Whilst litigants may find some of the information on this blog useful it is of course not the same as advice tailored to your individual circumstances - and you should not treat anything on this blog as legal advice. People often post comments on the blog asking for advice about their own family case, which I am unable to give via this website, because barristers have historically only been able to offer advice when instructed by a solicitor.

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 23.31.44If you are looking for a barrister or would like to instruct me please take a look at my website lucyreed.co.uk which gives you more information about instructing barristers and how you can go about it.

If you are a Litigant in Person (someone dealing with a court case without a lawyer), or if you are considering going to the Family Court you might find my book "The Family Court without a Lawyer - A Handbook for Litigants in Person" (Bath Publishing 2014) helpful. 
Family Courts without a Lawyer - A Handbook for Litigants in Person
The book explains how the courts work, and sets out the law and practical guidance in relation to cases about children, divorces and what happens about money and property when couples separate.

You can buy a copy of the book here.


You can buy the kindle version on Amazon (if you download the kindle app you will be able to read it on your computer, iphone or ipad even if you don't have a kindle). You can click through on the link below to get straight to the kindle version.


34 thoughts on “Need Advice?

  1. Please give me the link to your book,so i can read it online,Thankyou

  2. the father has reasonable contact of my child, i have a residence order the father is not sticking to the days agreed i am also getting verbal abuse when he does want him and we have plans because he has not let me know in advance if he is having him or not, he thinks he can just ring on the day and this is not helping me and my son it is distressing my boy what can i do, can i stop the contact any info would be great can u email me back

    • Hi Kelly,

      I don’t give advice through this website. However, in general terms f there is an order in place which says when a child should have contact with his/ her dad and the resident parent doesn’t want to stick to it they will need to ask the court to vary it. I don’t know if this applies in your case.

      I do accept instructions directly where a case is suitable for public access (see http://www.lucyreed.co.uk). I have also written a book about Family Courts which you can buy at http://www.nofamilylawyer.co.uk. If you take a look on the No Family Lawyer website you will find links to a range of useful resources that may give you some answers to your question. Alternatively you may want to go and see a solicitor – but unless there is domestic violence or a serious child protection issue you probably won’t get legal aid. You may qualify for legal aid for mediation, which might be a way of avoiding going to court.

  3. i have an issue. I recently discovered that my wife of 5 (five years) is pregnant for a close family friend and because of the shame she relocated from where we live in Liverpool to Scotland while i was out of town with our 2 (two) kids and i have not been able to see them also because i do no know where she lives. I have been advised to go to court for a contact order and i would like to know whether i can get judgement from Manchester (england) or i must have to do it in scotland. I need your advice desperately

    • I’m sorry but I can’t give advice via the blog. I would suggest that you take some urgent legal advice and take it from there, even if you have to act in person at court.

  4. i was looking at the transparency project website. on the resources page the link to bailii appears to be wrong. baillii.org will take you to the proper site, the link at the transparency project will try to sell you a domain name. telling you because i couldn’t see how to tell them. please pass it on.

  5. hello can I have some advice please

  6. Hi. Would it be possible for you to blog/ discuss the rights of teenage children who have resident orders, and xontact oders that they can choose have contact or not with father.
    [confidential details deleted]
    What are the legal rights of mature teenagers who do not want father to know medical or new home address.

    • Hi Rosemary,
      It’s an interesting topic and I might cover it at some point – at the moment though I simply don’t have the time to do so.

  7. Hi
    Can you explain in general how much money an EEA self employed worker need to earn to be consider as person with right to reside status. (Total income or Total profit)

    If there is minimum earning threshold, is it applicable from 2010 onward.


  8. My cousin recently lost a court case, where my brother was her litigant in person. From my readings am I correct in assuming that we need to appeal 21 days after the hearing, to the original lower court or can we go to the High Court direct, if bias was shown and evidence blatantly ignored? I don’t know if the judge in question was under pressure from above because of policy as I don’t have a transcript to go on as I wasn’t present (travelling down by coach from Scotland at the time of the hearing, so this is second hand information but I was present at the aftermath, when the children were dragged off by social workers). Their evidence and wishes were disregarded but as minors, under the ages of fourteen, would the court automatically defer to the parents in America (not quite here long enough to claim residency) even though there was evidence of physical abuse and mental trauma?

    • I can’t give legal advice via this blog but yes the time limit for appeal is generally 21 days, although some decisions have a time limit of 7 days, and a judge may vary the default time limit. It sounds as if you are describing care proceedings, in which case your cousin will have been entitled to legal aid and her lawyer will be able to advise them on rights of appeal (Assuming she is a parent of the children concerned – I’m not quite sure from your comment if this is the case).

  9. My cousin is the grandmother of the children and has been looking after them for nearly a year with the parents consent.

    • TS I’ve edited the rest of your comment in case it makes the family identifiable. It sounds as if your cousin needs to urgently seek legal advice.

  10. That is putting it mildly!

  11. anthony richards

    hi my frend is thinking about doing him self in a week ago he come home from work and his wife and kids are gone he was devestaded he found out the mide wife made a referral to social servaces wife gone and three kids he found out that they gone under section 20 iv looked it up [details edited…] has he got a case need to know befor he does something stupid thanks

    • Hello Anthony,
      I have edited the details of your friends case to preserve confidentiality of those mentioned. If your friend’s children have been taken into foster care under section 20 and he does not agree with this you should advise him to contact a solicitor who does childcare work urgently. I can’t really establish from the information you provided what action he should take, but a solicitor will be able to sit him down and talk it through before advising him properly. In general terms social services cannot take away children without either the consent (properly given) of all parents who hold parental responsibility or a court order.
      Please do encourage your friend not to panic but to find a lawyer who can advise him properly – I’m sorry I can’t do that on this blog. Perhaps you can go with him to the meeting for support?

