thanks to the help and support provided by their family lawyers. The way that we are able to offer help to people has changed dramatically over time with the increased use of alternative dispute resolution (mediation, collaborative family law and arbitration) and the availability of different retainers and fee packages.
This Christmas, up and down the county, there will be people sharing the care of their children following mediation or the making of a Child Arrangements Order. You will find parents happy to be spending Christmas with their children after having them returned from local authority care, along with parents and carers happy that they now have parental responsibility for children for whom they love and care. Many people protected by family law injunctions from an abusive ex partner will be able to have a relaxing Christmas time without fear. There will be some who are able to think about the future following separation and a fair financial settlement, whether that settlement was reached by consent using ADR, negotiation or a financial order from the court.
It is important that society stays focussed on supporting those in difficult family situations, but it is equally important to regularly think of all the positive work that comes from the work of the family justice system.
Whether you will be with your own family this year, or lucky enough to be part of another family’s time together, try to enjoy every minute of it.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2015 from the family department at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP.