In these unprecedented times, Axiom Stone Solicitors will, in common with other businesses, be following the Government's official advice on social distancing and social isolating.

Public health measures must have the highest priority and, as a result, some staff will be working from home. Also, our offices will be closed to visitors.

However, we wish to reassure existing and potential clients that we will continue to provide the highest levels of service.

Please be assured we have a robust business continuity plan in place that is designed to minimise the impact on our service to you.

In addition, please continue to contact us electronically or by phone in relation to the progress of your matters or on any issues of concern to you.

Until further notice, service of claim forms, application notices and all other court documents and contractual notices must be made to our head office only (we shall not accept service through any other means). Our head office address is at Axiom Stone Solicitors, Axiom House, 1 Spring Villa Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7EB. We ask that all other correspondence be sent by email to the relevant member of Axiom Stone Solicitors. In the event that service of court documents or contractual notices is attempted by post, courier, DX, or fax to any address other than that of our Head Office, we cannot provide any assurance that they will be received or processed. We are grateful for your understanding at this time.

We will update this information regularly on our website (Please see COVID-19 Updates Here) and via social media.

Finally, we urge everybody to follow the official advice on fighting the virus outbreak so enabling you to stay safe and well.

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WHEN SPLITS HIT THE HARDEST

Couples facing a break-up are left with many difficult decisions which can be made all the worse when children are involved. A family break-up presents challenges to children which may show in various ways as they react to parental conflict.

Legal disputes over where a child is to live and the time they spend with each parent are growing. According to Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), the number of new private children cases is increasing by 23% each year.

Two things need to happen for the children. Firstly, parents must minimise the potential adverse impact of their separation by continuing to show their children love, being honest, maintaining contact and listening to them.

Secondly, this support can be reinforced by legal arrangements which may need to be made to safeguard a child’s interests.

So, what are the parental options? Things need not go to court, with one route being Alternative Dispute Resolution for disagreements over children. This might involve mediation, arbitration and collaborative law – which aim to foster good ongoing relations and effective co-parenting.

Another positive element will come when the awaited Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill introduces no fault divorce, so ending both the “blame game” and, hopefully, acrimonious divorce proceedings.

If, though, the parties cannot agree child arrangements following separation and court proceedings can no longer be avoided, the parties will be invited to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) after which a court will appoint a family court advisor from Cafcass. The advisor will make recommendations to the court as to what is in the best interests of the child – taking into account the welfare principle contained in the Children Act 1989.

Axiom Stone family lawyers can assist and provide family law advice at all levels – from general support through to options available on child arrangements, divorce, matrimonial finances and nuptial agreements. We encourage mediation and we see the court process as very much the last resort.

Contact Manisha Raja, Senior Associate and Head of Family Law at MR@axiomstone.co.uk or 0207 0169 9333.

Article written by Manisha Raja

The Modern Family – The Guardian 210919 page 48