  12. My ex Wife has a Court Order against her and has breached it a total of 34 times. Under the New Children’s Reform Act, do you think I have a good case for custody, bearing in mind her behaviour is totally irrational at all times, and is clearly demonstrating that she has zero respect for mine and my Daughter’s relationship
    Thank you

    • Hello PH,
      I can’t give advice via this blog I’m afraid but things are not generally quite as simple as counting up how many times there has been a breach of an order. Under the Children Act 1989 one would need to look at what the reason for any breach was and all the circumstances. Also, I’m not sure what the “New Children’s Reform Act” is that you refer to – there is no such act in England & Wales – based on google I wonder if you are referring to some legislation passed in Ontario, Canada? I don’t know anything about that I’m afraid as this blog is based in England.

  13. My ex-partner and the mother of my child displays all the characteristics of a Histrionic with Narcissistic personal disorder. The relationship was constantly on and off until we separated. Her behaviour was very erratic and I’m concerned about my child’s well-being due to her emotional instability, the numerous short-term partners and partying. Incredibly, she holds down an office job and has convinced professionals she is actually a victim. How is the best way to get the courts and CAFCASS to recognise her true nature when she is very charming and plays such a convincing damsel in distress? I’m acting in person as I cannot afford a solicitor.

    • Paul, I am afraid I can’t advise you about how you should run your case through the blog. I’m sorry that you don’t have funds for a lawyer. You could apply to the Bar Pro Bono unit to see if you can get some advice there.

  14. Paul does raise a very good general point as it happens. How do you get the court’s attention to accept that a cause for prolonged litigation and intractable child arrangements (never mind the potential for harm) may be as a result of an undiagnosed personality disorder? Court’s don’t like “dredging” with history yet it is only history of events that gives a party the evidence to demonstrate the problem is more than likely personality disorder driven than “just” raw separation/emotion…maybe an article on the matter possibly Lucy if you are up to the challenge? I’m beginning to see a pattern in protracted and high conflict cases where there appears to be personality disorders being a root cause for prolonged cases than “just” hysteria and high emotion.

  15. Hello. I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this but I was after advice. I have a court order for contact with my ex. He is very abusive, [edited]…What can i do?

    • No A. It is not the right place to post this. I cannot give advice on this blog. You say in your comment (Which I’ve edited) that you havea solicitor. You need to seek advice from them.
      Sorry not to be more helpful.

  16. I have a CAO live and the other side solicitors have informed that they will be calling my sibling as an intervener.
    Is this something that can be prevented where the allegation is false?

    • SBB I’m afraid I don’t really understand your question, but even if I did I couldn’t answer it as I’m afraid I don’t give legal advice via blog.

  17. Hi Lucy,
    I have found the family court system and process totally baffling, and despite having been to court twice already, we still have a court order that is seemingly open to interpretation. Is there a reference source that can categorically tell me whether the last weekend of a school holiday period counts as ‘holiday’ or ‘term time’. eg. schools go back on September 4th, so is the weekend preceding still the summer holidays?
    Also, would love for you to blog about the terrible waste of tax payers money that is the ‘Working Together for Children Course’ often ordered by Judges for parents to attend. The ‘course’ (cost of £150 + moderator, + venue hire presumably) was a printed booklet which we each read in silence. A FARCE!

    • Hello Carrie,

      There is no reference source that can categorically give you the answer you want – the answer will depend on the wording of the order and the interpretation of it – if it is clearly worded it should not be a problem. If not the judge will have to be asked to clarify – it does often come up when one parent has a different understanding or view of when the term time weekend cycle is interrupted / resumes after a holiday, particularly with the shorter holidays. I’d have thought the weekend before autumn term resumes is pretty clearly part of the summer holiday though, unless the wording suggests the intention was different.

      I’ve not herd of the Working Together for Children Course – most courts refer to a Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) which is free and as I understand it is usually in a group discussion format and based on discussion of videos. Generally people report that these are quite helpful in my experience.

  18. Hi. By court order my children’s father can see them every 2 weeks and we need to share holidays equally. He was and still is very manipulative and generally not a nice guy.
    From what I see and from my children’s point of view (7 and 8 years old) he isn’t meeting their needs ( no bedtime stories,hugs,not spending time with them-sending them outside or to another room,not listening to them expressing their wishes and needs,not honouring their routines ..etc). He cancelled few visits (making up health issues,home issues and money issues to make them feel sorry for him),isn’t always calling when he needs to..etc. All of it makes my children upset,angry and generally unhappy. I can not reason with him. He isn’t listening,twisting and turning things around. I feel so sorry for my children for not being looked after and loved property.
    Is there anything I can do to make it better? Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Monica

    • Hi Monica, I’m afraid I can’t give advice via this blog and even if I could I could not say much of use with such limited information. In general terms if there is an order you must either a) stick to it b) agree to change it by talking to him directly or through mediation or c) go back to court to ask for the order to be changed.

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