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plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6424
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I have separated from my wife, recently and I am struggling

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Hi there, I have separated from my wife, recently and I am struggling to find a legal aid solicitor to represent me. She has a solicitor and is preparing for battle. Is there a list of firms that deal with these issues?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No not yet to because of covid but she is witholding contact with the children to days that I am working etc.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: None are willing to take it on so far
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have a child with downsyndrome and she is not allowing me to use his mobility car to pick the kids up. As I only have a van with two seats, this makes it very difficult

Hello, my name is*****’ve been asked to look at this for you, thank you for your patience.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

Legal aid is very hard to come by, unless you are a victim of a domestically abusive relationship, which from your summary does not appear to be the case?

Are you seeking advice on divorce or contact with your child?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Really, it is for contact with the children as she is making it impossible for me to see them. The only way I can see is for me to quit my job as a children's support worker and go on the dole because she is making it impossible for me to work and see the children. Her solicitor has said that I cannot contact my ex but must speak through the solicitor. The solicitor has said that she will not have any dealings with me, but only through a solicitor. I do not have the money to pay for a solicitor so my only hope would be legal aid. If I can't afford a solicitor and her solicitor won't deal with me then I am stuck. Thanks for replying. The divorce will be relatively simple as no house is owned and there are really no assets to speak of. She is wanting spousel maintenance as well as child maintenance, which would leave me not enough money to live. I suspect it will have to go to court for the children's custody but I will have no legal representation of I can't sort something out.

I understand. Roughly what do you earn annually in your current role? Unless you are classed as a high earner, spousal maintenance is nonsense and the courts won't entertain it.

The solicitor is also not allowed to refuse to communicate with you directly. Oftentimes one party is not represented in child/ divorce matters - and the other side's solicitor has to correspond directly with them. A refusal to do so unless you are represented is not allowed and is a matter of conduct that should be reported to the solicitor's regulation authority if they continue with this tactic.

Child maintenance is payable as a legal requirement, at 12% of your weekly income for one child, 16% for two children and 19% for three or more. You can arrange amicably or the child maintenance service can be involved.

Contact should be permitted and there has to be flexibility. It's understood by the family court that it is in best interests of the child and that with working parents arrangements do have to fit around that commitment too.

Are there allegations of domestic abuse at all? If not, why are you not permitted to contact your wife directly?

Has family mediation been suggested to try and agree child arrangements?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I earn 26000 a year. We have two children. My wife has refused to speak directly with me. There was no domestic abuse, but she was caught out cheating and prostituting herself online and she is very angry with me for some reason. She has refused advocacy and mediation and is sticking to her demands of when I can have the children. I will email her solicitor and make her aware that I will have to have dealings with her as I have no representation. Thanks for your help. I will contact the law society to see if they have a list of solicitors that may take the case. Is it possible to pay in installments at all?

Thank you. You won't be asked to pay spousal maintenance, I can confirm that.

There's no legal reason you can't contact your wife - no court order in place and you have done nothing wrong.

The law society website has a link for finding a solicitor here:

It may be possible to pay in instalments, yes. Individual firms will discuss with you.

I hope this helps.

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