The rate of Private Children law cases being referred to Cafcass continues to increase.
Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Cafcass works with families in divorce, separation, care, and adoption proceedings. They make sure that children’s voices are heard and that any decisions made are in the child’s best interests.
In October 2016, statistics showed that referrals to Cafcass were up by 9% since October 2015.
In the last six months, the number of Private Children cases referred to Cafcass has risen by 12%.
This figure is not surprising. The Government have been continuing to cut legal aid, which has left many people unable to afford the assistance of a lawyer. This has led to a significant increase in people representing themselves. Any good lawyer would encourage their client to engage in some form of mediation in the hope that any court proceedings can be avoided, making the process easier and reducing costs for their client. However, in cases where individuals are representing themselves, recent statistics have also shown that parties are bypassing compulsory mediation information and assessment meetings as they do not wish to mediate or do not understand the requirements. It seems that many people who cannot afford to instruct a legal representative to assist them often feel that they have no option but to pursue Court proceedings. Often in those Court proceedings, there are significant differences between the parties as to the facts of the case, and often welfare issues are raised, which result in the involvement of Cafcass.
It is important that if you have a problem in making arrangements for your children, you discuss them with a solicitor as soon as possible, before making any application to the courts yourself. At O’Donnell Solicitors, we offer practical solutions to clients to assist them in what is often a very difficult period of their life. The important thing is not to suffer in silence and to speak to a solicitor. An experienced solicitor can often assist in avoiding Court proceedings, making the process as easy as possible for both yourself and your children.
Anthony Jones is Head of Family Law and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist. For more information or a second opinion, please contact him on 0161 641 4555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org