When there is a dispute regarding children, the court will often appoint experts to assist with dealing with the matter and reaching the best conclusion. This is usually in the form of ‘CAFCASS’. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service represents children in family court cases, making sure that children’s voices are heard and that the decisions made about them are in their best interests. CAFCASS supports or works with over 145,000 children in public law cases (usually care proceedings) and private law cases (residence and contact cases) every year.
Figures released recently show that in May 2013, CAFCASS recorded a record-breaking month for private law applications, a total of 5,061 new private law cases. This is the highest ever month and is an increase of 1,072 on the same month last year. Between April and May 2013 CAFCASS received a total of 9,398 new private law cases which is an increase of 27% from the 7,388 cases received in the same period last year.
These are disappointing statistics as it shows that the number of families in court disputes continues to increase, despite the fact that legal aid has been practically abolished and mediation is now compulsory before any application to court.
Court applications can be very expensive and traumatic for all concerned. It is absolutely vital that you obtain excellent legal advice before that route is chosen.
If you would like to avoid court proceedings by the use of negotiation or collaborative law, then please contact a member of our family team on 01625 442100.