Useful Links for Parents

The following links may be useful to parents who are seeking advice on contact matters, or specific legal advice relating to family issues.  There are several services to address issues linked to separation and divorce.  Unfortunately the Withington Contact Centre cannot offer legal advice or mediation to anyone as we lack the necessary expertise. 

Below is a list of local family law solicitors, including those who offer some form of free consultation.  We've also collected a list of web resources covering divorce, separation and associated family matters in some detail.  Any omissions are unintended and simply due to lack of knowledge.

Local family law solicitors and mediators
  1. Children First Family Mediation
    A local not-for-profit mediation service serving Greater Manchester and specialising in family mediation.

  2. Sarah Smith Family Law
    A local solicitor specialising in family law and in supporting Litigants In Person (LIPs). She offers a free half hour to discuss cases and gives advice, and represents clients in court.  If you wish to save money and represent yourself (i.e. LIP), she can give specific advice about how to make applications and/or present your case. Although there are many online resources aiding LIPs, it sometimes helps to talk things over with a professional, especially if you believe the wrong order has been made in court.

  3. The Family Law Panel
    The Family Law Panel is a free service for members of the public to access initial professional and independent family law information.  All professionals listed in this directory hold a practicing certificate issued by their relevant governing body and will ensure you are given the best possible advice on your options for moving forward. Professionals are accessed via telephone, email, face-to-face, live chat and social media.

Websites for Information on Separation/Divorce Issues

  1. Grounds for Divorce - the Complete Divorce Guide
    A step-by-step guide to the whole divorce process by Wright Hassall Solicitors.  The guide is detailed and easy to read and covers all major aspects of divorce including grounds for divorce, arrangements regarding joint assets (homes, mortgages, businesses, pets, etc), pensions, and arrangements regarding children.  The guide contains numerous links to 3rd party sites with additional information and advice.  

  2. AdviceNow: divorce survival toolkit
    Ending a marriage or civil partnership. Provides advice on issues linked to separation: in relation to children, divorce or finances; how the divorce law works; when and how to get resources such as lawyers or mediators.  Provides a step-by-step guide of issues you must be aware of, including what to do if someone breaks a court order.  Also contains links to various legal resources (finding solicitors, legal aid calculator, etc).  A PDF of this guide is available at the bottom of this page.

  3. Marriage, Civil Parternership & Divorce
    Provides a range of information about procedures to deal with separation as well as information on resources and how to access their websites.

  4. Resolution
    Organisation supporting family solicitors.  Provides advice for couples splitting up and can help you choose the correct legal or non-legal route to separation.  Can help you find a family solicitor in your area.

  5. Dictionary of Family Court Words
    Hosted on the NACCC website, this document is produced by Cumbria Local Family Justice Council in collaboration with Change.  Gives clear explanations of terms used in family law court proceedings.

  6. NACCC Website
    The National Association of Child Contact Centres is the supporting membership body for most contact centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This site contains general information about contact, contact centres, some families' experiences regarding contact, as well as relevant websites.

Services for Separation/Divorce Issues

Various services offer resources for individuals, parents or families dealing with separation or divorce. Mediation can help parents wanting to find ways to resolve issues, such as contact with children.

  1. CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)
    CAFCASS has a special role for children and families involved in various court proceedings, including separation and divorce. They have a role in addressing questions such as who the child should spend time with.

  2. Mediation North West
    Access to mediators from legal, court welfare or therapeutic backgrounds – parents can use this to resolve issues associated with separation /divorce, including contact with children.

  3. Relate
    Offers mediation and counseling for individuals, couples, children and families.

  4. Pro-Contact
    Offers various services including therapies, parenting courses, parent information programmes and mediation.

  5. Divorce Support Group
    Group offers support and mediation (such as therapy) aimed at divorce and separation across England, including Manchester.

  6. Families Need Fathers
    A national organisation that provides advice and support services for parents on how to do the best for their children, aiming to ensure that both parents have equal status The website provides a list of explanations a and comments on many issues associated with divorce and separation.

  7. McKenzie Friends
    Hosted on the Families Need Fathers website, this page gives introductory information.  Roughly speaking, McKenzie friends are paralegals who do much of the work of traditional family solicitors, but have no professional qualifications.  Consequently they can be much cheaper.  Follow the link for more details.

  8. The Counselling Directory
    The Counselling Directory is a confidential service that encourages those in distress to seek help. The directory contains lists of councellors in your local area who specialise in many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events.

  9. The Personal Support Unit (PSU)
    These provide free or inexpensive services which may be helpful for people facing civil court proceedings without representation, or need to make self-referrals.

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