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In the course of the last year, my colleague in the Family Team, Alexis Miller, has spent probably as much time in the evenings and weekends on work associated with her role as a bridesmaid as she has in the office dealing with divorces and separations. She takes her role as bridesmaid seriously. As to whether she should give up the day job, you'd have to ask the brides involved.

A great wedding - priceless

All of this activity surrounding weddings has made us consider the costs involved these days. My own wedding was 20-plus years ago and so I am a bit out of date as to what it might cost today. The January 2013 edition of Brides Magazine lists the average cost of a wedding, including the honeymoon and engagement ring, at just under £25,000. That's a big chunk of cash when you consider what sort of deposit a couple needs to find for the purchase of a property nowadays.

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Parents often have different opinions on the best way to bring up a child. Each parent has their own views about what is best and these views may differ as the child grows from a toddler into a teenager. The parents form their views on the basis of their own mindset which has itself been developed by their own life experiences and environment. 

When parents separate, these differences of opinion can escalate to such a point that the parents find themselves unable to discuss what is best for their child. A vacuum is created and the child finds itself stuck in the middle.

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As the summer holidays approach, school children around the country are eagerly anticipating the long break. Most parents are frantically organising childcare, a variety of activities and camps to keep their little ones occupied, often at considerable cost, and all the while dreading the first shouts of "I'm bored". On top of that, there is for working parents the frantic exit from the office the night before departing on holiday and the inevitable arguments about the location of everyone's passports. That's before the traumatic trip to one of the country's airports for departure on one of the busiest days of the year. Two weeks on a sun lounger beckons, so teeth are gritted to endure the inevitable queues and stampede at the airport. Who wouldn't deserve two weeks of relaxation after that?

Two weeks together in hot conditions, often without the benefit of air conditioning, can be the tipping point for some families. Most family lawyers will indicate that early January - following the Christmas holidays - is a busy time, but so is late summer/early autumn when families have returned from the annual summer holidays to reassess their situations. Maybe time on a lounger is the first chance a person has to stop and think away from the daily grind.

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Most people would be forgiven for thinking that a family action involving a child would be resolved relatively quickly, however, in NJDB v JEG and another, this was certainly not the case.  Proceedings began in 2005.  In June 2008 a proof was allowed.  An eight-day proof was assigned for September 2008.  The proof ran to 52 days of evidence and took over one year to complete.

Lord Reed commented that "the glacial pace of the proceedings was itself inimical to the best interests of the child".  It was observed that there was no need for a dispute over contact to take so long to resolve and the court had a duty, particularly in matters involving children, to avoid such a delay in resolution.

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It's that time of the year when stories abound in the media about an increase in divorce activity. In the office colleagues smile at me in the corridor and ask if the expected deluge of new clients has materialised.

However, for me the idea that January is the month when people separate or divorce is a bit of an urban myth. There is no doubt that when things aren't going well and people are considering separating they will perhaps decide not to do so before the festive period but at the moment every month of the year is a busy month for family lawyers.

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The answer lies in Medicine Hat

Posted by on in Family Blog

It is dangerous to under estimate the importance of how we resolve disputes relating to the welfare of children when couples separate. The hard pressed family law practitioner may not welcome the fact that how they handle a particular case may affect society in the future but there is the real possibility that it will. 

For better or for worse many relationships fail and often there are children involved.  Some parents are able to sort out what is best for their children in such a situation themselves.  Others consult solicitors and their lawyers negotiate agreement. In a minority of cases the courts require to adjudicate.

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Delighted to have been shortlisted as finalists in 6 categories at the Law Awards of Scotland 2012:

  • Firm of the Year (over 40 fee earners);
  • Managing Partner of the Year;
  • Family Law Team of the Year;
  • Litigation Team of the Year;
  • Employment Team of the Year;
  • Insolvency Team of the Year.

Looking forward to the Awards Dinner on 13th September.

Leading law firm Harper Macleod LLP is delighted to announce that its family law department is growing. Alexis Miller, who has always lived in the south side, is the latest solicitor to join the family team of the firm headquartered in Glasgow city centre.

Alexis, 28, a Glasgow university graduate, has 5 years' experience in family law. In her training and career to date she has advised clients on all aspects of family law including child welfare disputes, financial provision on separation and divorce and in particular has assisted a number of clients obtain protective orders against partners that have behaved in an abusive manner. As such, she is well suited to her role as a director on the board for East Renfrewshire Women's Aid.

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Until now, guidance about divorce in Scotland has been sparse and scattered across the internet, making it difficult for separating couples to source the best route when their relationship ends. Many are faced with difficult decisions and stressful situations, made even worse if children are involved. However, with the launch of new portal The Right Kind of Divorce, on Thursday 6th October, a pool of resources, guidance and access to the country's leading advisors is now available to help the split become more amicable.  There is no other similar online service available in Scotland.

The brainchild of lawyers Anne Dick from Mowat Hall Dick and Professor Alan Susskind from Harper Macleod LLP, the portal aims to provide, in one place, everything couples need to know when going through the separation process - making the process and choices available simpler, less stressful and more transparent. The information on offer will come from a wide range of associations, bodies and advisors and varies from guidance on the division of money and property, to counselling and what to do to ensure the best interests of any children involved.

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