Resolution, an association of family lawyers, says that the Government’s cuts to legal aid for family law represent an attack on childhood and the family.
A spokesperson for the organisation has said it is hypocrisy at a time when Government is criticising absent fathers that they are making it harder for them to access justice and have contact with their children.
Samantha Lee, family lawyer at Swain & Co and Resolution member, says, “The cuts mean that many parents could lose out on contact with their child or face unfair financial arrangements. Ultimately, it will be the children that lose out.”
“Many parents are resorting to representing themselves in court at what is an emotionally charged and distressing time for them.”
The Government withdrew legal aid funding for several areas of civil law from April 1st 2013. It is estimated that 600,000 people will have been affected by these cuts across the country. Only exceptional cases, which include those involving domestic violence and forced marriage, will have access to legal aid.
Samantha explains, “Those needing family law advice should still speak to a solicitor who offers free initial advice, such as us, as you can discuss the options that are available. For example, you could take advantage of a pay as you go service to legal advice, such as our Your Case, Your Way scheme.”
“Plus, many divorcing couples should know about and explore the option of family mediation. Legal Aid funding may also be available for family mediation.”
Samantha Lee is also a family mediator; see more about family mediation on our dedicated website.
The important thing for anyone facing divorce and separation is to talk and know your options.
For a free family law advice consultation, call Samantha for free on 0800 0351 999.