Welcome to Cambridge Family Matters
At Cambridge Family Matters, we don't believe that making informed decisions about your children or financial matters should represent a stark choice between the high hourly charges of legal representation and going it alone through the legal process. We believe there is another way.
£50 Initial Consultation
Early legal information saves money.
We offer a £50 initial consultation to provide you with some family law context to your circumstances and to help you establish your alternatives. There are many routes to reaching settlement, some not all that well known. Even though many people first think of court battles when contemplating divorce, actually fewer than 5% of separating couples reach their settlement in a final hearing at court.
We listen carefully to your concerns and goals and help you to match these with an understanding of the different processes – mediation, mediation/arbitration, legal representation and negotiation, collaborative legal representation, arbitration, direct access barrister support at court or parent co-ordination. We discuss your circumstances and the pros and cons of each option in order to help you to establish which legal process would be the most appropriate to your circumstances and to your purse.
The best solutions usually take into account the whole picture when a family is separating. Assuming two separate, adversarial positions is often the most costly alternative, both financially and emotionally, and especially so if this process culminates in court hearings. We seek to ensure you are aware of all of the more constructive routes to settlement at this meeting, before you decide how best to proceed.
For more information, please contact Belinda on 01223 355912.
Parental Alienation - Initial Free Session
If your children are giving frivolous reasons for not wanting to spend time with you and you suspect that your children are being alienated from you, time is not on your side.
It is important to act quickly and to have a full understanding of the obstacles that you will encounter when trying to bring family professionals to a full understanding of your children's circumstances. In our initial free session, we give you an outline of what to expect, point you to a clear understanding of the dynamics that are at play and prepare you for what lies ahead.
Tackling parental alienation is still an unnecessarily complicated process in the UK, with many professionals not yet trained in how to recognise the warning signs. It is certainly possible to reach a positive outcome for your children but for most families, that route is by no means clear at the outset.
Reasonable Fees for Family Law Assistance
Many separating couples want to keep their legal costs down and feel confident to make their own decisions, but first they need access to the right legal information and a clear awareness of the different forms of legal support that are available to them, should they need it.
We offer family law assistance, or McKenzie Friend assistance* at a fraction of the cost of legal advice. We are legally trained in family law and have over 5 years of experience in this field. This means we can provide you with relevant legal information to aid your understanding of the legal principles, as they apply to your circumstances.
We then discuss the different routes that are available to you to reach your settlement, and the differing costs that are attached to each. We encourage you to consider the least financially and emotionally draining options suitable for your circumstances. We then work in conjunction with lawyers, barristers, financial advisers, counsellors or other specialists in the field, when you need them, but the rest of the time, when you don't, we provide you with cost-effective background legal support, as and when you need it.
If you choose to use us to support you through your legal process, you will find that our charges are significantly lower than other forms of legal support or advice. Legal advice is normally charged at between £250 and £400 per hour. Our hourly fees are merely £60. Depending on which route through the family law system you select, we can significantly reduce your legal costs.
For more information, please contact Belinda on 01223 355912.
Mediation is easier and less stressful than going to court – and it works. Family mediation helps you sort arrangements with your ex for children and finance with as little acrimony and delay as possible. Family mediation helps all sorts of people - married, unmarried, civil partners, parents, grandparents and step-parents. Even children can take part and feed their thoughts into the decisions that will affect them.
Family mediation is where an independent, trained professional helps you and your ex partner to to work out an agreement about the issues you need to resolve, now that you are separating. Mediation can help you resolve your finances. Your mediator will help you to consider the options for where you will both live, and can help you to plan your future finances. Your mediator understands the legal framework as well as the practicalities that you will need to address. Your family mediator will road test your options with you, so that you can agree what will realistically work best for everyone concerned. That can save you time, money and stress.
For parents, mediation provides you with the space and time to think about what is most important for your children and how to achieve that within the practical constraints of work and other commitments. Your mediator helps you to work out the immediate arrangements for your children but also think about what is going to be important for your children as they grow up. Again, your mediator can help you road test your options to promote the ongoing well-being of your children. Research indicates that where children are involved, it’s easier for them if their parents co-operate and can help maintain important family relationships. Mediation provides the perfect environment for the development of a new 'alliance' between parents after separation.
We are members of the Family Mediation Association and the Family Mediation Council.
For more information about how mediation can help your family, please call Belinda on 01223 355912.
Parenting coordination is most useful for parents who already have a parenting plan or other permanent arrangements for custody, guardianship and access, usually recorded in a court order or in a written agreement. Parenting coordination isn't designed to make final arrangements like these, it's meant to help implement and work with those arrangements once they're in place.
Parenting coordination does not replace mediation or any other effective means of negotiation, consensus-building and cooperative decision-making. Instead, parenting coordination offers parents involved in high-conflict disputes the consistent, ongoing direction of a single, qualified professional using a less adversarial, less expensive dispute resolution process. The aim of parenting co-ordination is for the family to adjust communication styles to eventually no longer rely on the services of the parenting co-ordinator.
Parents who agree to try parenting coordination rather than going back to court will meet with a parenting co-ordinator and sign a Parenting Coordination Agreement that outlines the role, objectives and scope of the coordinator’s services, as well as the rights and obligations of each parent. The parenting co-ordinator will usually be retained for a fixed period of up to two years.
If you would like more information about parenting co-ordination, please call Belinda on 01223 355912.
*A McKenzie Friend is someone who can provide legal information, but not advice, who can help you at Court if you are a Litigant in Person (LiP) and who can help you prepare your case and/or relevant documents. There are some things that a McKenzie Friend cannot do on your behalf, such as conduct litigation, file court documents or write letters although they can provide assistance with these activities, for you to then send, file or conduct, yourself. There is a Practice Direction issued by the Family Court which provides guidelines for McKenzie Friends. Currently, a McKenzie Friend:
- does not need to be legally trained,
- have indemnity insurance or
- abide by SRA guidelines,
so this is an unregulated area of law. It is a good idea to verify which of these three important areas of legal support, your McKenzie Friend does offer. Cambridge Family Matters has indemnity insurance, works to abide by SRA guidelines and refers to experienced family lawyer mentors to bring the experience and knowledge of senior practice to this innovative new service.